Recently I have heard the term “value voters” bandied about. I did not really think much about it until this past Saturday when Steve Bannon spoke harshly at a “Value Voters Summit”, and then I began to wonder … what, exactly, are value voters? The short answer I found is …
“One who participates in elections and makes decisions based on issues such as religion, abortion, capital punishment and same-sex marriage.”
In other words, one who places their own personal morals above the good of the nation, the security of the world, and the important issues that should be the business of government. Banning same-sex marriage is, to the value voter, more important than protecting the environment, the air we breathe and the food we eat. Banning abortion takes precedence over international security. And prioritizing one religion over another ranks higher than human rights.
And the Values Voter Summit at which Bannon spoke on Saturday is …
“An annual political conference held in Washington, D.C. for American social conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States. The Values Voter Summit is hosted by the Family Research Council. There are numerous conservative organizations sponsoring or otherwise participating in the conference. In the most recent summit, 38 organizations and an audience of 2,000 people participated. The summit is usually held in September or October of each year.”
The all-star cast of previous summits have included right-wing commentators and conspiracy theorists Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter. All three of these have received Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award … need I say more?
This year, Steve Bannon, Trump’s friend, ‘former’ chief strategist, and advisor, spoke at the summit and ‘declared war’ against the GOP at the ballot box in next year’s midterm elections.
“This is not my war. This is our war. And y’all didn’t start it. The establishment started it. But I will tell you one thing — you all are going to finish it.”
Bannon’s two main targets were Senators Bob Corker and Mitch McConnell. Corker, you may remember, spoke out last week, saying that republican lawmakers were privately concerned about Trump’s ability to lead the country, and later tweeting, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift …” Bannon said the incumbents in Congress must now “come to a stick [microphone] and condemn Senator Corker.”
Since leaving the White House in August, Bannon has returned to his post as chairman of Breitbart and made it his express mission to purge the Republican Party in the 2018 primary challenges to sitting members of Congress. His efforts are reportedly being backed by conservative hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer, a real piece of work in his own right.
White supremacist and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka also spoke at the summit …
“The left has no idea how much more damage we can do to them as private citizens, as people unfettered. 2018 will be the crucial year. This is the year. Steve has declared war on the RINO class as have I and we must tell them we have had enough.”
Not one to pass up an opportunity to be in the spotlight, Trump also spoke at the summit, the first sitting president ever to do so.
“We know that it’s the family and the church — not government officials — who know best how to create strong and loving communities. We don’t worship government, we worship God.” (Somebody shoot me now, please?)
Trump continued to toot his horn and condemn Congress for failing to rubber-stamp his own agenda, but nothing that we haven’t all heard before, so I won’t waste mine or your time repeating it ad nauseam. What I would focus on, however, is the ideology of the ‘value voters’ who attended this conference.
This was a group, at least some of whom believe that God placed Donald Trump in the White House. My snarky self simply cannot resist asking the question, do they believe, then, that Vladimir Putin is God? This is a group who place their own religious values far above truth and integrity in government, environmental protection, global security, human rights, justice, international relations, crime prevention, healthcare, the economy, or any of a number of other serious issues facing our nation today. These are people, evangelical Christians, as they refer to themselves, who believe this nation should have a state religion: Christianity. They have no room in their hearts for those who are Muslim, Jewish, atheist or agnostic. Many have no room in their hearts, even for those who are Hispanic or African-American. I am not speaking of Christianity as a whole, but this relatively small group of ‘value voters’ who choose to push their religion upon us all, to the detriment and exclusion of all else.
Bannon, Gorka and Trump knew their audience, knew what would sell. But they also spoke to a much larger audience: We The People. This writer found their message ridiculous, but also chilling, for if they have their way in November 2018, a large portion of Congress will be their hand-picked choices from the radical-right. Soldiers for Bannon’s army in his self-declared “war” on the 64% of us who do not support Trump and his ideology – an ideology that is the opposite of “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. That is the government that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed “shall not perish from the earth.” If Trump, Bannon and the value voters have their way, I fear it will perish after all.