I am beginning to feel that the hysterics of the political and religious fringe this campaign season are an allegory of how the world will end - not by solar storms, flood , fire or locusts but by shrieks and a torrent of mindless babbling as people discover that the end is near. Nowadays, the news cycle is not complete without more reports from one apocalyptic dead-ender or another that demons are descending upon our bedeviled planet. And a lot of it is coming from people once thought to be sane enough to get elected.
From Arizona, for example, came word that the Republican secretary of state suggested he might keep President Obama off his state's ballot unless Hawaii provided irrefutable proof that Obama was not born beyond paradise. I thought we had been there the last time. Ken Bennett, the election boss, soon recanted but not before he moved to the top of the most-ridiculed list amid strong competition. The secretary of state, for God's sake!
Folks like Bennett have become desperate in sustaining the moronic cult of birtherism. He said he was merely responding to questions from his constituents. That made no more sense than to revive the old myth that there are alligators sloshing around in New York City's sewers. (They're not?) Oh, some diehard birthers want us to know in their end of days scenario that Obama's real father was named Frank Marshall Davis, who, alas, was a communist.
In Iowa, the so-called Republican Party has prepared a draft platform that calls for proof that a presidential candidate is a natural born citizen. And they are so impatient to instill purity in the Oval Office they want the proof in time for the 2012 election. The platform also wants to ban money for Planned Parenthood, end stem cell research and eliminate all school activities on Sundays or Wednesday nights, which they contend conflicts with Baptists' prayer meetings.
(None of this will matter if the planet disappears before the Republican convention in Tampa. We can hope.)
Alas, there''s more. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) questions Obama's birth certificate; Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) doesn't think that Obama is American "in his heart". In North Carolina a preacher named Charles R. Worley has topped the list of homophobes by demanding that gays and lesbians be penned up behind an electrified fence and left to die, adding that Obama was a "baby killer and homosexual lover." Other Obamaphobes more gently refer to him as a "half-breed".
The hate pouring out of some pulpits and along the circuit today could bend spoons. No matter. Who will need a spoon when the lights go out on all of us, including the Rev. Worleys, in the land of the free?