1932: Translated from words overheard in Max’s apartment in Berlin — “Say Vilhelm, I’m sick of all dis politik talkenk. Let’s say you und me go over to der biergarten und forget about Hitler dis und Hitler dat. He don’t mean all dat talk about der Jews eh? Joos sayin’ dat to get elected chancellor, yah.”
January, 2008: Mike Huckabee overheard in Warren, Michigan
I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
Right up front, I am most assuredly NOT attempting any connection between the GOP presidential candidate and Baptist minister Huckabee and Hitler, or anything that even remotely resembles Nazism. What I’m seeking is to connect the blithe lack of genuine concern and the incredible ignorance of far too many Americans with the absolutely terrible consequences that can be harvested from such easily tilled soils.
Quite the contrary, from all I know of Governor Huckabee, and his wife Janet, on the one hand I feel it would be fun — oh what a wonderful change that would be from what we’ve been experiencing — to have a rock & roll, guitar-strumming president and an unabashed not-take-herself-at-all-seriously, skydiving, white-water kayaking, hammer-swinging, ardent Habitat for Humanity devotee First Lady.
But then . . . there’s this other thing; the occasional slips into another persona; the peripatetic evangelical proselytizer. And it scares hell out of me; a circumstance the minister would likely regard as a good thing. No matter it seems a manifestation of honest to goodness naïveté, I recall we had another president, Ronald Reagan, who suffered the same delusional characteristics.
I don’t believe for a moment our 40th president had a bigoted bone in his body. He may have, I just don’t believe he did. He may not have intended it, but his opening gambit in Mississippi was 100% to the bigoted whites. And what the country got from RR were more administration officials being investigated, indicted, tried and convicted than ever before or since in the county’s history.
His deregulate everything, monitor nothing, get the government off the backs of the American people led directly to the Milken junk bond and S&L scandals that cost Americans multiples of tens of billions, and the tragic suffering caused by the two deepest, most severe recessions since the Great Depression, and was the unequivocal germinal seeds that led to Enron, Tyco, Arthur Anderson, and more and more all the way to today’s subprime mortgage meltdown.
On Reagan’s watch, we cut and ran when 212 Marines died in their barracks in Lebanon, and then invaded Club Med. Not finally, for this is not a diatribe impaling President Reagan as much as it is a note of caution relative to the prospect of another highly gullible president, but we also suffered incredible shame when he was “out of the loop,” through all of the Iran-Contra affair that proved we had become the world’s Number One pimp and pusher behind the trafficking of illegal drugs and guns.
I fear that a Mike Huckabee presidency would be a tragic sequel to the worst of Reagan. Huckabee’s down home bonhommie nature cannot recompense what his all too numerous gaffes concerning international matters indicate is overriding ignorance in that sphere.
Have not we and the entire world suffered sufficiently as witnesses to the tragic ignorance of George Bush? Have we learned nothing? As a redux reminder relative to notions America is a “Christian” country, easily and efficaciously amenable to the Christian Right’s aggrandizing proclivities, let me insert two concluding items. As a sort of bona fide, I am at once an atheist and concommitantly a student of both the Bible and the history of the Church, as well as an ardent admirer of Jesus of Nazareth.
There has passed not one word or behavior from the religious Right, during the past decade, that even remotely resembles anything Jesus is reputed to have taught or thought. (Where have been the raised calls to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, love those who do not love us, turn the other cheek, give to him who would steal your coat your cloke also . . .?
Neither forgiveness nor grace are obtainable just for asking for it, one must first pay the debt. Furthermore, this doesn’t begin to remonstrate on the apostacies by the American multitude who would pretend to Christianity over his admonition not to be as the hypocrites, but to go to your room and pray alone in private.)
Then there is this discomforting fact. Those sitting in the senate in 1796 were also those who were either active participants in the convention that drew up our Constitution or were highly knowlegable of the intentions of those who drew it and signed it. The unanimously ratified 1796 Treaty of Tripoly begins Article 11 with “As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion . . .”
Sophistry is a $50.00 word for spin, which is a 5¢ word for outright lying. I’m not accusing Governor Hickabee of deliberate sophistry. I am, however worried that those without moral compunction will, and that he would not have the moxie or courage to send them packing.