My Nietzschean opinions about religion are no secret although I really don’t believe, as some do, that religious belief is the root of all evil. Bigotry doesn’t kill people after all: bigoted people do. Is the current attempt by some Republican legislators to revisit the arguments of the 50’s and 60’s really best handled by signs and chants and proclaiming just how nasty their ignorant beliefs are? Do we try to outlaw speech? Make hate illegal? Do we party like it's 1964?
The civil rights movement didn’t depend on changing people’s minds, it was about forbidding practices that are not in the best interests of our fellow Americans. The Fed has the power to regulate trade in the best interests of the nation after all. It’s funny you don’t hear it couched in those terms but I suggest that’s really what this is all about. It's about what nearly everything is about: money and power.
Segregation was bad for business. Bigotry stifles the free flow of capital. The south began to prosper only after segregation ended and the extension of equal protection to all improved. Republicans are aware of this. Like some religious leaders, they only use the "government is the enemy of freedom" argument to generate votes. They use a fictitious attack on religious freedom to rally the fringes who would otherwise never be a part of the democratic process, making a devil’s bargain perhaps by ignoring Lovecraft’s warning never to call up what they can’t put down. I think this effort will be stillborn except as a last ditch to use the power of evil to win one last round of elections. It just might drag them all right down to hell with the crazies they riled up. I hope so.
That they are really only using the small-minded for that purpose is illustrated, perhaps by the attempt a few years back to pass a county law forbidding merchants to advertise in or describe their wares in anything but English. It was applauded by the anti-Immigrant crowd. It had much sound and fury behind it, but It simply faded away and likely as soon as the phones began to ring at Republican headquarters -- because no merchant is going to kiss off 25% of his potential customers and if he has to use Urdu to sell groceries or cars, he’s going to do it. Bigotry is bad for business, se habla español attracts it.
The proposition was probably intended to portray the Party as defenders of some obscure American value like fear of immigrants and probably did so as far as the run of the mill Florida lowlife was concerned, but preventing people from spending money is a hard sell when you’re selling it to Capitalists.
Minorities of all kinds aren’t really insignificant in numbers anymore. More gay people are open about it and if you add up all the people the Hard Right objects to, they are actually a majority. If you’re the grocer, the restaurant, the bank or the taxi company in town and you don’t want to do business with “those people,” no matter who your religion tells you to hate, someone else will. Of course it’s pretty hard to identify gay people unless they're forced to wear pink badges, but the better you are at it, the smaller your customer base will be. The bigots won't buy extra groceries from your store, but the gay people and those who think they should be treated like Americans won't buy any. In most cases, your competition will eat you alive. Money talks and if you turn away business, it will walk elsewhere and talk to somebody else.
Now that’s not an argument for just letting Arizona businesses stomp on the law and American values in the name of God. It’s an argument that this has nothing to do with religion or the free exercise thereof. That should be obvious from the prospect of some oh-so-devout Christian refusing a drink of water to a thirsty traveler on Christian grounds. And yes, that groaning sound you hear actually is Jesus.
The argument that forcing some self righteous, anti-Christian casuist to feed Adam and Steve for having a David and Jonathan relationship is a violation of religious freedom is vapid. Republicans, or the people who pull their strings and finance their campaigns care about business not religion or individual rights. It’s about the free, unregulated exercise of business and it’s the ability of the Government to regulate trade that’s in their gun sights. Hands off business, no more regulation, no more responsibility for the dire consequences to the public your business causes. No health care, no minimum wage, no unions, no sick pay no vacations. No more EPA, no more OSHA, no more FDA. Nobody on the Right cares about who eats at the lunch counter, it’s the toxic waste, the air pollution, the environmental disasters they want to perpetrate and they sell it as a question of our freedom because people only consider the facts they are given and don’t look at the wider picture.
The low information voters buy it. The religious fanatics buy it and all the other classes of people who have been trained to salivate at any hint the government is curbing their freedom buy it, but it’s those who hate your freedom behind it.
Want them to listen? Don’t appeal to their sense of morality, speak to their greed. Let them know we are not going to eat their chicken, drink their beer or do anything that profits the people that sell to segregated, anti-American businesses. We won’t visit their states, watch their football teams or buy their products and watch those bigoted blowhards shrivel up and blow away and when I say we, I think I’m speaking for a Majority. It’s easy for them to resist what them “Libtards” are forcing them to do. Easy for them to claim persecution but damned hard for them to thrive without money. Don’t talk to Arizona, talk to Budweiser and it will be a dry and dusty day in East Shithook Arizona when the beer truck don’t stop there no more.