December 9, 2023

Family Values


Politically, the verdant acres of Doodlebug Island, surrounded as we are by the lapping waters of Oak Creek, constitute a Democratic stronghold–that is, if we had not already disassociated ourselves from Sedona, Arizona, and the United States. Actually, since our secession exists largely in our minds, we do vote in local, state, and national elections. And we vote Democrat. That is to say, most of us vote in that manner.

Bessie Turnbow doesn’t. She slipped into the gentle clutches of dementia about the time George Bush Senior established the family policy of going to war with Iraq whenever he or a member of his family became president, and Bessie got his name and a certain biblical event involving a burning bush confused. She became a Republican for reasons best explained by virtue of a worsening grasp on reality.

But Republican membership grew a hundred percent this week when Clarence Getjoy, in a fit of pique because he wasn’t elected Democratic precinct committeeman, switched parties. The event went pretty well unnoticed simply because he’s been threatening to take such action for a good long time and finally felt dared to do it. He’ll want to come back, of course. One can only remain heathen for so long. Local wagering says he’ll not only want back, he’ll still want the committeeman job! Still, it did seem to lend a bit of credibility to an otherwise under-represented segment of the population: people with aspirations of living long enough to be included among those wealthy enough to qualify for a Republican tax break.

Much amused by her husband’s actions, Culdina, Clarence’s longsuffering wife, has adopted a stoic disregard and with a twist of malicious fervor. She knows that Clarence is not a seriously stalwart member of anybody’s party, for his ideologies are not well fixed. She needles him unmercifully.

“Now that you’re a confirmed Republican, maybe they’ll make you part of the surveillance team illegally tapping phone lines and examining bank accounts! Oh, and now your conversation and thinking can simply be reduced to slogans! Tell me, how do politics and religion work together to accomplish so much good?”

“Well, I’ve joined the party of family values,” snorts Clarence summing up a specious argument as if it were anchored in stone.

“Oh, I see! ‘Family values’ is a verbal cornucopia of principled belief revealed to self-righteous and properly labeled individuals widely disbursed among ‘far right’ denominations and all in the ‘R’ spectrum,” responds Culdina, derisively.

“We believe most of us are,” replied Clarence, hesitantly, remembrance of his latest misdeeds nagging his conscience.

“Of course, ‘far right’ is its own shorthand for those given to the notion they stand on high moral ground, which doesn’t explain why so many nationally ranked Republicans are being indicted for graft and such. Maybe it’s just that that ground forms the impossible substrata for very disparate religious belief systems!”

“Well, it doesn’t justify wrong, but the first part sounds about right,” responded Clarence, befuddled as usual and oblivious to the sarcasm in his wife’s words.

“So, now you can join the ranks of those advising the universe on abortion, same-sex marriages and embryonic stem cell research, I imagine, trying to put limits on the tolerance of that very same universe, and trying to put limits on personal freedom!”

“It’s for their own good. Society has become promiscuous, and if we have to legislate to gain a higher standard of conduct among citizens, so be it.”

“You know what’s interesting? As a Democrat, you were far less judgmental and much more accepting of others; and since when did legislation ever achieve a higher standard of conduct?”

“Well, we do have certain ethics and morals to uphold,” replied Clarence, resorting to the vacuous thinking of many of the leaders of his new party. “You are puzzling. You will start wars when your Judaeo-Christian principles should tell you to show love and understanding, then huddle in your bunker waiting for terrorists to retaliate. Did it ever occur to you that your party is run by paranoid nitwits?”

“Well, doesn’t it occur to you that with the Middle East exploding the way it is, we’re looking Armageddon straight in the face and we better get the world shaped up before the end comes?”

“You’re right on one point, my erstwhile scatterbrain, if there is even the remote possibility of an “end,” you well-meaning hawks are just the ones to find it or bring it on!”

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