What are morals? Ah! The conundrum of the ages, the answer elluding great thinkers from Socrates to Melanie Griffith. A relative term, no one can truly define "morality", nor suffer from the lack of it. Still, 59 million ignorant sheep insist Bush has "morals" and voted to have him impose them on everyone else. Like a mutant virus, these "morals" are spreading across the country, turning blue states into red and throwing America back to a dark age of religious inquisitions, witch-burnings, fidelity and virtue. I thought the Sixties had brought us past such primitive concepts, but it appears the religious right's siren call of "family values" have lured the peabrained hordes away from us once again.
As I usually do when I find myself teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown, I turned to morning talk shows for guidance.
Today was my first stop. Unfortunately, Matt Lauer was still trying to coax a despondent Katie Couric down from the rafters, so I switched the channel over to Good Morning America.
"The results are in, and America voted for 'morals' this election," Diane Sawyer sighed wistfully. "But what exactly ARE these so-called 'morals' we've heard so much about?"
Charles Gibson, still giddy over the previous "How's Your Gaydar?" segment, had no answer. So Diane turned to Dr. Peter K. Platz, primatologist and author of the bestselling book, Morals: WMD's in the Christian Jihad Against Our Freedoms".
As Platz revealed in his book, "morality" is actually a right-wing code word for "intolerance".
"If we take one of George Bush's speeches, for example," he told Diane, "and replace every mention of 'God' or 'faith' or 'family values' with phrases like 'Jesus hates fags' or 'Kill the abortionists', it paints a very different picture from what the Evangelicals want the American people to believe about their extremist agenda."
"Surely," Diane asked incredulously, "you aren't suggesting that the religious-right encourages violence against homosexuals?"
"In a recent study at Evergreen State College," Platz explained, "we sat several so-called 'christian conservative families' in a room under the pretense that there would be a free screening of Spongebob Squarepants. Instead, we presented a series of gay porno films from the late 70's. Sensors attached to the subjects registered alarming levels of discomfort. Several participants displayed an almost simian instinct to protect their young - shielding their children's eyes from the screen or even threatening the projectionist with physical harm. Apparently, the Christian concept of 'brotherly love' doesn't extend to people who practice it physically."
Diane touched her pen to her lips, her trademark sign that the guest has just said something deeply profound.
"Is there any correlation between these so-called "morals" and strange, pointy-buildings that many conservatives are seen entering on Sundays?" she asked.
"Excellent question, Diane," Platz replied. "These tax-exempt havens for child pedophiles - or "churches," as they are called - have sprung up all over the country in flagrant defiance of the long-established separation between church and state. While those who profess to believe in morals often claim to have found them in a 'church', or a 'synagogue', many people who have never been inside a pointy building still have an unhealthy aversion to sodomy. However, it's the church-goers that pose the greatest threat to our democracy, which is exactly why the Founding Fathers wrote the First amendment banning religion."
"But what about those other buildings?" Diane pressed him. "The pretty ones with the big dome at the top. What kind of threat do they pose to our civil liberties?"
"Mosques? Oh, they're harmless," Platz replied. "Islam is a religion of peace. Of course, there are a few bad apples, but they typically vote democrat so their hearts are in the right place."
"Fascinating," she purred. "Can religious intolerance also be to blame for the GOP's barbaric war against a Woman's Right to Choose?"
"Absolutely, Diane," Platz answered. "Intolerance, bred by ignorance. I surveyed over one hundred so-called 'Born-Again Christian' women for my book and learned that an overwhelming majority of them have never visited Europe, never enjoyed lesbian sex with a college roomate, and have never even exercised their Right to Choose. Oddly, they feel qualified to criticize a more open-minded, wordly young womyn who has had 5 abortions by the time she's 17. They fanatically sermonize against partial-birth abortion and stem cell research, yet they have no problem with a president who violates their sacred First Commandment by massacring innocent children in Iraq."
"Do as I say, not as I do," Diane concluded.
"Indeed," Platz replied. "While Christ preached the Golden Rule and 'Love Thy Neighbor', the so-called 'moral majority' seems to posess an almost satanic hatred of those who are different than them - people who don't strictly adhere to their crazy, monkey-world idea of 'morality'. In place of the open, free society we enjoyed before Bush stole the office, these backwards, evangelical inhabitants of the red states seek to install an extremist Christian theocracy where gays are unwelcome, women are forced at gunpoint to carry their unwanted fetuses to term, and Kevin Bacon is strictly forbidden to dance."
Gasps filled the set. Grips dropped their tools in shock and cameramen fell out of their seats.
Obviously flustered, Diane managed to maintain her composure and ask Platz one finally question.
"This country is more divided than ever," she said. "But aside from mocking their religious beliefs and portraying them all as a bunch of superstitious, inbred chimps, how can democrats bridge the divide and win their 'hearts and minds,' so to speak?"
Platz clasped his hands together thoughtfully. "The key, Diane, is to turn Americans away from the zealotry of organized religion and towards a loving Father in the form of a federal government which will nurture them and satisfy all their wants and needs. As long as they believe that "morality" is dispensed by an all-knowing entity other than the state, they'll never vote for Hillary in '08."
"Hey, that rhymes!" Diane giggled before thanking Dr. Platz and breaking for a commercial.
"Next up, get out your holiday wishlists," she chirped, "because the cast of Sex in the City will join us with their picks for what's HOT and what's NOT in this year's line of marital aids."
So, what are morals? In the end, the GMA piece raised more questions than answers. However, thanks to work from enlightened progressives like Dr. Platz, we know now that morals don't come from a pulpit, or from some musty old book, or the words of an overbearing father. As Christ was trying to say in his autobiography, morals are in the whisper of the trees, or the scent of wildflowers in springtime, or the sparkle in a child's eyes, or in the sexy way Diane Sawyer leans forward ever so slightly to give her devoted fans a glimpse of her fantastic cleavage. In truth, we're all God's creatures, and He loves us no matter what.