Everyone’s used to political mudslinging — but how often does the mud come from Middle-Earth?
Senator McCain criticized some colleagues’ approach to the debt-ceiling issue on July 27, quoting extensively from a Wall Street Journal op-ed that compared tea partiers to “hobbits”.
The WSJ‘s Tolkienesque analogy reads:
The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.
Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post reports that “Tea Party members responded in kind” —
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) deadpanned that ‘he would rather be a hobbit than a troll,’ while 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada said that ‘it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land.’
True – up to the point when Frodo put on the ring for the last time, had delusions about ruling the world, and was only spared an evil fate because Gollum bit the ring off his hand and accidentally fell into Mount Doom. I couldn’t tell you where to look for checks and balances like that in our democratic system.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]
Ultimately, the last minute struggle for the ring between Frodo and Gollum was all foreseen by God. (Whose name in this fantasy I’ve forgotten.) But, it is a truism that the entire Lord of the Rings triology boils down to one homily — that neither the efforts nor intentions nor virtues of mortals, however great, is enough to overcome evil. Only God can save the day.
So, referring to LotR as a model to build a democracy on comes down to a theocratic state — where the constitution acknowledges the existence and supremacy of God in state matters. Maybe that works in the UK, where the King or Queen is also head of the *established* Anglican Church. But it’s not part of the American constitution, last time I looked. In theory, the separation of Church and State are essential to a true democracy. A state that is partial to one flavour of Deism or another is dictating conscience. Even the United Kingdom has evolved most of the way to dis-establishing the Church, to the point that the heir, Prince Charles, has stated that he would like to be “Protectors of Faiths” (plural) than “Protector of the Faiths” (Anglican only). Way to go, Chuck!
I’m afraid, however, to suggest another constitutional ammendment, along with the one to balance the budget. Somebody in the Republican Party is certain to take me seriously.
You don’t want them to take you seriously?