Once again my fellow Americans are failing to consider the big picture, concerning themselves instead with a subject more easily encompassed conceptually: the behavior of one seriously squirrelly individual.
I speak of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, the active duty officer who has been addressing conservative Christian audiences from the pulpits of their churches for some time now.
As has been well documented the general characterizes and presumably actually believes America is a Christian nation worshipping a partisan god who is also a distinctly different deity from that worshipped by Muslims.
Vociferous pundits have drawn attention to the fact that in equating Islam with Satan the general is aiding and abetting those Muslim extremists eager to characterize such a position as illustrative of our country's goal of eradicating Islam. Therefore, aver such pundits, the general should suffer some form of censure, as well as punishment.
Folks, open your eyes; the general is not the problem. He is but one man.
America's problem lies in the sanctuaries of fundamentalist and evangelical churches throughout our fair land where his message is sought and welcomed.
When Boykin describes American foreign policy in the Middle East as a cosmic battle between good and evil he is literally preaching to the choir. (It is interesting to note such Manichaean dualism was rejected by the early Christian Church as an apostasy yet is now embraced by fundamentalists and evangelicals.)
Our attention should therefore be directed to the millions who reflect the general's primitive worldview, the Bush constituency.
When Boykin speaks of a manifestation of Satan appearing in the skies above Mogadishu n "It is a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy." n he is taken seriously by a significant bloc of Republican voters.
Halloween is a particularly appropriate time of the year to consider such things for though the rest of us have some spirited fun with stories of ghosts and goblins, demons and witches, the Bush constituency believes such fantasies, such fairy stories to be real.
Were the superstitious stratum not making serious inroads into all three branches of American government the situation would be laughable, but they are making inroads and I'm not laughing.
Look at the situation another way. This is the time of the year when movie theaters are filled with horror flicks featuring demonic creatures forever pursuing the innocent.
Who is the target audience for these sublimely ridiculous films, children and teenagers or adults? The answer is obvious: adults outgrow such infantile notions.
Or do they? What is the difference between this seasonal silliness and the world view of the Bush constituency? What's the difference between the message Gen. Boykin is employing to consolidate and manipulate the Bush constituency and the stories told to children to send shudders down their spines?
When fundamentalist and evangelical churches deny children the opportunity to revel in the scary this Halloween it is because they believe in the truth of demons and the efficacy of magical incantations capable of summoning evil creatures from some horrible parallel universe.
Consider the magnitude of this lunacy every election. Do you want the most childlike among us to lead?
Do the recently emancipated women of America want those who believe in witchcraft to once again dominate their lives, control their destinies?
Do we want a government selected by those who believe in demons to determine American foreign policy? It is not just Gen. Boykin who believes in our god versus theirs, our goodness versus Satanic Islam, it is the masses that fill the pews when he speaks.
Therefore, let me speak to those of you who have outgrown such infantilism, those of you who find such tales of which Halloween stories and films are made, good for a laugh and a shudder, nothing more.
We, America's true patriots, cannot permit our halls of government to be overrun by those who seek the council of fantasists like Gen. Boykin. Those who fill the pews during the general's addresses elect the politicians who create legislation reflecting their juvenile worldview, not Boykin.
Attend to your history books. What has happened to every community or nation that permitted itself to be dominated by the paranoid and the superstitious?
It is the time for patriotic adults to rise up and rescue America from those who provide the most profound threat to its future. We must resist our predisposition to lethargy. Vote!
R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.