Cross-posted at Daily Kos
As the campaigns gear up for November, the two parties unroll their top priorities. The Democrats highlight such issues as jobs, transportation, education and energy.
And the Republicans? Well, according to GOP Lt. Gov. nominee E.W. Jackson, one of the great threats of our time, against which we must protect ourselves, is…yoga:
When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana. . . . The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. . . . [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to, but no one can be a child of God without making a decision to surrender to him. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.
Republican hostility to yoga may not make much sense, but it does reflect a certain consistency. Yoga is particularly popular with the ladies, and the GOP has already declared war on most of the rest of women’s life and health. (What’s next, a ban on chick flicks?)
A GOP War on Yoga also fits well with their messaging. The whole Limbaugh-Beck-Fox News schtick is all about what Thomas Frank has called “backlash populism” — getting lower class whites to vote against their economic interests by getting them all hot under the collar over some imaginary liberal cultural elite.
As Tea Party yokels gain greater control over the GOP, their party is more and more led by people who actually believe their own fairy tales. And so, increasingly, we see the party not just pursuing policies that can in any way be described as rational, but going after symbols of perceived liberal elitism out of a kind of confused vindictiveness.
We’ve seen it here in Virginia, where AG Cuccinelli used the power of his office to attack the University of Virginia for conducting research on climate change — no policy benefits to anyone there, just a symbol and a scapegoat created by the Koch brothers and their cronies. We saw it more recently when Gov. McDonnell and the Republican-led General Assembly slapped an irrational tax on hybrid cars — another symbol of those evil liberal elitists!
We’ve seen it in the Tea Party War on Efficient Light-Bulbs, in the NC legislature’s banning of any mention of sea level rise, in the hullabaloo over Obama once mentioning arugula farmers, and in many other irrational obsessions of the Republican rabble.
Still, yoga is a new one on me. I must confess that as a card-carrying member of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (c), I do practice yoga when I get the chance. I’ve even tried to “empty my mind” as part of meditation — but to fair, that takes a lot more effort for us than it does for our Tea Party friends, since, y’know — we have actual stuff in there.
I look forward to hearing the Republicans identify what specific steps they plan to take against this nefarious threat invading our homes and health clubs.
Will it win them any votes? Nah. That downward dog won’t hunt.