Politics. Is there a place where we collectively send rich and talented, or somewhat talented people when they have nothing left? Its hard not to acknowledge. After all, there must be something of the imminently cruel, somewhat voyeuristic attitude embedded in the modern psyche since we continue to witness the experience of the humiliation of others and there metaphorical death. At some point, we are haunted by ourselves which gives rise to creating the circumstances for this death. Perhaps we are the haunted people that create the situation of the suicidal and provide all the apparatus for enacting this drama. Anything for a vote.
Christopher Hitchens:After a protracted arid interval, the state’s immodest governor, Rick Perry, announced that he was using the authority vested in him to call for prayers for rain. These incantations and beseechments, carrying the imprimatur of government, were duly offered to the heavens. The heavens responded by remaining, along with the parched lands below, obstinately dry….
…Perry did not, of course, suffer politically for making an idiot of himself in this way. Not even the true believers really expect that prayers for precipitation will be answered, or believe that a failed rainmaker is a false prophet. And, had Perry’s entreaties actually been followed by a moistening of the clouds and the coming of the healing showers, it is unlikely that anybody would really have claimed a connection between post hoc and propter hoc. No, religion in politics is more like an insurance policy than a true act of faith….
…He has enough chops as a vote-getter and—whatever you think of the Texas “economic miracle”—as a “job-creator,” that even his decision to outbid all comers on questions of the sacred and the profane can be made to seem like the action of a rational calculator….
It seems we manhandle the political figures so as not to be suspected of feminine inclinations. To this end, no shreds of tender feeling are to be permitted. All these candidates are a kind of self-portrait representing unresolved relationships, mental disturbance and the grotesque psyche of our other. They function as a double for the electorate; the ugliness of unexpressed guilt that we view, as well as an ugliness of desire, a twisted idealization which is why as figures there is a primal impulse to mutilate them, and why, in turn, we feel somewhat mutilated and ugly, even degraded, when we see them. We cannot help but take them seriously, ultimately, as self representation.
…And this is what one always wants to know about candidates who flourish the Good Book or who presume to talk about hell and damnation. Do they, themselves, in their heart of hearts, truly believe it? Is there any evidence, if it comes to that, that Perry has ever studied the theory of evolution for long enough to be able to state roughly what it says? And how much textual and hermeneutic work did he do before deciding on the “inerrancy” of Jewish and Christian scripture? It should, of course, be the sincere believers and devout faithful who ask him, and themselves, these questions. But somehow, it never is. The risks of hypocrisy seem forever invisible to the politicized Christians, for whom sufficient proof of faith consists of loud and unambiguous declarations. I am always surprised that more is not heard from sincere religious believers, who have the most to lose if faith becomes a matter of poll-time dogma and lung power.
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