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22nd April
written by Arizona Kid

High school graduate Jesse Kelly defeated a Harvard educated Air Force pilot, a nice American named Dave Sitton and Frank “Spank me, I’m bad” Antenori. Now that the fat lady has sung and the primary is over it’s time for Act II of “The Barber of Civility”: A contest between the guy who looks like the Jurassic Park professor without the pith helmet and a carpet bagging gun-toting Bible thumping gosh and shucks Gomer Pyle who can channel Sean Hannity.

Jesse will do great among the unwashed, the rural, the illiterate, the scared goobers willing to cheerfully vote against their own interests, whipping up the groundlings and the believers with rhetorical red meat so rotten with the stench of untruths that honorable flies will choose to lay their eggs elsewhere. And he’ll smile like a man surprised he said something resembling a coherent thought. And the crowds who hate elitists and grammar and syntax and critical thinking will slap their knees and hoot. Scan the online comment section for repugnant speech and unfiltered anonymous hatred of all who differ with the strict conservative view and and you have found your archetypal “here come the black helicopters from Kenya” Kelly supporters.

And he will be petted and stroked and groomed and cooed to by right-wing think tanks and he’ll be showered, nay, flooded with bags of cash from big oil and all the right PACs looking for a manly mannequin with a pull string. And he’s a pretty one. He’s tall and he’s handsome and he’s tall and he’s handsome. Elderly church ladies who can’t tell you who the Vice-President is gaze adoringly up at Kelly, yearning to vote for him and to adopt him and to feed him apple pie. Goodbye Mo Udall, hello empty plastic Ken doll.

And he will be angry at those who question his ascendency and his indignant finger will raise up to poke the sky and he’ll thunder incoherent talk radio babble about freedom and liberty and liberty from freedom and FOX news and the right-wing machine will give him their cameras and their spotlights every chance they can.

He won’t represent you. He will represent the Tea Party fanatics, talk radio freaks, the hand-wringing evangelicals, the gun fondlers and the paranoid. The rest of you are just not Americans, you Marxists and Communists and baby killers and you can go to Hell for all he cares. He’ll terrify crowds with his tales of the liberal straw man, the wretched progressive sasquatch, the abominable secularists and he’ll shake the scarecrow and he’ll offer himself up as the great peasant’s torch just waiting to be pressed into battle against the fictitious kindling. Swaddled in the flag and clutching his sacred Constitution he’ll weep for America and prophesy a plague of socialism sweeping across the land that will rival the fire-in-the-sky visions of St. John. Evolution is a head-shaker and abortion is for harlots and those who are not with him are devils. The Word is Limbaugh and he is the word made flesh. Hearken to Jesse all ye Limbaugh Christians, the end times are upon us and the Messiah has a high school diploma. Reject him not, oh ye dittoheads. The Republicans have their man, their folksy Baron of bromides, their King of jingos, raised in the womb of the right-wing echo chamber. And their darling will have an army of fanatical feverish shock jocks who’ll trumpet at the Walls of Jericho for He who is Him everyday until Medicare, Social Security, Big Government, Taxes, the department of Education, our rotting public education system, and those diabolical regulators and the United Nations all come tumbling down.

At the final debate with Giffords in 2010 he was figuratively hoisted on the shoulders of believers with pitchforks and torches who cheered their Messiah with yahoos and slogans in lieu of palm fronds. How can one be civil when you’re debating an opponent who lies and smirks and makes George Bush sound look Stephen Hawking? His adherents cannot be moved by facts, they have found faith.

Sinclair Lewis had his Main Street Babbitt, we have Kelly. This Barber v. Kelly election will truly be an American spectacle rivaling the Scopes Monkey trial because its outcome will define us for years. Are we an easily frightened America aching for the shallow comfort of the primitive and the superstitious or are we the fearless America that questions, that embraces the future, that is modern and smart? Mark Twain and H.L.Mencken savaged their respective times as the gilded ages of carnival hawkers and tent evangelists and smiling shoeshine salesmen and gullible rubes willing to say yes to any smiling carpet-bagger. They are gazing up from Hell longing to see this show unfold. This summer the oldest American story shall repeat itself.

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