The Republican circus' Big Top is beginning to fill with snarling dogs, rooting hogs and booming frogs fighting to get into the center ring -- the kind of things once relegated to side shows so as not to frighten young children and more 'sensitive' viewers.
Rick Perry is, as I write this, now announcing his candidacy from the State of South Carolina, where the First Civil War started with the booming of cannons 150 years ago. The Cold Civil War is heating up and so is the rhetoric. Rhetoric just as emotional and just as full of vain invocations of the common divinity. "It's time to get America working again" he says as though his party hadn't presided in ZERO job growth in the eight Republican years and as though we haven't had significant job growth since. Has Perry suggested anything positive or anything other than blind faith in what got us into this mess? Remember he's the guy who thinks the climate responds better to prayer than to carbon dioxide levels. So far it's still not raining in Texas.
Not all the candidates, however, are quite so willing to engage in such a pitched battle on an even field. All the likely female contestants for instance -- like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich seem to prefer to come out slapping and eye gouging but should anyone be so unfair as to ask such inappropriate, unfair "Gotcha" questions as "which newspapers do you read" or just what Mrs. Bachman meant when she said:
"But the Lord said, 'Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.' "
Perhaps since she wears her religion, not only on her sleeve and on her shield like a crusader, but constantly suggests the superiority it gives her along with the right to make peremptory statements about how the rest of us live our lives, it's an appropriate question. It's the same Question President Carter asked of the Southern Baptist Church and not liking the answer, quit the church in which he was raised and spent his life. She'd have us believe she only meant "respect" contrary to the literal word she's so eager to worship. But she didn't say respect, now did she? Nor did the word of God she thinks she's quoting.
Suggesting both that it's offensively inappropriate for anyone to ask clarification of Bachmann and that her explanation would be far too nuanced for us heathen to understand, we have Roland Martin writing on CNN.com today.
Martin tells us she was asked by Byron York:
"As president, would you be submissive to your husband?"Forgetting the "Billary" gambit directed against Bill Clinton, Childe Roland hesitates not a bit to be offended on behalf of Biblical literalists and for the shy, sensitive and ever-so-subtly nuanced Bachmann who brought the subject up in the first place.
I don't know how old Roland Martin is; whether he remembers the Republicans' question as to whether John Kennedy would obey the Pope instead of the Constitution or whether like the other hand-waving, special pleading, smoke and mirrors artists he can only take refuge in fog shrouded ineffability when someone asks a damned good question he wouldn't hesitate to ask of others.
It's a question asked only because she's a woman, asserts Martin rather tautologically. After all, men aren't ordered to obey their wives in the old books some people confuse with the US Constitution. Apparently he thinks men aren't even asked similar questions about the conflict between their beliefs about the the legitimacy of government, their credos and their ability to administer secular laws in a secular country they may disapprove of.
He's quite wrong of course. These questions are asked and not just by me -- and they are important questions to ask of a party that is insisting in ever louder voices that secularism is a problem and that the country rightly belongs only to those with suitable church affiliations.
(Cross posted from Human Voices)