Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Republican Family Values


The 2008 Presidential primary season is already shaping up to be an interesting contrast between the two parties. Why the media continues to buy into the idea that the Republican Party is the party of Family Values is beyond me. It started as such a joke. Here's the history behind "Family Values" as a campaign issue...

In 1992, when it looked like Governor Bill Clinton would win the Democratic nomination, President George Herbert Walker Bush spoke about family values. Like he did in 1988, he used "non-issues" to distract Americans from his own, self-confessed lack of "the vision thing." His presidency wasn't the kind of leadership that inspired people (like FDR, JFK, and even Reagan). He was simply a middle manager who had built up an impressive resume in the Republican Party (war hero, congressman, ambassador to China, CIA director, Vice President). His presidency was just the natural progression for a loyal party member. How loyal was he? Well, he was the first one to call Reagan's economic plan "voodoo economics." After he became Reagan's VP, he learned to keep his mouth shut as he bided his time.

So, the visionless George made an ACLU membership card, flag burning, and prison furlough the campaign issues of 1988. Granted, Michael Dukakis was pretty weak in not being able to defend the dreaded "liberal label". All he had to say in rebuke was to read any dictionary. The definition of liberal and conservative in the dictionary is enough to give people a second thought on who they'd rather be. So...with a history of using non-issues to distract Americans from his own ineptitude and visionless leadership, you know how often he talked about family values as a Vice President or President? No one heard that term until 1992. Gee, I wonder why?

Since then, Republicans have claimed to be for family values, even though they vote against the Family Medical Leave Act, they vote for wars in which families often end up in divorce or financial despair dealing with the medical costs of disfigurement, they want to do away with public television (the commercial free station in which many Americans fondly remember watching "Sesame Street" as children), they want to put foster children into orphanages (one of Gingrich's proposals in his "Contract [on] America"), they pushed Clinton to end welfare as we know it. As Jesus said, "by their fruits, ye shall know them." By their actions, they have shown themselves as a party that is anti-family to its core. The only thing Republicans are loyal to are the corporations that try to find every tax loophole they can and move costs of operations to developing world nations.

So, now we are upon the 2008 elections in which the top three contenders of the Republican party are all divorced: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich. Not only DIVORCED, but all three of them have either admitted to committing adultery in their marriages or have had their family dysfunction played out in the tabloids (that would be Giuliani, folks). So, what gives any of them the right to claim the "family values" mantel? Especially Gingrich, who recently confessed that he had committed adultery at the same time as he pushed for impeachment against Clinton for adultery. Gingrich, the smug and sanctimonious newt that he is, actually claimed there was a difference between him and Clinton. He didn't "lie under oath." Um...what about that wedding vow to forsake all others? What is a wedding vow but an oath? Sounds like Gingrich is learning about the multitude meanings of the word "is".

On the other side, the top three contenders of the Democratic Party have all been married one time each. That would be Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Okay, putting aside the mysterious marriage arrangement of the Clintons, it just baffles me that people still think the Republican Party is the party of family values. In the 2004 Debates, when a lady told Bush that she was working THREE jobs, he actually told her that it was GREAT! He didn't bother to ask her WHY she is working three jobs. If given a choice, who would want to work three jobs if one job paid the same amount it takes three jobs to do? Where is the "family values" in that?

Which brings up the most interesting thing of all about the sliminess of the Republican Party. The one true "family values" candidate in the race is none other than the monogamous Mormon, former Governor Mitt Romney. His resume, biography, and family life is every candidate's dream. By all means, he should be the front-runner with a realistic shot at the presidency...except for that one pesky little thing: his religion is so reviled by the Religious Reich. The likes of Pat Robertson (who wrote in a book that if one married a Mormon, they'd get Satan for a father-in-law) and Jerry Falwell won't even consider endorsing a candidate of a religion they despise. So, it begs the question...do they value "family values" or not? The answer is a delicious, "of course not!" The whole thing was a ruse against Clinton's family values. But as flawed as Bill may have been, one has to look at how well Chelsea turned out compared to the more dysfunctional Bush twins (or even Jeb's children...what with their drug problems and shoplifting). What does that say about Republican Family Values?

I don't know about you...but I think Jesus was right. Some people talk about morality, but their actions show no evidence that they live what they preach, and authentic spiritual people live their values even if they rarely talk about them. That's the truth in all this campaign b.s. If one is going to vote on such a non-issue like family values, then either vote for Mitt Romney or a Democrat...because if a family values person votes for any of the other Repuglicans, they only prove that they don't truly value family like they say they do.

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