According to Tennessee conservatives, the silver lining in the very dark cloud of the recent national elections has been the creation of a “supermajority” of Republicans at the state level. So now, they would have us believe, conservatives will be able to guide the ship of state away from the dangerous reefs and shoals of liberalism. But what if the ship is being steered away from modernity, basic science and common sense, by a confederacy of dunces? Here are some of the more moronic things many members of the “supermajority” seem to accept as gospel truths:
Like evolution, global warming is “untrue.” Never mind that polar ice caps and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. God is in control and frets constantly about human sexual relationships, so the best way to avoid floods and other natural disasters is to keep gays from marrying.
Non-heterosexuals should be denied the right to marry and should not be protected from discrimination in the workplace because God “hates” homosexuality (even though Jesus Christ never said a single word about homosexuality, according to the Bible).
People should be allowed to “pack heat” in bars, restaurants, parks, parking lots and presumably schools, kindergartens and day care centers. Never mind that conservative legislators and judges would toss us in the hoosegow if we showed up with loaded weapons at their legislative plazas and courtrooms. Politicians and judges obviously deserve much more protection than innocent children and their mothers.
Fertilization is not a biological process but the result of Divine manipulation. Therefore, if young girls are the victims of rape, they should be forced to carry and bear their rapists’ babies, even at the risk of their lives, health and sanity, so as to not thwart God’s will.
Since only God can make decisions about fertilization, pregnancy and birth, the use of contraceptives is a “sin.” This is the official position not only of the Roman Catholic Church but also increasingly of lunatic-fringe evangelicals as well. The “logic” is pretty simple: if it is a “sin” to keep a fertilized egg from dividing, it stands to reason that it is also a “sin” to prevent an egg from becoming fertilized in the first place. After all, who are human beings to overrule God in such matters?
A just-fertilized egg has exactly the same rights as a fully developed human being with 100 trillion cells (give or take), despite the fact that without a brain and nervous system an embryo cannot think or feel pain. Since a fertilized egg is a person, females must become slaves to nature and their reproductive organs, in a return to the Dark Ages.
Even though conservatives do not want government to provide financial aid to poor mothers and their children, Planned Parenthood must be defunded, which means many more unwanted babies will be born to poor girls and women, increasing poverty, drug abuse and crime.
State governments can always do everything better than the federal government, so we should have 50 FEMAs, 50 FDAs, 50 EPAs, etc.
Business can always do everything better than either the federal or state governments, so we should return to the unregulated nation-bankrupting ways of the George W. Bush era.
While the war with Iraq was fought on false premises, we should attack Iran for exactly the same reason: weapons that do not exist and could not be used if they did.
I could go on, but hopefully I’ve made my point. The divine Oscar Wilde once said that the only sin is stupidity. I find it hard to imagine leaders any stupider than George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. And yet they are the stars of the Republican universe. Here in Tennessee, we have legislators who are every bit as zany. How do such dimwits end up with so much power? We, the people, keep electing them, to our shame.
Will our supermajority of dunces steer Tennesseans to safe harbors or run us aground? I am reminded of the chorus of a Harry Chapin song: “The dance band on the Titanic played ‘Nearer, God, to Thee.’ ”
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.