What do you think Congress should be focusing on right now? Education? Health care? National security? Poverty? Energy? Minimum wage? The out-of-control national deficit? I have a whole list of things that seem really, really important to America right now. Sadly, none of them are on the Republican agenda for this congressional session.
Republicans intend to hold votes this summer and fall touching on abortion, guns, religion and other priority issues for social conservatives, part of an attempt to improve the party’s prospects in the midterm elections.
The “American Values Agenda” also includes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — which already has failed in the Senate — a prohibition on human cloning and possibly votes on several popular tax cuts.
Huh. Look at that. There’s not a single important issue, but let’s look a little deeper to see precisely what we’re talking about.
[One Republican proposal would] strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of jurisdiction over cases challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. The legislation is a response to a 2002 Appeals Court ruling that held the pledge is unconstitutional because of the presence of the words “under God.” A federal judge made a similar ruling last fall, citing the appeals court precedent.
Another measure would block the payment of attorney fees in challenges to the display of the Ten Commandments in public areas and other, similar church-state lawsuits.
An abortion-related proposal would require that some women seeking to end their pregnancies be informed the procedure “will cause the unborn child pain” and they have the option of receiving drugs to reduce or eliminate it. A separate measure would ban human cloning, a prohibition that cleared the House in the previous Congress.
Two measures relate to the rights of gun owners. One would prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms during national emergencies, barring practices such as the one that officials said arose in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit.
The measure is backed by the National Rifle Association, which has hailed the recent passage of a state law in Louisiana. “The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became the proving ground for what American gun owners have always feared: the day that government bureaucrats throw the Bill of Rights in the trash and declare freedom to be whatever they say it is,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, said in a statement posted on the organization’s Web site.
House Republicans also said they would hold a vote on legislation to apply gambling laws to the Internet.
Well, that didn’t help. I still see nothing that represents the critical issues facing our nation. Why do the Republicans hate America? Oh, sorry, I guess that’s their line for use against Democrats.
“Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country’s commitment to faith, freedom and life,” Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Tuesday.
Faith? Isn’t this America where the government is to stay out of the business of religion? And freedom? I guess he means taking it away from people, like “enemy combatants” and gays and women and… Well, you get the idea.
It’s really pathetic, me thinks. Conservatives have it all wrong. These issues aren’t what matters. They’re only intended to incite fanaticism in the far right so they show up at the polls this autumn.
To bastardize one of my own favorite sayings, “If you can’t show results, at least look busy.”
Oh, and let me add this: I’m really FUCKING tired of the word “values” being used as though it only applies to the rabidly religious in our country. Their values suck. They’re full of hate and violence and intolerance and bigotry. Those aren’t values. Besides, claiming the word implies no one else has values, or that their values aren’t as important. It’s nice to see small minds at work.