Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Week's Toon: Bachsh!t Crazy

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jul 13, 2011

Last week, Michele Bachmann (R-Wonderland) hurried to sign an antigay pledge from Mr. Bob Vander Plaatz's FAMiLY LEADER group before the ink was dry, resulting in no end of approaches I could possibly have taken with this cartoon.

At the top of the document was a preamble positing that an African-American child was more likely to live in a two-parent home under slavery than "than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president." (As Stephen Colbert pointed out last night, the slave child was more likely to be the property of his biological father as well.) That preamble was dropped over the weekend, although not before another antigay presidential candidate, Rick Santorum (R-Google) signed and defended the pledge.

Two presidential candidates, Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) and Gary Johnson (R-Ukidding) announced their refusal to sign the pledge before removal of the slavery plank; Mitt Romney (R-Obot) waited until the pledge was thoroughly discredited before deciding not to sign it.

Further on down the pledge, candidates vowed to protect the sanctity of marriage against the assault by homosexuality, bigamy, polygamy, and sharia law. The antiexgay group Truth Wins Out seized on this moment to go public with their undercover sting of the clinic of Michele's husband Marcus Bachmann, where "reparative therapy" is offered to patients who come in seeking to become straight.

The mainstream media have reported this story -- properly, I should add -- as an example of Republican right-wing extremism. But to the religious right, there is nothing about the pledge, even with the preamble, that raises any eyebrows. The sting uncovered nothing particularly shocking: no electroshock therapy, no sensory deprivation, no waterboarding, no naked pyramids.

"The undeniable goal of the sessions was transforming [undercover TWO agent John] Becker from homosexual to heterosexual. To his credit, the counselor [Timothy Wiertzema] did not claim that change would be instantaneous or even complete. However, he did explicitly promise that sexual conversion could occur as a result of prayer and therapy at the clinic."

The power of prayer is at the heart of Christian faith; it is also a given that human nature is sinful and one should repent of whatever infractions of the Mosaic code one has committed. (God revealed to St. Peter that it was okay to go ahead and eat shellfish and pork, but the rest of Leviticus remains on the books.) Thus I'm afraid that a lot of "middle America" is going to hear about this story and wonder what the fuss is about.

The third aspect of the story is Dr. Bachmann's acceptance of patients on federal assistance at his clinic, contrary to the Bachmanns' belief that gummint helping citizens get health care is pure evil, and even worse, socialist. We'll see how that part of the story plays out, although I suspect that the media won't have any lasting interest in going after a candidate's spouse. At least, I don't expect the sort of hunger that the right wing media displayed in going after Hilary Clinton ante Monica.

Where Marcus starts to get weird, however, is his equating gays and lesbians with "barbarians" and that we "need to be disciplined."

There's a cartoon in that statement, to be sure, but you've already drawn it in your head.

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