Last night, as Bush voters were interviewed leaving the polls, they said the important issues to them were “morals,” and after that, terrorism. They spoke in the language of Bush advertising slogans, rather than personally detailed expressions. They felt like winners going in, and their faith in their god gave them that extra edge of certainty.
“Morals” is their code word for sex, all issues related to sex. Republicans are against sodomy and blow jobs in the Oval Office, against gay marriages, against women wearing the pants and men wearing peace signs, against intercourse outside of marriage, public sexual education and discussion, against breast displays on television, against dirty words said in public.
They believe that these issues, far more than any other, are what makes the difference between a good world and a bad one, a reason for hope vs. a reason to despair. It defines who they are more than any one of the other ten commandments. Class, race, nature, the origins of life and death— all take a far back seat to Janet Jackson’s pierced nipple or two men kissing in San Francisco. If they could eradicate sin, God would reward them. It’s sin that makes their world go round.
Now here’s the thing:Republicans have morality scandals coming out of their ears. There’s apparently no shortage of queers, perverts, adulterers, degenerate gamblers, drug addicts, alcoholics, family deserters, rapists, swingers, personal ad groupies, and prostitutes among them. A fair amount of them in the public eye were outed over the past year. They do everything that’s naughty ten times naughtier than anyone else.
And yet these exposes didn’t make a blip on the Church People’s radar.It wasn’t in their news feeds. They are hermetically sealed. If they did hear a rumor, they assumed it was vicious propaganda. Worst of all, if it was happening to their families, they either secretly died of shame, or actively started preaching redemption.
If you are in the one of these GOP-Churches, you can have a sexual past that would make a Castro Leatherman’s mouth hang open, and it doesn't’ matter one whit. You are forgiven, because you are pledged to the faith. You can roll in shit on Saturday and have it all washed away on Sunday. You have to say that it’s wrong, but you can actually do anything you want, over and over and over and over.
The GOP is a monster of decadence, with the self-assurednesss that only comes with elitism. Who can forget the squadroms of hookers who flew into the GOP convention from all over the country to service the affair? That convention partied like there was no end in sight. They got high, and delighted in every new kind and thrill. They reveled in pornography. And it’s all okay, because God is On Their Side. They make liberals look like a bunch of stick-in-the-mud celibates.
Evangelicals get their lapses like special tokens from the Almighty, because they do believe so intensely that they’re special. They’re chosen. They’re Daddy’s Little GIrl. They want parenting so bad they’re willing to to be spanked, over and over, as long as they get to be in Daddy’s lap. Daddy says they’re a winner, and Daddy doesn't like losers. Being a winner is what’s important, not what’s inside. You don’t have to think about what’s inside when God is on the outside, condemning the losers.
And terrorism, the new red/yellow/orange scare? People who said they voted for Bush because of terrorism are exhibiting that fresh white desire for the ultimate gated community. It’s code for My Dad Can Whip Your Dad’s Ass, with the corollary that if we don’t do what Dad says, there’s going to be trouble.
Those invested in terror-typing are steeped in racism so chronic and taken for granted that it’s literally unspoken in the mainstream media. The reason why Republicans didn't’ personally go into Ohio black precincts to challenge voters is because they would rather die than go into a black neighborhood and talk to anyone about anything. They are petrified. They don’t speak any more Spanish than is required to speak to servants because that’s how they see the ideal equation. Fundie Arabs are insolent competitors because they have the audacity to think that they are winners too, that Allah Dad is better than Christian Dad. We get to stamp them out because our Dad said so. Unfortunately, they feel the same way. What a thrilling contest!
When Dad lies to you and lets you down, you don’t want to believe it. It must be mom’s fault, or the other kids who didn’t play fair. You didn’t mean to let Dad down, but you must have, because when he gets mad, his wrath is awesome. It must be because he loves you, right? He would never hit you, or kick you in the stomach, especially when you’re small and he’s big, unless he had a good reason, right? It must be your fault. And he’ll leave you, just like everyone else did, if you doubt him. And then you’ll be a damned loser, just like all the others, someone who never got an education, never received care and attention a a steady hand, never felt like they were worth something unless someone else was worthless. It’s such a relief that the Church is willing to play Patriarch when traditional nurturing is out the window. We don’t have to worry about that now.
I am sick at heart. The human appetite for self-destruction is Super-Sized, insatiable.
I asked a friend last night if he feared for his kids, what they’re facing, and he said, “I just can’t think about that.” Then, this morning, I went to the public pool (closing soon, naturally) to swim, where a jubilant Bush-loving mom was exclaiming her pride in the locker room. She said that her six year old boy participated in a mock school election, and that he voted for Bush because “we don’t want to hurt his feelings and make him mad.” She thought that was so adorable.
Her son did voice one fear to her: he said, ‘Mom, other people said that if Bush wins, he’ll make kids go to war.” She laughed and assured him, “Honey, that’s because some people think 18 year olds are kids, but really, they’re not.” I wonder if she’ll be able to stop thinking of him as a child when his body comes home in a box.
It’s loathsome to wish pain and loss on those you disagree with, but I think it’s inevitable when faced with True Believers. What could I have said to that woman to convince her her joy is mistaken? Nothing. She won’t change unless she loses everything that’s dear to her, and secondly, that it becomes brutally clear that the queers and the colored people didn’t have anything to do with her loss.
Meanwhile, if her husband has an affair, she can blame sex. And if her boy grows up to be rebellious, she can scream morals. And if her credit card runs out and the Mexicans won’t wait on her anymore and she can’t get a job except the kind she used to sneer at, she can... what? Blame pornography? Apparently things have to get a lot worse before those excuses seem threadbare.