It’s been an interesting morning, to say the least.
I don’t know why, but this morning’s juxtaposition of news, philosophy, the Internet, and a strong cup of coffee launched my thoughts into the proverbial stratosphere of utter disbelief.
It all started last night when the GOP’s (we’ll-tell-you-when-it’s-rape) Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdoch carved, yet, another notch on the crazy-stick of the ever-growing list of rape qualifications that only a religious white male could think of: divine-sanctioned rape. Holy shit! You have got to be fucking kidding me. I thought, maybe, I drank one too many beers and was imagining things or my television was simply possessed by the Devil. This morning proved otherwise. No Devil; they’re not kidding.
I was up early to check my email and survey the happenings around the globe, only to get this in my inbox. Evidently, a “gay demon” has possessed this man, and it can be cast out by simple incantations to a magic sky-fairy along with a good stern talking-to from Reverend Bob Larson. It seems Larson has this down to a “science.” As one observant commentator quipped: It’s doubtful that a “gay demon” would let his vessel out and about in a checkered flannel shirt and puffy vest.
The Republican we’ll-tell-you-when-it’s-rape and we’ll-tell-you-when-you’re-possessed and we’ll-tell-you-whom-to-marry platform is gaining steam. That, in itself, is frightening. Why a woman or a working-class male would vote the all-white-rich-male Republican ticket is beyond me. It seems that these are just tactics to get “low information voters,” or what Bill Maher calls “dip-shits,” to vote against themselves. It’s God, guns and gays; facts and science be damned. Oh, and the secret communist African Muslim is the anti-Christ!
From there (if there is a ‘from there’), I stumbled over to one of my favorite Philosophy professors, Dr. Oliver’s, blog to search for a bit of sanity in pragmatism. His blog post and lecture was on the French philosopher Albert Camus, an existentialist who famously pondered suicide, “a fundamental question of philosophy,” and a universe devoid of meaning in and of itself. Here’s a quote from Camus:
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.”
I was raised in eastern Kentucky by a single mother in a trailer park where one ponders survival more than Camus’ dimensions and categories. I love Kentucky. It’s famous for horse racing, bluegrass (music and grass), Abraham Lincoln, and fried chicken. Then again—to obviously counterbalance the beauty and secret crispy recipes—there’s the Creation Museum. This epistemological eyesore is where young-earth creationist Ken Ham “proves” that Jesus rode around on a dinosaur with children about. Thankfully, somehow, I escaped Appalachia devoid of superstition. The joke is: I’m not superstitious; it’s bad luck (drum cue, please). Maybe I asked too many questions. For me, gods, demons, garden-fairies, ghosts, gnomes, and goblins all occupy the same ontological category of existence. I didn’t just make this up because I base my beliefs on facts; not faith, which is really just pretending to know something you don’t. That’s how Republicans “know” the telos of rape, and are convinced you should believe the same because it was “revealed” to them by God—their particular version of God.
Even as I hit “publish” on my blog post, I’m still clawing my way out of that metaphorical trailer park of ignorance by reading, listening, and comparing my beliefs to facts and evidence. I’m open to new ideas based on evidence, but threats of hell and proverbial hand-waving are no longer convincing.
Like Camus, I believe we should give our own lives meaning, not borrow someone else’s vision for our lives—then write them a check for the “privilege.” But, no matter what your religious or political beliefs might be, please, I beg you, think carefully about for whom you vote. The world may have gone crazy but we need representation by people who, at the minimum, have a firm grip on reality. We have a godless constitution, secular government and, thank Zeus, a First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law…” But still, that’s no reason to hand over the asylum keys to the crazy people.