Tag Archives: alternate realities

Cherry-Picking And The Rule Of Law

If we assume that humanity will survive into the future–and that there will indeed be future historians attempting to understand the decisions and assorted insanities of the particular era in which we find ourselves–they may well dub ours the “Age of Cherry-picking.”

Think about it: we increasingly choose to rely on information that confirms our preferred beliefs. We routinely dismiss evidence that is inconsistent with our prejudices, ignore realities that are inconvenient, and resist information that challenges our world-views.

I can just see those future historians trying to figure out why more of us didn’t call out the hypocrisies.

Think, for example, of that go-to bible verse cited most recently by Jeff Sessions–the one that supposedly instructs believers to follow even laws they dislike. That verse, which Sessions used to support the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, has  also been cited to support slavery and “the Southern way of life.”

Religious groups opposed to the policy found and cited their own biblical selections.

“The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt’ (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).”

Since Trump’s election, a casual review of Facebook posts hurling biblical quotes back and forth would suggest that Republican and Democratic Christians own very different versions of the Bible. (Not that the Bible should even enter into a discussion of civil law in a nation that separates Church and State…)

On the issue of immigration, until he was forced by public outrage to moderate the policy, Trump had insisted that his administration had no choice but to separate children from their parents, because it was “a law” and his administration enforces all the laws. 

Speaking of cherry-picking….

As Howard Gleckman recently wrote for Forbes,

Question: What does the Trump Administration’s policy decision to separate immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border have in common with its policy decision to refuse to enforce IRS curbs on church involvement in political campaigns?

Answer: Nothing.

As Gleckman noted, the administration’s insistence that the law required the separation of children from parents was somewhere between dubious and inaccurate.

But the Administration’s absolute claim that it must enforce laws, even if it disagrees with them, turns out to be somewhat…situational.

Twice in the last three weeks, in formal remarks, Vice President Mike Pence said the Administration would ignore another statute: The Johnson Amendment that bars 501(C)(3) non-profits, including houses of worship, from participating in political campaigns for, or against, a candidate.

Pence could have not been more explicit. Speaking to the Family Research Council on May 25, he said the Johnson Amendment “will no longer be enforced under this administration.” He repeated the vow in a speech to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention last week.

So let’s summarize the delusional state of “leadership” in our country, where the administration picks and chooses its realities:

  • The administration enforces all the laws except those Mike Pence’s Bible doesn’t agree with. (What First Amendment?)
  • The “scientists” relied upon by administration climate-change deniers are sure that the warnings of the other 97% of scientists are bogus.
  •  Larry Kudlow, the President’s current “economic advisor” plucked from Fox News, says the Republican tax bill is responsible for the (non-existent) decline of the deficit. (The deficit and the debt are actually exploding–but not, evidently, in Kudlow’s alternate reality.)
  • Spitting on our longtime allies and cozying up to our enemies is putting America First.

As Kurt Vonnegut would say, and so it goes…..