NEW YORK, New York, United States
September 25
IR Maven
PR guy. Writer. Seeker. Lover. Wounded idealist. Avid student of Campbell, Jung, and Freud. New Yorker (for the past 20 years). Born in the former USSR. Most of my recent writing focuses on the collapse of public trust in the society's institutional pillars. My other blog is at http://janashvili.wordpress.com/


FEBRUARY 28, 2012 12:49PM

Santorum for President?! Has this country gone insane?

Rate: 4 Flag

I can’t add much to the reporting or the ridicule that Santorum has received, especially in response to his views on the proper role of religion in public life.  I just can’t help but express my shock about the fact that this presidential candidate has advanced this far in America in the 21 century. 

Why is this shocking? Mainly because he is running for president of the wrong country, in the wrong century, and he is succeeding!  Santorum may not meet the technical definition of a theocrat.  But aside from technical criteria and circumstantial differences, what substantial convictions distinguish him from the Koran-thumping, fatwa-issuing, misogynist, fundamentalist bigots in some of the darkest corners of the world? 

Throughout his presidential campaign so far, Santorum has made broadly covered comments that amount to nothing short of a theocratic vision, a desire to reconcile key aspects of public life and policy with Christian doctrine. No doubt, the guy has chutzpah. He just keeps fueling the flames, and this fiery spectacle makes me want to smack him in the head with a Sam Harris or a Christopher Hitchens book. This violent fantasy, appropriately sublimated through blogging, rises up in me every time this champion of theocracy fires another salvo in the culture wars.  That seems to happen at every turn.  Not only does he focus inordinately on religious issues, he can often skillfully turn a neutral policy discussion into a doctrinaire, anti-intellectual sermon bursting with righteous indignation.

Santorum's theocratic convictions understandably dominate his coverage in the mainstream media and the blogosphere. On this website and elsewhere, they’ve been subjected to well-deserved ridicule.  But much of Santorum’s coverage in the mainstream media seems sanitized to the highest standards of political correctness.  In many mainstream outlets, stories about this unconventional candidate seem less concerned with digging deep, and more fixated on not offending religious people.

As a result, this coverage politely ignores the broader cultural significance of Santorum's campaign.  As all national campaigns, Santorum's bid for the presidency reveals something not only about the candidate but also about our society.  The latter insights are far more important.  We've long known that some of our countrymen would like to shove their religions down our collective throat.  But most of us probably didn't expect that one of these anti-intellectual, illiberal, un-American zealots unaffected by reason or truth would rise to such prominence. We wouldn't have guessed that so many people in our own country would react to the idea of a Santorum presidency with anything but revulsion. And yet…

True, Santorum might not win, either the nomination or the presidency.  But consider simply the fact that so many Americans want him to win.  What does that say about America?  I think it says something scary.  Even if Santorum flames out soon (God willing!), we should not feel relieved, knowing that we still share our country with million of people who wanted to follow the light of his ideas.

Author tags:

fatwa, theocrat, santorum

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
The only good news is religious fundamentalists always have fatal flaws. I can't figure out which Santorum's is yet - prostitutes or little boys (the Devil made me do it).
Ha! I can imagine we'll see lots of Open Salon posts once that mystery is solved.
It's amazing. From outside of the country, it is a truly astonishing spectacle.
One of my FB contacts sent me this link after he read my Santorum post -- http://inthesetimes.com/article/11959/new_confederacy_rising

Very interesting perspective on God's Only Party (GOP)
I call him the Sanctimonious Pisspot! R