Blogs > Liberty and Power > Candidates and Photo Ops

Oct 27, 2004 9:04 am

Candidates and Photo Ops

Candidates would do well to think twice about those inviting photo ops. One of the few things some of us remember about Michael Dukakis, the hapless 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate, was the picture of the silly man's head, enveloped in a large helmet, sticking up out of the porthole of a very, very big tank. George Bush has had reason enough to regret his stomping around the deck of an aircraft carrier in front of the famous"Mission Accomplished" banner. Latterly, I had to endure the sight of my champion, John Kerry, on the front page of the newspaper in duck hunting regalia accompanied by a man holding a dead goose. As if that weren't bad enough, also in the picture was a handsome yellow Lab, whose heine was pointed directly at my boy, even as the expression on the dog's face seemed to be saying,"Hey, I have nothing to do with these people." As a general rule, the only thing a photo op can do for candidates is make them look ridiculous.

He-man, gun-toting hunter isn't the only pose the times and those who manipulate them are forcing the candidates to assume. A friend of mine reports from Pittsburgh that a local Catholic Church had campaign brochures with Bush's puss on them in every pew last Sunday. If the Roman Catholic clergy is going to mix it up this way, I am willing to succumb to the temptation of getting nasty in return. Do the Catholic priests who knock up their under-age altar girls while opposing abortion to save the life of the mother favor it to save the reputation of the clergyman?

I understand why Kerry has to do it and I don't criticize him for it, but when I see him with Bible in hand, looking like the ultra-stiff he sometimes is, trying to preach religion, I cringe. In a time when the air we breathe is poisoned by hyper-thyroid religious cranks and Calvinist watch and ward societies, anyone hoping to win public favor must don the robes of hypocrisy. Religion has taken over the public life of the country. Anybody hoping to be elected is obliged to show that he or she is a person of character by, in effect, flashing a certificate of good conduct and membership signed by some damn clergy person. We are slipping back into the 17th century and the dominion of church, temple and mosque. I suppose if George Bush is re-elected the Republican National Committee will burn a celebratory witch on the White House lawn.

Going to church, church membership, one's personal faith, bleating affirmations about the goodness, wholesomeness and the necessity of religion is the stated and unstated premise of every politician, every talk show host, every news anchor, every on-air expert, fake or genuine, as faith has replaced reason as the coin of commerce in the public life of the United States. John Kerry, if he has any chance of being elected, can only submit to the new tyranny of religion. Everybody in public life has to play act piety, but those of us on the fringe, who do not have the need to kowtow to superstition, had best start screaming about the second coming, not of you know who, but of the Dark Ages.

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Jonathan Dresner - 10/28/2004

Not at the national level, or statewide, for that matter, that I'm aware of. You could probably find a state rep or two if you looked hard enough.

M.D. Fulwiler - 10/27/2004

Is there anyone in politics in the U.S. who is openly an atheist?