I admit it. It seems I’m a recovering Huckaholic.
I attended a "Huckabee for President" campaign rally in St. John’s Michigan last Friday Night. Please don’t hold it against me as it was Huckabee who invaded my space and not the case of my going out of my way to swoon over his rock starlike status. My son was competing in a home-school basketball game and the Huckabee campaign decided that the venue would be a great photo op and rally site. Now, I could have decided to just miss the game since it was being converted into an “All ignorant Jesus lovers vote for me” rally but since I am an assistant coach for Anthony’s team I thought I would grin and bear it.
However, since I was forced to be there I do have an observation about those gathered, an observation about Huckabee and a sociological observation regarding social behavior towards those who refuse to drink the kool-aid and who scream loudly that others shouldn’t drink the kool-aid.
First concerning the gathered lemming; I must say it was as if I was transported to a Tom Jones concert of 40 years ago. You know … the type where all the women would throw their undergarments on the stage along with their hotel room keys in hopes that Tom would pick them. The swooning was surreal. Before Huckabee arrived their were announcements on the PA about how the Huckabee staffers were nervous that the crowd would swarm him and pleas that people would show their Christian behavior by letting the candidate approach them and encouragement not to mob the candidate. The people in charge of the campaign kept giving us minute by minute updates on the coming of Huckabee. “Governor Huckabee is 10 minutes out. Governor Huckabee is 5 minutes out. Governor Huckabee is 2 minute out.” And on and on it went. The last time I’ve seen a person tracked this closely with this much excitement was Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. Every time an update was given the 500 souls in the gymnasium would swoon like teenage girls being asked out on their first date. Then we had practice cheering runs. “Let me hear what kind of noise you’re going to make when future President Huckabee shows up.” Louis XVI would have been so fortunate to have such an adoring people as these Huckabee groupies. These people were wetting their pants over getting to be in the same room with a guy that makes Tricky Dick and Slick Willie look like amateurs.
And then when Huckabee arrived it was more of the same. The Huckster’s speech was boiler plate political vapid. There was no there “there.” My 18-year-old daughter characterized it as “bushwah.” And yet people were screaming their lungs out as if Huckabee was serving as the prophet of Allah making pronouncements revealing Allah’s will.
To be honest I was ashamed of myself. Ashamed because despite all my skepticism and cynicism I had underestimated the ability of those who call themselves Christians to be totally deluded. Those 500 people present, most of whom no doubt would label themselves “Christian” have no idea who Mike Huckabee is or what policy he has pursued, and further have no desire to know. It is enough for them that Mike says he is the “Jesus candidate.” I used to think that these people were being manipulated by their Pastors but having spoken to a few Huckabee Pastor types I realize that the fog in the pew is because of the mist in the pulpit. In short, their Pastors are just as deluded as the rank and file. Somehow a lemming avalanche for Huckabee got started and once the avalanche begins no amount of reasoning will thwart its kinetic energy.
I know this because I got snowed over by the avalanche. When it was announced that Huckabee was going to be in St. Johns and when I realized it was the home-schooling organization that I am loosely a part of that was pushing it I sent an e-mail out to those in the home-schooling group simply explaining some of the liberal and statist tendencies of Mike Huckabee and providing links for people to look closer at this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Given the response I received you would have thought that I had committed blasphemy by touching the Lord’s anointed.
So here is the summary of the first observation. People, including Christians, so desperately want heroes that they will turn off rational thought once they decide, for whatever reason, that some person is going to be that hero. Secondly, the Christian community is no different from the non-Christian community when it comes to shallowness, practicing thought by emotion, and sheer unmitigated gullibility.
The observation about Huckabee is that he is slick the same way that Clinton was slick except that he has added a Jesus coating to his slickness. This is my chief reason for disliking Huckabee. It is my estimation that he is cynically using Jesus to get elected. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for Huckabee’s ministerial ties and willingness to invoke Jesus at every turn he would be running neck and neck with Duncan Hunter and be easily dismissed as a center-left moderate Republican (what they call a Social Democrat in Europe). Recently, I am blaming him less and less for this and increasingly I am blaming the “Christian community” for being such willing naifs. Huckabee’s “I am the Bible’s candidate” spiel came out again in the few minutes that he spoke where he appealed to people to help him slay the giants he was facing in the Michigan primary the way that David slew Goliath. This was just more identity politics and more red meat for the Jesus people.
Here is the summary of the second observation. Huckabee will ride this “I love Jesus” train as far as he can. What is unfortunate about it is that he is getting away with what so many ministers in our churches get away with and that is constantly having Jesus on their lips while preaching a theology that is not particularly Christian. The goods are out there on Huckabee in terms of his leftist, statist and non-Christian agenda but Christians just don’t care because it is enough to invoke Jesus.
My final observation is sociological and has reference to the way people treat those who are unwilling to drink the kool-aid. During the 36 hours when all this was unfolding I was told it was inappropriate for me to e-mail people to warn them about Huckabee. My son was told by someone that they “felt sorry for him that he had the father he had,” and the most benign look I seem to get now is one that is quizzical as if somebody is looking at a hunchback cannibal with the remnants of dinner still wedged between his teeth. Like the human body, a community protects itself by attacking foreign elements that it perceives does not belong there. Much of the Christian community has decided that Huckabee is the man and woe unto those who suggest that a vote for Huckabee is a vote which is, in reality, precisely against their best interest.
So yes… I attended a Huckabee rally.
And my worst fears were realized.
January 21, 2008