Weeding the garden and the political climate seem to merge in my backyard

Forrest Johnson

I am again rehashing an old thought. It is what I believe an appropriate thought.

I was looking out at the frozen garden today and I realized that what I really should be doing is helping folks figure out how to weed out the various politicians who claim to be serving in the best interest of the nation.

Name calling won’t work, I understand that. Somehow folks have to be alerted that their values are under assault before they’ll actually open up to the universe of factual information that would likely prove that Jesus wasn’t a conservative and that Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower wouldn’t be able to recognize modern day New Conservative Neanderthal Party (NCNP) candidates such as Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich if you put them in a lineup of supposed Republicans and chimpanzees.

Older Minnesotans of the GOP persuasion should likely look back a bit to see if these new campaigners would match the values held by the likes of Elmer Anderson and Al Quie, Dave Durenberger or Rudy Boschwitz. I would have to point out that even Barry Goldwater would be labeled a leftist in today’s NCNP worldview.

I would hope the old timers would notice that these people are different than many of the Americans they grew up with.

Yes, times change and so do political theatrics but this move to the ultra-right, fraught with evangelical fervor and lunacy, would leave old Dick Nixon in a philosophical quandary. He would wiretap those folks no differently than if they were leftists, figuring that they were a threat to society just the same.

Recently, conservative Christians gathered to pick the candidate who most closely shares their odd interpretations of the Bible. To me, that religious worldview is strangely distant from the notion of Jesus and his teachings, the messiah they have accepted as their lord. They love to call on none other than Christ himself to help the nation deal with the problems that unchecked consumerism and social Puritanism had help create in the first place.

I’d have to say that even Jesus might say to that kind of crowd, “Sorry, but you got yourself into this mess by ignoring what I had to say in the first place. I’m here for you, I died for you, but first I have to attend to the weak and disenfranchised you’ve tossed aside. Perhaps the money changers you’ve coddled could give you a hand until I arrive.”

Newt has asked for forgiveness of past sins and has accepted the Lord into his life as a converted Catholic. All I can say is that most of the candidates seem to believe in Christian notions that my staunch Lutheran grandmothers would certainly find troubling. I’m sure if they were alive and kneading rye bread like they used to every week the discussion might have been that Jesus certainly wouldn’t pick on anybody and that people have to try to put themselves in other people’s shoes before they can go and get all high and mighty about God and His ways.

The various NCNP members still believe in the flawed notion of absolute privatization even though the facts show that it was the conservatives, not the liberals, who’ve spent us into oblivion over the past decade by cutting taxes that left a revenue hole larger than the Grand Canyon and engaging in two unpaid wars. Oh, the various NCNP stumpers and myopic anti-government types will blame Obama the Centrist for the nation’s fiscal ills but the reality again is clear. The Congressional Budget Office has shown that over $8 trillion of the debt happened during the Bush watch when he cut taxes to their lowest levels in 60 years. Add a 2007-2008 recession to that mix and you’ve got the budget headache we’re currently looking at as it’s lagged into the Obama years.

Perhaps Obama the Centrist can be a little more forceful in clarifying the issue in the coming year.

Perhaps he’ll follow through with plans to stimulate the economy by supporting public works projects and also find ways to put young people to work as has been suggested by economists of all stripes. The private sector is doing just fine and Wall Street will certainly ride out the bumps, defying the logic of a sagging economy and high unemployment. If we wait for the private sector to pull itself from easy profitability and into altruism we’ll be waiting forever for the American middle class worker to regain their footing, lost after decades of our private sector looting protections from the workplace and fleeing the land for cheap labor.

The American middle class has mysteriously been absent from this phenomenon, choosing instead to mindlessly buy cheap goods while foraging on fast foods punched out by an industrial food system that has depleted the landscape of 90 percent of the farmers, a scenario which has left rural America desolate.

Which brings me back to weeding the garden.

You have to know the difference between the weeds and the crops.

All I can say is that the cropland full of right wing extremists masquerading as common folk sure is full of a lot of weeds.