I am bemused when the elites of both parties are horrified at a woman candidate who overturned their chosen candidate in the primaries.
Chuck Todd said it first…
“There will be an all out effort to discredit christine odonnell in delaware just as there was to discredit sharon angle in nevada,” he wrote. Yes. “The elite media wants to declare her unelectable.”
Chuck Todd is not a Democratic operative, but the political director for NBC news.
In other words, if I want to find out what’s going on in the US, I can’t rely on the media there, but have to dig onto blogs I trust.
So what is so frightening about O’Donnell?
The latest is that she “dabbled in witchcraft” while a student. Uh, fellahs, most girls in college “dabble” in Wicca/witchcraft in college. But the press is implying she is casting spells today, and using it to show she is crazy.
If O’Donnell is to be ostracized for attending a wiccan ceremony in her younger days, then I guess I’ll have to throw out my herbal medicine texts, many of which are written from the Wicca standpoint, pretend I didn’t meet with witchdoctors in Africa and deny that I referred patients to medicine men in Minnesota.
What is missing is a discussion of the increasing influence of neopaganism in our young who are seeking God.
I have friends who are Hindu, and other friends who rejected Christianity and practice Wicca. I also have worked with those who practice the non Christian religions of their ancestors, both in the US (Native Americans) and in Africa.
I believe in my own religion, but agree with Rumi, that those who worship God all have the same religion, that of God. This means that they seek to serve the Good and not their own selfish desires.
And it is this second part, the idea that sometimes seeking to be good means curbing one’s own desires, that is the real taboo.
Attending church/synagogue/temple/mosque/ceremony/coven means to acknowledge that our relationship with our Creator means to reach out to our neighbor, not just to seek personal enlightenment, which is more easily done at home.
And if one seeks the good of one’s neighbor as a way to honor the deity, then all sorts of inconvenient facts are added to our daily choices, from diet to sex to what we buy.
In the materialistic society such as the US, it might mean choosing to live simply, limit one’s energy use, and not buy the latest fashions or gadgets (an idea which ironically corresponds to that of the environmental movement). For a banker, it might mean not seeking a shady deal that risks the money of those who entrusted you with their hard earned savings. For a doctor, it means always choosing life, because the power to kill is too fraught with the danger of hubris to be allowed in the hands of an individual.
But in most ethical systems that are followed by the pious, one also sees the idea of sacrifice for the good of others, especially one’s family.
This brings us to the other “ridicule” of O’Donnell: That she once said she supported the Catholic teaching that masturbation was a sin.
The insistence that sexuality is best expressed in marriage, in a loving caring relationship is behind this teaching, but don’t expect the elites to even notice the social, psychiatric, and medical problems that have resulted from the sexual revolution of the 1960′s.
Yet one wonders: is the teaching of self control in all areas of life not a good thing?
If teens are taught it is okay to indulge in their sexuality privately, soon this morphs to the idea that everyone has the “right” to sexual pleasure, then not only can I masturbate (guilt free) but this idea swells to include the entire sexual arena: promiscuity before marriage, failure of fathers to be responsible for their offspring, failure of men to protect their loved ones from disease by using protection that decreases their pleasure, and a generation of children brought up in poverty because they live in single parent households?
To an Asian, the American ideas of sex education with it’s emphasis on individual pleasure are fraught with danger to the extended family that experience shows is the only way to guarantee surviving during times of trouble, be it famine or old age. Which is why many Filipinos of all faiths are suspicious at the US government’s plan to give us money to implement sex education in our schools.
So who do we believe? Confucius and Moses, who insist on self control, or the “popular” opinion which is a watered down version of Freud and Margaret Meade’s ideas that releasing sexual “oppression” would lead to a healthier society? That’s why I learned in medical school in the 1960′s.
Yet both Meade and Freud’s ideas are now considered badly flawed. Later anthropological studies revealed that Meade’s sexual paradise never existed, and Freud’sÂ ideas are fantasy to scientists who study neurobiology.
Yet forty years after the sexual revolution, these ideas are the new Orthodoxy, so entrenched in our society that few have the courage to say: No, there is another way to live.
Which brings us to another question. Are the ideas of religion being marginalized in society?
David Quinn of the Irish Catholic writes:
I have a question for one of the protestâ€™s main organisers, namely Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society. He announced earlier: â€œThe days of popes are over.â€
He added: â€œThis is a secular country, we are a secular nation. The pope should take his religion home with him and leave us to arrange our society as we want it.â€
My question is this: who exactly do he mean by â€œweâ€? Does â€œweâ€ include religious believers or are they excluded from this mysterious â€œweâ€?
…If this is the view of Sanderson then he has more than proven the point both the pope and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury were making yesterday, namely that aggressive secularism is attempting to marginalize religion and silence its voice in public life.
Lopez at FT then goes on to say that a similar censorship is also implied in the ridicule of O’Donnell’s religious opinions (in contrast to her political agenda).
If O’Donnell, as a Christian spokeswoman, has the courage to defend the Christian idea of sexuality in a hostile environment like Bill Maher’s show, should we not notice that this took courage?
And isn’t courage a trait that we seek in our political class?
Until we hear what she actually said (in opposed to the edited tapes that Bill Maher plans to release to embarrass her) should we withhold our judgement that she is crazy?
There is, after all, the possibility that her ideas might still have creditability, and that opinions based on five thousand years of human experience in what works best to make a good and stable society might still be ideas that need to be examined in the arena of public debate.
Finally, if one runs for political office, it is justifiable to find how far that person plans to go in implementing one’s religious beliefs into law.
But this is not the same thing as what is being done to O’Donnell, who is being ridiculed by soundbites and innuendo for daring to defend what fifty years ago was still the opinion of most Americans and remains the opinion of a great minority today.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Makaipa blog.