A recently released poll revealed that half the voters in the Deep South firmly believe Obama is a Muslim, while the other half is just not sure. That’s about the saddest thing I have seen lately. Why would people believe this with no evidence to support this contention and an overwhelming amount of proof to the contrary? Have you watched television lately or listened to talk radio? The most recent purveyor of the Obama-is-Muslim fiction was Franklin Graham, whose statement received days of credible news coverage, until he “apologized” later, claiming he was misunderstood.
I am a veteran consumer of political news and a reasonable student of history. I know that throughout our country’s history, we have suffered through periods of ugly, political strife where the words of our leaders bore no relation to the truth. In fact, the more malicious and false the claims were, the more emboldened the politicians seemed to become. And here we are again, but the fact that we have been here before doesn’t make today’s political “debates” any easier to watch.
For the last month or so, I have been struck by the outright attack on women, especially poor women, by men. Sometimes I can’t even believe what I am hearing. Rush Limbaugh apparently believed there was an audience for his attack on Ms. Flukey, and that is an indictment of all of us. He is right, unfortunately, there is an audience for his particular brand of slander. And perhaps it’s not surprising that he would go so far in his vitriol because we have allowed him to get away with similar statements in the past.
I don’t know why the Republican Party has veered off the way it has. The party of Lincoln has alienated black voters for a long time. More recently, they added Latinos to the list. And now, it appears they are trying to add women to the list of voters in which they have no interest. Married to a good and practicing Catholic (who completely supports unfettered global access to birth control, by the way), I hesitate to head too deeply in critiquing that Church, but I will say this. While the men in power in the church (and there are only men of course) insist that women are forbidden from using birth control of any sort, 80% of American Catholic women have decided not to follow that mandate. When will we (men) stop believing we have the right to control decisions that truly belong to women?
There’s room in this country for at least two serious political parties with differing political and economic views. For a time, I thought Mitt Romney was going to take up the mantle of the serious and thoughtful party on the right. I’m afraid I don’t think so anymore.