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In My Opinion
Lynn Paris


Brief Thoughts About Santorum

I really, really wanted to take a break from politics. No matter how hard I try, though, it just isn’t possible. The other day a smart, lovely gentleman for whom I have the utmost respect in all things except politics, asked me if I was ready to get on the “Santorum train.” He was poking at me with eyes twinkling and tongue in cheek because he knew he’d get a rise out of me and he was right. I couldn’t just laugh and say no. I had to say, “Are you crazy? Are you honestly telling me that you could vote for Santorum?”

To which he replied, with the official mantra of all Republicans, “Well, anyone but Obama.”  And in predictable fashion I came back at him with, “How can you possibly tell me that you’d vote for a regressive, hypocritical misogynist when we have an intelligent, forward-thinking, fair-minded person running the country? But, of course, he was chuckling, halfway down the hall by then.

I just don’t get it. All of the Republican candidates have been an embarrassment, and most have fallen by the wayside as Republican primary voters have rejected them. The race now seems to be between a super-rich guy who no one really likes and whose political ideology has been all over the map and a guy who I predicted might be the eventual candidate if he could hold on long enough. I even wrote that he had the most authentic conservative credentials. The thing is, now that Santorum is in the spotlight, it means we all get to hear more of what he has to say. And the things he’s saying are mind-boggling.

The other day Santorum told a group in Ohio that Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs.” Really? In my opinion, unless Santorum was addressing the Billionaire Boys Club of Ohio, he couldn’t be more wrong. Obama’s agenda is aimed directly at the majority of us . . . the middle class and our quality of life, along with our dwindling incomes and dwindling piece of the American pie. Obama’s agenda IS about creating jobs. Whether you believe that he hasn’t done enough, or you believe that government has no business creating jobs because the billionaire “job creators” will take care of that as long as we don’t regulate them or force them to play by the rules, his agenda is still about creating jobs.

Interestingly, that wasn’t the worst part of what Santorum said. He continued by saying that Obama’s agenda was about “some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.”

Excuse me, but what the heck is THAT supposed to mean? That’s wrong on so many levels that it almost leaves me speechless.

Yet how can I NOT speak out, how can millions of people not speak up when this continuing saga of “different,” continues to play out more than three years into Obama’s presidency. When conservatives have nowhere else to turn, when their policies, if spelled out, would actually be opposed by most Americans, they never fail to turn to their innuendos about Obama’s “otherness.” That’s right; he’s different from me and you. Even though he’s a Christian, he’s a different kind of Christian. He’s more like a Muslim Christian or a socialist or Kenyan Christian.  That may play well to the least educated or most radicalized elements of the GOP base, but it’s pathetic pandering and it needs to stop.

Not only that, but there are so many diverse types of religious Americans that it’s nearly impossible to try to force a specific religious perspective on them, and even more foolish to call anything but your own theology phony.  Trying to take the moral high ground based solely on your own brand and interpretation of what is a “good” theology is out-of-step, out-of-date, and almost sure to turn off a huge segment of the population in a general election. So keep it up, Rick.

But let’s get back to the rest of what Santorum meant in his statement. After all, he explained it so well. After the fact, that is, when questioned by almost everyone about it. He said that despite the way everyone had interpreted him, he wasn’t questioning the President’s faith. The different theology he was referring to was Obama’s radical environmentalism. “I think that’s a phony ideal . . . We’re not here to serve the earth.”

Good explanation! I guess that Santorum is so concerned about leaving our grandchildren with debt that he couldn’t care less if we leave them with an environment where you can’t drink the water or breathe the air. There is being a good steward of the earth, which I believe is fairly biblical vs. being a radical environmentalist. Obama is hardly radical (as environmentalists are quick to point out) but he does fall in with the majority of Americans who would, at the very least, choose to be good stewards.

In fact, I believe that Obama’s priorities are exactly where they ought to be. It’s Santorum’s priorities that scare me. Are we actually debating a woman’s right to contraception now? Seriously?  Isn’t using or not using contraception a personal decision, the very kind of thing that conservatives allegedly want government to stay out of? Why is it that Santorum wants government out of everything . . . but wants it smack dab in the middle of women’s reproductive rights or what takes place in private individuals’ bedrooms. Why do he and his cohorts want government out of the doctor’s office except when it comes to denying basic care like prenatal screening?

This latest revelation about how radical right-wing politicians like Santorum really think is revolting. But it has galvanized a lot of people, especially women, into reaction and, hopefully, action. And that can only help Obama.

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