Monday, July 18, 2011

Bachmann Just Won’t Do

Michele Bachmann can never be president because she doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism:
Lord, the day is at hand. We are in the last days. You are a Jehovah God. We know that the times are in your hands. And we give them to you…The day is at hand, Lord, when your return will come nigh. Nothing is more important than bringing sheep into the fold. Than bringing new life into the kingdom…You have weeded that garden. The harvest is at hand.
Sorry, if you think America is going to burn up in the Apocalypse with all the other benighted sinners of this world, I’m not so sure you get my vote. Perdition is un-American. Besides, we don’t sin. Our country is nearly perfect by definition, or didn’t she get that far in elementary school?

So Bachmann thinks that nothing is more important than bringing sheep into the fold, eh? Nothing? Not even tax cuts? Deregulation? Eliminating the New Deal? Offshore drilling? Winning the war, honoring our warriors, abolishing public education?

Where stands Jehovah on the White House Easter Egg Roll, or the deification of Ronald Reagan, a graven image if ever there was one, even while he was a three-dimensional living being?

Bachmann’s primitive faith puts her at odds with true blue Americanism. In order to become president of USA Inc., it is, of course, absolutely de rigueur to profess a belief in God, but everybody knows you’re not really supposed to take it seriously. It’s strictly pro forma, like pretending to be happily married or liking sports. It’s just one of those things. The business community in general, and Wall Street in particular, doesn’t really want a fire and brimstone fundamentalist Christian in the Oval Office. Heavens no! A president waving a Bible around and screeching about the end times would scare investors and create uncertainty, to say the least. Mitt Romney will be acceptable to them only because his pro-business credentials outweigh his lukewarm Mormonism, which he politely keeps in the closet.

God is an accessory, like nice hair and a cell phone. It’s part of the required paraphernalia of an American political life. The peculiar demands of our demented, pop-culture democracy force you to toss some Jesus confetti around to pacify certain parts of the electorate once in a while, but that’s all. Don’t get crazy with it. The business of America is business, not saving souls. If Christ needs oil to fuel his chariot for the Second Coming, Exxon is interested, if not, not. In the meantime, keep the Rapture to yourself.

Bachmann, like most religious people, is a hypocrite. But of course she’s willing to shelve God’s commandments in favor of the temporal needs of Goldman Sachs and Raytheon, of Northrop-Grumman and ExxonMobil, if doing so will advance her career. And when the contradictions between her faith and her and ambition become too glaring, she does what most pious people do: she molds and manipulates the substance of her religion like a lump of Play-Doh until, as if by divine miracle, it perfectly conforms to her material self-interest.

But Bachman is more than just a shrewd and cynical opportunist. She sincerely believes in her neo-medieval theology. She has to. Religion offers the only professionally safe, socially acceptable way to justify her hatred of the gays. If you kick away the prop of faith, her homophobia loses its divine sanction and reveals itself for what is really is, crude and simple prejudice. Poor Michele could no longer hide behind Jehovah’s beard. She would be exposed as the mean and possibly crazy bigot that she is. Even the thickest, most bovine voter, in between episodes of America’s Got Talent and The Marriage Ref, might begin to sense something sinisterly amiss with that wild-eyed loon, even if she is fun to watch on TV.

Anyone who nourishes that kind of deeply rooted hatred against anything, be it against gays, Muslims, lawyers, mosquitoes, cabbies, broccoli, country music (guilty!), anything, lacks the temperament to be president and should never be entrusted with power of any kind (see Nixon, Richard).

No comments: