Fundies in the Voting Booth…

…or, “Don’t Whack Off in Wilmington”, and Other Tales….

By: W.D. Noble

 

“Who are these people?”

I asked this question the other day of a friend of mine, after discussing the outlandish bullshit coming from the ultra Religious Right. We were sitting in this place, one of my favorite breakfast-places in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Sitting there among the aging hippie boomers and the pierced/tattooed ‘Portlandia’ crowd who were busy getting their grub-on via French omelettes and organic side-salads with plenty of Stumptown Coffee’s finest, it was a little hard to view the world as spinning off its sociopolitical axis.

“I don’t know, Will. I honestly don’t know.”

She was telling the truth – neither she (or most others here in the People’s Republic of Oregon) have any idea what these people are about. The Religious Right has a guilty-pleasure allure to those of us who are fascinated with their efforts to destroy what’s left of American culture, though – it’s akin to watching a train-wreck, or seeing someone blow their lunch after riding the Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair – we’re horrified; yet compelled to watch.

“Well, 1/3 of America – if the figures I’ve read are right, and I believe they are – are ultraRight Evangelicals. Another 1/3 tend to vote that way. Put ’em together, and it’s a miracle Obama’s in office. The country’s been making an inexorable move to the Right ever since 9/11.”

She nodded, then sipped more coffee. The look on her face told the story – like so many, she felt helpless to really do anything about the onslaught of Fundies like Rick Santorum, the homophobic rantings of people like David Fischer and Rick Barber, plus the full on race-to-the-bottom in American education, courtesy of the early efforts of R.J. Rushdoony and carried on by legions of homeschoolers as evidenced by the Creation Museum of Ken Ham and the wholesale rewrite of textbooks by the state of Texas.

“I read the other day that the city of Wilmington, Delaware passed a resolution calling on Congress to declare sperm the same as eggs, and give them ‘personhood’ rights. I’m hoping it’s a joke. Otherwise, anyone who whacks-off in Wilmington could go to prison for murder.”

Understand something. My friend is an educator. We went to college together. She teaches English composition at one of the local high-schools, and is underpaid by any standard, especially considering that she completed her master’s at Reed College, one of America’s best private schools.

Reed is an accredited college. If Rick Santorum, the Fundies’ darling in the Presidential race has his way, that won’t be the case much longer – he’s in favor of pulling accreditation from any college or university which doesn’t have an equal number of ‘conservative professors’ to counter the ‘liberal influence’ of America’s higher-educational institutions (now, just how he’d do that is beyond any thinking person – the notions of ‘liberal’ vs. ‘conservative’ have nothing to do with teaching a set of facts – but that’s rather Santorum’s point, after all. He’s not interested in facts – he’s interested in seeing that his brand of religion gains primacy in America). This, of course, does not sit well with my friend.

“They’ve rewritten history,” she said. “They’ve rewritten science. And, they have people who believe them.” Her voice had a resignation; it was like hearing, “Everyone now believes the earth is flat.”

It’s not just outfits like the Creation Museum and Liberty University which is in the vanguard of rewriting history and science. For every Fundie ‘college’ spouting a young-earth paleontology or a ‘Christian nation’ history of America, there are several like the benignly-named Discovery Institute, which publishes books like “The Devil’s Delusion – Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions” (authored by a self styled ‘thinker and raconteur’ without a smidge of credentials).

This sort of thing goes a long way toward legitimizing the Right’s otherwise-indefensible positions on science and history – they can say “See! We have think-tanks, just like you do! Thing is, they support our position!”

(I’ve written several times about the long history of the far Right and the Christian Fundamentalist movement in America, and their anti-intellectual stance; it dates back to before the Revolution, and traces its origins to the border-ridings between Scotland and England, where mistrust of an educated populace is endemic.)

America’s first colleges were religious. These gave rise to a tradition of accrediting schools of pure religion right alongside real educational institutions. As a consequence, arguments which should have been put to bed over a century ago are still alive and well; Fundies now look through a warped lens at the past – a past they do not understand – where life was simpler because ‘God’s laws’ ruled the nation.

“They also vote”, my friend continued. “They vote.”

And why not? They believe, like some isolated cargo-cult which believed that if they just made the right marks on paper that aircraft would appear by magic and drop parachutes full of Spam, condoms and bubblegum on their island. If we only ‘turn back to God’, then crime will stop; the economy will correct itself by magic and there will be perfect harmony. The best way to ‘take America back’, they believe, is to elect someone like Santorum, who believes the same thing.

Yes; they vote.

And, they vote not just for people like Santorum. By default, they vote against knowledge – and that’s why Fundamentalism in America is not a harmless practice.

When one asks, “What harm does it do, that these people believe the earth is 6,000 years old; that the Founders intended America to be a ‘Christian nation’ with other religions suppressed, and that homosexuality is a ‘treatable disease’? What harm does it do that they have their own museums; their own schools; their own culture? Does it really hurt me that there’s a dinosaur model wearing a saddle in Ken Ham’s Creation Museum? Does it hurt me that David Barton wants a theocracy in America?”

Yes, it does.

“Do you think Santorum really has a chance?” My friend had finished her coffee. The bill was paid. We were walking toward our respective vehicles in a light rain.

“Yeah, he does. If he can force a floor-fight at the convention, he can wind up with the nomination. If he can put the fear of ‘God’ – and Obama – in enough marginally-literate people in America, yes – he can get elected.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said.

_________________________________

The odds don’t look good. For every theologian like Francis Collins, there are dozens of Fundies and powerful ‘think tanks’ like the aforementioned Discovery Institute, and the momentum appears to be against the enlightened and genuinely educated.
Meantime, people who are influenced by these people and who view voting for Fundie candidates as somehow returning America to a ‘better time’ are clueless enablers, engaging in the cognitive dissonance of belief.

Ad interim, Santorum’s star is on the rise. It remains to be seen, as they say, whether he’s got the staying-power to win a nomination and get himself elected – but from here, the view is depressing.

Don’t whack off in Wilmington.

 

You can read more from W.D. Noble @ http://astranavigo.blogspot.com/

About astranavigo

Astra is one of the clever monkeys occupying space on the Third Planet From The Sun. While it was an early wish of Astra's to be one of the first to go to Proxima Centauri, he knows this is not to be; instead, you can find him here (some of the time) using simple tools to create communication. Holding up a mirror and saying 'Looky! Mistofer Emperor! Y'ain't wearin' no clothes!" is but one of the services he provides here. Others are subverting prevailing wisdom, peeing in people's Cheerios, trashing on their Imaginary Friends (he does this a lot,) and shifting paradigms without benefit of a clutch. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he hopes he'll never have to learn the true meaning of some of his dystopian fiction.

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9 Comments on “Fundies in the Voting Booth…”

  1. “Don;t whack off in Washington” you say? Tell me this – why do we even *need* Washington? What exactly do the political class do besides give huge subsidies and bailouts to big business, send its troops to go kill people they feel “threatened” by (and by “threatened” I mean “the desire to take their resources and wage war for the sake of the MIC’s continued profitablity”) and subject the people at home to arbitrary mandates (and arrest or kill those who refuse to comply with them)?

    Regardless of who the winners of the upcomig elections are this will continue to be the case – the only question is what justification they wil invoke to keep on doing this (will they do it because “the intangible sky deity says so” or will they do it “for the good of humanity”).

    Fuck Washington and its fascist political class – I do not recognize their power over me and mine and if other regular people were smart they wouldn’t either…

  2. My bad W.D. – it was late when I typed that out. But my point still stands: just what the hell do *we* (the regular people of the world) need the politicians for – what is it they do that we can’t do for ourselves (besides fuck us over, that is…)?

  3. Actually, I’ve been hearing that America is waking up and growing bored with the extremism of the religious right, these days. Many have realized they’ve completely overstepped their boundaries, and even those who claim Christianity as their central foundation have been turned off by some of the whacked out philosophies behind these folks. I think most people are more level headed than to follow the extreme ideas of these people.

    That doesn’t mean they don’t believe in the fringes of their ideas, but they have seen how odd these people are, lately; and how far they will take their need for control and that is scaring people. This is why Santorum was falling so far behind Romney.

    I’m not saying that these Fundies aren’t working hard to glean support, but I think they’ve pretty well reached their max in seeking the control darlings of our nation. Religion is losing its influence and American commitment to over-the-top Christianity is slipping. I think the people you keep fearing are the 1/3 born again Christians who are still pushing ahead.

    I think part of this has to do with the fact that the white Christians are soon to become a minority and with that, their hate of many minorities will have to be less overt. And Christian fundamentalism is based on a high degree of racist theory.

    Look at the Tea Party membership. It hasn’t generated any long standing candidates of merit. They’ve had short bursts in Fundamentalist areas of popularity and then it has petered out as they moved about America. But I think anyone who has watched this and watched Obama is putting their smart money on Obama for re-election. Will that fix things? No. But it is the feel-good solution, compared to the schizophrenia of the religious right.

    Google the words, “boredom with reliious right” and you’ll get a feel for what the majority of Americans are thinking. They may not be a vocal majority, but they are dedicated to keeping the pathology of the Fundies out of their lives.

  4. Santorum already bowed out as of today. With Romney the likely candidate (since Ron Paul looks like Emperor Palpatine and is just about as trustworthy) it’s likely Romney is the nominee. Which means Obama is probably going for a second term.

    It’s time for us to wake up from troubled sleep. The Fundie Nightmare is over. Now join the greedy corporate billionaire reality.

  5. @ The Late Mitchell Warren

    “It’s time for us to wake up from troubled sleep. The Fundie Nightmare is over. Now join the greedy corporate billionaire reality.”

    Sounds like a nightmare either way for those who still put their eggs in Washington’s basket – I’m glad I divorced myself from this cancerous system some years back…

  6. “Religion is losing its influence and American commitment to over-the-top Christianity is slipping. I think the people you keep fearing are the 1/3 born again Christians who are still pushing ahead.”

    Jen, for some time I’ve said that Romney was the likely candidate. What had a lot of us very, very concerned is the concept of a brokered convention, where Santorum could have created an audience and support disproportionately greater than his core.

    It’s quite true that religion is losing influence in America – this is always a problem with extremist movements, because they tend to get desperate as their influence wanes.

    As to minorities, there are more of them which support this sort of thing than you might think.

    “The Fundie Nightmare is over.”

    Not so fast, Mitch!

    They’re still very, very well-financed, focused, and single-minded. That’s a dangerous combination.

    As to the corporate billionaire reality you mention – that was a safe bet, all along. They always win. Regardless….

    -W

  7. I agree that “The Fundie Nightmare.” or something like unto it will never be over.

    Mostly I think it is because there is a great appeal to the struggling masses in the magical thinking presented to them.

    Also I think your opening points out exactly why some of the poorest, most debased people make the seemingly inconcievable choice of supporting the exact programs that will hurt them the most.

    It’s because they see liberals as people who have time to sit in organic restaurants eating organic eggs and discussing lofty ideas. Coal miners don’t have that kind of time or money, farmers don’t have that time, factory workers don’t have that time.

    The thing is the people that need to understand how much they are being hurt just don’t relate to hearing someone is discussing their dilemma over Portlandia’s finest coffee. It kinda pisses them off.

  8. @ Grainne,

    I see what you’re saying – most working class people have a poor grasp of political and economic philosophy (largely due to the almost non-existant “education” system the state runs – it’s job being to turn out drones psychologically conditioned to be good little slaves…), as well as have a hard time listening to people from outside their class due to cultural issues (values dissonence, perceived arrogance, irrational devotion to the causes they’ve been conditioned to accept without question, etc…): the end result being a people group that wallows in perpetual ignorance of how the world really works – a group that religious charlatans *love* to prey upon.

    However, the fact of the matter is that these people are just as powerless over the affairs of state as anyone else who isn’t a member of the political class or has the money to buy favors from them – the “elections” are just a bureaucratic rubber stamp for the actions that power is going to take with or without our consent: even if the working class did finally start voting for politicians with a more “left-wing” (I use quotes because I don’t believe there is a practical difference between the two “wings”) platform the agenda of the state would not be significantly altered – we would still be marching ever further towards a full-blown empire-building police state that intends to cull a large portion of the population once the resources start running low, but this regime would find a different set of justifications for its actions than the religious loonies would…

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