Sunday, November 04, 2012

Kismet for Christians

Kismet is fate after all
And God has a grand plan
That we might never call
On Him to help a man
Overcome predestination
Or use our will to make a path
To a higher calling or station
Without engaging His wrath
And after watching the tape
It was God who planned the rape
In Mourdock’s fundamentalist logic
But I think that makes me sick

The far right has struck again and their logic is indisputable.  Rape of women is in God’s plan, therefore we should embrace rape as an opportunity to make babies.  Richard Mourdock (Indiana) then went on to explain his remarks by agreeing that rape is horrible, but that because it is part of God’s plan, we should embrace the results.  Surely, I am no theologian, but does that not assume that we have no free will and cannot chart our own course in life?  Even more recently, John Koster (Washington) demonstrated that he would not allow free will for the woman raped.  I know that the GOP prides itself as the party of freedom, but it begs the question of freedom for whom.  How can this party of “small government” that would cut FEMA funding by 40% if Paul Ryan’s plan is approved, also be the party of treating women like property?  I used quotes on small government because that is the GOP mythology although it is unsupported by recent experience when Bush II grew government at a faster rate and greater size than anybody in recent history.  Practically speaking, there is a “morning after” pill that would prevent conception, but since these social extremists will not permit contraception, the woman raped is not only scorned, but sentenced to carry the child of a hostile sexual attack.

If this were not alarming enough, there is more.  In 31 states, rapists have custody and visitation rights.  These are the same rights as other fathers have.  Tell me again that this is jurisprudence and not weighted insanity that continues to place the woman in jeopardy.  Tell me that this is not some twisted law of property that allows the defiler equal rights with the defiled.  This validates Todd Akin and his insanity, but does not do much for women or for children.  It validates the sick notion that women are merely chattel to be controlled by the state, while corporations have all the freedoms of real persons.  Cuddly Mittens Romney put it so well:  “Corporations are people, my friend.” 

Lest you think that insanity is limited to a sociopathic treatment of women, there is more.  The recent and tragic Superstorm Sandy points to another form of insanity.  Here, Mittens has clearly sided with corporations over people who feel hunger, cold, pain and physical suffering.  His statement during the Republican primaries would have had each state deal with the searing pain and destruction caused by Sandy to be faced by each state individually (“and preferably by private enterprise.”)  Actually, we saw the effects of promoting the use of private enterprise during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when GW Bush failed to preposition resources to permit immediate response to help save lives and property.  It was weeks after the initial storm before significant help arrived and it was largely through questionable contracts for goods and services that were not certified.  The housing purchased from vendors by the government was chemically contaminated and the death toll was immediately over 1,800 with estimates that exceed 4,000 if we include the following weeks of turmoil.   As a trained logistician, my observation is that the apathy and incompetence demonstrated by a regime that hated government led to monumental errors and criminal folly.  Not only was the housing unhealthy, but payments made for shipping and counter-shipping fuel and ice and water and medicine was outrageously high and uncontrolled.  Worse, it did not get to the real people who needed it.   Corporations were paid.  The response was late and uncoordinated despite Bush’s assertion:  “You’re doing a hell of a job, Brownie.”   Ironically, horse manager Brown (the butt of Katrina gallows humor) has now claimed that Obama moved too soon for Sandy.  If you hate government and government saves people, what does that say about your concern for people?  Maybe it was Kismet again (God’s will that people drown, die of exposure, lack food, medicine and shelter?)  I will not only stick with the concept that the federal government has a responsibility to help the helpless, but also that I prefer my God to theirs.  Maybe I don’t have the “rapture,” but I have love and a command to “love my neighbor as myself.”  (Today’s gospel tor those who care.)  Government is as government does, and being tardy for a storm is unconscionable.  What could be more effective than coordinated federal government action for a storm that affected at least 13 states.  Surely it would be less quick or effective to wait for the storm to begin contract talks with vendors for goods and services.  Add to that the reality that once the storm hit, that states and individuals would be at the mercy of corporations that do not exhibit that “mercy” quality of personhood.  The bottom line does not include mercy.

This brings me to my last point about Kismet.  Kismet and blaming God for the bad things in life is common with fundamentalists including certain Islamic and Christian sects.  This creates new mythologies.  These can then be exploited by the unscrupulous to avoid the pressure of improving lives and taking responsibility for helping others.  It simultaneously dampens the motivation of the uneducated and the poor to better themselves, for it is Kismet, after all.  This means that we do not need to concern ourselves with the melting of the polar ice caps or the rising waters of Florida and Bangladesh or the extreme heat and cold of the past couple decades or the effect of the Koch brothers’ bituminous coal or other fossil fuels or ways to reduce carbon emissions.  Pretty neat, right?  We can do as we damn well please and then blame God.  Whether you believe in God or not, that is surely convenient and effective.  Who is going to question it?  Bush essentially said:   “How was I to know.  Nobody predicted it.”  The truth is that Katrina was predicted as was Sandy and we have experienced enough storms to know what can happen.  Blame it on big government for rapes and small government for storms, but please don’t blame it on God.  Blame climate change on ignorance of remedies or fundamentalism to avoid confronting it, but if you won’t acknowledge that the earth is older than 6,000 years, you are either severely conservative or severely (intellectually) handicapped.  Go vote.

George Giacoppe
04 November 2012

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