What's the difference between the way American right and left wing families live their lives? Not too much, really.
Our unmarried teenage daughters get pregnant, our teenage boys father kids out of wedlock, our spouses get busted for driving while intoxicated, we flirt with stupid political parties and philosophies, we bully people we don't like, we take Peter Principle jobs.
We also love our daughters and sons and help them when they get in trouble, forgive our spouses for their DWIs, try to live down our embarrassing political affiliations, regret our bullying tactics, and try to do the best we can when we get in over our heads at work.
The difference between right and left is not in how we fail or take care of our own, but in how we treat the rest of the world.
Liberals recognize the truth in the Biblical story of Jesus coming upon a crowd ready to stone an adulteress. Jesus puts a stop to it by writing the sins of the stoners (lol) on the ground in front of them, letting them know that he is aware of their own failings and that they are no better than the woman they seek to kill for hers.
Liberals work to create programs and cultures where the sin is less damaging to the sinner. We know that we are all going to fail or sin or make huge fricking mistakes and that each of us needs forgiveness not just from those who love us, but also from the people who might make up the stone-throwing mob.
Religious right folks don't get that, even though they profess to be Christians. They will protect their daughter, son or spouse from the mob but will join the mob when your daughter, son or spouse sins or makes a huge fricking mistake. They know everyone has foibles and at any time could be the stonee instead of the stoner, but they don't give a shit as long as it doesn't affect their own.
It's the very basis of their philosophy, and the basis for It's OK If You Are Republican, or IOKIYAR. It’s how they can consider a divorced man like Ronald Reagan who cheated on his first wife as a moral paragon. It's how they can support a suspected coke-head and twice convicted drunk driver like George Bush for President. It's how they can back a man who cheated on his wife, married his mistress a month after the divorce, and called his second wife a "cunt" in public like John McCain for president.
It's how they can consider Newt Gingrich, who handed his hospitalized divorce papers so he could marry his mistress and resigned after multiple scandals, a hero of their movement. It's how they can consider Tom DeLay, who advocated maintaining a system in the Mariana Islands that encouraged rape and forced abortions against workers making clothes with the "Made In The USA" label, as a moral leader.
There's no difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to moral failings, screw-ups, loving our families or anything else. The difference is that liberals are honest about it, and the right wing nuts are judgmental pricks except when it affects one of their own. If a right wing conservative has a foible, then praying makes it OK. If a left wing liberal has a foible, then it's proof that liberals are in league with Satan.
Here are the things I have learned about the Republican Party's nominees and their families from the last couple weeks:
- Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee John McCain cheated on his first wife, and married his mistress just one month after his first divorce was final.
- McCain says that families of candidates should be off-limits, yet he told disgusting jokes about Chelsea Clinton while she was the first daughter.
- McCain was caught performing favors for felon Charles Keating in the 1980s and received a slap on the wrist for his unethical behavior.
- McCain's wife has two half-sisters she refuses to acknowledge, calling herself an "only child" on regular occasions.
- McCain's running mate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is under an ethics investigation for firing the state police superintendent after he would not fire her brother-in-law after repeated pressure by Palin's husband, Palin's staff and Palin herself.
- Palin will be deposed on the issue at the request of a bi-partisan legislative commission, complete with Republican support. She's lawyered up at the expense of the Alaskan taxpayers.
- Palin was a member of a conservative Alaskan party that advocated holding a vote to secede from the United States.
- Palin secured $27 million in federal dollars for her town of 7,000 residents, a whopping $38,000 per resident. She also supported the "Bridge to Nowhere" before it became unpopular and changed her mind.
- Palin was a sponsor of Senator Ted Stevens' 527 political committee. Stevens is under indictment for taking bribes of at least $250,000.
- Palin has a four month old son with Down's Syndrome who she will be forced to ignore for at least the next two months as she campaigns and potentially for the next four years if she wins the election. Being Governor of Alaska with a special needs infant is hard – being Vice President in that situation is impossible.
- Palin's 17 year old daughter is unmarried and 5 months pregnant, even though Palin is staunchly anti-sex out of wedlock. Palin is also anti-contraception even in the marital bed, a lesson her daughter apparently learned.
- Palin's husband was arrested for driving while drunk, risking the lives of others on the road.
- McCain invited George Bush (two DWIs) and Dick Cheney (one DWI) to speak at the convention, then withdrew the invite, then renewed it.
- McCain invited Rudy Giuliani to be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, even though Rudy Giuliani married his first cousin, cheated on his second wife, married his mistress, used government funds to pay cops to walk his mistress' dogs and take her to a vacation home, put the disaster communications center in the tallest building and attractive terrorist target in New York City against his advisor's wishes, and was a lobbyist for states suspected of supporting terrorism. Due to Hurricane Gustav he will not be speaking in the keynote spot.
This is not about the daughter. Or the husband. Or the Pres. And VP nominees. It's not about any of these issues or people.It's about the rank hypocrisy of lecturing all of us on family values, morality, Godliness and the like from a pulpit made of dross.