Anyone who thinks the GOP is captive to Tea Party extremists, obviously has not been paying enough attention to what might be seen as a strong strain of “GOP postmodernism” coming from really deep thinkers like the Newt. I know he is deep because all the TV talk shows keep giving him a place at their tables so they can plumb his depths. (Sometimes, he has to compete with that other GOP luminary, Sarah Palin. Sample tidbit of Palin philosophizing: “Obama lies, freedom dies” tweeted on hearing Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare.
Here is a fuller example of postmodernist thinking amongst the pack led by the Newt. Remember, as with any postmodernist, the key is to not simply accept the reality you see before your eyes. Instead, challenge and destabilize identity and presence and the power that comes with it. Put every rhetorical device to work and throw in an incendiary flourish or two.
For example: If someone is born in Hawaii, has a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, has lived in Indonesia, is Harvard-educated and worked as a community organizer, he cannot be an American who made it to the White House. More likely he is foreign, possibly Muslim, not really American, maybe associated in some deep, sub-conscious way with the Mau Mau.
On the other hand, if a man born in Detroit, has a father who was born in Mexico, a grandfather who had six wives, is Harvard-educated, made his money by starting a firm called Bain Capital, parked the wealth he accumulated in America in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Bermuda, went on record as saying the struggling American auto industry should be left to fend for itself even if it meant it died, he is a fine, “paid all my taxes, not a dollar more,“ upstanding all-American GOP candidate for President of the United States. And Someone Who Understands Business.
Freedom to make things just a little less off kilter
So, what does the Catholic Church have to say about the dog whistles and oft-repeated, blatantly obvious lies from the GOP, often coming from the mouths of Catholic politicians?
Well, mostly the Bishops have chosen to rail about contraception and about how important it is that they not be required to include it in healthcare coverage. Apparently contraception is that central to freedom.
Instead of asking for the freedom to withhold contraceptive coverage, the Bishops could be celebrating the fact that we are free to ensure that 30 million more people will be covered by Obamacare. A Church that runs hundreds of hospitals nationwide serving 90 million people should be ringing church bells at that news!!
Yes, the Bishops are free: free to celebrate the fact that millions will no longer have the sword of bankruptcy from illness or the denial of care hanging over their lives. Yet they say nothing to tamp down the repeated calls for repeal. Instead they have engaged in a great deal of needless drama.
The Silence of the Bishops
Do the Bishops really want to support the effort to repeal Obamacare by Catholic politicians like John Boehner, Paul Ryan as well as the GOP presidential contender?
Whatever happened to the “preferential option for the poor?”
The manner in which GOP leaders and the Bishops have repeatedly cast President Obama’s historic effort to extend healthcare, and their attack on women’s rights and women religious invite inevitable scrutiny of their own institutions.
Lay Catholics who grew up with Vatican 2 have not forgotten that their own conscience is as much a pillar of faith as any edifice of unreason erected by the Bishops. Or the GOP. They will question. And then they will vote.