I am not a political scientist or a pollster. I have no advanced degrees that give me the authority to appear on a nightly news show and make that statement. The statement is true nonetheless. Rick Santorum is not going to be elected President.
That should make you furious.
Not because you actually want the man elected President. Heavens no. If you do I have nothing but pity for you. Right about now it seems to be even money that Rick Santorum could emerge victorious from this lengthy Republican primary exercise, clutching with his pale, bony fingers the mandate to defeat President Obama this November. Although, it should be noted, after the dizzying roulette wheel of media coverage and front-running, of Trump then Bachmann then Gingrich then Romney then Perry then Cain then Perry then Paul then Perry then Gingrich then Romney then Gingrich then Reagan then Reagan then Reagan then Reagan; after all that the finale of this particular melodrama will have to be seen to be believed. But when the dust finally settles, yes, there seems a distinct possibility that the champion of conservative America will be this man Santorum, this man whose sole claim to statesmanship is his ability to rock a sweater vest while preaching moral superiority and ego in some kind of cruel mockery of Fred Rogers; a man who 300 years ago would be standing in the center of the town square pronouncing accusations of witchcraft on every fifth woman he'd ever wished to see naked. This will be the best that the Republican Party, a party that once gave us Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, can offer as an option to the current leadership. A man with no ideas of his own and poor, ugly interpretations of the ideas presented in the Bible, propped up as a solution to the many serious problems this country and this world now face.
He may not win the nomination, of course, which would mean we have a mercifully shorter duration of this man's vomited nonsense rather than another eight months of it. It hardly matters, at this point. That we have been forced to endure Santorum at all, and others of his ilk before him, is an insult to the sorts of things the United States often tries to convince itself it stands for, in the morning, post-shower, looking at itself in the mirror and steering its perception away from the pallor of its skin, from the evidence of indiscretion wolf-tracking its way up the forearms. The country was founded by philosophers and scientists and aesthetes, men who were hardly perfect but who challenged themselves to be great in a manner that has been lost on the petty, insular power brokers now vying for the rank of Opponent. These candidates mock the rhetorical and oratorical acumen of the President because they have little of their own and they have no understanding of the power inherent in inspiring others.
No, instead, we are subjected to the daily absurdities of Santorum and his minions, of extreme, unproductive statements about the liberal socialist Islamic homosexual Nazi agenda represented by the Democratic Party, by Planned Parenthood, by the Girl Scouts. We are treated as dogs to be fed scraps of unwanted, blood-soaked meat and then vindicate that condescension by clamping our jaws shut and eagerly chewing.
Rick Santorum is not going to be elected President, we have been directed by the media to pay attention to him anyway, and that should make you furious beyond measure. At worst an election is a popularity contest and a pledge drive, at its best it is an opportunity to explore the crucible of differing opinion, to watch as a set of impressive people make a case for their own stewardship of society, to perhaps synthesize yet another brilliant strategy from the fundamentals of the strategies presented. The act of voting should be easy but the act of deciding who to vote for should be very, very difficult. That is not what we have here, in the prospect of a Santorum/Obama matchup; what we have instead is a multi-billion-dollar Waste Of Fucking Time.
There are hundreds of millions of people in America alone and we are ignoring so many of them to spend a single second listening to Rick Santorum expound on why rape victims should be overjoyed at their pregnancies and why gay marriage will doom the human race. There is a teacher somewhere who has just broken through a frustrated eighth-grader's block on geometry. There is a research scientist catching her third hour of sleep in the midst of a long night battling a metastasizing cancer cell. There is a little boy sharing a glass of lemonade with his younger brother. There are people doing even less than this who are of greater worth to this country than the man currently fear-mongering his way towards one of the most important events in American society.
I consider making a vow that this is the last time I will ever write the name "Rick Santorum." It exhausts me to look at it, to see the hollow sucking void the name carries with it everywhere it goes, to know that this hollow sucking void is thrashing about helter-skelter through the hearts and minds of my fellow citizens. I cannot make this vow. There is too much of this man, too much of him that has already spread out and infected and grown resistant to vaccine, and ignoring him will not simply make him go away. Whether tomorrow or next week or next year, he will again demand attention for his brand of American theocracy and again he will raise thousands of dollars in a single second to maintain his campaign for Ayatollah.
It's easy enough to say that we have ourselves to blame for men like Rick Santorum, but No. I, personally, am not willing to own that. I have not done anything to earn the karmic punishment of Rick Santorum and I refuse to accept any responsibility for his ascent. But I refuse, also, to accept the inevitability of Rick Santorum, to accept that he is the cost of doing business in an American democracy. I do not stay here and I do not choose to raise my son here while continuing to settle for such men.
No More Of You. That is my catchy four-word slogan, to be placed in my front yard. No More Of You.
Rick Santorum is not going to be elected President. It is obscene that it has ever gone so far as to make that statement necessary.