Philly in summer was a blast furnace until we lucked into a rainy August capped by a visit from Hurricane Irene, the queen of hype. No such luck for Texas, which continues to suffer through its worst drought on record despite Gov. Rick Perry’s Three Days of Prayer for Rain way back in April.
The point of Perry’s rain dance had nothing to do with precipitation and everything to do with demonstrating he’s a God-fearing Christian, like the good old boys and girls who elected him. Now he’s running for president and knows his faux-Christian fervor must continue to match that of Michele Bachmann’s if he is to shore up the holy-roller vote so crucial to success for anyone hoping to be the GOP’s nominee.
Which brings me to today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, in which Leonard Boasberg reminded readers that all of the GOP candidates recently said no to a budget deal that would be one part tax increases and 10 parts spending cuts. Boasberg cited various Biblical passages that extol the charitable and warn against greed, his point being that the candidates are shameless hypocrites.
But we already knew that. What Boasberg chose to ignore is that the GOP’s Christian base is perfectly comfortable with candidates who are silent on the plight of the poor but extremely vocal in opposing taxes on the owner class, which funds their candidacies.
As the base sees it, the rich deserve their wealth, they worked hard for it, and the poor who can’t work their way into a higher income bracket should accept their poverty as God’s will.
The bottom-line message is know your place. Pray for rain but don’t expect any, not unless you can afford to fly away from drought-ravaged areas. And remember that Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Remember too that “meek” doesn’t denote weakness, but rather submission to the will of God, and that “inherit the earth” is meant in a spiritual sense — i.e., the earth is a merely a pit stop on the way to the Kingdom of God, and the meeks are heirs to that kingdom, so they shouldn’t get their backs up if their time on earth is miserable.
History has shown that this con game only works until those pesky meeks realize that, rather than inheriting the earth, they are having their faces rubbed in the dirt. Unfortunately, it looks like the meeks in this country, Republicans and Democrats, might take a lot longer to catch on to the game than their grandparents and great-grandparents did.