Archive for the ‘civil rights’ Category
Americans face difficult choices in a two political party based system
by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. (adapted)
In spite of the fact that theoretically there are several political parties in the United States, in practice there are two major political parties that control the entire nation in one way or another. They happen to have a different philosophy in the concept of priorities and government.
Two Major U.S. Political Parties
While the Democratic Party seems to appeal more to the middle class and the poor, the Republican Party seems to attract better the attention of upper class citizens and the rich, which include the big corporations as a whole. While the Democrats would want to raise taxes in accordance with one’s income the Republicans would want to raise taxes “across the board.” Let us assume one makes $10,000 a year. If the tax cut across the board is 10% that means $1,000 is taken away from him and he is left with $9,000, not enough to make ends meet.
On the other hand, if one makes $10 million a year, $1 million will be taken away from him and he is left with $9 million leaving him still filthy rich without noticing the difference. The Democrats would simply not tax the poor anything while they tax the rich more adequately. While the Democratic Party seeks to put priority on the vital needs of the people, such as adequate health care and education, the Republican Party focuses on the manufacture and sales of weapons and the promotion of struggles and wars. Such wars are generally waged under the pretext of “national defence and security.”
In practice, such struggles and wars are waged to enable ultimately the U.S. big corporations, that financed their campaign, get what they want, namely, the exploitation of the resources of other nations. During the time of elections, these two major American political parties tend to adopt different strategies. While the Democrats tend to concentrate on the people and deal directly with them, the Republicans tend to concentrate on those few who, for one reason or another, have the ability to influence a variety of groups of people.
In doing so, Republican strategists study the strengths and weaknesses of this handful of people who are judged to be influential in swinging the votes of as many voters as possible. Of all possible groups, Republicans believe that, since the vast majority of Americans seem to attend some kind of church services on week ends, the clergymen become their target. They are convinced that once they bring these clergymen under their control, they could easily control the way people would be voting.
Republican strategists are fully aware that, since clergymen do tend to differ from each other, the best way to bring as many clergymen as possible under their thumb is to approach their superiors, commonly known as bishops. This is certainly a good strategy for Republicans to get what they ultimately want, that is, the vote of the people with their consequent election. Considering that the number of bishops is much smaller than the number of clergymen, it is much easier to control a small number than a very large number.
So far everything seems to be going well for Republican strategists to get Republicans elected, especially the U.S. President. Before they initiate their contacts with such clergymen’s superiors, they have to study and evaluate carefully their strengths and weaknesses. To their credit, the Republicans did succeed to find what may be termed to be the clergymen’s greatest weakness, which is described by one word only: abortion!
The Christian churches in the U.S.A. – Episcopalian, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, and Methodist in addition to others – all tend to view abortion as murder, which is a fact since a human life is aborted. Regretfully, abortion has become their obsession to the extent that they seem to forget all about the other nine commandments that God gave to Moses. Even so, the commandment that says: “You should not kill” seems to be applied by U.S. clergyman in general to mean: “You shall not kill the unborn.” What about the killing of those already born? What about lying to the people? What about the destruction of the property of others? Faced by such reality, US clergymen tend to remain silent!
During the time of presidential elections in the USA, several clergymen do not hesitate to raise their voice loud and clear warning their congregation members of their “obligation to vote for politicians who claim to be pro life and not pro choice.” That is what they did just one month prior to the election of President George W. Bush in 2005. Many churches distributed literature with the pictures of Bush and Kerry, the two presidential contenders, stating: “The choice is clear: Bush stands for life and Kerry stands for death!”
This formulated slogan was very misleading, very deceitful. In 2003 Bush invaded Iraq immorally and illegally against the Geneva Convention. He defied not only the United Nations but also Pope John Paul II who warned that “such a invasion would create animosity between Moslems and Christians and would create ground for terrorism which will end up in a quagmire.” Co-incidentally this saintly Pope proved to be very prophetic in his advice to Bush.
Disregarding integrity, human rights and social responsibility
Bush lied to the people with all the consequences that followed: the death of 5,000 young Americans in addition to the maiming of over 30,000 other young Americans. Besides, we have witnessed the destruction of the infrastructure of many Iraqi cities with the eventual massacre of over one million innocent people consisting mostly of women, children, the elderly and the sick. In addition to this, we have today 2 million Iraqis refugees who are now homeless and suffering immensely. The irony of this lies here:
The U.S. clergymen, mostly directed by their bishops, urged people to vote for Bush because, such clergymen insisted that “Bush respects life,” meaning the life of the unborn. But Bush to this day showed no respect for the life of the already born. When Colin Powell, Bush’s foreign secretary, was asked about the number of Iraqis that were killed, he answered crudely: “We do not keep count of that!” Not keeping count of the massacre of Iraqis? The churches were held responsible for the re-election of Bush and for everything negative he did.
In view of this, the clergymen that had encouraged people to vote for Bush should apologize to the American people and to the Iraqis as well. They should feel guilty for the tremendous massacre and sufferings that was inflicted on millions of Iraqis. Above all, they should ask God for forgiveness for being indirectly responsible for so much suffering and death that resulted from the Iraqi war. But U.S. clergymen in general are so obsessed with the problem of abortion that they become totally blind to all kinds of other sins and crimes committed for all practical purposes.
The hypocrisy of “pro-life” and pro-war Republicans and Democrats
Republican strategists will be doing the same over the few weeks preceding the election of the next U.S. president between John McCain and Barack Obama. They are going privately and secretly to warn clergymen especially their bishops, that “McCain is pro life and Obama is pro choice… that McCain wants to defend the life of the unborn while Obama would not care!” Of course, this is a blatant lie. In the first place, McCain wants the war to carry on and would not consider pulling the troops out of Iraq until 2013. In the meantime, more American soldiers and more Iraqi civilians would be massacred mercilessly.
Besides, Obama made it clear that he is against abortion and want to encourage prevention of pregnancies and adoption instead. He wants the family members and the clergymen to tell the woman what she should and should not do and not the government. If clergymen feel obligated to tell their congregation to vote for the self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate, such clergymen have the moral obligation to ask the congregation to vote for the presidential candidate who wants to solve crucial problems through a healthy diplomacy and not through wars. One cannot be pro life and pro war at the same time.
War Never Justified
Several months earlier, Pope Benedict XVI emerged to become the first Pope in modern history to say that “war is not justified under any circumstance whatsoever.” Based on the inspirational and wise statement of this good and holy Pope, all politicians of all nations who resort to war, rather than to healthy dialogues and strong diplomacy to solve problems, should be viewed as criminals. The clergymen of all churches should feel obligated to caution their congregation not to vote for them. Such politicians who claim to be pro life should be viewed as phoney, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
In view of what has been stated, U.S. clergymen should open their eyes widely during the U.S. Presidential elections. They should not allow Republican strategists to literally squeeze their balls and bring them under their control. Besides, clergymen in the United States should study to see where Republicans put their priorities. Where do they try to put the bulk of federal money? Do they put it on the elimination of hunger and poverty, on providing homes for the homeless, on enabling the poor to have adequate health care and education?
Or do they put the bulk of federal money on the manufacture and indiscriminate sales of weapons to anyone that would give the right price? Do they put it for the promotion of struggles and wars, since the waging of wars has now developed into a high lucrative business? We need to keep in mind that in a business of this nature one may always likely to find mafia type of people involved in such transactions. And we know that the mafia has a reputation of being heartless and ruthless when it comes to get what it wants.
Last but not least, U.S. clergymen should keep in mind the words of the ‘Master Teacher’ of Nazareth: “The children of the world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” This may explain the traditional saying that “the way to hell is paved with good intentions.”
This article is adopted from the article titled “Republican Strategy to Win the US Presidency” by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
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