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In the movie, ‘Indecent Proposal’, a rich man offers a husband $1,000,000.00 to bed his wife. After initial resistance by the couple, the prompt cashing of his check was all the foreplay required. Although with the dawn came seller’s remorse, what was lost could never truly be regained.
This film created many a conversation, oft rowdy discussions, about various topics focusing on the queries of ‘what would it take for you to ‘(fill in the blank)’. Today, when applied to the political arena, at least in the hypothetical, it seems many would rather pimp out their spouse than vote for a candidate who doesn’t share their base political ideology.
Selling out one’s core paradigms when casting a ballot may not be in the same emotional and moral arena as desecrating our marital vows, but how we choose to vote does employ the same process we use when making any decision. In the end, it always comes down to our own priorities and judgment.
A test or criterion for the qualities of a thing.
1. standard, measure, model, pattern, heart, substance, mainstay, principal
We all have touchstones that motivates and nourishes our convictions as to what’s right or wrong, good or bad, of import or not. These deliver both justification and reference for our convictions. We access these when feeling the need to qualify the basis for our opinions and stances on issues. Yet, while we may avow with passion our commitment to these core beliefs, there are always moments when we are not only tempted, but even all too willing to abandon them. People yield to the ‘end justifies the means’ rationale every second of every day.
The basis for our personal touchstones are not always birthed and/or mired in religious dogma as many may assert, but rather a result of one’s path most traveled, echoing our experiences from ‘all we need to know, learned in kindergarten’ years, the influences/bonds of family and friends, geography, socio-economic station and accessed brain matter.
As the merry-go-round of the GOP presidential election primaries takes its’ last turn, we will soon be giddy, and no doubt a bit nauseous, from the exhilarating roller coaster ride of the general election. More so than most political farces, this is the event when many of us relinquish our proclaimed principles with a wink and a nod of submission to the political realities that has, sadly, become the foundation of our government’s electoral processes. The push, pull crowds of unwitting voters will be teeming with those who seemingly surrender their touchstones for the perceived ‘greater good’ and ‘gain more than lose perception’ justifications.
In the swamp that is now America’s political arena, the most enduring ‘standard’ is no longer political party affiliation. The staunch party membership identifier is not as viable a gage of one’s political doctrine in this political climate. Now it’s conservatives v. liberals branding (which for some will vacillate between the two, depending on if the issue is societal, financial and/or government operations) that has become the marker of note. (No group is comprised of all saints or all sinners.)
Even some of the most steadfast members within the GOP base acknowledge the lingering stench from the plethora of polluted political and personal tenets discarded along the campaign trail by the GOP’s POTUS candidates. Too many only shrug as they give credence to the ‘win at all costs’ adage. It’s understood and accepted that a candidate’s victory no longer equates to survival of the fittest, but to the richest and the glibbest. Never more apt is the Republican based quote, ‘To the victor belongs the spoils’.
The Declaration of Independence states ‘that all men are created equal…’, ratified in the fourteenth amendment of our Constitution. Yet, the definition of equality differs greatly among the candidates for POTUS. For the majority of the primary candidates, their equivocations relating to, or at least their defining of equality, follows the same qualifier as, ‘depends on what is, is’. Too often, these candidates disregard the fact that We, The People, embraces all our citizenry and visitors, without exception, including, but not limited to - ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and political affiliations.
Thus, if any voter, when declaring their core beliefs, embraces the meme that we all are entitled to enjoy the same ‘degrees of equality’, then any who vote for a GOP primary candidate disowns this touchstone.
Many who bellow out their allegiance to conservative fiscal processes will face the reality that if having cast a vote for a candidate, proffered from the GOP roster, more than one of their tenets needed to be sacrificed. A genuine conservative fiscal process represents a ledger sheet not only balanced by financial debits and credits, but also is not influenced and implemented by the politico’s need to repay debts owed to their patrons.
Supporting a candidate who endorses tax loopholes for the richest is not truly a fiscally conservative (or responsive) choice as this practice ensures less revenue for our public coffers and likely will only aggravate our nation’s wounds; another example of continuing to give preference to the greed of the few over the needs of the masses. And yet……
History and present day reality provides all the data needed to substantiate the fact that it hasn’t been, and never will be, the rich who truly nourishes and sustains America and Americans. The 1% and their minions may continue to invoke their ‘let them eat cake’ philosophies, but for the 99%, the proof is in the pudding.
Of the Tea Partiers who initially embraced their authoritarian purist stances with verve and passion, vowing to only support those who shared their ultra conservative based mandates, few have kept this resolute stance.
Rather than sustaining the core of their avowed convictions and implementing a ‘third party’ that is not tethered to an organizational base which does not share and/or support their same dogmas, they parley their touchstones as if they are poker chips. As with any campaign, the principles of their cause are only as viable and enduring as are the principals of their crusade. Much of which what was so fervently embraced by this group has been and will be aborted in this election.
Religion and Politics, not at all compatible and yet irrevocably interlinked in the 2012 campaigns! As always, when these are enjoined, all Hell breaks loose. This combo evokes robust interactions, encompassing highly charged discussions that too often evolve into orgies of rough and tumble disputes without end; or if on a blog site, frantic fingers create a torrent of commentaries, some profound, others profane.
(For people who are agnostic, proclaimed atheists and/or practice the ‘yeah, I believe there’s a supreme being out there but it’s all about love and peace’ – it is difficult to understand the resoluteness which most experience when closely affiliated with a religious doctrine.)
The separation of church and state edict impacts all fiscal, societal and constitutional processes. Non-adherence certainly means more government abuses, not less. Invoking the rights and rites of religious creed in our nation’s laws translates into maintaining and implementing laws which take away individual’s rights to make personal choices without giving credence to a religious deity that many don’t even acknowledge. It also promotes the application of distorted religious canons embedded in legislation, resulting in ongoing discrimination of women and minorities as well as any with different or no religious bonds. Not abiding by the partition will culminate in delivering undue entitlements to only certain segments of our society. It’s impossible to pay homage to the constitution and at the same time support any who proclaim their intent is to integrate, not separate, the two.
For those who broadcast their allegiance to what is recorded within the ‘Holy Bible’ (first and/or second testament), there’s much to support the fact that adherence to several commandments are being if not abandoned, then at the least momentarily ignored by most (candidates and voters).
There appears to be, for some, a type of graduated scale for the holy commandments, small sins/big sins assessment. Abortion is a big no-no, quoting ‘thou shalt not kill’ (but children and adults dying from abuse, neglect, poverty and no access to quality healthcare isn’t ‘a sin’ and this group will assert their hands are clean in these deaths). Yes, it’s really bad to commit murder, but telling, even living a lie – not so much. Obviously, they subscribe to the theory that the commandments are flexible, with options to subscribe only to their selective commandment de jour.
Most secular religions have supplemented their ‘bible’s’ proclamations with addendums that support their own specific religious/church’s creed. How quickly and easily will/do avowed conservatives turn away from their chosen religion’s doctrine just to obtain a political victory?
There’s always been competing theologies among organized religions. Aside from the various interpretations of the bible itself, ‘Christian’ churches that base their dogma on additional theories put forth in their own documents, arouse the most fervent advocates and antagonists. Protestants seem to be less rigid, their precepts and decrees based on their ‘translation’ of the actual bible. While at odds with the rituals and varied non-mainstream ‘beliefs’ of other churches, most Protestants do not exhibit the same level of antipathy in their objections to a candidate of another church’s credos as do (i.e.) the Evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons.
Non-Mormons take issue that Mormons believe God had sex with Mary while she was engaged to Joseph to conceive Jesus as well as that God was a man at one time and man can become a god. Women (even agnostics, atheists and non-Christians) object to Mormon doctrine declaring that females only get to heaven if their husband or bishop calls them up, where they are blessed to be eternally pregnant making more "spirit babies" to be born on earth. (Many still remember that until the IRS threatened to take away the tax exempt status of Brigham Young University, African Americans were cursed by god and that’s why they had dark skin.) For some, one of the most objectionable Mormon practices is they preach that working their way to heaven is not just by the blood of Jesus Christ but the free gift of salvation He offers – but, not to worry about your friends, family and others too much, because they can be baptized after death, without regard to their family’s objections or their religion/wishes declared when they were alive.
To Catholics, Evangelicals and stalwart bible believing Christians, much of the Mormon teachings is sacrilege and violates their own religion’s canons.
Catholics also engage in practices and beliefs that are anathema to many other organized religions. The Pope’s authority and status, bequeathing of ‘sainthood’ status and practicing the rites of confession where a priest delivers absolution from sins are widely disdained. These actions, in other church’s domains, violate the decrees that only God is to possess these powers. Like the Mormon Church, Catholics have their own ‘mini-bible’, veiled processes and stand-alone doctrines. Of course, there’s that pesky problem of pedophilia and the church, from the very top level, not only covering it up, but enabling ongoing abuses against thousands of children. Divorce is a sin, but if you have enough clout with the Vatican, you just get your marriage annulled and bestow the label of bastard on your progeny. Other religions believe that to sanction the Catholic’s mode of worship counters their God’s commands.
Evangelicals and other organized religions also have their own manner of classification of ‘sins’, but many organized religions do seem to share the datum that women are not entitled to the same stature and rights, within both the church and societal hierarchies, that the males of their flock enjoy.
And yet, Catholics, Evangelicals and other church members vote for a Mormon. Evangelicals and even some Mormons, along with others, have and will vote for a Catholic or Protestant. This action, some assert, is violating their own church’s sacraments, what they proclaim to be the core of their touchstones.
Does this translate into hordes of voters discarding their religions and personal beliefs for perceived political gain? Does the motif of a political party/candidate supersede the icons of their church? Has ‘let us prey’ supplanted ‘let us pray’?
Some assert our electoral processes have become akin to street corner hawkers selling their counterfeit wares, complete with side show carny con front men and ‘which shell hides the nut’ games. And just as the hawker’s customers too late discover a Rolax isn’t a Rolex and the gold necklace is electroplated 10kt. that only temporarily glitters like 24kt., voters who irrationally buy the politico’s wares, will also suffer the consequences of forsaken touchstones and skewed judgments.
Indecent proposals and shameless pandering in this election season begs the query, Pimp or Whore? I doubt most can claim neither and too many embody both. Can what has been lost ever truly be regained?
Are we applying different standards to our politicos than we do to ourselves? Are we faithful to our own touchstones when it comes to our own roles in our political processes?
Are We, The People, good stewards of our nation’s proclaimed touchstones? Are we too quick to issue judgments of others and too slow to judge our own actions/inactions?
The reality is - Every day is Judgment Day!
‘A renewed commitment to the freedom and opportunity of our people is the touchstone of our time. In this new century, where tests are many and challenges change with the shifting of the wind, we must hold fast to the principles that have made our nation the envy of the world.’