President Pence: From Chaos to Christian Supremacy
His Boss Vows to Build a Wall, but Pence Wants to Tear Down the Only Wall That Matters: The Separation of Church and State
It seems more and more obvious that Donald Trump’s instability, recklessness, constant lying and thin-skinned assaults on you name it are sowing the seeds for a very short presidency. And we haven’t even gotten to actual legislation, a basketful of conservative “trickle down” schemes, that will inevitably betray the very working class people who comprise his base.
The Russian matter is a ticking time bomb. It was surprising to watch liberal nemesis Darrell Issa (R-CA), the former Oversight inquisitor of Hillary Clinton, openly calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the pre-election contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Shades of Watergate: What did the president know and when did he know it?
Bullying the Press
Last Friday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer deliberately excluded the New York Times, CNN and Politico from an informal press briefing. Spicer’s attack on press freedom was unprecedented. There’s nothing new about the historic tension between an administration and the press covering it. But we’ve never heard such a dark condemnation of all media as “enemy of the people.” This is a slippery slope whose bottom yielded the most tragic consequences (see above graphic) in modern history. I truly believe the America people cherish their first amendment right and would never allow it to dissolve. Another reason for a short presidency?
The Adult in the Room?
The selection of Mike Pence for vice presidential candidate was obviously a strategic move towards securing the support of the evangelical right. Trump’s bomb-throwing sent shockwaves through the hearts and souls of compassionate, humane people and Republicans needed a moderating counterpart. Mike Pence was presented as “reasonable,” a bridge to the establishment; the adult in the room.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Bathroom Bill
Last year, all eyes turned to North Carolina, which passed legislation called “The Bathroom Bill,” that made it a crime for a person to use a public bathroom that didn’t correspond to the sex he or she was assigned at birth. As a result, Republican Pat McCrory, SB-2’s most public advocate, was toppled from the governorship in an election year that wasn’t kind to Democrats.
In a show of solidarity with the LGBT community and transgendered people, a host of conventions, athletic events and business ventures boycotted the state of North Carolina. Lost in the uproar over this fiasco was the fact that exactly one year prior, this same scenario played out in the state of Indiana…governed by a one Mike Pence.
Governor Pence signed a bill in 2015 that was even more extreme: It allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers…all in the name of “religious liberty.” The outcry was severe and even the NCAA sent word that it would have second thoughts of holding future tournaments in Indianapolis. That prompted the Indianapolis daily newspaper to devote its front page to a message to the governor:
Pence resigned to be Trump’s straight man.
A Track Record
Mike Pence’s devotion to Christian conservatism is, if nothing else, consistent. His ideological journey is brilliantly dissected by writer Jeremy Scahill in the online publication The Intercept. Scahill quotes Jeff Sharlet, an author of two books about the religious right:
The enemy, to them, is secularism. They want a God-led government. That’s the only legitimate government.
Mike Pence’s positions on the issues are well-chronicled by Mother Jones in an article filled with its own confirming permalinks. Here are the most odious:
- Pence signed a law requiring fetal tissue from abortions to be buried or cremated. A federal judge suspended it as unconstitutional right before enactment.
- He was quoted as saying that he’d like to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history.”
- As mentioned above, Governor Pence made it legal for Indiana businesses to cite religious beliefs as a reason to refuse service to gays or lesbians.
- Governor Pence made many attempts to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding, with one instance of contributing to one Indiana county’s HIV outbreak.
- While in Congress, Pence made a speech advocating the teaching of creationism in public schools.
- He has supported the use of public funds for “gay conversion therapy,” a totally discredited and harmful method that contends that homosexuality is a choice.
- Pence co-sponsored a bill in Congress that would have eliminated automatic citizenship for children born in the US to undocumented parents.
- In Congress, he voted to criminally punish doctors who perform late-term abortions. Penalty: two years in prison.
Whatever becomes of this investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, Mike Pence will work with Congress to attempt to enact an extreme right wing agenda. As the article in The Intercept asserts, “Trump is a Trojan Horse for a cabal of zealots who have long craved for an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors…The radical religious right doesn’t need to save Trump’s soul.”
Be careful what you wish for.