Good Looking Fundamentalist Politicians with Really Cool Names
For many years now, American freethinkers have been well aware of the fundamentalist threat that is sweeping the nation - sneaking into the educational system, slithering into the political arena and cleverly skewing public opinion towards one absurdity or another. Now, in what was once considered the virgin land of the Great White North (both in urban development and religious stronghold), Canada is experiencing similar epidemics as her big brother to the south. The Canadian Alliance, a group comparable to the Moral Majority but with a greater appreciation for hockey and beer, has managed to gather enough support from the public to warrant a voice in Parliamentary proceedings, battling on equal ground with Jean Chretien himself. In what appears as a spontaneous (or miraculous) coup, the Alliance has been able to win the hearts of Canucks from the Maritimes to the Prairies and up into Nunanuvet as well. Their agenda is tailored according to the dictates of religious fundamentalism but their campaign, of course, focuses on tax relief. Perhaps a greater concern is deserved since Canada doesn't have much in the way of a Constitution or Bill of Rights. The earth is only 6000 years old says Stockwell Day from the pulpit of the House of Commons and a public reared on Bob and Doug Mackenzie cheer loudly from the bleachers, touks and all.
What is it though that really gets the votes and wins the popularity of the public? Armchair philosophers and barnyard intellectuals have been debating the issues for decades. Is it the truth? The sincerity with which politicians sacrifice their lives for the welfare of their country? Could it be the thoughtful platforms that candidates take on the issues that stir and shake us and the mutual commitment we feel towards careful and critical analysis of the same? Perhaps it's the good deeds, the intelligence and the foresight of future Presidents and Prime Ministers that merit our votes?
No, it's none of these things.
What it boils down to is this: good looks and cool sounding names. If a passionate religious fervor is thrown into the package, all the better, it increases the likelihood that chairs and fists will be flung a la Jerry-Springer, providing ample entertainment for one and all. Who on God's green earth would truly vote for a Ralph or an Alfred? Joseph isn't all that bad, it still inspires respect although it's rather old-fashioned and we've been livin' in Marlboro country now for over a decade. Dubya's a full-blooded American from the land of big guns and kickass revolutions. Dubya's also got much greater linguistic appeal. Try it! It's like having an orgasm in your mouth! Some prefer to call him Junior, as that too is all the rage. Texans really do know how to inject an extra syllable into the party and make for one rockin' good time! Imagine your next conversation over mocha cappuccino frappaccino with a touch of caramel machiato; Alfred would shock everyone into an uncomfortable silence of the highest magnitude. Dubya's ability to impress the crowd even gets a mention in the latest edition of How to Make Friends and Influence People, now required reading in business schools across the country. All this being said, Dubya's got a Dick (Cheney) to boot. He's going to win by a landslide.
We can go beyond the superficiality of names however. Dubya did cocaine and partied away a large part of his life. He is hailed as a "fraternity party-dude" and "cavalier anti-intellectual" by admirers. This far surpasses any of the pansies claiming they did or did not inhale marijuana. Dubya was a jock at school (well, actually a cheerleader but we won't go there.) He knows football statistics for Christ's sake! Recently Dubya called someone an asshole and went so far as refusing to take it back. Man, this guy's way cool. Stop the press! Papers all across the land dropped everything to explore the issue - The Washington Post referred to the blunder as "a vulgar euphemism for a rectal aperture" and got more specific with: "***hole", The New York Times chimed in with "ass****", USA Today left no stone unturned with "******" Some of the local newspapers favored dashes over asterisks, some chose the safety of a combination of symbols like "&%!@." Headlines haven't been this profound since the Kansas/Oz connection during the Summer of 1999.
Although we can't say much for Dick's physical attractiveness, his nerd-like appearance does indeed fit well within our future president/vice-president model. Cheney's role is one of sidekick and television dictates that sidekicks are a little on the geeky side. They should not deter our attention from the dynamism of our main man. Think of Batman and Robin, Hercules and Newt, Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Obviously critical thought was injected into the process when choosing a running mate for Junior.
But let's move from the confines of the United States of America and see just how far reaching this new political science theory truly is.
Fundamentalists now have the Canadian political arena licked with such greats as Stockwell Day, Rod Love and Preston Manning. Their mothers surely were advanced beyond their years in soap opera viewing. Daytime and Primetime Dramas like the Young and the Restless and Melrose Place have always offered us such foresight and originality in the business of names and finally it's truly making a difference in the global state of affairs. Personally, I always had a fondness for the name Stone. And Montana for girls is simply the cat's meow. Just think of what brilliant Supreme Court Justices they would make! Jean Chretien and Eddie Goldberg just can't keep up. Sven Robinson had a chance but then he went and botched it all up by representing the freethinkers. Stockwell doesn't just have a cool name though, he also provides great eye candy to his constituents and anyone else who channel surfs between porn and government public access TV. If Stockwell says the earth is 6000 years old, by golly, the earth is 6000 years old. We would do the same for blue-eyed Stockyards and muscular Stockholms, would we not? Stockwell Day could be Canada's own John F. Kennedy! Campaign pictures could depict him alongside the beautiful Pamela Anderson Lee or Cindy Crawford, both Canadian!
England, although low on the religious extremism, offers a bit of evidence for our theory as well. Both Tony Blair and John Majors have been caught by the paparazzi in their swimsuit attire and British lassies went hysterical. A bit like evangelical tent rallies. And of course you've heard of Lee Majors - he was the six million-dollar man. He was married to a Charlie's Angel - Farah Fawcett herself. An attractive wife may in fact be an unofficial criterion when deciding to seriously dedicate your life to serving your country and living in the public spotlight that the political arena provides. Even Prince Charles knew the appeal of a blonde and what could be more rad than a Prince or Sir in front of your name and a few roman numerals in the back. Duke is also making a comeback, no longer limited to dogs. The name criterion is far more prevalent in North America though, as are the fundamentalist leanings. Both may be connected in part to the unbridled capitalism and ruthless opportunism that flourishes in the grand ol' land of opportunity. England is more of a socialist country with Canada having been somewhere in between but now tending towards the American Way due to the introduction of MTV and successful protesting against Monty Python and Kids in the Hall.
What about Australia? China? Moscow? Egypt? Nigeria? Mexico? Argentina? And all of those countries that have really neat sounding names somewhere in the Middle East? What a worthwhile research project this could turn out to be. The US Government now has grant applications on the Internet - just a sec.....