Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Idiots’ Delight

It was Isaac Asimov who once wrote in a column for Newsweek back in 1980 that “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

I can only imagine what dear old Isaac – were he alive today – would have to say about the likes of one Michele Bachmann, who has now officially taken over the mantle of idiocy from her sister in arms, Sarah Palin Shovel.

Bachmann, like the half-baked, half-term former governor of Alaska, has made so many ridiculous statements over the last few years, if she had been earning frequent flyer miles based solely on her outrageousness, she could’ve flown around the world three times by now. Whether it was her McCarthy-like call for the media to question the patriotism of liberals on Chris Matthews’ Hardball show back in ’08, or her botched attempt at a State of the Union rebuttal, or her failure to get her John Waynes straight in her now infamous Waterloo fiasco, the woman is the gift that keeps on giving, as far as progressives (and Saturday Night Live) are concerned.

But her latest gaffe may go down in history as her crème de la crème moment. At a rally in Florida last week, Bachmann said the following:

“I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now,” Bachmann continued. “They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending.”

A Bachmann spokeswoman later attempted to “clarify” the comments by suggesting that the Congresswoman was joking. “Obviously she was saying it in jest," Alice Stewart said. I don’t know which is more offensive: the idea that God somehow brings about natural disasters to reinforce narrow and myopic political viewpoints, or that these disasters are somehow comical to begin with. Frankly, given Bachmann’s history of inflammatory statements, I’m inclined to go with the former. If nothing else, it’s at least consistent with her other flubs, and quite frankly her warped and twisted belief systems.

And therein lies the real problem. I rarely share this part of my life in this blog, but as a Christian, I am offended at and deeply embarrassed by supposed Christians evoking scripture to justify their political agendas. For one thing, it’s not Biblically accurate or appropriate to do so. I could easily use last winter’s horrific snowstorms in the Minneapolis / St. Paul region of Minnesota to suggest that perhaps Michele Bachmann should resign from Congress. While that would certainly be a gratifying scenario, it would be no less wrong than her assertion that those who suffered and / or died in the wake of Hurricane Irene were somehow used by a judgmental and punishing God to warn us of our misbegotten ways. Sorry, Ms. Bachmann, that isn’t the God I know and worship. If he were half as petty and vindictive as you infer in your ignorant rants, I’d stay out of the rain and avoid overcast days, if I were you.

In all seriousness though, Bachmann isn’t alone in her self-justified and profoundly wrong interpretation of the Bible. You’d be amazed at just how many people within the Church subscribe to the same perverted ideas. Whether it’s believing, as her husband does and has stated publicly, that gays are somehow “barbarians” that need to be “educated” and “disciplined,” believing that God only helps those who help themselves (which runs counter to actual scripture, by the way) or believing that natural disasters are evidence of God’s wrath upon his people [in the months after 9/11, I was astonished to discover just how many “leaders” in the Christian community were using the event to suggest that the attack was allowed to happen by God so that we could repent as a nation] the level of ignorance among this lot is alarmingly high and continues to rise.

So this month, the Idiots’ Delight award goes to the distinguished and depraved representative of Minnesota’s 6th District for being totally bereft of moral integrity and so brazenly stupid. Congratulations, Congresswoman, you’ve truly outdone yourself this time.

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