Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mitt Romney, come down off your white horse!

An article in the October 30, 2012 Salt Lake Tribune, “Mitt’s bid: Would his loss crush Mormon backers?” by Thomas Burr, mentions the white horse prophecy I’ve written of a time or two. In short, the white horse prophecy is a belief by some Mormons (not all) that a Mormon will someday take charge of the country and save it when “the Constitution is hanging by a thread.” To that end, as the article explains, some Mormons are “fasting and praying” for a Romney victory. So the article wonders how much damage will be done to their faith should Romney lose. Probably not much, explains David Campbell, described as “a professor at the University of Notre Dame and a Mormon.” He’s quoted in the article as saying, ‘My own sense is that Mormonism is pretty resilient . . . I would not expect any sort of retreat from American culture the way Christian fundamentalists retreated’ after the Scopes ‘monkey trial’ in 1925, when the theory of evolution went on trial.’”

But Candace Salima, an Orem (Utah) Republican and Mormon, adds that she has been fasting and praying for Romney to win. She sees it differently than Professor Campbell. As quoted in Burr’s article, “I believe that if Mitt Romney does not win the election on Nov. 6, we will finish our slide all the way into a European socialist democracy.”

And if Romney wins, then what? Will he, with the help of Almighty God, keep that Constitution’s hanging thread from being snipped? And how will he do that? By keeping millionaires and billionaires wealthy beyond all dreams of avarice, so we (former) middle-class American citizens can benefit from the paltry trickle-downs they send our way? (When they’re not sending them to China, of course.) Yes, Brother Romney can save us from European socialist democracy by cutting taxes to the rich and making the rest of us pick up the tab!

But, Candace, wait! People in America like what socialist programs we have. We like Social Security and Medicare for the retired and senior citizens, and Medicaid for the indigent. We like the perks that come from our version of socialism, and I doubt anyone will come in, even with God backing him up, and get rid of those programs.

“European socialist democracy” is one of those talking points that the hammerheads on right-wing radio like to spout. Newt Gingrich was fluent in that sort of talk when he was running for president. When the economy was slowly gaining ground and actors like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity couldn’t find that to complain about they began using that European socialist democracy battlecry. They are scaring their listeners by proposing an America where a Democratic president can somehow wave a magic wand and make the country into a cradle-to-grave welfare state, thereby costing the billionaires more of their most precious commodity: their place in the elite circle of the wealthiest 1% of all Americans.

I found a description of modern socialist democracy in an article from the New York Times of June 30, 2012, written by Steven Erlanger:
And what does it mean to be a Socialist these days, anyway?

Not very much. Certainly nothing radical. In a sense, socialism was an ideology of the industrialized 19th century, a democratic Marxism, and it succeeded, even in (shh!) the United States. Socialism meant the emancipation of the working class and its transformation into the middle class; it championed social justice and a progressive tax system, and in that sense has largely done its job. As the industrialized working class gets smaller and smaller, socialism seems to have less and less to say.

Center-right parties have embraced or absorbed many of the ideas of socialism: trade unions, generous welfare benefits, some form of nationalized health care, even restrictions on carbon emissions. The right argues that it can manage all these programs more efficiently than the left, and some want to shrink them, but only on the fringes is there talk of actually dismantling the welfare state.

. . . Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the student revolt of May 1968, known then as “Dany the Red,” is now “Dany the Green,” co-leader of the ecologist group in the European Parliament. “The fight between private property and state property is over,” he says, and traditional class distinctions are blurred. “There was never a purely socialist working class,” he suggested. “Socialism and social democracy today are about a society with more solidarity, more protection of people, more egalitarianism.” In a way, he said, socialism is defined today mostly by its contrast to neo-liberalism — by more reliance on the state and higher taxes on the wealthy.
So for Candace Salima and others worrying about European socialist democracy, consider who you are listening to, and what they have at stake:

A quick check for yearly incomes on the top three right-wing talk show hosts comes up with some astonishing figures. Rush Limbaugh, for instance, just signed a contract with his employer, Clear Channel, in May, 2012 for $400 million. That’s 38 mil a year. (Clear Channel also had to lay off thousands of employees, adding them to the list of the unemployed, but by golly, they kept Rush!)

Glenn Beck’s income varies between estimates, but it’s somewhere between 32 million and 80 million dollars. Sean Hannity is a relative piker compared to those two, with an income “only” between 20 and 25 million dollars a year.

What do you think those guys have to lose if Obama gets his way and the rich pay more taxes? You can see that they have their own agenda, and gullible citizens like Salima have bought right into it. Perhaps she should change her fasting and praying for a victory for Mitt Romney to fasting and praying that her vote doesn’t saddle her with the tax burden to help support Mitt and his cronies in their mansions, looking out at their American fiefdom and laughing because people like her were such dummies as to vote against their own interests. And for the Mormons, because they believed in some arcane magic of a white horse prophecy that even the LDS Church doesn’t officially support as doctrine.

If Mitt rides into the White House on his white horse, it'll be us who have to sweep up the droppings.


Kirk said...

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with Steven Erlinger and Daniel Cohn-Bendit on one thing. I wish I didn't have to, but I do. I don't think the fight between private property and public property is over. At least not here in the US, and maybe not even in Europe. 20 years I thought that, but not now. What was the whole point of right-wingers in congress holding the debt ceiling hostage if not to end the welfare state? We're not talking about the fringe, but members of one of the three branches of government. The fight goes on. I hope my side--the "socialist democrats"--wins, but they won't if they underestimate the opposition

Postino said...

I live in a state where the local authorities want to take over much of the public lands the U.S. government owns, for their own use. The U.S. owns 70% of Utah's land. Utah wants those wilderness properties turned over so they can lease them out for oil drilling and coal mining, and they want to put roads through wilderness areas for outdoor recreation, etc. It's all about the $$$.

Of course that means if they have a big forest fire the state will be stuck with the bill for fighting it. But they don't think like that. They resent what they consider as the federal government forcing its idea of public lands on the state where the land is.

All of that is a roundabout way of agreeing with you that the fight over public and private property is far from over, and there are distinctly different philosophies on how public lands should be administered.

My personal feeling is that as a country we should preserve all the wilderness and forests we can possibly preserve, only exploiting them if there is no other choice than to do so. To put them in the hands of greedy developers and short-sighted anti-environmentalists who don't give a crap if our grandkids will be able to enjoy a pristine area is something we should fight, and many people do. But it's hard to fight it when the governor of the state is fighting for the state takeover of public lands and all of its elected officials agree with him.

To be fair, administrations of both political parties have fought back when the state has sued them.

Having stood, gape-jawed in places like Arches National Park, Zions, Bryce Canyon, etc., and seen what nature has done, I — as well as most of the people I know — don't want oil derricks sticking cluttering up and blocking the landscape.