In God We Trust! (In the GOP? Not so much…)
As much as I tend to dislike the Democratic Party, the Republicans always seems to find a way to make the D’s seem the far more palatable choice. The big knock on today’s GOP, of course, is that it is a party completely unserious about policy or governing. Critics say it’s reliance on talk radio and FOX news has left it a laughable shell of cultural dog whistles and sound bites. I so want to not believe generalizations like this, and so it was with a loud groan and rolling eyes that I heard the “big news” unfold today on my FOX news radio affiliate:
The US House of Representatives, their political careers be damned, are boldly standing up and voting to have “In God We Trust” reaffirmed as our country’s national motto.
They even called Bill O’Reilly as an expert witness of In God We Trust’s awesomeness.
Now, you may be wondering why they are doing this. Did “In God We Trust” have a sunset clause, and were we in danger of having its usage expire? (No.) Has it been so long since we last reaffirmed that this motto exists? (No. We did so in 2006.) Was there a competing bill out there, championed by the DNC, threatening to have the national motto changed to “Satan Totally Kicks Ass?” (No. At least not yet.)
Really, there is no good reason that our government is spending time on this. Best I can tell the real auspice is that the GOP can’t seem to run anyone up its Presidential flagpole without becoming a national joke.*
Bill sponsor Randy Forbes (R-VA) did cite that the need for this reaffirmation was the insidious attacks on our motto by… (wait for it)… Barack Obama! It turns out that last November Obama mistakenly referred to E Pluribus Unum as our national motto. E Pluribus Unum is not only incorrect; it is an entire three-word phrase that doesn’t mention the word God once. To make matters worse, the day he got this wrong he was talking to a group of… (wait for it)… Muslims! So as you can see – what with our very Republic standing on the precipice of ruins – why it was so necessary for the GOP to act swiftly and decisively after some eleven-odd months.
This is seriously almost all I heard on my FOX affiliate radio today: how our national motto was in danger, but the valiant Republicans have arrived just in time to save the day. The take on FOX’s website? “In God We Trust Under Attack” and “The Motto America Needs Right Now.” (By the way, the other thing I heard over and over on FOX? How Herman Cain’s sexual harassment charges, made years before he ran for any office, were really just filed as cynical political ploys to distract people from how awful things are going for the Democrats. Really.)
The challenges that face us today are large, complex, and one way or another are going to take shared sacrifice over time. I totally get this. So I have no unrealistic expectations that the GOP controlled House is going to wave a magic wand and make everything better. But is this really the best that the GOP, FOX News and the Talk Radio Punditry can come up with?
I will be so happy when we have two parties of grown ups again. These guys make my head hurt.
* At least I pray (ha!) this is the reason. The thought that our elected officials really believe the reason we are in a recession is because we have angered God, and must pay him tribute to make the jobs come back, would be much worse than cynicism.