Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Truly Inspired Idea

St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fancy Farm, Kentucky has the right idea. For the last 133 years it has hosted a thoroughly American event. It is ostensibly a barbeque fundraiser for the church but it is far more than that. Politicians of every stripe are invited to speak at the event which, this year was attended by about a thousand people. Democrats sat on the left, Republican sat on the right. The speakers stood in front, but for no more than five minutes. If they exceeded their allotted time a bluegrass band blew them off the stage with their music.

The speakers at this event are expected to lambast their opponents, with highest marks going to the candidate who furnishes the best one liners. One of Mitch McConnell’s opponents this year suggested that “If Senator McConnell’s doctor told him he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it.” That one will work just as well for John Boehner in case anyone is interested. The only restrictions placed on the speakers were that they could not use profanity or sexual or racial slurs in their presentations. Shucks, them ain’t no restrictions. All our politicians these days – especially Republican politicians – are good Christian ladies and gents whose speech is as pure as the driven snow.

I would say the St. Jerome Catholic Church’s idea is one that should catch on in the country. I’m surprised that the event has existed in Fancy Farm, Kentucky all these years without attracting more attention. In this era when preachers and churches and para-church organizations are itching to get some skin into the political game, this offers a perfect opportunity.

Yes, they would have to sacrifice their partisanship and allow those whom they can’t stomach to be a part of their event. But they could pack the right side of the audience with their right thinking followers, wearing red to make sure that everyone knows their preference. And they could place fewer chairs on the left so that a portion of the audience on that side would be forced to stand. Republicans are practiced at putting obstacles in the path to democratic participation, voter I.D., gerrymandering, shortening voting hours, etc. One more obstacle would probably go entirely unnoticed.

And how much more delightful these events would be than the standard political rally at the American Legion Hall. The reports on the Fancy Farms gathering didn’t indicate how much money was raised for St. Jerome Catholic church but with an audience of a thousand people one would expect that they cleared two or three thousand  dollars. That is a lot better than the Ladies Aid’s average summer rummage sale, and whole lot more entertaining too.

And the IRS can eat its heart out. The church endorses neither or none of the candidates. A truly inspired idea.

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