Religious fanatics and the debt ceiling

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, July 29, 2011 19:02 EDT
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There's so much to comment on from this clip, but what really struck me about this report on Boehner's visible loss of control over the Tea Party idiots in his party is that the teabaggers, as an act of aggression against him, started praying.  Being from Texas, I'm really familiar with praying as a form of passive aggressive emotional warfare, but even I was mildly surprised to see a bunch of grown men doing it to other grown men who they claim to be on the same team as.  As a psychological weapon, it's really grown past the pinched mouth "i'll pray for you" disapprovals I grew up witnessing. 

I think this whole situation should put to rest all the hand-wringing about what the "Tea Party" is.  Whatever diverse shit people are saying on the ground, people who are taking leadership roles are religious fanatics with very small minds who would rather burn this country down to the ground rather than share power with the kind of folks who would vote for Barack Obama.  Or, to put it another way, the teabagger relationship to the country is like a wife-beater to his wife: what they call "love" is actually a desire to exert control and complete ownership.  And now the wife-country has run off with a handsome and charming black man.  

Of course they're going to pull the trigger.  

The religious fanaticism angle is fascinating to me, and I think goes a long way towards explaining why the Tea Party types are going to tank any deal.  Basically, once you start saying that god is telling you what to do, what you mean is you're making 100% of your decisions based on knee-jerk emotions. And not just any emotions, but fundamentalist Christian ones—i.e. paranoia, grandiosity, etc.  A lot of these folks probably believe Obama is the Antichrist.  But even if they don't, they definitely believe that anyone who isn't their version of right wing conservative is in thrall to Satan.  What this makes them is impervious to reason.  That's why I think they really, seriously do believe that Obama, Boehner, the pundits, etc. are lying when they say the shit hits the fan if we don't raise the debt celing.  That is, in the fundie eye, a lie fueled by Satan to keep this country away from the path of the Lord.  Everything the demonized mainstream media and the Democrats say is, in their view.

This is what religious fanaticism does to the body politic.  I think a lot of people have, for a long time, imagined that the fundie right wasn't that big a deal, because hey, they just want to ban abortion and gay rights, right?  As long as people considered these second tier issues, the fundies could grow their power unchecked.  The mainstream Republican party thought they could use the Bible thumpers to get a caucus together, throw them some abortion bones, and then use their warm bodies to get votes for the stuff Wall Street really cares about.  But what they've found is they've created a monster.  

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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