Indiana has been slammed with quite a backlash — much of it from the business community — because of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Apparently poor Mike Pence had to go on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and try to pretend the RFRA is not really about LGBT discrimination. Instead it’s about big government, or something. See also No More Mr. Nice Blog.

Booman sums it up:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence seems sincerely surprised that so many people think he’s a terrible person for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. At the same time, he appears to be kind of lost at sea because he thought acting like an intolerant anti-gay religious fundamentalist would be popular. This is probably partly because Governor Pence is a genuine jerk, but it’s also because he runs in almost exclusively right-wing circles and consumes almost exclusively right-wing media.

So, he’s kind of an asshole and he surrounds himself with assholes and he gets all his information and most of his feedback from assholes. It’s like he’s living in a giant colon.

That kind of describes the entire American Right. I’ve said many times that one of the fundamental attributes of righties is that no matter how radical and fringe-y their ideas get, they believe deep in their bones that they represent mainstream America and majority opinion. And in those rare moments when reality slaps them hard enough for them to notice that maybe that’s not so, it always comes as a shock.

Sorry I’ve been busy with Zen stuff and end-of-the-month deadlines to write much, but do also note Eric Foner’s Why Reconstruction Matters. Foner is the leading scholar of the Reconstruction era and argues that much of today’s turmoil can be traced back to the failure of Reconstruction to actually reconstruct. Instead, by a few years after the Civil War the white plantation class was back on top in the southern states, and the people freed from slavery still worked for them under oppressive conditions. Today in many schools Reconstruction is still being taught as a time when southern whites were “punished” for the Civil War, or the Lincoln Assassination, or some such, but the reality is that southern whites weren’t punished. After a very brief and failed attempt to enforce some measures of racial equality, southern whites were pretty much allowed to put the South back the way it was before, except that instead of slaves there were sharecroppers.

15 thoughts on “Fallout

  1. Mike Pence is not acting like an intolerant anti-gay religious fundamentalist. He IS one. And he is also an asshole and a jerk. I’m not sure I believe that he thinks the majority of Americans think like him either. I think he doesn’t care although he probably didn’t expect all the criticism he is getting. Those fundamentalists are so sure that they are right and when they get in positions of power they do everything they can to force their beliefs on everyone. Heaven help us if one ever gets elected President.
    I grew up in Indianapolis and lived there for almost 40 years. I always called it an overgrown hick town. Someplace where the Duck Dynasty family would feel comfortable.

  2. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-indiana-illinois-religious-objections-met-20150327-story.html

    Pense can’t understand why both bills have “religious freedom” in the title and Illinois didn’t get any flack for their bill. Maybe it has something to do with the content? Ya think?

    This clueless and innocent act by Pense makes me have some small measure of respect for George Wallace. At least Wallace could admit to who he was discriminating against. I don’t know if you’d call it courage or stupidity but Wallace didn’t hide behind cluelessness.

  3. Swami,
    And, unless my memory is completely shot, Wallace later admitted that he was wrong.

    As for Governor Pence, he’s earned his nickname: “The Dense!”

    Today’s “Christians” don’t know jack-sh*t about Jesus, The New Testament, and his messages of peace, love, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, and inclusion.

    But, their pages of The Old Testament – with all of the begetting, smiting, murder, sacrifice, and revenge – are stuck together.

  4. Let’s see, “God” told, Dubya, Michelle Bachmann, Little Ricky, and a host of other wingnuts to run for president. So, the first question is, “who is this ‘God” guy, and why is he trying to destroy our country?” The concept of a divinely anointed leader is fundamentally opposed to democratic representation. If elected, who would these people be representing? In the real world of course, they would represent a fistful of corporate interests and oligarchs, but even in the illusory world of politics and public relations, sooner or later “God” comes down to some little narcissistic bubble in their brains. This “God” dotes on them and whispers his plans in their ear. So, why should they have the slightest care what other people think? Why should they care who suffers from the policies they endorse? They’re on a mission from “God,” just like “Son of Sam” Berkowitz.

    I think there will be other kinds of fallout. The “religious” right has exploited Christianity as a political tool to the extent that there is a generation who have exclusively seen the secular, political face of fundamentalism. There really isn’t much of a spiritual side to the Christianity of their experience. So, why shouldn’t atheism become openly popular among younger people?

    The Libertarians, on the other hand, have also bonded with the right. So, even as they believe that the blessed market can cure all social ills, they huff and puff about “fascism” when the market turns on their political allies. This issue may call for innovations in the field of convoluted rationalization. But, as they have shown so often, that is their particular gift.

  5. I was amused to see Pence resort to adolescent pouting– gusty, melodramatic sighs and grunts– when Georgie S. kept asking him if the Indiana law legalizes discrimination against homosexuals. The one thing Pence couldn’t do was answer “No.” He came across as a complete a**hole in that interview, with little help from George.

  6. “Sharecroppers” indeed. Not long after moving back to Florida from California, the construction companies in the Orlando area started eliminating employees, in favor of independent contractors. I was working for one at Disney World; one of the laborers was complaining about his pay of $6.50 per hour. He was exempt from worker’s comp, and had to provide a liability policy. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but wages down here, particularly in the trades, retail,and service industry continue to suck.
    I’m thinking Pence really blew it. We’ll see.

  7. It’s like he’s living in a giant colon

    Love that characterization. I’ve often told right wingers to pull their head out of their media sewer.

    I’ve had countless arguments with right wingers who think someone like Hillary or Obama is a far left extremist. The depth of their delusions always amazes me.

  8. erinyes — it’s Rick, yes?– did you have surgery on Friday? If so, holy cow, man, it sounds like you’re doing well!

  9. Yes, Joan! The surgery team was incredible. They entered my left ocular orbit through a small incision at the outside corner of my left eye lids. I’m still a bit swollen and bruised. I’ll be home for about 2 weeks ( I was discharged shortly after the surgery). I go back to Miami next Monday for a follow up. I hope I get the pathology report soon. Given my history, it will be something weird ; perhaps an exotic fungus or a parasite. Hopefully a benign lesion.
    I’m sure it was an arthroscopic procedure. They got a large sample for the pathologist.
    Rick it is ! The Maha vibes were with me !

  10. Rick – thrilled to hear it! You can tell strangers it was a wicked brawl in a biker bar, or something. I have my fingers crossed for harmless-but-interesting pathology results.

    Take it easy in the meantime!

  11. My thoughts exactly, Joan. Thanks again for your concern. I now know what the cats do while I’m at work……
    Not a damn thing.

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