The brown fog of electoral wasteland and the excarnation of the religious right


As all Grow Mercy readers (the crowd in the phone booth) know, it’s not often I hold forth politically. But the spectre south of the 49th has me seeking some kind of catharsis for my internal churn. (As I was moiling, the muse burned.) Writing it out helps. The following then is a sort of purge, and so departs from the usual aim of this blog. You are therefore more than forgiven should you cease reading at this point.


Have mercy upon the American voter: caught in the brown fog of electoral wasteland; caught by the constricting choice, or rather non-choice, of apparent soullessness or warped foolishness; caught with the option of a nod toward servitude to the grand system or acquiescence to abject loutishness; caught in the despair of either a quick or more prolonged national degradation; caught in the horns of voting for someone whose single virtue is that they are not the other person; and finally, caught by the notion, masquerading as imperative, that voting for a third party is a wasted vote…have pity.

But have more for the block of voters known as the religious right—the Christian conservative/evangelical Republican. For wave upon caustic wave of fact-less, bloviating and bilious screed, backed by uber-boorish conduct has finally flayed the faith of even the semi-conscientious—driven them to the other side, or to no side, or to seek life-support for the party itself—and has left those who have remained, de-fleshed, scrabbling and scrambling for shreds to cover their bony essence, that is: allegiance to party before fidelity to professed faith.

Seemingly, less than a generation ago, integrity of character and something called Christian conduct was hailed as the hallmark of a candidate’s qualifications. Apparently these no longer matter, or are overlooked, dismissed (as a conspiracy of lies from the other side), excused or even defended and biblically re-storied. Not long ago, a candidate of such low inclination and high exhibition would have been seen, not as viable or suitable for the office of President of the USA, but as an indictment against its very culture—not as some saviour, but as exacting judgement. At best the progeny of Crusty.

In the chilly void of ordinary decency, the clammy pressure of calculated piety, the dank sloughs of daytime gospel shows—their whitened-toothed leaders with their considerable hair urging the flock to vote triumphantly—the brown fog has swept in. Here, one might even pause to recall the Moral Majority’s or Christian Coalition’s oft and eager smears on that old devil humanism, with tears of nostalgia. I am no Old Testament scholar, but I’ve read my Amos and have imagination enough to guess what the boiled old prophet might have said about the current candidate(s). And perhaps also about those who clutch gilded KJV’s while imagining their man a modern Moses with a mic.

I realize of course that I’m an outsider with a limited view, and I have my own blinkers and biases, but the thing is, this election matters, it matters not only to neighbouring nations, but to our globe. As such, I cannot merely say, what the hell, but must say, have mercy on us all.


  1. You will be happy to know one of the polls last night asked who won – Trump/Clinton or Canada….. You’ll be getting some new citizens one way or other…. Canada got 7% of the votes 🙂

  2. Thanks, Stephen. I like hearing from an outsider, but I’d also like to say, as an American voter, I don’t view Hillary Clinton as anything but amazing, definitely not soulless, a woman who has had the gall to try and make it in a man’s world–and if she succeeds, as she must, then I think women everywhere should celebrate. She’s not perfect, but neither am I nor is anyone on this planet. But she is my hero.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I respect your view. And I certainly support the things she has done regarding women’s rights. However, from what I hear and read, the email leaks have severely compromised her integrity. I stand to be corrected.

  3. Hey, now-distant-from-us Steve, I am mostly totally agreed, with one small exception (the idea of which was only implied in your screed) – I still feel that the KJV is the only authoritative version…

    1. Distant only in geography my friend. Of course knowing your bend for the romance of language (something lost, I wager, on many KJV readers) I wouldn’t expect anything else. Also, I had thought of using “NIV’s” but read somewhere that the KJV is still the most popular translation, which I found interesting.

      1. Yes, I do struggle with the sad reality that many Trump supporters, Hatfields, McCoys, and other hillbillies and deep south dwellers view the KJV as the definitive edition…on the other hand, it offers me a glimmer of hope that perhaps all is not lost – at least we have placed some of the greatest poetry of all time in their hands. Perhaps, like a Trojan Horse, we have imbedded the seeds of their destruction within them.

        “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee…The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity…Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.”

  4. Fascinating word-smithing, Steve, in the tradition of Rex Murphy! I had to look up “bloviating”. On yesterday’s news there was a report of some kind of roast event at which both candidates were present. And both spoke. Trump said, “The media is really biased against me. Michelle Obama gives a speech and they praise it to the heavens. My wife gives the exact same speech….” It was nice to see a bit of self-depracating humour on his part. Clinton begins her speech and says, “Donald, at any time if you disagree with something I say, please feel free to jump up and say ‘wrong'”. Trump enjoyed the joke. And at the end, they shook handss. We are of course seeing personas instead of persons in the campaign. I admit that I like Clinton’s persona a lot more. I say that rather than say I dislike it a lot less. I do dislike Trump’s persona a lot.

  5. Not all hillbillies. And my vote is never wasted when I choose something other, because a vote for the lesser of two evils would still have been a vote for evil. And that’s the saddest waste.

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