Predestined to Vote Republican


As a matter of theology, the doctrine of predestination is heresy – mostly. As a matter of politics, it seems to be Republican orthodoxy.

Vastly over-simplified, the idea is that since God is omniscient, He knows which souls are going to heaven and which to hell. Knowing this, He sees no reason to delay giving the good souls their rewards here on Earth – why wait? Never mind Matthew 19:24 “... I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Predestination fits in with the divine right of kings, and makes it clear that the rich and powerful are the good guys. Why wait when the good souls can have their rewards here on Earth. Historically, the idea was very popular with the rich and powerful.

To an extent, we follow this pattern in our daily lives, or at least our fantasy lives.  The heroes tend to be rich, powerful, or both, and while occasionally the villain is well fixed, there’s more variability among that group. The original Robin Hood of British ballads was simply an outlaw and a poacher, but later iterations made him the Earl of Huntingdon. When Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman, Bruce Wayne’s father was a well-to-do MD. Wayne Industries was added later, probably to explain where the money for all the Bat hardware was coming from. Still, Wonder Woman and Xena are both princesses, and Namor and Aquaman are both rulers of Atlantis (go figure). Spider-Man is probably the only hero who has to worry about student loans. If that isn’t enough, look at the attention the American press is paying to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s newborn daughter.

And, as if to prove our love and admiration for the rich and powerful, on March 25th the House of Representatives passed a budget that will “Protect the Nation ... Expand Opportunity ... Strengthen the Safety Net ... Secure Senior’s Retirement (and) ... Restore Fairness.” It does this while cutting mandatory expenses by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years without specifying what these cuts will be, increasing military expenditures by $25 billion for 2016, and getting rid of the inheritance tax for the very wealthy. The merely comfortable, those inheriting $5 million, are already protected, but people inheriting more than that should also be protected from the rapacious IRS. That’s the Republican way. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the budget conference agreement between the House and the Senate (which had passed a similar budget) would be “Robin Hood in reverse: The agreement imposes the large majority of its budget cuts on programs for low- and modest-income Americans, even though such programs constitute less than one-fourth of federal spending. The plan would cause tens of millions of people to become uninsured or underinsured, cut support for working-poor families, and make it harder for millions of modest-income students to afford college.”

Meanwhile, back in Kansas, the State Legislature, also in the hands of the Republicans, passed a bill restricting the way state aid for the poor can be spent. A several states already have some limitations. According the the Christian Science Monitor, “A 2012 federal law requires states to prevent benefit-card use at liquor stores, gambling establishments or adult-entertainment businesses.” A few states prohibit buying guns, and others have restrictions on jewelry and tattoos. Kansas just went further than others. Among the things banned are movie tickets, swimming pools, and almost any sort of entertainment including collegiate sporting events. While most of the things on the list might be considered unnecessary, such as body piercings and pornography, a general ban on movie theaters seems mean spirited, particularly for families with children. There’s not even an exemption for Pixar movies with a ban on popcorn.

It’s not that the Kansas restrictions are unreasonable as much as what they show about the conservative’s impression of families who need public assistance.  Give them money to buy food, roughly $27/person/week for a family of 4, and they have to be told not to spend it on pedicures and cruise ships. So, in the end, it’s easy to tell those who deserve earthly rewards. All you have to do is be Republican.

Sam Uretsky is a writer and pharmacist living on Long Island, N.Y. Email

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2015

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