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Viewpoint 11/02: It ain't the economy

The current field of Republican presidential candidates is one of the most disgraceful in American history. Apparently, gone are the days of the dignified and upstanding Republican contenders. Gone are the Goldwaters, Reagans and Fords. Instead, insanity has seemed to hijack some parts the Republican party and replaced any decent candidates with its own handpicked theocratic monkeys.

During the onset of the financial crisis and the 2010 midterm elections, many in the media stated that the age of social conservatism was over. And, for the briefest moment during the 2010 election and its aftermath, this seemed to be the case. However, in the last couple of years since then, we have seen that the economic crisis we are experiencing, no matter how dire, has not interfered with the religious right’s focus on social issues.

Recent events in New Hampshire and North Carolina are an example of this interference. Rather than focusing on budget reforms and government spending as promised by many of the newly elected Tea Party candidates, the now-Republican-held legislatures in these two states spent their allotted time ramming through bills to attempt to ban gay marriage, despite the majority support for gay marriage in New Hampshire and the majority indifference toward it in North Carolina. This was also done despite the objections from both Democratic members of their legislatures and from many of the states’ citizens to focus on the economy and not on social issues.

Another, more striking example occurred almost immediately after the 2010 midterm elections. Newly elected House leader John Boehner spent his first days in office trying to strip funding from Planned Parenthood under the guise of trying to repeal Obamacare.

The Tea Party has always been a suspicious group. Although they claim only to care about reforming the economy through limiting government, we’ve found that instead, when actually elected, they focus mainly on pushing the agenda of social conservatism. We can see this happening all over again in the current Republican presidential primaries. Nearly all of the candidates have made more headlines regarding their stances on social issues than they have regarding the economy. From Rick Santorum’s and Michele Bachmann’s obsession with opposing gay rights, to Herman Cain’s bigoted statement regarding his refusal to appoint Muslim Americans to a potential cabinet, to the Fundamentalist Christian attack against Mormon candidates like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman, we’re seeing that, despite whatever claims the current conservative establishment is making, its primary goal is a social conservative agenda.

The Republican party has been hijacked for years by a hysterical strain of social conservatives that discriminates against minorities and non-Fundamentalist Christians that don’t believe the absurd notion that social conservatives should have the right to dictate the lives of their neighbors. Why else would so many of the Republican candidates, such as Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, desire so much to cut funding toward education? A college education is the best guarantee of producing independent and free thinking among young men and women, and depriving them of that would keep them dumb and reliant on their local religious leaders (many of whom are social conservatives), which is what some in the Republican party want.

This is why we’re experiencing a deluge of fools in the Republican presidential primaries. Aside from upstanding candidates like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman, many of the candidates come off as less than genuine. This is because they aren’t genuine; they claim to care only about the economy, but will likely focus on their own personal agendas if elected. We’ve already seen this with the results of the 2010 midterm elections. This is also why voters need to think twice before casting their votes this upcoming election, because what a candidate says and what his or her true agenda is might be worlds apart.


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