At the first Republican presidential debate to include Rick Perry, my stomach turned as the crowd cheered the fact that he has executed more people during his tenure as the Governor of Texas than any other governor (see the video here). Those who cheered this gruesome statistic are truly sick. It does not matter to them that some of those executed on Perry's watch may have been innocent. As it turned out, this was nothing. During the Tea Party Republican debate in Florida, the crowd shouted "yes!" and "let him die!" when the moderator asked how they would handle a hypothetical healthy 30-year-old who opted out of health insurance and then became seriously ill (see the video here). So much for the "culture of life," huh?
Celebrating the death of a terrorist was bad enough, but I can at least comprehend the impulse. But cheering government executions and calling for the death of someone who cannot afford to pay exorbitant health care costs is more than I can take. Is this really who we are?
While religion compounds this problem by allowing those who hunger for executions and the death of the poor to cloak themselves in its garb and thus be shielded from criticism, I have a hard time believing that religion itself is the primary cause of what we observed at these debates. I also recognize that what we are seeing is not really new, even if it often seems like it is getting worse. It appears that some have decided to embrace and celebrate the worst aspects of our animal nature.
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