I’ve got a friend in Nashville–let’s call him Jake, because that’s his name–with whom I meet every week or so and have what I like to call “Gloom and Doom” time. G&D time occurs every week because, without fail, there’s generally one thing that happens that makes us both ashamed to be Americans. Generally speaking, these events are solely the fault of people in Washington—generally Republicans, but Obama’s contributed to our G&D sessions as well—and, though we’re usually at a lunch place having wings or Mediterranean, you’d think we’re hunched over some derelict bar knocking back whiskeys.
All that started at UT, around the time when the first recession hit and Bush announced the bailouts for the automotive and banking industries. We were at Einstein Brothers’ Bagels in the Art and Architecture Building (back when they had challah rolls there—oh, man, those were the days). I took the position that finally this meant that industry was coming under the warm embrace of The State, inexorably leading to a socialist paradise. Jake took the position that it was all cronyism. Jake was, of course, right, and I was wrong.
Then, when the health care bill was first getting rolling we were back at EBB and talking about all the ways that the Republicans were going to neuter this thing and render it the limping mostly-mess we see today. (Mind you, they don’t feel they did enough to it. You listen to the rhetoric of the right when it comes to the Affordable Health Care Act and it sounds like they’re the medieval Church screaming about infidels.) This time, I saw no way to give it an optimistic spin and was right there with Jake, groaning about how this was a pretty good indicator that, as long as Obama’s in office, the Republicans won’t work with the Democrats, and the Democrats will compromise their platforms as much as humanly possible.
And then, as many of these stories go, I went away to England for a year and had a good life. Then I came back and it all came crashing back to normality.
The reason I told you all of that is to get you good and used to the sorts of conversations we had, because this week’s G&D session was a fun one. Jake, who’s been teaching at a high school around town, was joking about how we need a Great Terror to get the country on track again. I didn’t agree, mostly because I have as one of my mottos, “Don’t be a dick,” but then that changed around one PM.
That’s around the time when I watched Rick Perry’s new campaign ad, titled “Strong.” It should have been called “Insane.” Have you seen this fucking thing? Look at it. Look.
Holy shit, right? Now, if you’re like me, you went “holy shit,” first when he used the term “gays” said like that, which I’ve only ever heard comedians use when they’re doing an act (well, that’s an exaggeration; I’ve heard it plenty of times, honestly–I live in the South, remember?), and then, second, when he pulled the dual-punch of the Christian persecution bullshit and “Obama’s war on religion.”
That’s what this is going to be about. The insanity of the sense of Christian persecution and then the further insanity of Obama’s war on religion. Because they’re interwoven, you see, and I’ll tell you why.