Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Satan is Alive and Well in Virginia Politics

As a man of wealth and taste, Old Scratch has always got lots of different business ventures in the hopper. He recently bankrolled the movie "Orphan," was instrumental in the marketing of sub-prime mortgages, and is in the process of creating the Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network marketing campaign for pediatric Cialis.

But lately, what he's mostly up to is working with both the Democrats and the GOP here in Virginia. How do we know this? Well, first off, we follow the money. Money is a proxy for worldly power, and where there are unusual concentrations of worldly power, we also typically find unusual concentrations of worldly darkness. As Ol' Virginny trundles towards an election that is being pitched as a referendum on the current administration, the wealth of the national parties has definitely poured into the coffers of their state affiliates. We, the citizens of the great state of Virginia, know this because up until today, we've been bombarded by endless TV ads, one after another after another, all professionally produced and focus-grouped. These ads haven't just been for the Gubernatorial race. I've seen slickity TV spots for state delegate. There be money here. And we know what that means.

Secondly, there's the character of what we've seen in Virginia, which is pretty much the same thing we've been seeing in recent national campaigns.

Satan, as we all know, is not a name. It's a title. Ha-Satan means the Satan. In English, it means "The Accuser" or "The Prosecutor." In the ancient Hebrew view o' things, Satan was the member of the angelic court whose job it was to show how inadequate and unworthy our lives had been when we came before God. He was, in terms of heavenly politics, the Patron Demon of Oppo Research.

And Lordy, has his work has been in clear evidence here over the last few weeks. The other day, on one of the infrequent occasions when I watch TV, I watched three consecutive attack ads. Each was functionally substanceless, and instead dripped with poison and ad hominem innuendo. They all followed a familiar pattern. Out of context quotes? Got 'em. Menacing music and blurry, unflattering pictures? Yup. Snarky voiceover? You betcha! Truth and insight and patience and the virtues of civic mindedness were nowhere to be found. The commercial break was impressively toxic, so much so that I felt obligated to just shut 'er off.

With the campaign now at a close, I guess the Accuser's political shop will have to go back to supporting the shouting classes on talk radio and in the blogosphere. Until 2010, that is.