"I'm not a fan of personal vendetta gotcha-style politics," said Jon Stewart on Tuesday's Daily Show. "But there can be exceptions. Take Louisiana Senator David Vitter ... who came to prominence in the 90's demanding President Clinton's impeachment for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Well, it seems the condom is on the other foot."The video can also be found here.
"Last week, Vitter became the highest profile john implicated in the DC Madam scandal-gate," Stewart explained. "Kind of reminds you of the old saying, 'The only thing I trust less than a Louisiana senator sleeping with a hooker is one that isn't.'"
Now, I of course would never stoop to mere "gotcha" blog entries either. (What, Never? Well, Hardly Ever..).
In this particular case, I think this is a remarkably apt insight into what Republican values actually are. That is to say, you can pretty much assume that whatever public stance they take will be taken purely for personal political advantage and will have little or nothing to do with personal values or conviction. It's kinda like the Catholic Church in that way. How many folks out there still think it's a good idea to leave their child alone with the parish Priest?
Well, folks, that goes for anyone who seeks a position of unquestionable moral authority and access to either your children, your vote or your wallet.
While that observation may well be true of political figures in general, Republicans in particular have been particularly active in trying to demonize, regulate and restrict YOUR libido, YOUR sexual practices, Your definition of family, and indeed, your reproductive choices, while undermining your right to privacy and your right to access information without trace or record. I don't see very many examples of Republicans living by the values they espouse - so to speak. On the contrary.
So perhaps all these protestation of high moral standing are mere pretexts and postures, not just in exceptional cases, but in general.
Any large group of people will have a few bad apples, a few "isolated incidents." But these are NOT "just a few" and they all share something similar; the overwhelming majority of these sexual crimes involve practicing the opposite of what they preached. That is to say, they violated the law purposefully and deliberately, and in the way that was most vile on the basis of their own public standards to demonstrate to themselves and to one another that they were above that law and could get away with violating it. Indeed, there seems to be the perverse drive to enact laws for the purpose of violating them!
Another disturbing theme of near equal weight is a consistent pattern of abuse - sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and the abuse of power in general - toward those who cannot fight back.
Here's a particularly odious example of such an authoritarian circle-jerk.
Don Haidl, Assistant Sheriff of Orange Country, in violation of California's rape shield law, led a smear campaign against the child his son poisoned and then violently gang-raped on videotape, adding up to 24 felony counts. He said that his son "acted accordingly" because the child was a "slut". The full gruesome story, with many newspaper articles.
And here's one that just reeks of depraved irony:
Earl Kimmerling, from Indiana, sentenced to 40 years in prison after he confessed to molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her. Anderson, IN, Mayor Mark Lawler and Republican State Reps. Jack Lutz of Anderson, IN, and Woody Burton of Greenwood, IN, supported him. SourceThen there's the largest and highest reaching sex abuse scandal ever, probably in any nation, since roman times - and you have probably never heard of it. Read it and be amazed by The Franklin Credit Union Child-Sex Ring Scandal.
This sort of thing isn't anything new, in other words; it's actually part of long established Republican political culture. The blackmail operations detailed in the link above may well partially explain the spineless behavior of our current Congress's Democratic majority, and I'm SURE it explains the "dead-ender" behavior of a great many Republicans who can't be so politically tone-deaf as to think the President's lame-duck agendas in any way serve the cause of their own re-election to
What we need to do is to purge all levels of government of corruption, and we also need to send - as a nation of outraged and unforgiving Citizen-activists - a resounding message. Remember that the Republican majority came out of the so called "Republican Revolution" pledged to END corruption and cronyism - and has turned out to be more than willing to wallow in a system as corrupt and lawless as any Byzantine court and indulging in graft on a level that would embarrass Tammany Hall.
So, if you are a Republican - repent! Register as an Independent, or a Constitution party member. Get your name off their sucker list. This is especially true if you have ever been a "values voter." These are the values your votes supported. So either repudiate the party for it's lack of interest in values when it might affect a Republican in power, or consider yourself complicit in all the crimes that have been committed in the name of pure, unchecked and unaccountable power. Because that's the way ethics works - you are accountable for the choices you make and the messes you contribute to.
As for myself, I'm a registered Libertarian. I have no illusions that it's a party composed of inherently better people - but it is a party of strong essential principles that may work against the accumulation of personal power for a time. It's not a party that attracts as many authoritarians and opportunists, and it will take those folks some time to figure out how to subvert it to their own ends.
Likewise, I'm going to make a choice about where my money goes. My money is going, in terms of consumer goods, toward companies that do not support the Republican cause. Likewise, I will not enter any place of business that has a fish by the door - a device almost exclusively used by Religious Conservatives, unless I see something in the window that indicates they are opposed to the moral choices this government and this party have made.
What can you do?
You can spread this around. You can digg it up, stumble it, email it to your fundy family members. You can blog about it, create fliers to stick in your church's brochure box, you can wear a t-shirt or put a poster in your store window. You can talk to strangers at bus-stops. You can call in to talk radio. Hell, you can slip Air America a few bucks. Grab your video camera and vlog it onto YouTube and Google Video.
I'll tart this post up later with links to the most vicious and apt t-shirts, bumper stickers and any particularly useful and usable photos and graphics I can find.
Together, we can change the world. As long as enough good people refuse to stand by as evil is done, we cannot help but do so.