Monday, September 03, 2012

Does Clint Eastwood represent the values of the Republican Party?

There is something I've been pondering for a few days now... To provide some context, I consider myself, politically, a left-leaning Independent. I am a fiscal conservative but a social liberal. I believe in small government, but I think we should begin with a smaller military. I think legislators have a responsibility to regulate businesses in order to curtail malfeasance and that our tax dollars should be used to provide order, infrastructure and assistance for the least among us. I think social programs are generally a good thing, though I would like to see them managed in a more efficient and less bureaucratic way.

On to the thing I've been pondering: I watched the Republican National Convention (and I will watch the Democratic National Convention). In a nationally televised political convention of this sort, as I understand it, the position of speaking just before the presidential nominee on the final night is extremely important. By that time, the venue is packed and the television viewership is at its highest. It is prime-time and the eyes of America (if not the world) are watching. This is the moment for the party to send a clear message about who they are and what they stand for.

And so, as we all know, the Republicans chose Clint Eastwood for this key speaking slot. I'm not going to say anything here about Mr. Eastwood's speech itself (that horse has been deservedly flogged elsewhere). My point is this: The Republican Party positions itself as the moral, Christian party that believes in "traditional" values, yet for the prime-time warm up to Mitt Romney they selected a man whose fame and persona derive from ultra-violent "Dirty Harry" movies; a man who has fathered seven children by five different women and whose affairs and dalliances are well known. Despite Mr. Eastwood's talent, the message conveyed by having him in this honored speaking slot doesn't match the Party's rhetoric about what it stands for.

And this is what I have found consistently in the Republican party (of which I was a member from the first time I voted--for Ronald Reagan--until sometime during George W. Bush's second term). When you compare the talk to the actions (or better yet, compare the actions against the teachings of Jesus) you see a glaring disconnect. It doesn't match up. At this point in time, I think the Democratic party is probably closer--on the whole--to reflecting the ethos of the Christian faith, as taught by Jesus (which does not mean I consider either the Dems or Repubs to be a godly or "Christian" party).

I'm looking forward to comparing the Democratic National Convention this week with the Republicans last week. I'll be particularly interested in hearing the speech scheduled on the final night, just before President Obama, which will be given by Pee-wee Herman.


Blogger Marcia Z. Nelson said...

what a fine observation that I saw no one else make in the flogging of Eastwood. His speech was unbecoming him -- his talent is dramatic, not political -- and the wholesale socially mediated pile-on was too much ado about little

9:37 AM  

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