Not letting the fundamentalists win

fundamentalism (Webster’s dictionary) n. 2: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles

In case you hadn’t noticed, the “war on terror” is based on the idea that fundamentalism is bad.  There’s this group of people who believe a certain thing about religion or the U.S. or the west, which drives them to choose killing other people as the best way to go.  There is no room for growth or negotiation because they know what they believe and they’re right — everyone else be damned.  If maybe we could just talk to them and have some room for figuring out how we can all get along, things would be OK, but because of an unwavering belief, there’s no room to do anything but “slug it out.”

I believe this is why fundamentalism is bad.  Fundamentalists live in a world where their is no compromise, no ability to see that they might only hold part of the truth, no willingness to bend a little bit to allow for other opinions and ideas.

Isn’t the idea that more ideas are better than one, that solving problems in groups leads to greater success than individually, the reason why teamwork and cooperation are stressed in school and prioritized in job hiring?  And in order to work together, you must bring your ideas to the table but also be willing to listen to the others who are there with you and figure out the BEST option: it may not be one particular idea (in fact, it rarely is) but it is usually a combination of the input of many people that will create the best outcome.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is at work  in DC these days (and has been for a while now), and it goes by the name “Republican.” I’m not usually into party bashing, as I think the top two we have here in the U.S. are both pretty ruined, but as the U.S. gets closer and closer to defaulting on it’s massive debt obligations (can you count to $14 trillion?), Republicans speak together with one new mantra: no new taxes.  This is not George Bush (the first) circa 1988, which perhaps would be a better state to be in, as he later went on — wait for it — to raise taxes as a way to reduce the national budget deficit. (Deficit creates debt for those playing at home.)

No, unfortunately we have a group of fundamentalist Republicans who will not waver in their belief that any increase of taxes is horrible.  They have dug in their heals and will not budge, and citizens must take notice.  We must all ask “who is being protected by this aversion to taxes?”  People with money and corporations would be the ones paying taxes, certainly not the 9+% unemployed that corporations won’t use their excess cash to employ or the millions more making minimum wage or barely enough to scrape by.  And even if you look an “middle income” (if there still exists such a descriptor) earners, event hey wouldn’t be affected as all/most suggestions of new taxes would be on very high income earners.  Were you aware that since 1960, the tax level for the top 1% of earners has dropped monumentally from about 45% to 30%?  Why not let the rich get and stay richer (I refer you to yesterday’s post).

It’s high time for everyone — everyone – to recognize the ludicrousness of a political party that will not negotiate or compromise.  David Brooks had some good words to say in Tuesday’s NYTimes that I think bear sharing:

“… the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise …

“The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is — a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.

“If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.”

A group that cannot and will not compromise is not fit to govern in a democracy, plain and simple.  We’ll see if the Republicans ever get the picture.  If not, I sure hope the voters do.

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