Monday, August 15, 2011
Michele Bachmann Parts the Red Sea with a Corndog
If you want to know what is really happening to this country, I've already said it many times before: the right wing of the Republican Party is staging a full-frontal government coup. It's been going on for some time now, one of the first signs of it going way back to the election of 2000, when Al Gore's Florida win was posted, and then suddenly withdrawn minutes later, from the electoral map board. Foul play then followed upon foul play and ultimately, the Supreme Court handed over the presidency to George W. Bush.
If you don't want to believe me that we are having a coup d'etat in the U.S., I recommend you watch the movie "Jesus Camp." Republican right-wingers have been training themselves and their children as Christianist warriors to take over the government for a long time. They make a big show of talking about the Constitution, but in reality, it's the Bible that is their final authority, the absolute, infallible word of God. The Bible is not just a book; it's "the total truth." If you saw snippets of Governor Rick Perry's "prayer meeting" just before he announced his campaign for the presidency, it was a scene lifted straight out of "Jesus Camp": people with their arms raised beseechingly in the air, eyes swooning upwards, tears streaming downwards. Don't think it can't happen.
"The man who laughs," Bertolt Brecht once wrote,. "just hasn't heard the terrible news." Michele Bachmann won the straw poll in Iowa. Maybe, like me, you didn't know whether to laugh or cry--and find yourself pointlessly wondering what the Beatles would make of this latest incarnation of their old fluff song "Michele"? Bachmann's current claim to fame, however, is probably fated to be a 15-minute, Andy-Warhol, ephemeral affair--ending almost as soon as it begins--now that the fiery Rick Perry, arch-conservative, big-guns governor of Texas, and Secessionist who deems social security unconstitutional, has made his grand entry into the race, upstaging her. Perry, who is definitely not Santa Claus, officially declared that he is coming to town--so you better not cry, I'm telling you why. To become a Republican president now means you have to NOT walk softly and you have to carry a Christianist big shtick. And, like it or not, Perry's shtick is definitely bigger than Michele Bachmann's. So wait for the sparks to fly.
Of course, as the cover story on her in Newsweek points out, Bachmann clearly flipped "the other middle-aged drab men running for the nomination" right off the board. So maybe she'll manage to flip Perry off as well. But meanwhile, if you want the really scary scoop on Bachmann, you need to read Ryan Lizza's profile of her in the August 15th New Yorker. He provides the context and background for Bachmann's meaty fundamentalism:
"Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns," writes Sara Diamond, the author of several books about evangelical movements in America. These movements, to whom Bachmann is now central, believe that a Biblical world view should suffuse every aspect of one's life. According to Lizza, while enrolled in 1979 at the O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Bachmann imbibed the fundamentalist content of essays published in the school's Law Review, and was inspired by writers like John Rushdoony, who has called for a pure Christian theocracy in which Old Testament law--execution for adulterers and homosexuals, for instance--would be instituted. (Sharia, anyone?) Lizza quotes Rushdoony condemning the secularization of public schools:
"With the coming collapse of humanistic statism, the Christian must prepare to take over, he must prepare for victory." Lizza adds that the success of Bachmann's campaign will rest partly on her ability to keep these influences, which she has talked about for years, out of the public discussion. In the end she refused, when he tried, to talk about them with him.
But since then, she was all over the talk shows on Sunday, looking beautiful and smooth as satin. True, she didn't breath a word about any of this theocratic takeover, and her answers were so practiced and predictable that, after a while, I was able to mouth them to the interviewers myself, along with Bachmann. After she won in Iowa, Steve Clemons wrote on the Huffington Post that "This straw poll result shows that a group of people are willing to place bets on people who have virtually no chance of really winning on a national ticket. My view anyway."
I wish it were mine, too, but it definitely is not. The way things are going, I think Obama has quite a decent chance of losing the election to one of these crackpots.