Today we got a flyer from the Indiana Republican Party urging us to vote for the incumbent Republican Congressional candidate in our district, Mike Sodrel. The cover shows a picture of Sodrel against a background of the American Flag. The caption reads, "Congressman Mike Sodrel. Unwavering Values" . When you open it up, it says that Sodrel's "values can't be compromised" and lists three reasons to support this statement.
1. "Protecting Our Faith" The brochure brags that Sodrel opposed a federal judge who ruled that invocations before the Indiana State Legislature must not make reference to Jesus Christ or to the Christian religion. Now, someone help me out here. Who's faith exactly is Sodrel protecting when he fights for the inclusion of a Christian reference in an official State session? Not mine. The REAL protection of every American's faith is the separation - and I mean total separation - of church and state. I am so fucking sick of the Christian version of - nay, ANY version of God - being trotted out for government debate of any kind. The topic of God shouldn't even be discussed in government.
2. "Protecting Our Freedom" The brochure says that Sodrel co-sponsored the Pledge Protection Act to prevent the ACLU and liberal organizations from taking "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. And this is a reason I am supposed to want to vote for this guy? I happen to think that God should not be in the Pledge, but, having said that, I don't think that it is importance enough to be brought up for discussion, much less legislative action. But what really rubs me the wrong way in the brochure is the use of "liberal organizations" . UH OH! Liberal organizations!!! As if they form a united and evil force determined to rob America of any and all "values". Be afraid, stupid Americans. Be very afraid of the dreaded "Liberal Organizations"! Oh, loyal readers...I am a fumin' as I write this!
3. "Protecting our Flag" Sodrel co-sponsored the flag desecration amendment resolution calling for a congressional amendment to prohibit desecration of the flag. This just makes me pissed that my congressional representative is wasting his time and my tax dollars diddling around with such an inconsequential issue when there are real things to worry about. Honestly, who CARES if someone wants to burn the flag? And, if I may venture a guess...not many people care to burn one. THIS is worthy of legislation? What's next? Can't burn a picture of George Bush? I'd burn one right now if I hadn't already burned them all.
THEN, the next part of the ad says that Sodrel's democratic challenger, Baron Hill, is “just wrong on the issues that define America". Listen up, loyal readers, for you are about to learn what the issues are that define America:
The Brochure states that Baron Hill is:
1. "AGAINST empowering states to decide whether to display the Ten Commandments". I wasn't aware that an Old Testament version of right and wrong defined America. Silly me. I thought our country was defined (at least in part) by our constitution - you know, that old rag that certain people in power want to revise for their own purposes lately, our bill of rights, our canon of law, our history as a nation...THOSE kinds of things. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a beef with the message of the Ten Commandments. I just don't think that they actually DO define America. And what I also find interesting about this (and about creationism - another Old Testament Story by the way) is that it is always a certain group of Christians, those decidedly NEW Testament folks- who are at the forefront of the push to display the Commandments at state buildings and to teach creationism in our public schools. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that if anyone were to push for this it would Jewish people? The Old Testament is their book, after all. But, I ask you, how many Jewish people do you know who are pushing for the Ten Commandments to be displayed or for Creationism to be taught as a reasonable alternative to Evolution in US public schools? I don't know ANY! And you know why? They're smart enough to be concerned about larger issues and also to know that this stuff has no place in either our government OR in our school systems. The right wing Christian movement is always trotting out the Commandments and creationism out as if they were the “Gospel Truth” yet they are the first people to tell you that the New Testament supplanted the old. Can't have it both ways, people. At least not on my tax bill. Believe whatever nonsense you want but keep it out of the government. Hey, I’ll go one further. If you want to live in a nation that does not separate church and state, perhaps you might consider a place like Iran.
Phew! Got a little off track there. The take home message for me on this point is Hooray Baron Hill! for fighting to keep Church and State separate.
2. "AGAINST protecting the flag" Hill voted three (oooh! three!!!) times against a constitutional amendment to protect the American Flag from desecration. Thank you Baron Hill for protection freedom of speech. Need I say more?
Now, here's the bottom line, loyal readers. If Sodrel gets re-elected, I will be urging my husband to ask his old group in CT to take him back and move us to a state where these issues wouldn't be the ones that "define America" much less be important in a candidate's campaign. These things would be laughable in the Lieberman/Lamont campaign. I visited both Lieberman's and Lamont's campaign web sites and believe me, the issues listed as important really were. The voters there demand it. Prayer in the senate? Flag burning? Not on the radar. Why? Because they are not important. Yes, perhaps Indiana is a truer representation of "real America". But, if that's the case, I want to live in a state that is NOT. I want to live in one that is out of touch with the so-called "Values that Define America". I want to live in a state that is peopled by citizens who think that our government should be dealing with the urgent issues at hand. How about real national security, the crisis in the Middle East, maintaining freedom of speech in our country, maintaining the separation between church and state in our country, keeping a free press, the energy Crisis, the HUGE deficit, the environment?
The bright side of this is that I do live in Bloomington, a town that is decidedly out of step with the rest of this state. But, if this town doesn't hand Sodrel a firm defeat, I will be questioning whether even this is enough to hold me.