Priorities and more

I heard the other day that most American Christians consider themselves Americans first, Christians second (or lower, I speculate). And they are hostile toward people who are Christians first.

This confirms to me that most American Christianity is nominal only. It also make me wish for a T-shirt or Sweatshirt (if only I weren’t too old to wear messagewear) inscribed "Other."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poet Who Nurtured the Beats, Dies at 101

CPAC (a big annual gathering of "conservatives") isn’t what it used to be. Then again, maybe it never was.

> Somewhere along the line, when the pandemic was raging and Trump was blithely going on TV and telling us not to worry, that the virus was going to suddenly disappear, and not to let fear rule our lives, the response on the left was to insist on the opposite. To my eye, what started among myself and my peers as a genuine concern about the unfolding pandemic — concern for ourselves, our vulnerable loved ones, our vulnerable neighbors and community members — started morphing and hardening into something else, or something additional: a tribal totem. Harboring and expressing extreme anxiety, fear, and outrage about the virus became a crucial component of identifying as a virtuous progressive. > > The feelings were (and are) real, and not unwarranted. But when, in another time and place, we might have received steadying messages of individual and communal resilience (Keep calm and carry on, etc.), instead we on the left found our most despairing, fearful, and angry feelings flamed — by a media industry that’s figured out how to trade fear and rage for clicks, and by a desire to cast ourselves as a compassionate, humanitarian foil to the callous, capital-focused response on the right. (Never mind that it turns out we had plenty of blind spots of our own.)

Mo Perry in her Mailchimp mailing of 2/25/21.

It’s nice to see an acknowledgement of progressive Covid tribalism, since there was no mistaking right-wing Covid tribalism

So far, it feels to me as if the Senate is confirming nominees who ought to be confirmed and questioning those that truly are questionable. I hope they refuse confirmation to Xavier Becerra:

> Republicans have both partisan and nonpartisan reasons to bristle at the Becerra nomination. The nonpartisan gripe is based on experience: While Becerra has served in government for decades—he was a member of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017—he has never served in an executive health policy role. If there’s one nominee you’d like to be able to hit the ground running in a new administration during a global pandemic, Republicans have argued, it’s the head of Health and Human Services. > > But the more visceral opposition to Becerra stems from what Republicans describe as his radical views on the role of government in health care, his intense opposition to any government limitations on abortion, and his track record in California of wielding state power against groups from crisis pregnancy centers to orders of nuns that didn’t comply with state and federal laws later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. > > David summed up the Republican case against Becerra in the French Press back in December: > >> Becerra zealously defended a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for free and low-cost abortions. He defied the current HHS Office of Civil Rights to attempt to force churches to provide abortion coverage. He selectively and aggressively prosecuted an undercover pro-life activist, and he litigated against the Little Sisters of the Poor as part of a continuing effort to coerce religious institutions into violating their consciences to facilitate contraceptive coverage. > > In a letter to Biden this week spearheaded by Sen. Tom Cotton, dozens of House and Senate Republicans accused Becerra of “contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with his radical leftist agenda,” which they said ran afoul of Biden’s pledge to govern on a unity platform.

The Morning Dispatch: Security Officials Blame Intelligence Failures for January 6 – The Morning Dispatch.

Like preachers calling Playboy "hard-core pornography" and then having no stronger words left for Hustler, the GOP has so debased "radical leftist agenda" that it has no sting when it’s really needed. It’s also too broad to be useful even as shorthand in any cases I can think of.

They must think we’re stupid. We keep re-electing them so they must be right.

I’m thinking especially of social conservatives (especially Evangelicals and Catholics) who have clung to the GOP like — well, like black Americans clinging to the Democrat party. In both cases, there’s a feeling that the other major party has nothing to offer, and that’s (in me estimation) true. But we can start to change things by looking for third parties close to our key concerns (mine is the American Solidarity Party) and deprive both unworthy major parties of our votes.

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