In July, Newt Gingrich wailed against “double standards” on religion:
They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.
Yet more conservative False Equality. (More)
False Equality, Part II – Privilege
This week Morning Feature will unpack the core of conservative ideology: more wealth and privilege for the wealthy and privileged. I say “unpack” because they hide that ideology beneath a rhetoric of False Equality, the idea that government should be ‘neutral.’ Yesterday we discussed wealth. Today we discuss other forms of privilege. Tomorrow we’ll conclude with ways to talk to Fred, our archetypal median voter, about wealth and privilege.
More privilege for the privileged.
Despite the limits of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, Christianity is and has always been a privileged religion in the United States. No other religion has a federal holiday (Christmas). Until the 1960s, public schools in most states began the day with a Christian prayer and many included a Bible reading. Forty-one of 44 presidents have been Christian. Yes, that includes President Obama. Only three presidents expressed no religious affiliation: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson. Two of them have monuments in our nation’s capital.
Yet Newt Gingrich would have you believe the U.S. is under siege because we allow mosques while Saudi Arabia forbids non-Muslim houses of worship. Or because President Obama was indoctrinated with anti-colonial politics by a father he never knew. Or maybe it’s the “gay and secular fascism trying to impose its will on the rest of us.” Who financed Gingrich’s cinematic terroraganza? Citizens United. Yes … that one.
It’s not just Gingrich. Colorado TGOP House candidate Ken Buck said U.S. schools were better before racial desegregation, and Kentucky TGOP Senate candidate Rand Paul says private business should be able to discriminate. Arizona TGOP Governor Jan Brewer said illegal immigrants were beheading whites in her state, and Florida TGOP candidate for governor Rick Scott wants to duplicate Arizona’s immigration law. And the TGOP are lining up behind Sarah Palin to impose more draconian restrictions on pregnant women, while Phyllis Schlafly says single women deserve poverty because they “kick [their] husband out.”
In short, we’d solve all our problems if we just gave more power to white Christian men. Better make that straight white Christian men. Or as Pat Buchanan calls them … Americans™. (Like the TGOP’s Small Businesses™.)
“Let’s just call it even.”
So a guy walks into a bar. If only it were a joke. He comes in with three buddies and tells you you’re on his stool. Then he shoves you off and you fall to the floor. One of his buddies kicks you as you try to get up. Another grabs a pool cue and whacks you across the head. Bleeding, you grab your cell phone from your pocket and start to dial 9-1-1.
“Hey, I don’t want any trouble,” the bartender says. “And I’m not taking sides. Let’s just call it even.”
Well sure, you could call it even. You could also call it photosynthesis, but don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone in the bar to sprout leaves.The situation is manifestly not even, and “just call it even” won’t change that. Instead we should call it what it is: aggravated battery.
That’s what Paolo Friere meant when he said:
Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
The bartender may say he’s not taking sides, but he is. He’s siding with the three guys who beat you up. And he may say he doesn’t want trouble, but by telling you to “just call it even” he’s encouraging them to do it again.
Those “double standards.”
Of course most Tea Party Republicans would publicly deny they want more privilege for the privileged. Instead, like Gingrich talking about Saudi Arabia, they say they just want to end “double standards.” They want government to be like the bartender in the story: don’t take sides and let’s call it even.
And that’s a False Equality because our society is no more even than the story in the bar. Privilege still abounds, and advocating against privilege based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and other indices is not about “double standards.” It’s about calling 9-1-1 after you get beaten in that bar.
And for too many non-whites, non-Christians, women, and LGBTs … getting beaten is not just a metaphor.
Your Kossascopes are in today’s Campus Chatter.