A Rose for Sarah
GOP Corpse Lover
Photo by Ms. Bunchopants
The upside of sleeping with a corpse is the slim chance of an unwanted pregnancy. The Republican Party of George Bush and John McCain is a freshly stiffened corpse. How long will its members lie in bed with it?
A quick guide to William Faulkner's "A Rose For Emily:"
Miss Emily is an inhabitant of the old guard Southern aristocracy, a single generation removed from the Civil War, she stubbornly clings to a world and way of life that no longer exists. Miss Emily is a victim of the twilight. Raised to believe in a world that has rotted completely, but has not quite crumbled. Even in the bloom of youth, she cannot find a proper suitor because there is no future for her kind. Eventually, she makes the only marriage bed she can. Every night, shut away in a back bedroom, she embraces the corpse of a poisoned scoundrel - her lover. The townsfolk can all smell the rot, but can't yet admit Miss Emily's hideous truth. Instead, they slip out at night tossing quick lime around her house to hide the reek. Years pass and the reek fades. The town goes on living with Miss Emily's terrible secret. Not until she dies is the bedroom door broken down and the corpse, little more than a stain in the middle of the bed, is finally removed.
There is a damp odor coming from the house of today's Republican Party. Breathe it in...No to science. No to diplomacy. No to strategy. No to innovation. No to individual liberty. No to the Constitution. Yes to torture. No to intellect. No to reason. No to the internet. No to public health. No to open minds. No to new ideas. The stench needs to be knocked down and the Republicans are getting the quick lime out. Rumor mongering, fear mongering, anti-intellectualism, politicized Christianity, veiled racism and vulgar nativism are thrown around to hide the truth.
September 04, 2008 at 07:01 PM
Hi Chris, I almost don't know what to say. As someone who does not adhere to the generalizations you have presented of me, I feel seriously offended in ways that I usually do not when it comes to political discourse. It almost feels like you are saying "the Irish say no to sobriety" without care or research. I am deeply sorry that this is how you view my party, and those who are in it. Perhaps I should save my criticism for another time. Perhaps at the moment I am taking this far to personally. Perhaps I deviate from my party in ways that you would applaud (particularly in the realm of foreign policy), but even so, in the areas in which I do adhere to Republican beliefs, I see no reason for apology (or attack). I cannot apologize for being "whitish" nor do I find my religious adherence reason for disgrace, but I can assure you that my respect and love for the people around me is based neither on any sort of perceived trust nor on race or creed. To equate the Republican Party with a lack of intellect, reason, and diplomacy is perhaps your commentary on the current administration, which few would blame you for. But to take a whole group of people with views opposed to yours and assume there this is no reason, intellect, value for the Constitution, respect for individual liberty, or innovation that goes into that viewpoint - well, it's highly offensive. I am not some "redneck" who came to believe what I do out of close-mindedness. Perhaps I will add more later. In the meantime, it would be much appreciated if you would offer me some open-mindedness of your own.
September 04, 2008 at 07:37 PM
Actually, I think I'll take on the issue of me saying "no to the Constitution" and save the rest for another day. My guess is that we view parts of the Constitution quite differently, but to say that I disregard it simply because I do not have the same interpretation seems ill-informed. I did not pull my interpretation out of a hat, but rather infused it with reason and open-mindedness before coming to my own decisions. Unfortunately for us (although perhaps fortunately for you, since the framers of the document undoubtedly had a more conservative viewpoint than most Democrats), the Constitution is very vague. Definitions have changed and for that I believe we should all be thankful. Whereas "liberty" once only referred to white males (predominantly Christian, although I left out that qualification due to some early Jewish communities in this country), today it refers to everyone regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and the like. I am not going to claim that we live in a society where this ideal of liberty is entirely played out; there is still progress to be made. But I am merely pointing out how the interpretation of the Constitution has changed by using an example that (I sure hope) we can all agree on. In other matters, though, we differ. Does that mean I say "no to the Constitution"? No, and I take offense to this. One of my strongest beliefs (abortion) comes from how I happen to interpret the document, among other factors. And in this postmodern world where everyone is entitled to their own opinion and there is no absolute truth, why is it that my interpretation and opinions (based on reason) are not only wrong, but criticized as being completely opposed to the very document I use to support them?
September 04, 2008 at 07:44 PM
I meant to add that while I certainly say "yes" to the Constitution - as well a whole slew of other subjects that we might differ on - I do quite possibly say "no" to your particular interpretation of certain sections. I will not accuse you of complete disregard for the document just because you disagree with me, however, because I think you have put much thought into your own interpretation. On a very, very disjointed side note: the writing style of your posts is always highly engaging and skilled. Despite our disagreements, thank you, as always, for a great read.
from Escondido, CA
September 04, 2008 at 08:00 PM
Actually I appreciated Chris' metaphor, and while I think he over generalizes the membership a bit, maybe I'm a bit sensitive because more and more I feel that I've overstayed my welcome within the GOP. Disregarding the social conservatives for the moment (no problem since they usually disregard me), even fiscal conservatives I know are dismayed at the rot within the party. Despite the rhetoric and platform, the modern history of federal government under Republican leadership is toward bigger and more intrusive government. Whether we're looking at Medicare drugs, earmarking the budget to favor special interests of every flavor, or federalizing transportation security, they don't seem to hesitate for a moment to consider their core principals when it comes to what seems to be a simple lust for power. Their attitude toward the Courts and the process of law in the War on Terror has been downright insulting, and the cavalier attitude toward wiretapping and other electronic monitoring of U.S. citizens at home is nothing but the arrogance that comes from unchecked power. There are other examples of the bloat and internal rot but the point is that if McCain and Palin can't or won't renounce the excesses of the last eight years and their perpetrators, why should anyone believe their call that the Republican Party can bring the needed changes to the federal government now?
September 04, 2008 at 09:03 PM
Jessica - thanks for the close read, offense not intended. Plenty of my best friends are whitish. Also a whitish person, I am thankful for a Catholicish childhood and cringe when I hear any religion or spiritual belief bashed... It seems to me that you identify with the Republican Party in a particularly personal manner. I make a distinction between individual Republicans and the Republican Party, just as I do with Democrats and the Dem Party. I disagree with plenty of Democratic Pary beliefs - but on the whole I am am not embarassed by my Party. The Bush/Cheney era Republican Party is odious to my sense of what American values are. I can give you the Noam Chomsky type breakdown on how Ronald Reagan was a despot - but guess what, I can't help but like the guy - I am uncomfortable with much of the Gipper's legacy, but he was a solid American. Karl Rove is not a good American - the deep divisions in our country, the refusal to engage in ideas and the venom in our political culture is his proud legacy - and he is the architect of today's Republican Party. More evidence of rot? Duke Cunningham, Ted Stevens, Tom DeLay, Larry Craig. I assume most Republicans admire the Constituion and share basic Americna values - and so I wonder how your party has strayed so far. Good people can belong to bad organizations - and good organizations can go bad. As for the Constitution - I disagree with you, it seems one of the least vague documents in the history of man. Free Speech. Habeus Corpus. The right to vote. Like all things written by man, be it a bible or constitution, there is of course room for interpretation. I would assume that you champion Justice Scalia as he aligns with you on abortion - and he is the foremost critic of any who posit the Constituion as "vague" - the constitution says what it means and where it does not say anything we must rely on legal precedent. Pesonally, I think Scalia is a jerk - but he's a great American, thoughtful jerk. The Republican Party is currently following a hijacked momentum - the trajectory of the Bush/Cheney era. I hope Republicans like you, believers in the Constitution, get your Party back. Soon. Chris
Matthew C. Scallon
September 04, 2008 at 09:18 PM
@Chris: " ...I am thankful for a Catholicish childhood and cringe when I hear any religion or spiritual belief bashedâ€¦" Really? Aren't you the blogger who displayed the Catholic crucifix in urine and the Blessed Virgin Mother covered in elephant dung and surrounding by vaginas? You didn't seemed to be cringing then. I guess this astute observation of mine is the reason KPBS is blocking me as "spam." No matter.
September 05, 2008 at 04:48 AM
@Chris: " ...I am thankful for a Catholicish childhood and cringe when I hear any religion or spiritual belief bashedâ€¦" Really? Aren't you the blogger who displayed the Catholic crucifix in urine and the Blessed Virgin Mother covered in elephant dung and surrounding by vaginas? You didn't seemed to be cringing then. I guess this astute observation of mine is the reason KPBS is blocking me as "spam." No matter. I figured out a way around it for now.
Tim from Los Angeles
September 05, 2008 at 03:02 PM
A well-written, thoughtful piece. Never-the-less, we should all be wary of the Fundamentalist-Republican thinking fermenting and drawing nutrient from the rotting dung-pile, the intellectual compost of flawed theology and political extremism left behind by the Bushes. The Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justices will no-doubt be legislating from the bench. Those resulting precedents, coupled with the noted precedent of disregard for our Constitution by the Bushes spell out potential for abuse of power the likes of which our country has yet to see within it's borders. I suspect this Palin character will take the abuse of power to a whole new level. If anyone can make Dick Cheney look like a girl scout, it would probably be her. I have very little faith that the Republicans can be anything other than a vehicle of hope for religious zealots to find political legitimacy.
September 05, 2008 at 07:24 PM
Matt - Matt, you are so quick to suspect you are being censored here and I would share your outrage if you were. That's the point. I find your ideas poorly expressed, poorly reasoned and usually boring - but I will fight for your right to be heard. Even if it means allowing you to misrepresent what I have written. Do you suggest that in discussing two notorious cases of art and free speech, and by allowing readers to see the images in question - that I am responsible for the images or ideas associated with them? Do you think it possible to not like the art, but defend the right of the artist to express himself? The Supreme Court allowed Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois - but Im pretty sure they weren't in sympathy with the Nazi ideals. P.S. Get to a museum some time, broaden your horizons. Do a little research on the elephant dung Madonna, its cultural signifigance, its symbolism and the background of the artist - I wonder if you will still find it offensive. Until then, comment away.........
Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 03:23 AM
@Chris: "Matt, you are so quick to suspect you are being censored here and I would share your outrage if you were. " I'll happily e-mail you the screen shot the next time it's done. I look forward to that magical day that we end up on the same side of an issue. "Thatâ€™s the point. I find your ideas poorly expressed, poorly reasoned and usually boring - but I will fight for your right to be heard. Even if it means allowing you to misrepresent what I have written." And I find your response judgemental and petty --but I will fight your right, too. Perhaps, if you can come out of own bubble sometimes, you might find that your ideas aren't so well crystalized and are prone to misrepresentation. "Do you suggest that in discussing two notorious cases of art and free speech, and by allowing readers to see the images in question - that I am responsible for the images or ideas associated with them? Do you suggest that in discussing two notorious cases of art and free speech, and by allowing readers to see the images in question - that I am responsible for the images or ideas associated with them?" I suggest that you didn't "cringe" at the anti-Catholic bigotry expressed by these bigots who dressed themselves in the sheep's clothing of artists. "The Supreme Court allowed Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois - but Im pretty sure they werenâ€™t in sympathy with the Nazi ideals." Two words - Godwin's Law. "P.S. Get to a museum some time, broaden your horizons." On the short list of my museum attendances, I include: *Museum of Art, Florence, Italy; *Vatican Museum, Vatican City; *Alhambra, Spain; *Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science & Industry, and the Art Institute of Chicago, all in Chicago, IL; *Museum of Health & Medicine; Cleveland, OH; *Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; *Museum of Art, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA Normally, I don't like to show off, but your snarky comment warranted it. "Do a little research on the elephant dung Madonna, its cultural signifigance, its symbolism and the background of the artist - I wonder if you will still find it offensive. Until then, comment away......... " Leaving alone for a moment the "cultural signifance,... symbolism, and ,,, background" of Serrano & his "Piss Christ," Chris Ofili, the alledged artist of "The Holy Virgin Mary," claimed that he was a devout Catholic from Nigeria who claimed that spreading elephant dung and plastering vaginas was a way his culture shows respect to the Mother of God. All of his claims were false. He was not from Nigeria; he was from England. A reporter from the Archdiocesan newspaper of New York asked Ofili basic questions about the Catholic faith, and he answered every question wrong --so much for his devout Catholicism. When Dr. William Donohue of the Catholic League asked the Nigerian ambassador to the United Nations if such displays of elephant dung and vaginas was considered a sign of respect by any Nigerian tribe, the ambassador was outraged by the notion. I've done research. Show me yours. But, of course, this is all a red herring, because the real issue is not the freedom of speech that you claim but rather whether the taxpayer should be obliged to fund bigotry. Had these alledged artists displayed their alledged works of art on private property with no public funds, I couldn't care less. Whether or not this art offends me is less the issue than whether or not you "cringe" at such bigotry. Obviously, you don't "cringe" as much as you claim. So you go blog away. I'm sure that, whatever KPBS is paying for your insights, you're earning every dime.
Matthew C. Scallon
September 06, 2008 at 03:50 AM
Update: from the comments of a different blog entry : "Matt, thanks for drawing our attention to the fact that your comments were being treated as spam. I assure you, it was purely a result of our spam filters being over-zealous and was not intentional. We value the many viewpoints shared on our blogs. Iâ€™ve gone through and marked your comments as Not Spam, and added you to the whitelist so you should be able to get through in the future. I opened your comments and deleted duplicates. "Leng Caloh "September 05, 2008 at 10:15 am" So the censorship issue has been settled for now.