Dog Whistle

So up in Vermont I was searching for the well-modulated voice of NPR when I caught part of a right-wing radio show. One caller, who sounded old enough to qualify for Medicare, said that health care reform would lead to total government control–

“They’ll plant microchips in our hands, or our foreheads, and no one who doesn’t have one will be able to see a doctor.”

A ‘dog whistle’ is a signal to a constituency that is couched in language that the faithful will recognize, but unbelievers will miss.

The concerned caller was quoting from the Bible, the Book of Revelations. Ever since the ink dried on that document, people have been applying it to their current political miseries. The End Is Near. It’s always near.

I recommend that any of our readers who want to understand our cultural roots read the Bible. It’s said that the Devil can quote scripture, and current politics shows the Word is true. A wise witch said that the challenge of our time is to integrate the rational and the mystical. She didn’t mention the irrational and fanatical, but that is the spirit of fundamentalism, of all brands.

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5 responses

  1. I missed the forehead reference at first. I have been diligently reading the bible over the past several years. It’s a big book so it takes time to go over it enough to snap onto semi-oblique references like this.

    And the Apocalypse is my favorite book. So much of “Christian” imagery is rooted there.

    My perverse nature tells me that the best thing we could do as a nation is to take the plunge and become an officially Christian nation. Each pres could appoint a Secretary of Christianity who could regulate things.

    Ever read “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut? One of the themes was that the only way to make a religion popular was to make it illegal. So ban everything else and actively foster Christianity as a gov’t activity.

    Within a generation, there wouldn’t be a practicing Christian left in the country.

  2. Newt Gingrich just converted to Catholicism. He’d make a good Secretary of Christianity. Ann Coulter is also a prominent defender of God. And I’m sure that God is grateful for her support.

  3. I’m not a Bible reader,nor a follower of any particular religion-my son,who is just over 30,is about the same.
    However,we both have read the Book of Revelation-the imagery is really breathtaking and it makes itself open to nearly any interpretation you care to attach to it.
    A lot of writers and visual artists have been drawn to the narrative,particularly in medieval times.The “Twilight of the Gods”,or Ragnorak of Norse mythology is also the part of the cycle with the most impact.
    Maybe any concept of End Times draws in people by its very nature.

  4. When I was in my teens, Revelations was my favorite, and I did do some art around it.
    The belief that we are in the End Times is more widespread and influential than many reality based folks know.

  5. I know exactly how widespread it is-I’ll leave it at that.

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