Tuesday, August 1, 2017

God protect us from further lurches to the right

This week's Independent News & Media Irish regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
US Senator John McCain cut a noble figure last Tuesday when he returned to Washington to vote in the Senate on a health bill.

The 80-year-old Republican Senator from Arizona made some powerful remarks on the floor of the US Senate just a few short days from surgery having been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

At the end of his talk he quipped that he was going home for a while to treat his illness but that he had every intention of returning to the Senate and 'giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me'.

The thrust of his speech was on the importance of cooperating and trusting one another, no matter what ones's politics or beliefs are.

'I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. 

'Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.

'Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. 

'That’s an approach that’s been employed by both sides, mandating legislation from the top down, without any support from the other side, with all the parliamentary manoeuvres that requires.'

I'm sure I stated it here before that I bought myself an internet radio and came across a US station called 'Patriot Radio'. It is almost impossible to describe it. It is wall-to-wall screaming and roaring. 

A non-stop barrage at everyone and everything that is not in agreement with its right-wing  philosophy.

The night that Trump won the US presidential election I stopped listening to it but just last week I tuned in again.

According to 'Patriot Radio' everything that Trump says is correct and everyone who disagrees with him is a source of ridicule, laughter and fun. It is shocking stuff and exactly the sort of 'bombastic radio' that John McCain criticised last week.

It is sneering and nasty and has some weird ability of giving the impression that it is taking the moral high ground.

It really is crazy radio but it has high listenership ratings in the US.

Unfortunately, there seems to be something about the ultra right-wing that gives people the impression that they are talking in the name of justice and right, that they are actually the mouthpiece of all that is correct.

Alas, nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe I am being somewhat biased but I can't help but believe that extreme right-wing politics and religion express the nastiest and most insidious ideas that plague the earth.

They manage to create an atmosphere of hate and intolerance that is never matched by left-wingers or wishy-washy liberals. And they always seem to be united in a way that is the envy of any so-called left-wing or middle-of-the-road organisation.

It's a philosophy or way of thinking that is merciless.

It is a mood or a trend that is currently gaining ascendancy within different belief systems, including the Christian churches. At the best of times churches tend to be right-wing. God protect us from further lurches to the right.

It would be interesting to know exactly what Pope Francis thinks of so much of the right-wing thinking and practices that go on within the Catholic Church.

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