Sunday, June 7, 2009

Circle The Wagons - The Pagans Are Coming!!

Move over, Sean Hannity. Your worries about Obama and his suspicious references to all those American Muslims are tres passe. Newt Gingrich has topped you with his clarion call about those scary pagans coming to take you away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-ha...
"I am not a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our creator ... I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history. We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."
Oh, dear. Where to even begin with this latest Festival Of Foolishness from the serial philanderer? Maybe with the "citizenship start[s] with our creator" malarkey. Unless he was talking about one parent (creator) or more being a citizen, and a party to a live birth happening on U.S. soil, this hardly holds perspiration, let alone water. What is he even trying to say? That babies born in the U.S. should be attended by a properly fundie minister as well as an OB/GYN at birth, so that they can immediately be baptized, thus guaranteeing full citizenship rights? Jewish babies? Sorry - must not count. (Well, maybe half-credit, for the Old Testament.) You, and any Muslim or Hindu or Sikh or agnostic or atheist babies, will have to take an extra exam in kindergarten - maybe even a blood test, to be sure it runs red, white and blue - before you get your provisional green cards and can go on to first grade and learn to read on the taxpayers' dime.

"Surrounded by paganism," eh? What, has Newt been watching a marathon of Charmed re-runs on some cable channel between his Fox News speaking gigs? Or maybe the horoscope in the daily paper is secretly trying to control his brain (or, more accurately, the vestiges thereof)? Fortune cookies are sending him coded messages, perchance?

Flip open any typical phone directory, Newt, or check out any newspaper listing for church services. I can pretty much guarantee you that apart from the odd drumming circle at your local Unitarian Universalist outpost, you're not going to see page upon page of listings for mammoth, threatening pagan observances. Those of us who are out there - and paganism/Wicca/all-things-related are gaining adherents, that is true - are gathering in small groups in living rooms or parks, maybe a couple of times a month at most; or we're observing our rituals in solitude, in the back yard or during a walk along the beach; or, in my case, in my library, where my altar occupies a vintage sewing cabinet and my cast resin wall plaque of Demeter came from Pier One Imports...on sale.

Your typical pagan is no Satanist, no terrorist, nobody who is going to snatch your Bible out of your trembling hands and thwack you over the head with it, much less gun you down like that anti-choice wacko in Kansas. We're on the whole quiet, unassuming people who seem to remember the creed of "do unto others" and "judge not, lest ye be judged" far more than you and your Fundie Friends do.

So, what's up with the scaremongering? This isn't the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and you're not Cotton-bloody-Mather. Do you really think you can frighten people into your selected brand of faith (which just coincidentally jibes with your political platform, if not your actual personal behavior - imagine that!!) by pointing at a whole group of people you don't understand and yelling about how terrifying and dangerous they are, stopping only just legally shy of demanding that there be hangings forthwith?

You may be forgetting that it was, surprisingly enough, during the BUSH administration (a factoid which still blows my mind: I mean, who saw that coming?) that pagan veterans finally won their years'-long quest to allow their military headstones to display the pentacle as a symbol of their officially-, governmentally-recognized faith.

And yet, while Christian denominations far outnumber every phone book listing or announced potluck or jumble sale, Newt Gingrich, are "surrounded by paganism" and trembling in rhetorical fear.

What you are doing is twofold. On the one hand, you are trying to gin up outrage in the fundamentalist "base" within the GOP. Ooh, look here, these scary kinda-Goth-seeming people are going to take away your hymnals and turn you all into vampires when your backs are turned...if you don't vote the way I say.

It's stupid, and baseless, and sadly might actually play with a narrow element of that target audience.

The larger thing you are trying to do, with a larger audience, is cast yourself and the GOP as presently constituted as victims. Oh, woe is us. Look, we lost the House and the Senate and the White House. Now the nasty pagan Democrats are going to run roughshod over us and everybody who is sticking up for you, the ordinary working-class folks who depend on us (even though we stick it to you time and again when we're in power, by giving the ultra-rich and the corporations tax breaks and loopholes; but, if we didn't do that, you could never honestly aspire to achieve the same breaks, now could you?). They're going to destroy your life and your livelihood, and only I and my party stand between you and the Chaotic Void. So step up and vote against your own self-interest, because I say that any other course leads to damnation.

But the third thing you're doing, Newt - thankfully - is what so many of your other RW spinsters are doing in this post-Bush environment in which spin seems to be gaining so little traction.

You continue to expose the bigoted, self-interested, greedy, morally-corrupt, and oh-so-cynical underbelly of what today's GOP has become, with every single utterance.

Rachel Maddow has it pegged to a "T" in her "GOP-in-Exile" segments. Nobody, in the broader picture, is listening to you and your ilk. Nobody gives a shit what you have to say. Nobody feels moved to act on your non-policy policies or your budget proposals so devoid of actual numbers. With every one of these non-reality-based statements you all collectively make - hoping that they will work as well as they did during the past 8 non-reality-based years - you dig your party's hole a little deeper, as one that is out of touch, out of ideas, and out of its depth.

The current issues are the economy. Jobs. Climate change. International stability. The financial sector. The morepart of the electorate gets this, in spades. They're not about to get exercised about "encroaching paganism." That's like pointing to a shoddy paint job when the problem is termites. Excuse me. WAY bigger fish to fry.

Nobody's listening to this kind of crap, Newt. Nobody who matters or whose votes matter, at any rate. Somebody in the know even seems to have said so to Michele Bachmann (pity - she was becoming so reliably entertaining!)

But, please. Keep on keeping on in this vein. Continue addressing yourself to an increasingly marginalized constituency.

Every step you take along this path takes you further into the wilderness. And there couldn't be a better place for the kind of divisive, reactionary mindset you and your adherents represent.


Anonymous said...

Newton is positioning himself for one last run at the big time.

et said...

If you ask me, he's positioning himself in the outfield. I can't imagine anyone is giving him the remotest time of day.

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