Friday, August 29, 2014

One reason I'm not Republican is because their entire platform seems based on returning America to its alleged former greatness. As the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer says, "It is no exaggeration to say that the Protestant faith, particularly its moral values and its work ethic, made America what it became," indicating that a mass return to religion is required to make this U-turn.

I won't argue that the world is a swirling cesspool of idiots and assholes. However, it's pretty easy to prove there used to be faaar more.

My mail carrier has a cleft palate. Great guy, very friendly, cleft palate. Every time I see him I think, "Ooh, there's a dude with a hare lip. Hey, that's Mike!" I don't mean to be rude; it's just automatic. It's what people were like before political correctness.

I saw Mike yesterday and thought, "Ooh, dude with a hare lip. Hey, that's Mike!" and immediately felt guilty. I decided it was time I parceled out the blame. I mean, at some point in the history of time, a doctor -- a well-bred, upper-class, educated white man -- delivered a baby with a cleft palate. He'd probably treated the family for years, maybe even delivered the mother herself. With heartfelt empathy and a bedside manner honed from years of experiene, he looked at the baby, then looked at the mom and dad and said, "Whoa! Looks like you two are the proud parents of a fuckin' bunny rabbit!"

The mother must have freaked out. Surely she sought out other medical help. Maybe she complained further up the ladder, and brought it to the attention of the American Medical Association. Maybe they convened a committee to discuss the malformation, and eventually they reached a conclusion. "We have looked through all the literature and discovered that this condition afflicts a significant portion of newborns yet has not been given a name. With all the gravity this august body can muster, we're going to call it a hare lip, because c'mon, that kid's begging for a carrot, right?"

"That doesn't seem particularly scientific," the mother might protest. "You're naming a medical syndrome after a subjective observation and offensive slur?"

"Look on the bright side," another doctor might offer. "Maybe he'll get extra chocolate at Easter time."

Then there's Mongoloids. That's what people with Down Syndrome used to be called. With the intelligence and compassion their field is noted for, a doctor declared that a child born with a birth defect looked like somebody Chinese. And for years his observation was gospel. "Pronounced supraorbital ridges, post-orbital constriction, protruding occipitals," a delivering doctor might note. "I don't want to scare you or anything, but how do you like the name Ching Chang Fong?"

WOMAN: What?

DOCTOR: And I thought I'd have to wait until lunch to get Chinese take-out.

Later in life if one suffered a head injury, that person was declared to be a vegetable. Say a young man is hit by a horse-drawn carriage and thrown into a coma. His parents rush to his side, but he doesn't wake up. He doesn't respond. Eventually the doctor turns up to give them the grim prognosis. "I'm very sorry to tell you," he says, "that your son is a vegetable."

The mother stares at him in confusion. "Can you narrow it down? Is he corn? A rutabaga? Oh, God -- don't tell me he's -- " She cringes here as she can barely whisper the words: "Brussels sprouts?"

What were they thinking? Why would a brain-dead person suddenly become a vegetable? Do they now contain extra iron? Do they start bathing in butter? Are they suddenly something you avoid until Thanksgiving comes? It makes just as much sense to say they're now a doorstop, or an enormous rock, or a giant hunk of cheese.

Still, I'm not going to argue with Bryan Fischer. If he says the Protestant faith made America what it became, I won't dispute it. However, I will thank heaven that there were smart atheists around to fix everything they fucked up.

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