A Window on our National Insanity
When Fox News starts to encroach upon the Christianist, theocratic, ideological space that was formerly the province of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, one begins to wonder: what does this mean for the 700 Club? How does Pat Robertson distinguish his “TV ministry” from what has now become the conservative mainstream? Well today Robertson answered that question the way only he can: by making an outrageous proclamation that, once again, leaves no doubt as to the man’s clinical insanity. In the wake of a devastating earthquake in Haiti that has left possibly 100,000 or more dead, Robertson informed his viewership that the reason for the earthquake lies in a pact with the Devil that Haitians made in the 18th century to free themselves of Colonial rule. No, seriously. I shit you not:
Now, I wish I could claim that Robertson is a symptom of a very localized and largely benign insanity, but sadly the man is more than just a festering pimple on the nation’s ass. He is, in fact, a manifestation of a cancer that has become quite widespread. And it is not just the creationsim loving, Sarah Palin idolizing, Democrat loathing teabaggers on the Right who are to blame. Just look at how USA Today Religion Columnist Anne Godlasky describes Robertson’s bizarre screed:
He also seemed to blame the nation’s pervasive poverty — it’s the poorest in the western hemisphere — on a deal with the devil they made to get out of French rule, saying Haitians have been “cursed” since then, while the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola, hosts resorts.
Now, to recap, this is what Roberston said:
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal. They Kicked the French out, they revolted and got their freedom. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.
Now, I wonder… if I were to crap a stinking pile of doody right on the top of Godlasky’s head, would she describe the event thusly: “Today Serolf Divad seemed to take a huge crap on my head” or would she instead dispense with mealy mouthed fudge words like “seemed” and simply acknowledge that the smelly pile of excrement staining her neatly coiffed head leaves no room for doubt that I crapped a real stinker atop her furrowed brow?
Because when I hear Pat Robertson affirm that it’s a “true story” that the Haitian people entered into a pact with the Devil to rid themselves of the French, I find qualifiers like “seemed” to be completely superfluous… indeed, outright misleading.
If the religion reporter for a semi-respectable mainstream media publication such as USA Today cannot bring herself to admit the obvious for her readers for fear of offending the sensibilities of “religious conservatives” , I worry that America probably faces a very bleak future. We are all victim to this generalized insanity that grips, not just lunatics like Pat Robertson, but a mainstream media apparatus that is too timid to call people like him out.