John Gibson is best known for hosting an evening news program on the Fox News Channel. But he also hosts a fledgling three-hour talk show on satellite radio each night.
On the cable television program Gibson lets his personal opinions come through openly in the closing minutes of the show, in a segment called “My Word.” (Liberal critics contend they are on display more often than that.) On the satellite radio show, his opinions are front and center all the time, loud and clear.
Gibson is on the Right politically generally pro-free market and firm on traditional values. But he is also an entertainer, out to win an audience. There are times, I am convinced, when he will say things mainly to be provocative and keep the show lively. That is especially true of the satellite radio show. A few programs in early October may have been a case in point.
The topic was the upcoming congressional elections. Gibson said he is now convinced much to his dismay that the Republicans are going to take a shellacking, losing their majorities in both the House and the Senate. He put much of the blame on the Marc Foley scandal and the flow of bad news from Iraq. He kept repeating, “It’s over, folks. It’s over. Nancy Pelosi is already measuring the drapes for her office as majority leader of the House.”
Whether or not Gibson was exaggerating a bit to stir up his audience, he may be right. By the time you read this it will be closer to the election and you will know more about that. Personally, I hope he is wrong, not so much because I dread the prospect of the Republicans losing control in Washington, but because I would love to see the pollsters and Democratic talking heads with some egg on their faces. It is easy to get the impression from some of the talking heads that, once the pollsters and newsrooms have spoken, an election is a superfluity. Not so. The experts acted as if there was no reason for the Yankees to have to take the field against the Tigers this year in the playoffs.
But why do I say that I don’t dread the prospect of a Democratic take-over all that much? Let me give you Gibson’s doomsday scenario that would follow upon a Democratic victory. It will put things in perspective. He starts with some facts that are hard to stomach: if the Democrats become the majority, Nancy Pelosi will be majority leader of the House, and left-wing firebrands such as John Conyers, Charles Rangel and Alcee Hastings will take control of important congressional committees.
The result, says Gibson, is that homosexual marriage will become widespread, the right to abortion on demand will be solidified, stem-cell research will be expanded, resulting in millions of fetuses being created just to be destroyed; there will be a serious effort to impeach George Bush for “lying” to the country about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; our troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, with the resulting bloodshed blamed on the Bush decision to invade.
In addition, said Gibson, the fence along our southern border to stop the flow of illegal immigration will never get built and nothing will be done to apprehend and repatriate the tens of millions of illegal immigrants already here. Instead, he contends, an all-out drive will be made by the Democratic majority to legalize the illegals and make them citizens, thereby giving the Democrats a grateful voting bloc that will ensure them electoral victories for decades to come. This will mean a Hillary Clinton presidency, with Bill a constant presence at her side, directing the country toward the big-government, world federalist future they were working for when Bill was president. We will get single-payer health insurance on the Canadian model, higher minimum wages, higher taxes and increased American military participation in UN-sponsored peace-keeping missions around the world, plus a succession of Supreme Court judges who will vote in line with Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
And I don’t dread all this coming about? How can I say that?
First of all, no one knows if any of this is going to happen. It was just a few years back that we were being told by the pundits that Karl Rove and Republican strategists were on the verge of putting together a “permanent Republican majority” that would keep the Republicans in control of the White House and the Congress for decades to come. Rush Limbaugh was so confident of this outcome that he routinely spoke of his desire to “keep a few liberals around just so the country would know what they were like.” The voters can surprise us.
But my point is something else: that even if Gibson’s nightmare were to come true, Catholics can live with it. Let’s not get nutty about this. The Republican Party is not God’s party. Marc Foley was not the only Republican who spouted conservative rhetoric as a ploy to manipulate Christian voters. An America shaped by the Democratic majority in the way Gibson predicts would be an America where we will become much like Catholics in modern Europe: a remnant of believers living in a secular humanist sea. It would mean that we have suffered a setback in the culture wars and have little chance of shaping society along Christian lines for the foreseeable future.
That will be discomforting, of course. I repeat: I hope it does not happen. But let us not exaggerate the impact of a Democratic ascendancy. The Democratic majority that Gibson describes will not close down our churches and schools. We will still have our Catholic publications. There are militant secularists in this country who are as hostile to Catholics as the atheists during the Mexican revolution who shot Father Miguel Pro. But they are not a force to be reckoned with. The majorities who will vote for Hillary Clinton (in Gibson’s scenario) are more indifferent than hostile toward believing Christians. We will still have our families and local communities that share our values. Let’s not get melodramatic. We are not facing anything like what the Catholics of Poland or Hungary went through during the Cold War.
It was not easy living with the Clintons being in power the first time round. I can remember the days when I would reflexively reach for the remote every time Bill Clinton’s face appeared on the television screen. I am not kidding: I would experience a literal physical reaction. I called it “Billimia.” But life went on. The Clinton administration did not affect my family life. I still had the Mass and the sacraments. I could still read Chesterton and C.S. Lewis and watch Notre Dame football games and listen to my old Big Band records.
I am not saying that we should become accommodating and acquiesce to the liberal Democratic majority lock on government that John Gibson predicts. If it were to occur, we would still have the responsibility to heed St. Paul’s call to “remake all things in Christ.” But sometimes being cut off from the circles of power and influence can help us see what that duty entails, and regroup. If Gibson is right about what is in store for us in the coming years, it may be our turn to get slapped in the face with what Jesus meant when He taught that the Kingdom is not of this world.
James Fitzpatrick's novel, The Dead Sea Conspiracy: Teilhard de Chardin and the N28ew American Church, is available from our online store. You can email Mr. Fitzpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article originally appeared in The Wanderer and is reprinted with permission. To subscribe call 651-224-5733.)