Bill Maher is my hero! Last nights show simply reminded me of that fact. While one could argue that his acerbic tongue alienates the religious right and those voters who might be persuadable, I've come to the conclusion that it may be the only way to fight a war with ideological fanatics.
Honestly, in the course of an hour, Maher's program did more to refute the nonsense spewed by the GOP and their Christian allies than you'll find in a weeks worth of cable news programming. Maher's take no prisoners style may not be appropriate for a news format, but we desperately need more of his clarity and candor.
Truth be told, we live in a nation that is being fed a choreographed script that has little connection to reality. We've just ended a week of watching the GOP and John McCain do what they do best...tell lies...over and over again. Unfortunately, they succeed in this endeavor because they are, for the most part, telling their tall tales to a willing audience...an audience that is capable of ignoring science in favor of its cherished Biblical babble.
Never have I seen such a willingness to pander and such a hunger to accept it. All the GOP needs to do is toss out the necessary code words and the flock is willing to march in lockstep...assured that their beliefs will not be challenged and facts will not be allowed to interfere with the precepts of their fantastical faith.
OK, let's start by looking at the opening segment of last evenings program...a faux commercial premised upon the Palin family's "pentecostal" predisposition...for celebrating pregnancy. You see, if you're a Christian, you can do no wrong...even when contradicting the judgments you heap upon everyone else. The simple fact that you believe in Christ...and are willing to tell everyone you do...makes everything you do part and parcel of God's will. So as we've seen with the pregnancy of Bristol Palin, if you're fornicating for Jesus, you go girl...let the spirit (and the sperm) be with you!
Look, in my mind, if the Palin's and others can celebrate their small town small mindedness as a badge of honor, the rest of us who live in this country have every right to ridicule their right wing rednecks. If Levi Johnston can state the following on his MySpace page, we can surely call him a holier-than-thou hick.
"I'm a f - - -in' redneck" who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes."
"But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess."
"Ya f - - - with me I'll kick ass."
Is that supposed to be charming? Is that representative of the family values we embrace? You see, the GOP flew him to their convention and paraded him on the tarmac...with John McCain virtually giving him a hand job...and then the network cameras cut away to him and his knocked-up honey (celebrities anyone?) while mommy spouted her nonsense.
OK, aren't these the same people who had a fit when we got a split second view of Janet Jackson's breast? Mind you Jackson wasn't knocked-up...and Justin Timberlake hadn't knocked her up...and the two of them were simply performing a song on a stage. The reaction of the GOP? Outrage...sinful...disgusting...immoral...unfit for our children to see...fine the shit out of the network! In other words, performance art is far worse than parading a teenage boy and and his knocked up girlfriend for 40 million Americans to glorify...teens who have MySpace pages containing the crap noted above...teens who haven't the good sense to use contraception...all because we're concerned about the upholding of family values?!
Well excuse me, but why is Hollywood the big bad villain...the home of secular elites...the epicenter of all that is wrong with America...and Wasilla, Alaska is home to the newly found titular head of the Republican Party...and the newly impregnated family values virgin mother? Tell me, what's wrong with this picture? Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of being told that my values are inferior and that I'm a member of the educated elite. Since when did stupidity wrapped in Christianity become a virtue?
I'm capable of distinguishing the entertainment value of Janet Jackson's breast from the idiocy of having sex without a condom...and I don't need no stinkin' Bible or abstinence only program to figure it out. Her breast isn't going to make me hire a male prostitute or tap my foot in an airport bathroom stall to solicit sex...just as the Bible isn't going to keep Levi Johnston's sperm from impregnating polly purebred.
I'm reminded of Howard Beale's famous soliloquy in the movie Network in which he stated the following:
We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad.
You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell,
'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'
I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it:
"I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"
Perhaps that's why I so admire Bill Maher...he is as mad as hell...and he doesn't want to take it anymore...and he is at the window yelling...imploring us to refuse to take this crap anymore.
Take a look at the comments of Dan Savage during last evenings show. Note the clarity he displays in cutting through the utter hypocrisy being demonstrated by the roll-out of their right wing Republican with a vagina...the new life support system for the dicks who run the GOP and use these seemingly cuckolded Christians to win elections and run this country into the ground...while lining their licentious pockets.
Gotta hand it to the GOP's good old boys...they're on the verge of successfully repackaging tokenism as feminism...while f-----g over the vast majority of Americans...men or women...along the way. It's one hell of a hat trick. If they succeed, when the buzzer sounds, the loser will finally realizes he or she's been "scored upon"...but only when it's too late and the rabbit's already dead. As Maher so aptly puts it, welcome to plutocracy!
Honestly, the words coming out of Savage's mouth are an adherence to truth...a moral manifesto far superior to the scripted pabulum that is coming out of Sarah Palin's mouth. Seriously, it's impossible to respect the GOP and the governor when they are so willing to corrupt and misconstrue Christian values for votes. It's even more difficult to respect those voters who allow themselves to be used in this fashion. The truth of the matter is that out of their own lack of self-examination and their delusional and dogged adherence to denial, the voters who enable the GOP are actually embracing a doctrine that is fully situational and summarily subjective.
When Savage mentions the role of women, and James Dobson's belief that women should remain at home with their children, he's referencing Focus on the Family's involvement with, and support of, Promise Keepers...the group that rose to national notoriety under the guidance of former Colorado University football coach, Bill McCartney.
Generally speaking, the objective of Promise Keepers was to empower men to take back their roles as the leader of their families...and to simultaneously instruct the women in their lives that their role should be subservient to that of their husbands...all out of an adherence to God's instruction, of course.
While McCartney was busy empowering men, his daughter, like Sarah Palin's daughter, was also busy getting pregnant while unmarried. Let me be clear...getting pregnant is not the issue and I pass no judgment upon these young women. In fact, I have great sympathy for them and the lack of logical instruction they are receiving from their parents.
You see, if one thing is true of children, it's their ability to see inconsistency and hypocrisy. Unfortunately, their typical reaction to it often includes the acting out of self-destructive behaviors. In many ways, they do this to demonstrate the dissonance that exists in their lives...a primitive attempt to tell mom and dad that they are full of shit.
In other words, they lack the authority to sit mom and dad down, so they subconsciously seek to force mom and dad into reflecting upon their inane ideological irrationalities. Sadly, these efforts rarely succeed. In fact, it often forces the child into further embracing the doctrine of their parents as they rarely have the means to support themselves. Hence we witness a process of perpetuation that involves breaking the spirit of one's children such that the cycle of indoctrination is self-sustaining. As the old saying goes, "The sins of the father will be visited upon the son."
The bottom line...what these people are selling just doesn't work...and it's time to say so...loud and clear...over and over...and to elect leaders that will not coddle them.
OK, so let's close with a look at this weeks New Rules.
As always, Maher cuts through the John McCain mumbo jumbo of, "My friends... ignore the ground noise and the static" to present us with unfiltered reality. Maher quickly slices through the BS...pointing out the many misrepresentations that accompany the GOP's rhetoric. Maher closes with a clear indictment of the oft heard meme that Barack Obama is an elitist.
Maher aptly highlights the real issue...that the GOP has figured out the means to play upon the insecurities found in all too many voters. Rather than vote issues, too many American voters are stuck in a never ending battle with their own nefarious narcissism.
America needs change...but I fear it wont begin until the Democrats take the GOP, kicking and screaming, out to the wood shed for an old fashioned whooping. I'm looking forward to watching it unfold on November 4th. In the meantime, I'll be standing at my window...yelling at the top of my lungs, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"