After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
This was to many the rather stunning announcement from Ted Cruz this week: an endorsement of the man who had threatened to “spill the beans” (a Presidential phrase if I ever heard one) on Cruz’s wife (we still have no idea what that meant), suggested that Cruz’s father may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination plot and who Cruz himself had called “a pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and a “serial philanderer.” We will table the discussion about that fact that Trump’s nasty slanders of Cruz appear to have no basis in reality (serial liar), while Cruz’s attacks on Trump have impressive evidence behind them.
Instead, we will focus on the fact that Cruz said that “prayer” and “his conscience” are what turned the tide in convincing him to vote for an utterly amoral serial philanderer and pathological liar.
Prayer and his conscience.
Again, we won’t spend time here dissecting the possibility that both the Almighty Lord and Cruz’s own personal moral center have endorsed Trump, in spite of his amoral behavior; what I do want to talk about is the BLIND FAITH of the Republican Party in general.
Remember back in 2012, when the Republicans accused the Democrats of waging a “war on religion”? There can be no doubt that Barack Obama’s tenure as President of the United States has coincided with the hijacking of the Republican Party by the religious right.
A year before he took office, TIME magazine published an article declaring The Religious Right’s Era is Over , but by the time Obama was up for re-election, the Republican party’s platform had morphed to contained 10 references to God and 19 references to faith, a significant jump up from two references in 2008.
So how does this resurgence in the religious right and their growing influence on the Republican party help us to understand both Ted Cruz’s illogical endorsement and Donald Trump’s rise to party nominee?
The late, great Charles Schultz penned the immortal line Linus utters every October just in time for our American elections: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” This is advice many of us have learned to follow because it acknowledges an essential truth we can no longer turn a blind eye to: for some, these are ALL faith based topics, and being faith based, they have no obligation to adhere to logic.
This is where the light bulb goes off, so to speak, in explaining Trump’s nomination: neither he, nor his followers are required to be logical.
Faith is blind, blinds, or is blinding?
“Faith” releases them from the need to make decisions based on reason or judgment; in fact, for the very religious, “Trust in the Lord” absolves them of applying standards of logic to virtually anything. Of course, this is not to say that every member of the Republican Party (or even most) have no capacity to understand facts, but it is a calling out of the political machinery that encouraged this shift in the demographic, knowing that it would breed a contingency of voters that support the Party’s candidates NO MATTER WHAT.
Or in other words, based on blind faith.
This obviously presents a huge (or “YUGE”, as Donald would say) problem for the Democrats, especially in this election. We have seen this year, more than any in my lifetime, how members of the Party persist in applying their own personal standards (morals, values and yes, fact based analysis) to the contenders and may therefore refuse to endorse the nominated candidate. This obviously reflects well on the individual integrity of the voter; unfortunately, it is also what has historically made it difficult for Democrats to promote their programs and agendas with the same efficiency as the Republicans.
It is interesting at this juncture to note that according to the Pew Research Center, in a study released earlier this year, 79% of self-identified agnostics and 85% of atheists are either Democrats or Independents, while 75% of people who say they are “nothing in particular” are the same. Is this lack of religious faith negatively impacting our effectiveness as a party? It is certainly a detriment to our willingness to vote for a flawed candidate, even when logic should be telling us that Donald Trump has proven himself so unstable and vicious that defeating him must be prioritized, no matter what the cost to our “personal integrity”?
Ted Cruz claims “prayer” and “his conscience” have convinced him to vote for a man he himself has called amoral. As a Democrat, regular churchgoer, and person who prays daily, I can tell you that the facts have convinced me to vote for Hillary Clinton. It really doesn’t matter if the facts involved are her qualifications or Trump’s empirically obvious lack of qualifications, nor does it matter if the facts I am referring to are the (at last count) 191 things Trump has said that make him unfit as a leader.
It doesn’t even matter if the fact is that no one BUT Hillary Clinton has a mathematically realistic chance of beating Trump. What is important is that I am not voting for her out of blind allegiance to my Party.
Can Cruz say the same?
Like Linus, the Republican Party has pledged itself to their very own Great Pumpkin, in spite of all the evidence that this is an unwise decision. While some may be convinced that he will actually “fly through the air with his bag of toys” (aka “Make America Great Again”), I’m willing to bet most of them are more in the same boat as Sally–crossing their fingers and hoping it turns out for the best.
SPOILER ALERT: it doesn’t for Sally, and it won’t for us, either.
The Republican Party has been using its “blind faith” approach for everything from preventing gun control legislation to undermining the EPA, in spite of the factual evidence of gun violence statistics and global climate change.
While they loudly complain that liberals are dominating the social narrative, they bond in solidarity by preventing us from applying logic to our lawmaking. Now they are using blind faith to try to elect the most dangerously unqualified candidate in the history of Presidential politics.
Logic says we should stop them. But will we?
Photo: Getty Images
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