President Obama aged two decades in two weeks. (Who knows? Maybe Oil of Olay will ultimately win for that.) The national economy is out $24 billion. (And it’s not as if we can send the Koch Brothers an invoice.) Rational residents in Alabama, Texas and the Potato State must somehow live with the fact that both of their elected U.S. senators voted to perpetuate the government shutdown into economic Armageddon. The Chinese Government has a four-hour-plus political hard-on for which it should consult a physician. And odds are that the administrator in charge of hiring congressional stenographers is going to have to start flipping through stacks and stacks of resumes.
By now, you are probably aware that during the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to end the Tea Party hostage crisis to overthrow the world economy, House stenographer Dianne Foster Reidy assumed a pastoral position at the lectern and unleashed a bizarre religious diatribe:
“He will not be mocked. He will not be mocked. Don’t touch me. He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been, it would not have been—no!—it would not have been! The Constitution would not be written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ!”
Yes, the Government Shutdown did ultimately take a final turn that would seem even too much for a Kurt Vonnegut novel or Nicolas Cage vehicle. But for those of us who grew up in Christian fundamentalist environments—myself included—this was more a familiar matter than a laughing one.
According to a written statement provided to Fox News, Reidy claims: “For the past 2 and 1/2 weeks, the Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night and preparing me (through my reluctance and doubt) to deliver a message in the House Chamber. … That is what I did last night.”
Take about 30 seconds to consider where precisely this woman was standing. What if her deluded understanding of the Christian Paraclete had gone just a bit further south of Cuckoo-ville? Just how close were we Wednesday to an American Guy Fawkes Night?
Back in early August, I wrote an article, “What the Hell is Christian Fundamentalism?”, that attempted to justify an earlier statement I had made that “nearly one-third of our nation’s voters are members of the Christian right.” A number of people commented and contacted me to challenge my assertion. How could one-third of pigskin-loving, state fair-attending U.S. citizens across the Fruited Plain be that plain deluded?
It doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched assertion now, does it? 18 U.S. Senators and 144 U.S. Representatives voted to push us straight onto the pages of the Apocalypse of St. John. That’s nearly 20% of the Senate and 33% of the House.
To my mind, just as much a deluded fundamentalist religious malediction were the words of Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the shadow of the House’s escape from apocalypse: “There is going to be an all-out revolt in this country … And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it. … It is just a matter of time. We will prevail…”
“AN ALL-OUT REVOLT.”
I know we’re all exhausted. We as a nation—as a world—have been put through the proverbial political wringer. Trust me, I know the feeling! I grew up surrounded by people who received FedEx messages from the Holy Spirit without a moment’s notice, disrupting my everyday life. I shit you not: I was taught by these kinds of people that Wonder Bread is a satanic conspiracy. (Well, maybe they were on to something there.)
Enjoy your weekend, but I hate to break the news that that this has only just begun. This time it was a Confederate flag within inches of the White House Rose Garden. This time it was Larry Klayman ordering the President of the United States to drop his Quran and come out with his hands up. This time it was a U.S. Senator and former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate standing abreast noodle-headed semi-truck drivers, all within inches of inciting a riot against Uncle Sam.
What will it be next time?
And by next time I mean that sacred period of the calendar when all we want to do in the wake of eggnog fattening is just sit around and compare opinions of Super Bowl commercials.
Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger. But I’m telling you that I spent more than half of my life surrounded by people of this ilk. Fundamentalists don’t go away—especially when they’ve been humiliated. This. Badly.
You know that scene in Star Wars when Han Solo runs down the corridor, a rebel of intense bravery who has a half-dozen Stormtroopers fleeing for their cloned lives—only to suddenly find himself face-to-face with a brigade of the white-masked devils? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
And we’ll still be months off from November 2014 and the hope of squishing Tea Party bugs with steel-toed ballot boxes—if we’re even allowed access.
I pray—literally—that we can all look back in Spring 2014 and laugh about this article. Oh, that Arik Bjorn. What was he thinking?
But don’t you think the Obama Administration is having this conversation as we speak? (Don’t you hope they are?) What about the next time the redneck masses show up pressing the White House gates? What about the next time some madwoman goes Grand Prix between 1600 Pennsylvania and the U.S. Capitol? What about the next time the Koch Brothers open up the checkbook to rain down financial manna upon Tea Bag 501(c)(3)’s? What about when Ted Nugent and Meatloaf announce the Truckers Storm Constitution Avenue Tour?
We were mere inches away from the hallucinatory hoi polloi actually stepping into no man’s land. And 162 members of Congress tried desperately to push us there two nights ago. As did one former trustworthy stenographer.
All I’m saying is: enjoy your weekend. Catch the Dodgers-Cardinals game. It all starts up again Monday. President Obama surely must know this. I just hope he has one or two advisers on his staff who grew up surrounded by these xenophobic zombies.
In their minds, the Government Shutdown was just the beginning.
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