Call it the “War on Christmas” model of legislating. Or, if you prefer, think of it as Bill O’Reilly coming to Congress.
I’m talking about today’s action in the House of Representatives – in which the Republican House is taking the time to vote to affirm “In God We Trust” as the national motto.
Here’s how this works, whether it’s in the case of today’s vote or in the case of the GOP invention of the “War on Christmas.” Republicans flat-out invent a grave threat to something that isn’t in any danger — the national motto, or God, or Christmas, take your pick — and hope they can bait someone into opposing thecrusade. Even if they can’t, the rubes — and that’s what Motto Republicans are treating their constituents as, rubes — will fall for it and reward you for “saving” whatever it is that’s supposed to be under threat.
As Steve Benen, writing about today’s vote, put it:
Keep in mind, the entire House of Representatives will be spending time on this today for no apparent reason. “In God We Trust” is already the motto, and there is no effort afoot to change that. In effect, this resolution is largely intended to say, “Just in case anyone forgot, the national motto is still the national motto.”
Of course, what this is really saying is: we Republicans are protecting you from those liberal enemies of God.
One might be wondering: doesn’t the United States of America have another motto? You’re thinking of e pluribus unum — out of many, one — which was the unofficial motto until “In God We Trust” was adopted in 1956, and which still appears on the Seal of the United States. One can’t help but note that attempting to make a partisan issue out of God is not really in keeping with the spirit of e pluribus unum.
So perhaps it’s just as well that that’s no longer really the nation’s motto. It would be nice if we lived in a country that still deserved it.