Are You Now or Have You Ever Been The Anti-Christ?

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It is rather like being a little bit pregnant, you can’t be. So it is with politics. Certainly you can have a day-to-day sort of passing ‘interest’ in politics as you work your way through the paper noticing what attractive eyes the young woman on Page Three has, or, yeah there was a Budget and they put up fags and what about cider! No, that is not the sort of politics I refer to. Politics, for me, is like nature, red in tooth and claw. If a fox were involved politics would be banned. It is a blood sport as sure as bullfighting. During Prime Minister’s or First Minister’s Questions there are occasions, all too few in the case of FMQs, when you want to shout: “Ole!” even when it is the Opposition scoring the point.

Such an interest, I believe, should transcend national boundaries. So, you aren’t anorak on the internal political dimensions of, say, the Ukraine, but at least you try to follow the thread of just where the Orange Revolution went. This brings me to the land of my fathers – the United States. We all should have more than a passing interest in the ‘lonely superpower’; perm any related cliché on this theme, because the United States has rocked and rolled our world more than any other player since 1940. It ain’t going to go away for a while.

So, there you have it. And, with my stall set out, I have followed the on-going health debate in the United States closely. I have probably followed it as closely as I followed Watergate.

It has been horrifying in its venom. Obama has been vilified as no other President since Franklin Roosevelt. George Dubya had an easy ride from the Democrats in comparison. The spearhead has come in large part from the spontaneous, populist ‘Tea Baggers’ movement, a grassroots uprising comprised of a ragbag of the mad, bad, disenfranchised and wildly libertarian. Tea Baggers will tell you Obama was not born in the United States, is a Muslim and probably from the planet Zog. In essence it is downright racism – just what is that black guy doing in the White House if he isn’t waiting tables? Their movement has grown from the dragons’ teeth sown by a disorientated Republican Party. The Party’s leadership has disgracefully abrogated its positions to unelected shock jocks such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News presenter Glenn Beck their pin-up girl is Sarah Palin. Desperately try to re-build an electoral machine, destroyed by Obama and the Democrats, to secure seats in the Congress they stood full-square against health reform. The internet is alive with talk of insurrection, of a civil war. The Republicans had no word of rebuke for Tea Baggers who spat at and screamed racial and homophobic obscenities at two Congressmen. And it will not stop.

The Republican leadership does not know where the stop button is. In the week Obama appears to have signed a deeply flawed health reform bill and Hillary Clinton is agreeing a substantial reduction in strategic nuclear weapon with the Russians a very disturbing Harris Poll has been published. Of Republicans polled 2/3rds believe Obama to be a socialist, 57% believe him to be a Muslim and, wait for it, 24% believe Obama maybe the Anti-Christ. Maybe the what? I’ll run that by you again. Yes, the Anti-Christ. I am not making this up. You couldn’t. In fact it is hard to ol’ ‘Tail Gunner’ Joe McCarthy demanding: “Tell me, have you ever been or are you now the Anti-Christ?”

Pollsters noted those holding these views tended to be without a college education, many had not finished High School. I was reminded as I read it of the words of the 19th century American educator Horace Mann: “Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.” I fear today such empty souls, as they bay for blood and misappropriate quotations from those such as Thomas Jefferson; think spilling blood and the Tree of Liberty, could be whipping the United States down a dreadful and dark road.
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