All right. All we have to do now is survive until January, and then the country will lapse back into political gridlock. Except for scary fights over continued funding of the federal government, nothing really bad is likely to happen in a split Congress. Nothing really good is likely to happen either, but that’s not a change.
The president seems to be testing out ways he can bypass not only the House, but also the Senate.
Trump doesn’t like the birthright provision of the 14th Amendment. That’s the part that says, with few exceptions, that if you were born here you are a citizen regardless of where your parents came from. The exceptions concern children of foreign diplomats for instance, who aren’t fully subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Trump has said he might try to vanquish the birthright provision by executive order. He’ll do that over a million peoples’ dead bodies. Those left alive will file lawsuits. The lawsuits will be epic. Songs will be written about them.
No way. Presidents don’t get to just repeal constitutional law. He can suspend laws temporarily in emergencies, but we aren’t in any emergency.
With the Democrats taking over the House, Trump’s chances of getting the Affordable Care Act watered down by law have ebbed. But on the same day as the election, even a day before he fired Jeff Sessions, Trump’s administration finalized new rules letting almost any organization that provides health care take a religious exemption from providing birth control.
When I was coming up, you almost always had to be a church to avoid a law. Nowadays, thanks to Sessions and Trump, and George W. Bush before them, you can just say, “That law there violates my religious ideas” and that’s it, even if you never really had a religious idea in your life.
This brings the Dunning-Kruger effect to mind; it’s the principle which states that with low ability comes a lowered ability to assess one’s ability. So incompetent people tend to think they are competent. Usually it’s thought of in terms of intellect. Ignorant people tend to not only not know how ignorant they are, they actually manage to convince themselves that their stray uninformed thoughts are flashes of genius.
The effect also applies to how people rate view their own ethics, morality, and lackthereof. The more a person is a lying, cheating, tax evading, corrupt, slithering slime monster, the more likely they are to think they’re the opposite of those things. The lyingest guy you know thinks everyone else lies more than he does, so by comparison he thinks he’s morally superior to them.
We live in a world where claiming one’s religious sensibilities are violated carries more weight than actually having any religious sensibilities.
A prize example is one of the few Republican wins to the House of Representatives last Tuesday, Mark Green:
Mark Green won in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District, years after giving a 2015 speech in which he criticized Medicare on the grounds that when people get healthcare treatment through the government they are deflected from seeking God.
He wants healthcare done the way it’s done in the Gospels. You get leprosy, you don’t go to a doctorl you look for a holy healer, and when he heals you, you’ll have found Jesus. Mark Green is the founder (and once CEO) of Align MD, which provides staffing to emergency departments of about 50 hospitals in 10 states. Of course, if Medicare funding were ever cut back substantially people would be forced to fall back on ER services, and gosh, it’s a good thing that companies like Align MD would be there to help them get the services they’d need.
Evidently, Mark Green is sure that his shallow reading of the Gospels is deep; therefore, he is deeply religious (Whereas people who support Medicare and want to see Medicare expanded are not).
Another application of the Dunning-Kruger effect of moral competence is displayed by three-fifths of the Alabama electorate, who just voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that declares that fertilized eggs have full human rights, because they can call any of the other two-fifths who might choose to get an abortion murderers.
The hope is that if and when the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, the moral majority can smugly, morally, send any women who somehow still manage to get abortions to prison.
Any such women should declare exemption from the law because it violates their religious morals.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
Check out the full Nov. 14 - 20 issue.
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