Don't have sex. Gays are evil. Repress your urges. Close your legs. Quit asking questions.
Jesus loves Coors Light and large-caliber handguns. Iraq is packed like a Bieber concert with squealing nuclear warheads aimed straight at the Utah public school system. The homosexual agenda is alive and very, very real, and it wants to indoctrinate your children, steal your semen and organize your underwear drawer far, far too perfectly. Also, God is judging you. Right. This. Second.
Ahh, simpler times. Yes? You know? Back when? Not so many years ago, when we were laughing about a whole kookball buffet of socio-pathetic phenomena like abstinence education, fundamentalist zealots waving Bibles like wiffle bats, Hummers as mutant status symbols, failed trillion-dollar wars, promise rings and purity balls, Prop 8 Mormons and gay meth-snorting megachurch pastors and maybe, just maybe, getting a nice batch of anthrax in the mail?
It all seems so innocent now, so clear and silly and simple and perky and polarizing and infuriating and loud, and it all made a weird sort of sense, in the bloodthirsty, shameful context of the times: the world's worst president, the U.S. as petulant child, the political moral compass gone haywire.
You could map reactions in the media. You could predict outcomes. You could count on a fresh right-wing atrocity, a new embarrassment every single day.
Behold! How much has changed. Here in the midpoint of the year of our collective psychosis that is 2011, we find ourselves at a truly bizarro stage of American evolution, a belching hiccup of timespace where fewer things seem to make sense, absolutely anything goes in the political arena, and no one -- especially those on the right -- make even the slightest effort to conceal their outright abhorrence of you, me, their own constituents, the middle class, love and sex and time, science and reason and health.
And why? That's easy. Because they don't have to care, mostly because they've found they can say anything they want and the core will still believe it, still bizarrely vote against their own best interests, in large part because the major media has lost massive traction, Wall Street owns Congress and the GOP leadership sucks the ring of Goldman Sachs at the expense of everyone and everything else, so, well, who the hell needs to pretend to care anymore?
And it's all strangely underscored by the Tea Party, which has accomplished something nearly unimaginable a mere 10 years ago; it's dumbed the conversation down even further, made it weirder and more surreal and juvenile, to a degree that the Republican cause -- once a fairly lucid, straightforward platform based on fiscal conservatism tied to a simplistic reverence for social institutions (church, military, industry, marriage) -- has been forced to backflip, sideswipe and eat itself alive to appease the sociopathic rabid fringe it helped create.
Upshot: While the Dems remain horribly wimpy but stable, the GOP is now certifiably insane, has no boundaries of protocol or tact, lacks all reasonable center. From wide-eyed squirrelmonekys like Michele Bachmann to Sarah Palin to Newt, it's getting downright impossible to even track the astonishing decay in the quality and content of the public debate. Even brilliant satirists like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher almost can't keep up, the material writes itself, the WTF? moments coming hot and fast and completely disorienting.
Really, how do you mock someone who not only mangles something as historically simplistic as Paul Revere, but whose own panicky followers will then go on Wikipedia to try and literally re-write history to reflect her mindlessness? How do you justify a "viable" creationist candidate for president suggesting that there's a secret movement afoot to create a "one world" currency, that Obama wants to put people into camps, that Sharia law is coming to burka your wife, or whose demented little husband Marcus runs a clinic that works to "cure" gays via guilt and prayer?
How do we justify that the current president of the United States, easily one of the most articulate and highly educated, brilliant minds in the nation, is forced by frenzied airheads to post his full birth certificate online, just to shut them up? How do you argue with a blind GOP constituency that refuses point blank to increase taxes on owners of private jets, on the billionaire corporations who pay, as a percentage, far less than those selfsame constituents -- which is to say, on guys who make $35,000 a year and can't afford health care for their kids?
Answer: You can't....
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate. He recently suggested that you please live in sin forevermore, that you also please step away from the fear, and that you seem to enjoy always walking in circles. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...