10 December 2011

The United States “elects” a pontiff!

[The fifth essay in a collection titled 'Love notes to democracy', written during a visit to the USA in 2004 as a member of an international team of election monitors]

“Even God’s Kingdom is not a democracy.  He doesn’t stand for re-election.” Yes, an old quote and one whose humor is employed to heal the wounded and create a comfort zone for those usurping the franchise. 

One of the jokes doing the rounds before November 2 was that both John Kerry and George W Bush wanted to be elected for the first time.  Some were hoping that Bush would not be re-selected. Aaron Kuder a friend of mine from Ithaca, NY, referred to “this sad, re-selected, re-stolen November”, after Kerry “conceded”. 

But this is, if some of the pundits who have ventured to reason out the result are to be believed, god’s country.  The people were, according to them and the Bush, voting on God.  It was not a contest between George W Bush and John Kerry, but between the Religious Right and the Religious Wrong.  And the winner got to say who was right and who was wrong. 

My sister, however, contends that the pollsters got it wrong.  She had been polled after voting and she had said that sure, moral issues were the determining factor in her decision to vote.  She believes it is immoral to vote for George W Bush!  Well, if we forget, like the media networks, that a true reflection of voter sentiment was not obtained on November 2, then the majority of voters do not agree with her.  They elected a pontiff, Pope George the First. 

The Bush campaign got jets to write herald the second coming across the free and fair skies above Florda: “SAVE BABIES VOTE BUSH”.  How beautiful and inspiring, this unflinching celebration of the sanctity of life, one would have concluded.  Except that politicians indulge in shooting debating points, which are after all little more than half-truths.

Abortion was an “issue” apparently.  Bush, agent of divinity, was framed as the Holy Father of the Unborn Child.  A savior who is at once the issue of an immaculate conception, how wonderfully postmodern! 

It is worthwhile going with the Christian metaphor.  What happens to the innocent after delivery?  Crucify him (can’t be a “her”, now, can it?) and reconfirm biblical prophesy?  Deny the child a proper education or else impose mis-education, build up his character with myths and legends borrowed from medieval times, send him to fight the crusades of the 21st century, celebrate him when he kills heathens, unbelievers, and infidels and wait for his third-coming if by chance he gets in the way of an enemy bullet? 

I find it difficult to accept that one can be pro-life only until a given fetus emerges from his/her mother’s womb.  I find it difficult to believe that only Christians (especially in the United States) are God’s Children and that one can be pro-life and at the same time sanction the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of little children in Iraq and other unhappy lands inhabited by non-Christians.  I find it immoral and contradictory the notion that God and not State has the right to determine the parameters of terminating a pregnancy while advocating the annihilation of cities and villages full of living, breathing, weeping, laughing, human beings.  Indeed, isn’t there something wrong when this same State is allowed to perpetrate legal murder courtesy the Death Penalty?  But then again, I am an atheist and a non-recipient of God’s Word and therefore subscribe to a different Cosmology of the Moral.  Call me ignorant.

Perhaps I am a heathen, and forego my civic rights on that account, but I like to talk about the issue of gay marriage, voted on in 11 states as per amendments proposed by the Republicans.  How can the union between man and man be so vile when successive presidents in the United States (both Republican and Democrat) have bedded with men of the caliber of Osama bin Laden, Fulgencio Batista, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, Zia ul Haq, and countless other tyrants and mass murderers, profited from these unions and later committed the heinous act of divorcing some of them? 

How can the profanities use in the movie Saving Private Ryan be problematic and the act of war be considered sacred?  Forgive me if I get this wrong, but I have heard of a Commandment called “thou shalt not kill”, but haven’t heard if God qualified this edict to exclude those outside the United States and states like Texas?  Since human beings are biblically deemed to be flawed wouldn’t it be prudent for God Fearing America to let God Himself decide and mete out punishment at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way? 

The United States of America believes in God.  Their currency is stamped with the words, “In God We Trust”.  And yet, the constitution specifically separates church and state.  There were churches that urged their flock to vote Republican.  Should they remain tax-exempt?

The United States needs to amend the constitution.  Let state and church be conflated.  Let the country be re-defined as a theocracy.  That would give more beef to the real war, the war on non-believers, wrongly called “war against terror”.  Let the rallying cry be “Our terror or theirs!”  Let war music be played in maternity wards and let all new born children, by the fact of birth, be enlisted in a Reserve Army.  Forget Little Baby Johnny Wright.  Let us have Private Baby Simpsons, Private Baby Boomers, Private Baby Angels and the like.  

Perhaps I am being too sarcastic.  But I, being a “lesser” child of some lesser god, or an aberration of the divine creation machine, when Bush ends his inauguration speech with the traditional “God bless the United States of America,” will be saying from somewhere, who knows where, “if god exists, may he save the United States of America”.  



Gabriel said...

Malinda, God exists.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

so you say.....and i respect your right to opinion. :)