Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Target Practice

I had planned to take today off from the internet. I have a cold which has settled in my chest and I've about had it with the weather phenomenon in SoCal known as "June Gloom," in which the skies are cloudy until late in the afternoon. I'm tired of the unending and banal stupidity emanating from Washington DC and most state capitols. I just wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head for what would hopefully be more than three hours of sleep at a time.

I would have done it, too, if my interest in the GOP campaign for 2012 hadn't overcome my indulgent self-pity. There's something about that cast of characters that sucks me in every time. Today's edition comes courtesy of Michael Gerson of the Washington Post, who takes a look at pizza magnate Herman Cain, a political rookie, and his promise to do things a little differently when selecting his cabinet.

On the issue of Muslims serving in public office, every explanation by presidential candidate Herman Cain becomes a complication. In three instances Cain affirmed that Muslims would not be allowed to serve in his Cabinet or administration. “Many of the Muslims,” he explained, “they’re not totally dedicated to this country.” Cain then amended his remarks to say that, while Muslims would be allowed to serve, they should be subject to “extra precautions” not applied to Catholics or Mormons.

Gerson dispenses with this nonsense by going to the source which is supposed to be an authority of some magnitude in the country, the US Constitution:

The Constitution addresses this matter directly. Article VI requires legislative, judicial and executive officials to take a loyalty oath to the Constitution. It continues: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” After Charles Pinckney of South Carolina proposed this language at the Constitutional Convention, a delegate to North Carolina’s ratifying convention objected that it would allow “pagans, deists and Mahometans” to seek office. It was ratified anyway — even though many state constitutions at the time contained religious tests. In urging ratification, James Madison dismissed these state restrictions as “less carefully and properly defined” than the federal document. Government service, he argued, should be “open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith."

Gerson is right, of course, but he fails to point out just what is going on here. Cain is clearly waving red meat at the Republican faithful. Muslims! Sharia law! And (of course) 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! The now traditional enemy of all right-thinking (and I do mean RIGHT thinking) Americans.

The problem is that 9/11 happened nearly ten years ago and the boogie man who led the attack is now dead. The real enemy of the people is not the Muslim religion, it is the religion of the latest iteration of capitalists, the Herman Cains, if you will.

What ails America right now is joblessness and poverty in the midst of unparalleled prosperity for those who run the economy game. Businesses which refuse to hire and to pay appropriate wages because of "regulatory uncertainty" are sitting on trillions of dollars worth of cash, some of which is doled out to the CEOs who increase that treasure for the benefit of shareholders. Instead of addressing that crucial issue, Cain and his compatriots are waving shiny keys labeled "Muslim!" at the rest of us, urging us to vote for them so that they can finally do away with the biggest menace to the American Way Of Life.

Sadly, there are many who will buy what Herman Cain and Michele Bachman and Mitt Romney are selling, even as their own private economies go swirling down the bathtub drain along with the federal government.

Now I'll go back to bed.

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Blogger Florence said...

"Sadly, there are many who will buy what Herman Cain and Michele Bachman and Mitt Romney are selling, even as their own private economies go swirling down the bathtub drain along with the federal government."

This is what just boggles my brain!! I think it is because there are few if any left who remember what old age was like before Social Security and Medicare.

Hope you feel better soon

9:46 AM  

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