Religious fundamentalism has been part of the American fabric since the nation’s founding. However, the love affair between conservative republicans, the moneyed interests and religious fundamentalists has evolved into a marriage of deceptive practices, bad economics and a common hatred for government. Hypocrisy, designed to masquerade the empty promises of trickle-down economics while peddling chauvinistic policies of wealth and morality to unsuspecting Americans who demand easy answers to complex problems.
Despite being one of the most infamous moments in American politics, the day Richard Nixon resigned his presidency in 1974, he left office with a 26% approval rating-largely among religious fundamentalists. Ronald Reagan owed a great deal to the Moral Majority for his 1980 victory, which melded conservative ideology and evangelicals with an emerging oligarchy. George W. Bush’s pious bent only escalated this trend, emphasizing faith-based initiatives and a messianic calling from God, who instructed him to invade Iraq. Presumably God also commanded Bush to provide a 700 billion-dollar bailout to Wall Street gamblers and a trillion-dollar tax break to the richest 1% of Americans. This theological malpractice is the consequence of a relentless forty-year campaign of right-wing demagoguery, linking status and privilege to individual worthiness. The result is working-class stiffs with a limited understanding of government, convinced that if you’re poor you deserve it. Even when this belief contradicts their own station in life they simply view themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires because some undeserving, immoral freeloader or illegal immigrant has stolen their deserved wealth. The outcome is a conservative electorate with a willingness to imbibe cruelty towards the less fortunate and even themselves-so long as they can harm someone else more.
No-where has this hypocrisy manifested itself more than the election of Donald Trump. An oligarch who chose a religious zealot as a running mate and appointed Wall Street billionaires with fundamentalist ideologies to represent a monolithic morality of oligarchs, biblical literalists and conservative politicians. A theological malpractice designed to convince an anxious electorate to hate their own government, vote against their interests and sacrifice their democracy. The only way to fix this problem is for a few heroes in the republican party to finally stand up against this disastrous alliance. To expose the politicians who protect the moneyed interest that fund the religious extremists, who sow the seeds of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, there don’t appear to be any heroes in the Republican party left to stand up.