George Graham

America is Such a Religious Country Yet Morality is Often Missing

America is an extremely religious country. More people go to church in America on a Sunday than anywhere else in the world. They pray, they sing hymns, they listen to sermons – some even speak in the Unknown Tongue. So why are so many Americans blissfully immoral? Here’s an example:

I was playing golf with a buddy recently, and I told him about the International Republican Institute that John McCain heads. I thought he would be horrified by the group’s involvement in attempts to undermine the governments of foreign countries  by subversive means. When I got to the part about trying to overthrow the Chavez government in Venezuela, Fred snorted, “We should overthrow that s.o.b!”

It did not occur to this churchgoing, law-abiding family man that it is immoral for Americans to interfere, especially subversively, in the internal affairs of another country. Apparently, in his view, whatever furthers the interests of the U.S. of A. is morally right.

McPalinThat’s just a tiny insight into the American psyche, but it seems to jibe with the big picture.

Take the McCain-Palin campaign (photo at right). Have you ever heard so many outright lies in your life? From the beginning, McCain has lied about Barack Obama’s record without batting an eye. He lied about Obama’s votes on taxes in the Illinois Legislature. He lied about Obama’s economic proposals, claiming that the Illinois senator would raise middle-class taxes when Obama was actually proposing a tax cut for the middle class. And he falsely claimed that Obama would increase taxes “on the sale of your home.” (In fact, home-sale profits of up to $500,000 per couple would continue to be exempt from capital gains taxes.)

Then, showing his contempt for voters’ intelligence, McCain had the nerve to call his campaign bus “The Straight Talk Express.”

Now with Palin on the ticket, the lying has intensified. Palin claims she refused federal money to build the infamous  “Bridge to Nowhere.” Yet the Alaska governor is actually on record as supporting the bridge, She even told the residents of the town where the bridge was planned that she felt their pain at being called “Nowhere.” The record also shows that when the bridge project proved an embarrassment, she scrapped it, but took the federal “pork,” diverting it to other projects (including a road to the “Nowhere” town that now has no bridge linking it with the mainland.)

Palin also glibly tells how she sold the Alaska governor’s jet on eBay (and McCain embellishes the story by saying she sold it at a profit). In fact, the plane was not sold on eBay. An aviation broker got rid of it and the state took a loss on the deal. Not surprisingly, the guy who got the plane at a bargain price was one of Palin’s political contributors.

This is a woman who trumpets her Christianity to the world, using it as the rationale for opposing birth control education and abortion under any and all circumstances. (I won’t go into the private affairs of her family; although that’s revealing, too.)

The McCain-Palin pattern of deceit and downright lying maintains the Republican tradition exemplified by such horrors as the totally false Swiftboat attack on John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election. Yet American voters don’t seem to be offended. They accept this kind of behavior as normal in politics. It’s smilingly described as “spin.”

The liars who make up these stories are recognized as belonging to an honorable profession and accepted in people’s homes and clubs as successful businessmen. That reminds me of an old Jamaican joke that goes something like this (translated from the original patois):

A man had a son who was about to graduate from school, and he asked the lad what he would like to become when he went out into the world. “A liar,” the son replied. So the father apprenticed him to the best liar in the district. As the lad was following the professional liar to his home in the hills, they crossed a stream. Suddenly the liar said, “I mash a fish!” Without missing a beat, the lad responded, “I smell it!” The professional liar was so impressed that he sent the boy home. “This boy is already a better liar than me,” he told the father.

To me, the pro is McCain, the quick-witted apprentice is Palin.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com