Can America Survive the Rise of Popekim?
Welp, Pope Francis’s visit went off without a hitch, and turns out the right wing screechocracy, which reacted to initial news of his friendship tour like convulsive, hissing devils caught in a downpour of holy water without their umbrellas, had nothing to fear from the Vatican II World Tour after all. Yes, the Pope challenged Americans to do the right thing on issues ranging from immigration to yadda yadda yadda, a bunch of other socialist garbage. Forget about that! What has set the American media alight in the wake of this historic papal visit is the latest sizzling tale of DaVinci Code intrigue: a secret back-door meeting between the Holy Father and Federal RFRA pin-up girl Kim Davis!
You may recall, there was some concern beforehand that the Pope’s radical notion that the chief aim of all politics should be “the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good” would cause enough widespread shame in Congress to move them toward compromise for the good of the country. Thankfully, the only movement seems to have been John Boehner’s bowels. But the right-wing scream machine was already fired up, just in case. Remember in the run-up to his visit, when the Fox-wing media was in full meltdown mode? This pope was a "communist and a Marxist" who has "assaulted matrimony"! He was “The most dangerous person on the planet”! "Hand-selected by the New World Order”! An Agent of the Antichrist, if not the Antichrist himself! Out to “destroy the World”! Brian Kilmeade told him to “stay home!” And Ted Cruz said the Vatican should find a new CEO!
Well, apparently all is forgiven. And all due to a 15 minute “secret visit”. Breitbart’s terribly prolific Austin Ruse, who fought urgently to expose the “Obama-Francis Axis” before the visit, gloated in the afterglow that the pope’s “secret visits” are for issues “close to his heart” and concluded by noting “that the Pope did not meet secretly or even openly with climate scientists.” And Senator Cruz? On the day of the Pope’s departure, he praised the pontiff as a "proclaimer of truth”. This Pope might not be the Antichrist after all! It seems all he really needed was someone to Kimplete him.
You’ve got to admit, though, before Popekim, on his own, he was kind of a drip. There was all that stuff and nonsense before Congress, about income inequality, organized labor, and capital punishment. He reminded us all of the Golden Rule (which if I recall goes something like “get as much gold as you possibly can before anyone else does,” right?) and exhorted us to apply it to our foreign policy; renewed his call for the abolition of the death penalty as part and parcel of a culture of life, pleading that “a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation”; name-checked some straight outta Brooklyn hipster chick, Dorothy Day, who nobody’d ever heard of, and anyway she’s not a Kim -- Kardashian or Davis -- and we’re all about the Kims right now; banged on about the fight against poverty and hunger and the role of equitable labor practices and wealth distribution, and blah blah blah. Yeah, whatever, Pope Marx. Ugh, and shut up about the (alleged) “environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots.” You’re not Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Heaven forfend we have to talk about any of that rubbish. And we might have had to, had the monstrous chimera of Popekim not emerged from the boring chrysalis of moral clarity. To liberals and conservatives, I say: we all dodged a bullet here. Had we really paid attention to the Pontiff’s public addresses, we may have had to discuss issues of substance in an election year! We would all have nodded off by next November, for sure.
But thanks to his secret liaison with Rowan County’s little darling, we don’t have to! Now we get to discuss the agenda of Davis’ lawyer Mat Staver’s Liberty Counsel, an organization bizarrely, singularly fixated on the issue of gay rights, which is devoted entirely to fighting against same-sex marriage, civil unions, and adoption by gay people, as well as hate crimes legislation, employment or housing protections for gays, and gays serving openly in the military. This bizarrely single-minded organization to which Davis, despite claims that “this has never been a gay or lesbian issue,” is attached at the hip, is touting Francis’ private pope-talk as a public endorsement of their policy positions.
It seems a betrayal, on a very TMZ level, by a Pope many -- even those who disagreed with him -- had thought was at least a straight-shooter. This whole episode might as well have been straight out of Housewives of The Holy See. You don’t be all nicey-nicey and then go behind a WHOLE NATION’S BACK and think we’re going to go back to being all nicey-nicey. I mean, are you the Pope, or Kandi Burruss?
But that’s what this election season is, a big ol’ Real Housewives, and anyone who thought the Papal Visit was going to lead to anything but another big ol' gay catfight hasn’t been tuning in. Leave the substantive debates to C-Span. It’s time for the rest of us to get back to our regularly scheduled programming. We’ve got a new celebrity couple! I don’t know exactly what went down in that 15 minutes -- politics make strange bedfellows -- but I can tell you this much with absolute certainty: politically speaking, that’s gonna be one ugly baby.