I am not in the habit of writing disclaimers for my posts here. However I think given the nature of the content that follows, it would be prudent for me to make this very clear: This is an opinion piece. It reflects my thoughts and feelings on the upcoming election and the standing of the Republican party in general as a result of the chaos they have enabled over the last four years. If you find these opinions insulting, that's a shame but ultimately that's just how it's going to be and I won't be offering any apologies.
The title of this post has been written to be as provocative as possible. The reason for this is simple. I want to draw the eye of wandering Republicans. I know quite a few Republicans as I am related to them, work with them, work for them and am friends with them. I live in a red state after all and as such people of a liberal persuasion are few and far between. But if you've been paying attention to the events of 2020, then you know as well as I do that American society has come to a crossroads of sorts. While it has become commonplace for talking heads to refer to every election as a referendum and every victory as a mandate, it's mostly bullshit meant to stir the zeitgeist a bit. However in this particular case for the next four months, it has never been more true. That having been said, I desperately want to reach these people and make my case.
Now without further adieu, I'm going to make the case for why each of these values (otherwise known as the Seven Deadly Sins among Christians) are now codified pillars of the Republican party platform. My goal here is to provide as much supporting information in the form of links as possible and to make every effort possible to not utter the actual name of "He Who Cannot Be Named". If you need any explanation as to why I'm doing that, feel free to circle back and read this post for my reasoning on that.
As there are varying interpretations on what Lust actually refers to we are going to use Dante's which I have quoted above. How does the Republican Party embody this? Well that's simple. They worship the Orange Clown currently occupying the White House. He and his cohorts can do no wrong and they as a whole refuse to ever admit fault. Whatever mess the Republican party was before this Administration is now dwarfed by the mess that is has become as a result of this Administration.
To put it more bluntly, the Republican party is now a cult of personality.
While interpretations of Gluttony aren't varied, the ways in which we can assess it's impact are. In this particular line of argument we are going to focus on that aspect. It is also worth noting that we aren't just talking about food here. We are talking about any resources which are required to maintain life such as food, water, money and shelter.
The Republican party has long put the interests of wealthy donors above those of the so-called proletariat and the wide-reaching effects that this has had on others has been something many of us have willfully turned a blind eye to. However in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the line between the haves and the have-nots has become clearer than ever. The wealthy and powerful such as athletes, celebrities and politicians can get tests performed on a daily basis and have results provided in a matter of minutes. The rest of us however are not so lucky.
In my state tests are still being means tested which indicates that the supply is still rather limited. I couldn't even get tested myself, though my wife was able to due to her large number of risk factors. Wait times for results provided to the unwashed masses seem to vary wildly with some being provided in a few days (it took us five days to get Annette's results) with some people having to wait for weeks with no end in sight.
But this goes beyond testing. All over the country, evictions are now beginning to surge as the temporary laws passed that halted them have now expired and the Republicans in Congress, the Senate and the Administration are refusing to step up and provide more relief. Those houses and apartments will once again become the property of the wealthy individuals, corporations and banks that actually own them whereas the people who lived there will likely largely end up homeless.
Of course I haven't even mentioned the fact that people are actually going hungry. Lines at Food Banks have never been longer and supplies have never been more meager. That story I just linked to is happening in the biggest city, in the richest state in the richest country in the world. This is a travesty and should not be allowed to happen.
What really makes this sad is that the vast majority of the Republican party claim to be Christians, and yet in light of the current crisis and all of the inequality it has revealed they still persist in denying these basic essentials to their fellow citizens. It's almost as if they have never read "The Parable of the Good Samartian". People will die because they lack these things and unlike the Good Samaritan, Republican Christians just don't care.
Much of the argument I've made for Gluttony can be reused to make the argument for Greed. However I'd like to take it even further. We live in a society in which we are expected to celebrate the ascension of a new class of Robber Barons the most notorious of which is definitely Jeff Bezos with a net worth somewhere around $180 billion. But not even that is enough as financial publications are now predicting that sometime within the next decade he will become the nations first trillionaire.
Why does anybody need a billion dollars? They don't. With that in mind, why would anybody need a trillion dollars? They don't of course. Whatever hole they are trying to fill in their psyche / soul, will never be filled no matter how much their net worth soars. But more than that, why is this being celebrated even while a huge number of people are starving to death, denied vital medical care and on the verge of becoming homeless? How did we get into a situation where the upper 1% of America have more wealth than the entire middle class?
Moreover, why do Republican Christians find this to be acceptable? They claim to worship a sandal wearing hippie with long hair who walked around the desert giving out free food, free medical care and actively spoke out against the money changers in the temples.
When the answer to the question of "how much is enough?" officially becomes "infinity" that's when you know that things have gone off the rails from an economic standpoint. Sadly that's exactly the position America currently occupies.
Sloth is a fun one as it embodies laziness and much of the monster this country has evolved into over the last few decades has been silently enabled by our laziness. When put in those terms, it should be immediately obvious that the vast majority of the country is guilty of this. I am personally guilty of this as I have allowed the actions and opinions of so many people, in my sphere, which I know directly relate to ever-disintegrating moral center of our society to stand unchallenged entirely too many times over the years.
I cannot and will not permit that to continue. Those of us who disagree with the ideas, actions and laws that have propelled us to the edge of the abyss we are now staring into have failed to do our job and properly push back on the collective insanity that has fueled the journey. Not only have I been slothful in this respect, but so have my liberal friends and the Republicans on the other side of the fence.
It is their party after all. And they have allowed it to devolve into a cacophony of conspiracy theories, psuedo-science, personality cult worshipping and a long and seemingly unending series of "Two Minutes of Hate" sessions.
To bottom line it, that's what so-called news networks like OAN, Infowars and Fox News really represent: The repugnant stink of the intellectual sloth that is now so common that we as a society have begun to universally reject logic, science and data as our guiding lights and replace them with propaganda, personality worship and infectiously idiotic platitudes that spread like an unchecked cancer throughout the zeitgeist.
Of all the points on the list, this is basically the easiest one to argue. The Republican party and the Christians within it have no shortage of Wrath when it comes to dealing any modern day issues. They are an angry bunch and one can hardly blame them because the policies they have championed for the last four decades have failed to work at all.
The data doesn't lie. Red States have only gotten poorer, sicker and hungrier over the last forty years. But like it was a religion they dutifully keep faith even as the tenets are undeniably revealed for the false prophets that they are by COVID-19.
Instead of diagnosing and attacking the root causes of these problems, they have instead taken to attacking various racial groups and political groups. Whether they are racial their ill-advised wars of attrition against the so-called "Libtards" (an organization of which I am not only a member but carry a membership card personally signed by the likes of George Soros), but this also includes religious groups such as Muslims and minority ethnic groups such as Latinos and African Americans.
As these "strategies" have continued to play out, especially over the last four years, they have begun to bear striking resemblances to the way Nazi Germany began to scapegoat the Jewish people for all of their woes. We even have camps in the form of illegal immigrant detainment camps located along the border. While current information indicates that those camps don't have gas chambers, this doesn't change the fact that family units are being destroyed and people in those camps are dying at exceptionally high rates especially now in the midst of COVID-19.
Republicans are angry and they are hell-bent on taking it out on everybody else who happens to not be either white, male, conservative or American. I would go so far as to theorize this is why Republicans politicians seem content to allow COVID-19 to spread unchecked throughout the populace as the data indicates that its killing more minorities than anybody else. On the other hand, their base is allowing it to happen because they are buying the unofficial party propaganda that it is nothing more than a "hoax".
Much of the behavior that I have described above has one thing above all driving it: The urge to possess that which somebody else already has. Republicans rage against intellectualism and expertise largely because they admirably want to embody those traits and they are tired of being painted with the brush of ignorance. Sadly their envy serves only to put more distance between them and these things that they covet.
This is one reason why Republican Governors, the current Administration in the White House and Republican voters are ignoring, belittling and even actively waging war on the expertise being offered by experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci in the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis. Their lack of relevant expertise has triggered an underlying mess of insecurities that spring from the fact that they increasingly have less and less to offer society in the form of white room intellectual analysis and practical ideas.
Intelligence is perhaps best defined as "the ability to adapt to change". COVID-19 in America has undeniably become the greatest recent test of adaptability among her general populace. Republicans are largely failing to make the grade when faced with a situation in which a return to "normalcy" (which they clearly hated as recently as six months ago, but now desperately wish to return to) has become the rallying cry for a voting bloc largely united by their unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances.
As my sister told me in a very recent conversation, "Darwinism is alive and well" which is admittedly a far more clever version of my "Adapt or Die" statement from a few months back. That is perhaps the best summary of the situation in which we now find ourselves.
What those consumed by envy seem incapable of realizing is that the journey that one goes on to acquire and hone these traits which they desire is much more relevant than the actual destination. Without the willingness to take the actual journey rather than skip forward to the end, they will never achieve their goal. Case in point: Giving an idiot a weekly talk show or an op-ed doesn't mean they aren't an idiot.
"It is thought to be the source of the other capital sins. It is identified as dangerously corrupt selfishness, the putting of one's own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people."
We have finally arrived at the heart of the cancer that drives the modern Republican party. Of all the other pillars in the party platform, this one is by far the most dangerous and most disturbing. Why? Because this is the one that prevents them from making forward progress and building a better future for themselves and everybody else in the country.
To put it simply: They feel no shame. If they did feel shame, they would've either switched parties or at least openly begun to push back against the Administration and it's band of craven enablers, otherwise known as the Republican party.
Because they feel no shame, they can't bring themselves to admit what a massive failure the Republican party has become. Whether we are talking about the Reaganists, the Tea Party or the Failed Businessman / Reality TV Star sect the ultimate core flaw they all have in common is that they are largely incapable of moving past any of it even when one directly contradicts the other.
Even the most intelligent people have been wrong at many points in their life. Hell, I consider myself to be moderately intelligent and I've been wrong more times than I can count. A large part of growing, evolving and becoming better than you are requires you to be vulnerable and have enough humility to realize that you are wrong. The inability to recognize that is effectively a death sentence for the human race as it precludes further evolution.
So what does pride have to do with this? Pride is what prevents the shame, humility and vulnerability from doing their job. Republicans are a prideful bunch. In a recent conversation with a card carrying hardcore Republican very close to my heart, who shall remain nameless, I expressed this basic idea to him and he responded with the following platitude:
"The Administration doesn't have to admit they were wrong because they have never been wrong."
Now that's not a verbatim quote, but since I'm firmly committed to not directly mentioning "He Who Cannot Be Named" here, I've had to reword his response appropriately. But I'm sure you all get the general idea.
Pride more than anything is tearing this country apart and as long as it remains in the driver's seat, a second American civil war will continue to loom in the not-so-distant future. Frankly if the Republican Party and the Administration are not strongly punished for their actions over the past four years, the timeline on that will likely condense significantly.
For those of you that made it this far, let me express my thanks. This is easily one of the longest posts I've written in quite awhile and it's not an easy one to read. I would also like to apologize for ending it on such a depressing note. But the honest truth of the matter is that I firmly believe that we either have to choose a better more rational path forward within the next few months or resign ourselves to the fact that all of us, even the Americans, are now living in a post-American world.