Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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Lessons from 1994

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]swisscelt)

Or, why the "coming" theocratic movement in the US really is still coming, even if it seems alarmist to say so.

In 1994, a band of Republicans staged a "revolution" which resulted in the political shift of the House from Democrat- to Republican-controlled. The new Congressmen and women set out to work quickly, installing a platform which they advertised as the "Contract with America". Some key measures of the "Contract" found their way to law, and these young Turks in the House even succeeded in impeaching a President.

But the revolution was not to last. Some of the revolution's key leaders-- such as Newt Gingrich, who was then a Representative from Georgia-- fell from grace. The rest shied away from the spotlight that was then shone upon them from the media. Eventually, the movement was, so far as the American public can tell, relegated to the history books.

Now, 10 years later, one might ask if such a revolution could happen again. The answer is no. But the reasons why the answer is no are quite surprising.

The first reason is that the movement never completely went away in the first place. Representatives such as Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio (OH-14) were elected in the 1994 groundswell, and then went on to re-election after re-election. These Representatives are now finishing their fifth term in the House, and have been joined in both House and Senate by such conservative idealogues as Representative Robert Aderholt (AL-4) and Senator Sam Brownback (KS). Senator Brownback was actually one of the members of the House class of 1994, before he came to the Senate in 1996 to fill the seat left by then-Presidential candidate Robert Dole.

The second reason is that, unlike 1994, 2004 is a Presidential election year. Conservatives are bound politically to the fortunes [and misfortunes] of their President, and any Republican newcomer will be far more likely to be elected-- or dismissed-- on the record of President Bush than on anything they've done or plan to do. A third reason is closely tied to this second: With the Presidency currently in hand, there's no reason for Republicans to stage another "revolution".

But then, the first revolution wasn't about the Republican party, either. Sure, it was to some: To Gingrich, to his fellow Georgian [and member of the Class of 1994] Bob Barr, and to old guard Republicans such as Bob Dole, 1994 was all about tilting the balance of power back to the Republicans. But to others-- LaTourette, Brownback, and their supporters in such shadowy organizations as the National Reform Association-- the Revolution of 1994 was the dawn of theocracy in this country. The Republican party is simply the vehicle, just as the party was used as a vehicle for abolitionists and prohibitionists in previous generations.

These theocrats are unconcerned with party affiliations. Unlike Gingrich and Barr, they're unconcerned with the spotlight. Certainly, Steven LaTourette and Sam Brownback are not "household names". Their concern is with what they call "family values", which actually has as much to do with familial love as Mao's "re-education camps" had to do with education.

LaTourette, in particular, is a case study in how "family values" doesn't necessarily mean family values. Like Gingrich before him, LaTourette is currently facing a scandal where his wife is accusing him of infidelity with a staffer, as reported in Washington newspaper The Hill. [See http://www.thehill.com/news/102803/latourette.aspx ] However, you're not likely to hear about this; certainly not before 2005. Why? Well, one reason is LaTourette's lack of fame... he's unknown outside his largely rural Northeast Ohio district. Even in Cleveland, which is as close to LaTourette's district as Atlanta is to the former districts of Bob Barr and Newt Gingrich, the name "Steve LaTourette" is unlikely to generate much of a response.

This makes it much easier for lobbyists such as the aforementioned National Reform Association to help LaTourette fend off the negative publicity. In a worst-case scenario, the NRA (not to be confused with the National Rifle Association) can simply direct its attention to other, equally unknown legislators. This may be what's happening now: Despite LaTourette's strong affiliation with the NRA (his office has hosted them in Washington, where they are yet to build a permanent base), LaTourette is not presently a co-sponsor of the Constitution Reformation Act, which NRA pundits have called "more important than who occupies the White House".

Meanwhile, Brownback and others continue to bring forth legislation to support the Theonomists' goals. The text of the legislations are, at this point, not important; they're not likely to pass anyway at this point in time. What is important to the Theonomists is that they continue to be well-represented in Congress. They've waited 10 years to get where they are. If it takes another ten, or more, to get where they're going, it doesn't really matter to them. Such a gradual change suits their agenda better, anyway.

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