Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conservative Hypocrisy and the Ground Zero Mosque in New York

I hear a lot from some of my regular conservative readers and friends about keeping government small and local. About respecting local authorities and decision-making processes.

It's all about small and local.

And yet ... many conservatives who espouse this line on a daily basis are really very willing to have government impose its views on individuals -- as long as such views conform with theirs.

Many conservatives who point to Arizona's offensive (to me, at least) immigration law argue that what Arizona does is Arizona's business and that the rest of us, including the Federal Government which represents the rest of us, have no business meddling in Arizona's affairs.

And yet ... many of these same conservatives think that the Federal Government should deport all undocumented immigrants. Many of these same conservatives think that inserting a Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is just fine and dandy.

And now, these very same "small and local" conservatives are trying to impose their own bigoted will upon the people of New York City by engaging in a Christian crusade (and when you see the advertisement, you'll understand exactly why it is akin to the Christian crusades) against the establishment of a Muslin mosque and community center in the vicinity of Ground Zero. Here's the grossly unconservative and offensive ad:

Notice that it's produced by the National Republican Trust PAC. Figures. And the sentiment undergirding that ad is embraced, promoted, and celebrated by that faux-conservative joke who goes by the name of Sarah Palin and by the faux-conservative people who support her.

What does this "Kill the Mosque" movement, supported and promoted by Sarah Palin, say about leaving such decisions to the local authorities and the people most directly affected by the decision to construct a mosque? As many people have expressed, the local community and local authorities are in support of the effort. Why do Sarah Palin and her "Kill the Mosque" compatriots from "real" America in the "Christian heartland" get to impose their will from afar on the very diverse community that is New York City? And even if you say that these folks have the right to express their opinion, I'd say that's fine; but then they are expressing what I would think is a very un-conservative opinion -- an opinion that doesn't square with what these very people also say about small, limited government that respects local authority.

Just imagine if Palin were President. Do you think she would be a small-government conservative? Absolutely not. She'd try to impose her "Christian heartland values" on every place in the country and would use every federal government power at her disposal to do so. And if such power wasn't enough, she'd simply pull a George Bush and create such a power under some notion of the "unitary Executive" or using some kind of signing statement or executive order or you name it, to do so.

Why can't true conservatives see through this charade? Are they so blinded by Obama that this simply escapes notice? What gives?


eric said...

I really don't care one way or another about the mosque in NYC, and I even tend to agree with you that it is strictly the business of the people of NYC, but I don't quite see how that gets parlayed into a rant about Palin's desire to use the federal government to Christianize the entire nation.

Don't you think if she was so zealous about Christianizing everything touches, maybe we'd have stories about how she tried to do this as Gov of Alaska? Surely such a hardcore social conservative would have made it a campaign plank to try and repeal Alaska's marijuana laws, which are easily the most relaxed in the nation... but Palin never touched those laws, or tried to, or even campaigned on the issue. Likewise, when she was running for Gov of Alaska, she said she thought Roe V Wade should be overturned and the decision turned back to the states, and that even then it would be up to the people of Alaska, not the Gov., to decide which way the state should go. That's hardly a position I'd expect from somebody hellbent on shoving their religious convictions down everyone elses throats.

So while I think it is safe to say Palin is a social conservative and would govern as one (especially on gay marriage, an area where I strongly disagree with her... ), when it comes to me worrying about her trying to push Christianity on me at gunpoint, that's not something I will be losing any sleep over.

There's also this: Just about anybody capable of getting the GOP nomination is going to be considerably more socially conservative than myself. But the current political climate on the right demands that all socially conservative candidates also be in favor of a more fiscally responsible government that provides much fewer services. I'll take that trade off every time over a socially liberal candidate who supports an ever increasing range of government services with no means to pay for them.

Even you yourself admitted that Obama would be a one-termer if he didn't take his fiscal obligations seriously. Do you think he has?

Huck said...

Eric - Just look at the still shot in the video, which is endorsed and supported by Palin. It's clearly an anti-Muslim Christian crusade advertisement. And there's no doubt that Palin's national ambitions are wrapped up in promoting a Christian evangelical approach to a wide variety of issues. From the mosque at ground zero, to the US relationship with Israel, to gay marriage, etc. How else can you explain the fact that Palin is so willing to compromise the "small and local" notions of conservatism, which she has expounded in other venues repeatedly, when it comes to the establishment of a mosque in the vicinity of the WTC bombings, than by its being driven by fundamentalist Christian religious antipathy to Islam? But whenever I use "Christian" in my posting, it is connected to a broader notion of "heartland values." My stronger point is not so much the religious angle, though that is clearly part of what I'm saying, but rather the trumping of fundamental conservative principles about less-intrusive and smaller government to defend a dubious moral code that is religiously-grounded.

As for Obama, I do think if he doesn't get serious about the deficit/debt (and I think he's trying to get serious about it, though without much help from Republicans), he'll have a tough re-election campaign. He's been in office for only a year and a half and has had to face a recession and financial crisis the likes and seriousness of which I've never seen in my lifetime. I cut the guy some slack in terms of deficit-spending to prevent an all-out depression. I do agree that time is running short for him; but I wouldn't say that Obama hasn't taken his fiscal obligations seriously. He's got a long way to go, but he's been much more fiscally responsible in a period of recession than Bush was in a period of growth in terms of trying to balance social spending with revenue collection. That's not an easy task. And it would help Obama tremendously if the Party of No wouldn't be so dead set against any of Obama's suggestions to try to get a handle on the deficit.

eric said...

Again, Huck, I am looking at her record as a governor for evidence that she is an overly Christianist leader, and I just don't see it. As a private citizen she can lend her name to whatever causes she wants to. Even as a political leader, she can promote Christian morality all day every day for all I care, but I don't worry about it until she tries to do something legislatively (and while I disagree with her legislatively on gay marriage, that issue is near the bottom of my political priority list, and beyond that I just don't see much about her that worries me religiously).

I certainly understand why a lot of people would have problems with a mosque near the WTC site, and why a lot of Americans, both Christian and not, are very skeptical, even agressively so, of the intentions of modern Islam in America. I just don't care what they do in NYC. Palin and a bunch of other conservatives apparently do care, and while its not an endeavor I support them in, neither is it one that would cause me to drop all support for them. I'm much more concerned about all the 1099s I will have to send out in 2014 (one for every vendor who I've purchased more than $600 of goods from... and my company deals with over 1000 vendors in a given year) due to the new healthcare legislation. I'm much more concerned with the Dems recent attempt to force S-Corporation shareholders to fork over FICA taxes on non-payroll income (something that would cost me thousands of dollars per year, in a sluggish economy). I'm much more concerned about a federal government with enough power to mandate that citizens must buy certain products from the private marketplace. I'm much more concerned about trying to survive in a business climate that is paralyzed by fear because businessowners and shareholders suspect their governmet is actively working against their best interests. Anybody's opinion, for or against, about a mosque in New York just doesn't register very high on my give-a-shit-ometer. If somebody is "big government" on that issue but "small government" on the issues that hit me in the breadbasket, then they are "small government" enough for me. I'd like nothing more than a slew of better candidates to choose from, but the truth is that those type of people look at the mechanics of our political system and say, "No thanks, I'd rather drink battery acid than get involved in that mess." And I don't blame them one bit.