As I begin this essay, on the evening of Mother’s
Day, I have a very pertinent question: “Is Momma in the house?”
The American Right is now in the process of imploding upon itself. How can
we know, for certain, that it is about to tumble into a great, black hole of irrelevance
and absurdity? Because the “stands” it is now taking run diametrically counter to
everything it has ever claimed to hold dear. And the saddest aspect of its fall is that
the more it relies upon “religious leaders” for guidance, the less-Christlike (and more
downright cruel) it seems to become.
Take the issue of bullying in school, for example. Yes, take it, please. If
ever we doubted that conservatism is being run by a pack of overgrown, cowardly
boys, this is the matter that proves it. The political Right is now “standing up” for the
“right” of schoolyard bullies to torment other kids – if those kids have the misfortune
of being “sissy” boys or “tomboy” girls.
There may be at least a few tomboy types it would be better for the bullies to
leave alone. Indeed, probably the best remedy for anti-gay bullying is the beating
some of these would-be macho boys have taken at the hands of the more
pugilistically-skilled baby dykes. It has also been my observation that “sissy” boys
sometimes know how to use their fists. Or (at least when they’re a little older) that
they have boyfriends who are built like Tarzan and take exception to it when their
sweethearts are given grief.
The question so frequently found on the rubber armbands and T-shirts of
those in the fundy crowd, “What Would Jesus Do?”, seems to be of as little
importance to them on this issue as it is on so many others. Don’t the Gospels
recount the adventures of Jesus and His merry band as they made their way across
Palestine, setting outhouses on fire, tying cats’ tails together and beating up fags? It
would no doubt come as a surprise to many of these “Bible Christians” that “Love
your neighbor as yourself” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto
you” were not suggestions, but commandments.
Predictably, the Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole reasoning of today’s “Christian
Right” claims that measures to curtail school bullying are driven by political
correctness. There is much talk, in Right-Wing circles today, of a grand, nefarious
plot to “emasculate” America. Anybody who supports rights for women or gays,
according to this theory, wants to force all those budding John Waynes out there to
hang up their saddles and football gear and spend their time prancing around in pink
tutus and having tea-parties with teddy bears.
Pardon me, but I’ve known plenty of real men in my life – both gay and
straight. And not a one of them ever felt he had to make himself more manly by
beating up on people smaller and weaker than himself. What sort of a cheap, weak,
pathetic loser needs to bully somebody else around in order to make himself feel like
more of a man? Whatever he is, at that rate he will never be one.
And exactly what constructive life lesson is a young gay boy or girl supposed
to get out of being beaten half into a coma? Or, for that matter, a young heterosexual
who doesn’t feel the need to be constrained by a traditional gender straitjacket? If
Little Johnny grows up cooking crepes and growing orchids, instead of raping
strippers at frat parties, or if Little Janie becomes a firefighter or a preacher instead
of a stripper who gets raped at frat parties, would the world really be all that much
Making life even more miserable for kids who are growing up gay will not
“cure” them of being gay. No, not even a one of them. And no reputable scientist
can produce one iota of evidence to the contrary. Where are these people’s heads?
What form of creeping insanity has overtaken them?
Conservatism used to prize sound judgment. My dad was about as
conservative as they came, but I don’t ever remember him cheering on the idea of
letting bullies go unpunished (or, God help us, even being encouraged) at school.
Both my parents, and my grandparents, too, were proud to call themselves
conservatives, in just about every sense of the word. They would not have
recognized the illogical loop-de-loops being performed by today’s Right Wing as
either conservative or Christian in the least. As a matter of fact, they’d have been
certain – if presented with such an Apocalyptic vision – that wild-eyed, radically-
liberal hippies on drugs had taken over the world.
Conservatives used to value good manners. Grandma Heine would have
called such a code of politeness “good breeding.” I suppose that term is somewhat
politically incorrect today, but what she would have meant was that in her day,
people’s mommas and daddys taught them how to behave like civilized human
beings, instead of like chimpanzees in a ‘roid rage. Had anybody bullied any of her
ten grandkids at school, I would have given ‘em slim odds against that dignified little
Norwegian-American lady, stooped by arthritis to something under five feet tall
but surging with red-blooded, righteous indignation. Her people didn’t cross the
ocean in steerage, and the prairie in a covered wagon, to put up with any nonsense
from petty thugs.
The mothers who built this country weren’t wimps. Nor, for that matter,
were the dads. They were taught to honor their own fathers and mothers, to say
“please” and “thank you” and to excuse themselves when they had gas. Good
manners were not regarded, by any sane American of the Glory Years, as anything
that in any way weakened the population. And bullying, in any form, could never
have passed muster for good manners.
It should probably surprise nobody that war-mongering, money-hungering
“Christian leaders” have now discovered that bullying in school can somehow save
America. These are the same sages who can’t tell the difference between national
defense and mass murder. The Ayatollah Falwell, a traitor to this country if ever
there was one, actually went so far as to imply that the terrorists who slaughtered
thousands on September 11 of 2001 were doing the Lord’s work. If this country is
ever brought down, it will be by zealots like Falwell, the terrorist appeaser
extraordinaire. Like his blood-brother in religious tyranny, Osama bin Laden,
Falwell can’t tell genuine Christian morality from the basest thuggery.
What is going on in America today? Why have we allowed these mind-
numbed swamp creatures to take over our country? How can they claim they want
to “save the children” when all they really want to do is let them beat the hell out of
They say they need to save the children from gays, lesbians, bisexuals and
transgenders. Who on earth is going to save the children from them?!
It isn’t enough anymore, for the members of the masculinity-anxiety-plagued
“Christian” Right, that Jesus was a man. No, as you now hear in their seminars and
rallies all the time, Jesus was a Man’s Man. But in whose place did He stand, when
the bullies brought the crown of thorns, intent on spitting, mocking and having their
bully fun? It was He Himself who wore the blood, the spit and the thorns. And He,
as well, who prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” as He
writhed on the Cross to which they’d nailed Him.
That sounds a lot different, to me, than condoning sadistic behavior. Probably
does to you, too. But then, we’re not content to let Pastor Billy-Bob of the Jesus
Channel read the Bible for us. We read it for ourselves, so what the heck do we
Momma must not be in the house anymore. Perhaps she left in total disgust.
Or maybe she’s down in the basement, bound and gagged by the army of Lilluputians
running this country who call themselves heterosexual, God-fearing men.
They don’t really fear God at all. Therein, I strongly suspect, lies the
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