02/28/2014 04:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Not So Free Exercise of Discrimination


Last year Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, most likely a presidential hopeful, poked his finger in the eye of conservatives of his own Republican Party by telling them to end "dumbed-down conservatism" and to "stop being the stupid party." The evidence overwhelmingly points to a movement not listening, but for one moment at least, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer did. She poked her veto pen at her fellow Republican state legislators to kill SB 1062. In doing so, Governor Brewer proved she wasn't all lose screws and a total conspiracy nut with this beautiful quote, "let's turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans."

This is a welcomed and refreshing turn from the same governor that orchestrated Arizona's controversial 2010 immigration law SB 1070 by claiming there were severed heads littering the Arizona and Mexico border, and defiantly disrespected President Obama by poking her gnarly finger at his face during one of his visits to Arizona. Sounds as though maybe she has signed off of the culture wars her party has recklessly been fighting.

Others surely have not. There are way too many conservatives that see a war on their culture unfolding, and will not surrender their real estate to live under the big tent. For now, it is the "gay agenda" twisting their precious religious values in a never-ending slippery slope to hell. The Christian-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom was behind the push to pass this hideous anti-civil rights, anti-gay rights legislation, saying, "SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith." This tactic to use the first amendment's "free exercise of religion" clause was a clever ruse to rally the faithful, and those easily unhinged by the mere mention that some constitutional right is being usurped.

Another quiet story unfolding gives support to the stupid party's continued banging of the culture war drums. The Heritage Foundation, once a moderate and serious Republican policy think tank, is undergoing a major face-lift. Under the new leadership of conservative warrior Jim DeMint, many moderate members have or are about to leave in quiet distaste over the Foundations's new direction. This is a foreboding sign that the Foundation will use its conservative muscle and lead to continued acrimony and divisiveness within and outside the Republican Party. One can only wonder just how much and where exactly the money is coming from to bankroll this dumbed-down conservatism. No question folks, these efforts are not a free exercise and they will forever be recorded as playing the wrong side of history.

The civil rights movement of the past proved the power of the purse and the need to follow the money. Through targeted boycotts that stung financially, many folks were persuaded to abandon "de jure" discrimination. In reality, little can end "de facto" discrimination. Governor Jan Brewer, or anyone for that matter, can still in their hearts believe in a different kind of society, but capitalism is the true religion of the masses and eventually causes enough powerful folks to acknowledge that the cost of legal discrimination is too expensive. Remember back in 1993 when Arizona lost about $100 million from the National Football League relocating the Super Bowl because Arizona voted against enshrining Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. I think Governor Brewer remembers this.

Corporate America and its warlords may harbor and share distasteful attitudes behind the iron curtain of their war rooms, but they will follow the money and avoid the punishing financial stink of discrimination. Governor Brewer, not up for re-election and therefore not needing the financial backing of the "dumbed-down stupids," was liberated to surprise and do the sane thing. She understood that the free exercise of a bogus culture war is not so free. It is the 21st Century and time for America to again lead the free world. Everyone can vote with his or her wallets to bring greater respect. Now on to the Georgia battleground and beyond.