FLETCHER: A revisionist's look at Palin's America

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

I don’t believe you; You had the whole damned thing all wrong. He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

— Jethro Tull

Sometimess you just have to laugh at the absurdity.

I’d mentioned in a recent column a Squawker’s “prayer” that Ariel Castro (who kidnapped and held three Ohio women captive for more than a decade) would be stabbed in prison. I wondered, in print, what kind of person would seek divine intervention to carry out a revenge fantasy on his behalf.

And that was that.

Until this arrived: “Who the (expletive deleted) do you think you are to talk about somebody else’s relationship with God? It’s (expletive deleted … kinda sounds like ‘glass bowls’) like you who are what’s wrong with America today. Don’t think God doesn’t answer prayers against evil people in this world. I’m sure plenty of liberal anti-gun, anti-God, (gay)-loving Socialists make that list, too. Sound like anyone you know?”


After I digested the words of the email, I couldn’t help but wonder what this person’s own prayers might sound like. Perhaps:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Dear Lord, please bless my family, even my cousin whose daughter claims to have a girlfriend — and please straighten her out, Lord — and George Bush and Sarah Palin and all the white people in America — except liberals and Democrats and those that don’t keep with their kind — and please bless Americans’ guns and help us to shoot straight when we’ve got enemies in our sights, like all the illegals in our country and anybody who’s not a member of our church and all the fruits prancing around out there — the ones that don’t grow on trees.

And, Lord, please kill everyone who doesn’t look, think and act like me so our country can be great once again. And, Lord, could you please help Dale Junior win the Cup this year? Amen.

I thought about New York lawyer Frederic Rich’s haunting novel “Christian Nation” as I read over the love letter from the obviously ardent fan. In the book, published earlier this year, Rich takes a revisionist’s look at history in the wake of the 2008 presidential election, one in which John McCain claims a narrow victory over Barack Obama.

In the novel, McCain dies a few months into his first year in office and (horror of horrors) Palin becomes president. I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read the book — which is quite compelling, if not exactly a literary masterpiece, by the way — but suffice it to say we’re soon living in a different America, one in which those who do not adhere to the new administration’s fundamentalist Christian ideals (sorry, Catholics; too bad, Jews; run for cover, homosexuals) do not have the right to seek life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

Certainly Rich’s vision of Palin’s America is extreme. America’s freedoms are gradually usurped until, ultimately, the country finds itself engaged in a “Holy War.”

Perhaps the thing that struck me most as I read the novel is the relative ease in which most of Rich’s America — a country founded on the principle of religious freedom — gave up its rights and eagerly accepted the persecution of anyone who did not adhere to the ideals of its radical leaders.

I think I was most chilled, though, by the words spoken by the book’s primary character, a young New York lawyer named Greg, at the end of Chapter 1: “So I suppose what happened here is that they said what they would do, and we did not listen. Then they did what they said they would do.”

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.