Saturday, March 30, 2013

They didn't notice that the lights had changed.

He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed

Whatever the inspiration for the Beatles' song, when I hum these lyrics I don't think of rich British playboys or people high on dope. I think, particularly, of Reince Priebus and the Pope  (maybe not John XXIII, but most any of the others I have lived through or read or heard of).

Most recently, Priebus and the Republican establishment have been musing on why they no longer have the dreams described in Phillips' The Emerging Republican Majority. They seem to think that their policies -- cutting taxes, especially for the wealthy; cutting services, especially for the poor and middle classes; unquestioned support for all forms of Big Business and the military;  harsh policies on immigration, gays and regulation; and kowtowing to the Religious Right -- are innately appealing to Americans, and that their only failure is not articulating these policies more effectively.

They didn't notice that the lights had changed.

Most recently, the administration of Boston College has decided to threaten students who have been distributing condoms in the BC dorms. This is, of course, because the Catholic Church is against any form of birth control -- as well as being against any form of abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, priest marriage, and female priesthood. It still maintains that Boston College, one of its flagship (Jesuit) institutions, can be a world-class university while its students are subject to dogmatic rules. It also believes that its problem with sexual abuse by priests is an aberration, and that its crackdown on nuns who don't hew to the ultra-conservative religious line of its (still existing) Inquisition was necessary to preserve the traditions that all Catholics believe in. And they are wondering why hardly any Catholic woman in the U.S. follows its proscription against contraception, and why a large majority of Catholics here and abroad don't agree that an all-male priesthood is a good thing. If anything, the Church has moved rightward through the actions of the conservative Popes that followed John XXIII.

They didn't notice that the lights had changed.

The people of Europe have, for a long time, rejected the conservative -- even reactionary -- policies of the American PTR (Party for The Rich, formerly GOP). It isn't that there are no conservatives in Europe, but their form of conservatism is about where American centralism is. In fact, their actual policies on Climate Change, taxation, equality of opportunity, and healthcare are, on average, where liberal Democrats in the USA are located.

Even in America, when partisan descriptions (such as "ObamaCare") are removed, Americans by a large majority favor the exact same things that Europeans favor. If one could remove gerrymandered House districts, and count votes instead, we would have a Federal government controlled totally by Democrats.

Both the Catholic Church and the Republican party didn't notice that the lights had changed.. New generations are proceeding with a green light toward a fairer, more humane, and more progressive society, while the Church and the PTR, mired in the past, are ignoring their red light and plunging along fatal paths toward collision with the vast mass of everyone else. We can only hope that they don't do too much more damage. They really could use some mind blowing.

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