Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Danger from the Heartland

Sometimes it's difficult to see the larger social trends that are swirling about. In this culture we have a saying that it's "hard to see the forest for the trees" - meaning that when we are too close to a phenomenon we can't get a good perspective on it. Yesterday's elections, especially in Oklahoma, clearly revealed the growing power of the evangelical Christian vote and the weakness of the youth vote.

In Oklahoma I am surrounded by evangelicals. I have them in my family, living next door, at the workplace, they are everywhere here. And they are voting. The churches have become a center of partisan (Republican) agitation. Every week there is a voting information table at my church and it is loaded with right-wing Christian propaganda. The pastor tells us to vote for Godly people and leaves little doubt as to who those people are. It's difficult to get through an entire day here without an evangelical trying to "save" me into his or her particular brand of Christianity.

Today I was talking with a friend who told me she voted for Bush because he "had a spiritual seed" and was "a born-again Christian". From previous discussions I knew she had no grasp of the issues but she never had a doubt about who she was voting for. She votes straight party Republican because, as she repeatedly says, it's the Godly party. I've learned from innumerable conversations with evangelicals that it is futile to try to have what I'd call a logical discussion on issues with them. To try is akin to speaking with someone who speaks an entirely different language. As they themselves say, they are not concerned with "the natural world" - the world the rest of us live in and think in terms of.

The deficit is ballooning, the war in Iraq is a mess, most of the world hates our guts and all this is trumped in the minds of evangelicals by the thought of a couple of dudes kissing.

Karl Rove was brilliantly conniving to enlist the aid of the evangelicals by bringing social issues into the political discourse. At first, the silk stocking Republicans (country club Republicans to some) balked at the strategy but Rove has proven that the evangelicals will fall for the bait on gay marriage and abortion and do, perhaps unwittingly, the ground work for the rich and ravenous who bankroll the cause (and reap the tax cuts). It's a nice combo for the Republicans. Disaster for America.

From here in the midst of the Bible belt, the evangelical hotbed of mid-America, I'm telling you the evangelicals are not only one of the greatest dangers to a liberal democracy in the United States but a threat to the world at large if they take control of this superpower. More on that later.

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