In recent days, many of us who support and celebrate the Occupy Wall Street movement which appears to be growing stronger, have been offended by accusations from the political right that question the motives, patriotism and values of the demonstrators:
- House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R. VA) described the demonstrators as angry mobs that are pitting Americans against Americans.
- Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, a billionaire businessman in his own right, concurred that the demonstrators are dangerous people who are promoting class warfare.
- A man who has dedicated his life to being America’s favorite uncle-tom, Herman Cain, suggested that when unemployed Americans demonstrate against Wall Street, they are acknowledging that they couldn’t make it on their own and want a handout. Can you imagine and African-American implying that there is no longer racism in America? Unemployment according to Uncle Herman, is the fault of the unemployed. So why are twice as many African-Americans out of work at this moment?
- Media mogul and popular Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, ridiculed the demonstrators for taking jobs away from New Yorker’s by making the City less attractive to tourists. That position may explain the often violent, hard-nose tactics of the NYPD in recent weeks.
- The consistently bombastic and always offensive, Rep. Peter King, (R. NY), observed that: “We have to be careful not allow this to get any legitimacy. …I’m old enough to remember what happened in the 1960’s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy (a reference to Vietnam era anti-war movement). We must not allow that to happen.”
So why is it when a lot of curmudgeon, white, conservative, working class people come out in the street to complain about their taxes being too high and call the first African-American President names, they are venerated as true patriots, practicing democracy in the spirit of the American Revolution? And make no mistake about it, they are the true defenders of the Constitution.
But, when educated, middle class young adults, union members, unemployed people and citizens for whom the “American dream” is not limited to consumerism and the acquisition of wealth, take to the streets to point out that corporate America has become more powerful than the citizens of this country, they are denounced as a dangerous, un-American mob that must be stopped?
The renown Southern-Baptist preacher, pastor and judge of humanity, Robert Jeffress, may have unwittingly helped us to understand why it is so essential for some people to engage in virulent character assassination, rather than reasonable discourse. This past Friday, Jeffress declared to the media Rick Perry was the only true Christian in the Presidential race and that the Church of Later Day Saints of which Republican front-runner Mick Romney is a member, is not a Christian faith, in fact, it’s just a dangerous cult. Sunday in Dallas, he told his mega congregation that Mormonism is a “false faith.”
Put simply and succinctly, because he is a very simple man living in a very simple world where there is only one version of “truth.” That truth, is of course, whatever Robert Jeffress believes the truth to be. Isn’t that convenient?
For simple-minded religious fundamentalists, even acknowledging the existence of other faiths is tantamount to suggesting that one’s own faith, in this case, the evangelical Southern Baptist Convention, doesn’t have a monopoly on God, Jesus, the Bible, knowing right from wrong and deciding who is good and who is evil.
People like Robert Jeffress lack the intellectual and emotional maturity to function in a pluralistic world where there are real differences between people, nations, cultures and religions. Robert Jeffress’ world, IS THE WORLD. As such, he doesn’t have to understand, negotiate, or think about anything that makes him uncomfortable. Isn’t that convenient?
What does all this have to do with right-wing political gumbas mocking the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations? Everything. It’s the same issue:
Please don’t tell me that the world I emotionally, intellectually, and most importantly, FINANCIALLY need and depend upon, is evil, corrupt and doing damage to society. You must be wrong. In fact, you must be evil for even suggesting that capitalism has faults.
Unfortunately, the truth is never convenient.