No Conviction, No Courage: The GOP’s Treacherous Deal
The GOP governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal has, as Bryan Fischer wrote “has vetoed a religious liberty bill which is about as mild a bill as you can imagine. It would have protected pastors from being forced to perform sodomy-based weddings, and protected churches and other faith-based organizations from being forced to rent out their facilities for wedding ceremonies which celebrate the infamous crime against nature.” Fischer see Deal’s actions as an example of “how we are losing America: one cowardly governor at a time.”
Fischer is understandably outraged by Gov. Deal’s brazen betrayal of the moral conservative voters who supported him trusting that “a Republican and self-identified Southern Baptist” would support the Georgia Legislature’s to thwart ongoing efforts by homosexuals to force Americans to abandon their Biblical faith in God’s benevolent will for human procreation. In this respect, Deal’s action is deeply treacherous. But is it cowardly?
Deal certainly appears to lack the courage of his convictions. But this is only if we assume that, on issues of Christian moral principle like gay marriage, he ever had the convictions ascribed to him. Georgians should be the last people to forget the fact that Jimmy Carter’s apparently sincere self-identification as a Southern Baptist did not prevent him from accepting the Democrat Party’s obdurate stand in support of the so-called “right” of parents to procure the murder of their nascent offspring. It has not prevented self-identified Christians of other denominations (including both Anglican and Roman Catholics) from rejecting God’s plainly stated Biblical prohibition against male homosexuality.
So, given the experience of at least forty years, it makes no sense to trust that an elected official will stand firm on issues of moral principle simply because he or she self-identifies as a Christian. Is the Republican Party label any more trustworthy in this regard? Then Governor Sarah Palin appointed former Planned Parenthood board member Morgan Christen to Alaska’s Supreme Court. Of the unrepentant pro-abortion Christen, Palin wrote, “I have every confidence that Judge Christen has the experience, intellect, wisdom and character to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.”
The GOP’s 2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney falsely claimed himself to be pro-life even though “Romneycare” (the Massachusetts plan for government run health care) included provisions to fund, and compel health care packages to include, abortions, which he accepted after his supposed conversion to the pro-life position. He even “attacked religious liberties (and kids) by ordering pro-life hospitals to dispense the abortion pill.” Ben Carson gained support from supposedly pro-life GOP voters even after his primary endorsement of pro-abortion GOP U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon, touting her as someone who would get things done.
The GOP’s performance for more than a decade has made it a byword for political treachery and betrayal on every critical issue America faces, particularly on issues of moral principle. That record entirely explains Donald Trump’s successful invasion of the GOP nominating process (that and the fact that, precisely in order to thwart their core conservative constituents, the GOP’s quisling leaders purposely structured the process in certain states to allow non-Republicans to participate in the GOP nominating process).
The simple truth has been clear for several decades: The Party’s written platforms are purely for propaganda purposes. Especially at the national level key planks have been openly disavowed by convention speakers and candidates alike. The GOP is a party without convictions, except for the lust for power its leaders have in common with their supposed opponents among the Democrats. People who have no convictions stand for them with just the modicum of courage anyone with an ounce of brains would expect. Since they have no conviction, they show no courage.
Of course, to whatever extent they must to get elected, GOP candidates will mouth words that supposedly demonstrate the sincerity of their convictions. Indeed, they spend tons of money paying pollsters and consultants to figure out what words will be most effective. But the record shows that these words are meant to manipulate people. Once elected, GOP officials feel no obligation to represent the voters thus successfully gulled into supporting them.
This is why, even if they have them down by heart, I pay little or no attention to what candidates say during an election campaign — not unless and until I’m persuaded that their words come from the heart. The record of their acts plays a role in persuading me, but even that is not enough. (Anyone looking at John McCain’s record when he was a congressman would be hard pressed to think the U.S. Senator is the same man.) I am not persuaded by words, nor even by acts, because I keep ever in mind the prudent advice of my Savior: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
The fruits of a tree reflect the natural process by which nutrients drawn from the soil are, as it were digested to produce its seeds, and the nourishment and protective covering required to sustain them until they fall to earth to propagate its kind. When it comes to convictions, words and actions are what happens as after fruit of a person’s inward thoughts, feelings and deliberations fall to the ground. This inner activity is the process by which their experience of life is digested, a process of self-persuasion which ultimately convinces them to speak or act in this way or that.
Of course, this assumes that, with respect to any given conclusion, an individual has given time and attention to the process of self-persuasion. If they have, the words they speak will share with others the reasoning by which they themselves are persuaded. They will be able to apply what they say, and defend it when challenged by others, even as they had to do to reach reasonable convictions of their own.
Tragically, the elitist faction’s sham political process has so debased the quality of our citizen lives that, especially when competing for the highest offices, candidates give little or no evidence that they have reached their convictions in this way. Indeed, the assumption that deliberate persuasion has no place in electoral politics (which I discussed in my Barbwire column this week) discourages any who are inclined to do so. In this respect, today’s ideal candidate resembles what is said of a fashion model’s face — the best are like a pristine canvas ready to be made up in whatever way the circumstances require.
Of course, like vanilla ice cream, the GOP quislings’ preferred candidates have a distinct but malleable flavor. They are “successful people”, with success generally measured in terms of money. It is the common denominator that usually requires no conviction stronger than the competitive will to win. That’s all well and good for gaining office. But if government is about justice (i.e., securing the exercise of unalienable rights) the will to win is not enough to fulfill its purposes.
Intangible things, understood in terms of the principles that allow us to distinguish right from wrong, justice from injustice, good actions and characters from bad- are the besetting preoccupations of political life. People who have spent little or no time conscientiously deliberating upon these things may come to know by rote what words to say to please the voters — but they will not have the deeply rooted convictions, seeded with good principles and nourished in good faith — that are needed to stand firm against the storm as the battle for right and rights reaches its decisive stage. Governor Nathan Deal is a case in point. Sadly, for the deluded people mesmerized by them, so are all the other figureheads in whom GOP voters are still foolishly placing their trust.
These voters are angry, frustrated, filled with the courage of their resentful passions. But their willingness to go on accepting the GOP delusion suggests that they no longer have the conviction to match that courage. For if they did they would make the reasoned and deliberate choice that could provide the seed of something better for their nation and its liberty — the choice to let go of that delusion, and make of themselves an electoral alternative fit for a people still capable of liberty.