Political Crazy Talk

Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican from Alabama, had this to say shortly after his inauguration, “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”  This was reported by The Birmingham News.  Predictably, people were outraged. Critics were concerned that this was a signal that the new governor might discriminate against non-Christians.  Bentley came out and apologized, saying that nobody should hate anyone because of religious differences.

I’m not surprised eyebrows were raised, and it was unfortunate how awkwardly Bentley worded things.  But technically, religiously-speaking, it is hard to argue against the root of Bentley’s sentiments.  I’m a Redskins fan.  Some of my friends are Cowboys fans.  They are not my brothers when it comes to football.  This analogy is not (quite) as stupid as it sounds.  Sometimes fans get unruly with each other at football games (usually alcohol plays a role), but more often it is no big deal.  We can have a different way of looking at football without making any trouble.  Now, Bentley’s words should be cause for alarm if there was anything he said or did that promotes any kind of mistreatment against those who do not believe like he does.  I imagine that Barack Obama does not feel like Glen Beck is his brother.  Would I be scandalized if the President said so?  Absolutely not.

Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, compared Republicans who oppose health care to Nazis.  This kind of rhetoric surprised people since a few Democrats have been trying to link harsh Republican rhetoric with the Tucson shootings (despite the total lack of sympathy the alleged shooter has for conservative views).  Cohen later said that he hadn’t done anything wrong.  I don’t know, comparing people who don’t agree with you on a political issue to evildoers who murdered millions of people seems a little harsh.

Governor Paul LePage, a Republican from Maine, decided not to attend a NAACP-sponsored event on Martin Luther King Day.  When he was pressed on the issue,  he said the NAACP could “kiss my butt.”  The first article I read about this said that LePage claimed he wasn’t interested in supporting special interest groups.  My first thought was that the governor wasn’t seeing the larger picture.  America’s racial attitude was terrible in the 1960s.  Though it has been a great country in many ways, the USA had always made a mockery of the idea that everyone was created equal.  Martin Luther King Jr. was instrumental in changing that, and he did it while preaching nonviolence.  Our country should celebrate that.

But there were two things about LePage that I didn’t know.  One, the event in question was supposed to include a meeting between the governor and African Americans in the state prison.  LePage said he wanted to meet with all the prisoners there.  When that idea was resisted, the governor decided not to do it.  Two, the governor has an adopted son who’s black.  LePage is no racist.

Bottom line: I think some of these guys might want to set the bar higher for their speechwriters.