Conservatives told America they were bringing democracy abroad. They imported extremism instead.

 Today I’m going to speak in depth about another vital element of our strategy: our efforts to help the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East.” ~George W. Bush, December 12, 2005

Water is scarce in this arid land. The region has been suffering a drought for some time. Religious figures have grown important in this time of need. They not only lead their people in prayer for rain, but bend the ear of their government. Faith permeates everything here. It is taught in school. It dictates a woman’s place.

In the local shopping centers, armed men mill about. They dine at restaurants with rifles on their back. They hand out leaflets to motorists, and talk to children about their beliefs. A group of women speak out against them, and they are harassed, bullied, and stalked for daring to do so. Insults and death threats abound.

extremism

This is not some nameless Middle Eastern country, torn apart by strife. This is Texas. This is the United States of America.

Rick Perry is teasing another Presidential run. How he can be seriously considered is puzzling. As Governor of Texas for over a decade, he has turned that great state into a disaster area. His dismissal of regulations have led to fertilizer plant explosions and oil spill after oil spill.

Texans are suffering from a horrible drought, about which Perry isn’t doing much besides encouraging people to pray. Education has been gutted, science rejected, and creationist dogma has been inserted into public schools. Women’s reproductive health options have been shut down due to a Pro-Life agenda. And radical gun rights extremists are walking around suburban neighborhoods with loaded rifles.

Look at this man, America. Look at what he has turned Texas into. Religiously fundamentalist deniers of science and education, willingly ignorant of their own environment. When you have little to no water, you need to protect it and find ways to solve the issue, not lift restrictions of huge corporations poisoning what you have left. Can you drink oil?

Add to that the suppression of women’s health rights; the refusal to comply with the ACA or expand Medicare, leaving millions of Texans with no insurance and no way to get it; discrimination of LGBT Americans; and being totally cool with extremists walking around with shotguns, AK-47s, and AR-15s, hollering about their “God-given” rights.

Step back and look at all of this. Really look. Texas hates gays; tells women what to do; is unmoved by scientific facts or environmental realities; repeatedly attempts to legislate according to religious beliefs; and is fine with cadres of whack-jobs holding their rifles triumphantly over their heads in front of a shopping center.

Any of that look like America to you?
Then of course, there’s the whole matter of how the last Texas President did. George W. Bush has left an inarguable mess for years to come on all fronts. The wars that increased the enemies of America. The destabilization of the Middle East. The crashing of this nation’s economy. So many of our current issues can be directly attributed to his administration.

And why did Bush do it? Because God told him to. After all the rhetoric about bringing democracy to the oppressed, this after the weapons of mass destruction malarkey fell apart, that’s really all it was, a religious war.

No check that, Bush didn’t invade Iraq because of his religion, he used his religion as the reason because, what, that’s acceptable? Many Americans are Christians, so if he just said it was God motivating him, then they’ll go along with him right? Is it that easy? Pray for guidance, and then just do what you want to anyway and say it’s the Word of God? It sure seems to have worked. All that death and destruction, with no seeming end in sight, and it’s what God wanted?

There is nothing wrong with religion per se. Being a person of Faith is not inherently a bad thing. But when you use your religion to harm others, you cheapen your faith and your God. If you are using the bible to hurt people, you are using your bible wrong.

The swell of fundamentalists in America do not represent the hearts and minds of the electorate. But these are the people who vote. They’re up early on election day, mobilizing their family, their friends, and their community. They were the backbone of the 2010 Tea Party tidal wave. Eric Cantor was taken down by an anti-immigrant bigot because not even 8% of that district’s registered voters bothered to show up.

The right wing fringe, the gun fanatics, and the Christian Fundamentalists are the extremists of the nation. They are a minority among us, and they are getting far more representation than they deserve. They are using the volume of their opinions to make up for the lack of volume in their numbers. And it’s working for them.

And now the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may claim religious liberties to exempt themselves from Federal Law. While ostensibly a narrow ruling, corporations are rushing into this gap, plying away with teams of lawyers, relentlessly trying to find loopholes to exploit.

But what’s disturbing is non-existent people can now claim exemptions to the law due to non-existent entities. Christianity does not believe in Islam, does not believe in Judaism, does not believe in Buddhism, and so on and so on. Somebody somewhere does not believe in your religion, whatever it may be. So claiming “religious liberty” as a corporation is beyond absurd.

Hobby Lobby is now an American Citizen, specifically a Christian citizen. So it is yet another advancement of Christian fundamentalism. Another erosion of the secular foundation of this nation.

Where will this end? Justice Ginsburg said this ruling was like unto venturing out onto a “minefield.” On twitter, #ScaliaLaw is trending.

The story we got fed was that America was bringing democracy to Iraq. That has failed utterly. That country is more of a mess than it ever was. But even worse, America is now dealing with extremism on the home front. And the recent SCOTUS ruling has guaranteed that we won’t be escaping the extremists and fundamentalists any time soon.

It is a very worrying time to live in the USA.

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