When politics weds religious dogma and produces an article of faith

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Thomas Franks in his seminal work, What's the Matter with Kansas?, explored reasons why people vote against their own economic self-interest and choose to live in an economic system of inequality and poverty. It's not just Kansas.

Non Sequitur

Jim Tankersley at the Washington Post  today introduces us to Tom Hackett and his life in the meat business in Rome, Georgia. This Southern conservative blames everything on him — that man in the White House — rather than the decades of conservative economics that he voted for religiously, which is the source of the economic troubles in which we find ourselves today — something Tankersley does not mention nor challenge Mr. Hackett with in his one-sided narrative piece.

When politics weds religious dogma and produces an article of faith, the adherents of this "faith" are conceptually unable to question what they believe — even when confronted with the cold, hard facts of reality — because it means questioning their "faith." Until we can end this "cult" of wedding politics with religion, this disabling cognitive dissonance which is causing substantial economic harm to this country and destroying people's lives will continue. Tea party lawmakers’ districts suffer economically:

If you want to understand the congressional Republicans who have
forced confrontations with Obama on the “fiscal cliff,” the government
shutdown and the debt ceiling — and whether those lawmakers might feel
encouraged to force more confrontations in the future — you need to
understand the economic struggles of the Republicans’ home districts.

People
in those districts are poorer and more likely to be unemployed than in
the nation at large.
They have focused their anger about their economic
circumstances on Obama, and they want someone, anyone, to make him
improve things for them. This is why Hackett praises his congressman, Tom Graves,
for voting against the plan to end the budget impasse with Obama that
produced the shutdown. “I think he’s great,” he said of Graves.
“Somebody’s got to stand up to him.”

Forty-five
House Republicans have most consistently pushed their caucus to
brinkmanship over the past several years, according to a Washington Post
analysis of voting patterns.

On average, the economy in the districts those Republicans represent is significantly worse than it is in the nation at large.

The median income in those districts last year was 7 percent lower
than the national median, according to the Census Bureau. The
unemployment rate averaged 10 percent. That was almost two percentage
points higher than the national rate, and two percentage points higher
than the overall rate in the states that contain each district
.

The
epicenter of that economic distress lies in the Deep South
. Four of the
congressional districts are in North Georgia. A dozen others are close
by in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and North and South Carolina. Nearly
all of them ended 2012 with jobless rates in the double digits.

Screenshot from 2013-10-29 07:53:36

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau.



Tankersley's narrative piece goes on at length about the Georgia conservatives he interviews blaming everything in their lives on President Obama, while absolving the GOP of any fault or culpability.

It would have been a better piece if Tankersley had confronted these Georgia conservatives with hard facts and reported on how they responded to being confronted with reality. They would have rejected it out of hand, of course. That would mean questioning their "faith." Therein lies what is disabling good public policy.

One response to “When politics weds religious dogma and produces an article of faith

  1. The Deep Confederate South has *always* been the poverty epicenter of the US. A heritage of deep economic and political inequality…they are run for the rich, by the rich, with little regard for anyone else. The policies pursued by the political leaders in these regions have always meant that a very thin, very wealthy sliver of the population have reaped the rewards.

    This isn’t anything new to modern America, or even this century, this was baked into the Constitution at birth.

    The names, the political parties, the faces and the industries have changed with the times, but the basic structure, a rigid oligarchy using all the political force at its disposal to maintain the oligarchy. They tore the country apart to keep this intact, and they’ve shown themselves perfectly willing to do it again.