by Nathan Gower, staff writer
American politics are at a laughably low level of credibility. Radical ideas are nothing new in Washington, but it’s never been this extreme. The nation’s financial situation is so dire that Apple Inc. sits on a larger cash reserve than the federal government. One would think times like these would lure out the nation’s best and brightest.
Instead, we’ve been given a traveling circus of extreme rightists. The media can’t help but satirize the GOP presidential field, and even the most radical within the American right have struggled to find anything positive to say about the presidential candidates.
Televangelist Pat Robertson, whose controversies have drawn their own headlines, was recently quoted in Rolling Stone as saying, “Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off.” Robertson’s plea is terrifying when we consider that this is the same man who justified September 11 and Hurricane Katrina as natural disasters serving a purpose of God’s will. That someone this extreme is telling these candidates to “lay off” is revealing of their improbability of being elected.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump grabbed the media’s attention with his interest in hosting a presidential debate. This walking toupée is the same person that provoked President Obama into publicly revealing his birth certificate on accusations that Mr. Obama is plotting some radical fundamentalist terror plot to destroy the United States.
What is most terrifying about these rightist celebrities is that, where once Trump and Robertson were extreme and loony enough to be written off, they now seem moderate in comparison to the majority of the GOP’s radical presidential candidates.
For example, Rick Perry’s most recent campaign ad articulates his vow to end Obama’s “war on religion,” which he clearly understands as Christianity only. His rationale: “There’s something wrong in this country when gays can openly serve in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” This “oppressed” group of Christians, whose rights are being attacked by the all-powerful gays, account for a measly 78.4 percent of Americans according to a 2007 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll. This leader of the oppressed is the same person that advocates for an electrified fence along the border of Mexico and the United States and who has put to death several hundreds of prisoners under the death penalty.
As if Perry’s radical Christian-right policies weren’t enough, Michele Bachmann’s extreme social conservatism attacks just about everyone that isn’t white, married, and Christian. This proponent of traditional–and by that she means heteronormative–families has grabbed headlines recently as her views on gay rights were challenged by preteens. The terrifying part: the preteens won. Either our public education system has made tremendous progress in the past few years, or Bachmann’s baseless ignorance on gay rights is being exposed as the hate speech that it is. The fact that we’re even considering someone like Bachmann when this country is at such an extreme low point only adds insult to injury.
Even the “electable” candidates, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, are hard to promote. Gingrich is a politician’s politician and has been exposed as just about everything the middle class is against. Romney, meanwhile, can’t seem to stop flip-flopping on issues to the point where he might start contradicting himself on what he ate for breakfast.
What I’ve said so far is nothing new. All I’m trying to address is that we simply shouldn’t allow these candidates’ ridiculous claims to carry the weight they have. We need to reclaim politics and say that this ridiculous traveling circus has no place in politics. Let the Bachmanns and Santorums of the world go back to being irrelevant, and let’s reclaim politics as a forum for meaningful change.