EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 2, 2012

Column: We should be able to discuss politics without divine intervention

Barbara Anderson
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — “R convention delay due to Isaac: I guess God has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

Tweet from Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic governor of Michigan, 25 Aug. 25

Some Republican partisans are all a-twitter about that remark, but I think it’s pretty funny, coming from a Democratic partisan who is reacting to issues promoted by some Republican religious conservatives. Obviously she’s joking. I’d just had a similar irreverent thought, but mine was, how can this be happening? I thought God was on the Republicans’ side.

Actually, I imagine God annoyed with both parties for using Him to attack the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. Some social conservatives want constitutional amendments to make all Americans define human life and marriage using their churches’ teachings. Some liberals object to public schoolchildren singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”, want to remove “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and prohibit government employees from saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

None of these is joking. One group doesn’t acknowledge that the Founding Fathers didn’t want either the Church of England or any other churches connected to our government, and the other groups think this means America shouldn’t worship, mention, or cite God in general. Heaven help us.

But staying with the hurricane theme, and trusting in Wikipedia: Yosef, a prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi, declared Hurricane Katrina to be “God’s punishment for President Bush’s support of the August 2005 withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip.”

Protestant evangelical Jack Chick, in his fundamentalist comic book, also explained the hurricane as a sign of God’s wrath over U.S. pressure on Israel. Not to be outdone, al-Qaida-in-Iraq declared of the hurricane that “God attacked America, and the prayers of the oppressed were answered.” Minister Louis Farrakhan asserted that Hurricane Katrina was “God’s way of punishing America for its warmongering and racism.”

Televangelist Pat Robertson was reported implying that the storm was God’s punish

ment in response to America’s abortion policy, because he’d said similar things in the past, though this time Wikipedia notes he was misrepresented. Liberals keep using this inaccurate reference to attack Christians in general, though.

Regular folks who read Erik Larson’s book “Isaac’s Storm” about “the deadliest hurricane in history” know that hurricanes are fed by the warm temperatures of ocean and Gulf waters. Isaac Cline was the resident meteorologist who experienced the 1900 Galveston disaster; it’s just a coincidence that this present storm is named Isaac but it’s my chance to recommend a great summer read.

I wish I could also recommend the musical I saw last weekend at the North Shore Music Theatre but it’s gone now. Hope you get a chance someday to see “All Shook Up”, featuring Elvis’ songs in an original romantic plot set in the 1950s: fabulous voices, great fun, and for me, a necessary escape from the 2012 election coverage which gets crazier every day.

Look, there’s CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewing Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In a heated exchange, Cooper charged that the Florida congresswoman “misquoted” the Los Angeles Times in a letter, while misrepresenting Mitt Romney’s stance on the Republican Party’s abortion platform plank. She just kept defending her lie. You can see this interview at politico.com.

Look, there’s Romney talking to his hometown crowd, enjoying himself, joking that his and Ann’s birth certificates are available from local hospitals. Oh no! Here come the Democrats, calling him a “birther” (!) even though when serious he’s said he believes Obama was born in the United States.

Look, here’s a two-fer. There’s Obama, campaigning in Iowa, quoting Romney joking about wind power, saying “you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it”; the president responded “he’s had other things on his car.”

The “Seamus in his carrier on the Romney car” jokes are getting old, but they’re still popular in both liberal (Doonesbury) and conservative (Prickly City) comic strips. I laugh out loud reading the latter. The two main characters are young consultants to an evil rabbit/independent presidential candidate, and the liberal coyote pup has to ride to political events on the top of the conservative Hispanic girl’s car. I also laughed at a cartoon showing Ann Romney’s horse returning from the Olympics on the top of an airplane.

Seriously, folks. Mitt did the dog a favor by finding a way to take him on vacation with the family. Obama shouldn’t be attacked for eating fast-food on the trail despite Michelle’s lectures on nutrition. Both candidates should be allowed to crack a joke without the media equating this with vicious Democratic ads that have Romney killing a woman with cancer. It’s convention time: Let’s get down to the serious issues.

Undecided voters, who are just tuning in, will hopefully find a clear picture of the two different visions of America. If I were advising a party, I’d suggest it forgo the silly hats yet try to keep a sense of humor.

My theory is that God wants us all to have evolved into rational human beings who can solve our political problems with

out divine intervention.

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Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.