A Disassociated Press Editorial, August 27, 2005
Many learned people have recently pointed out what a great benefit it would be to both America and the world if Pat Robertson were assassinated. The benefits of swift assassination have been laid out in various places, and the arguments, in some ways, are persuasive. I myself, however, don't agree with them. Assassinating Robertson, I believe, is the wrong route to take.
To some readers, those who know me, my stance against assassination might seems out of character. Normally in these matters I tend toward practicality: smooth decision-making with concrete results. And it would seem reasonable that removing this pseudo-moral demagogue from the scene might save millions of innocents from coming under his sway. It might even save America from drifting further toward the theocracy many fear.
Yes, the argument for assassination is cogent in respects. TV parasite and so-called evangelist Pat Robertson has certainly caused untold damage to America and the American way. Rather than spend millions on campaigns to undermine his sway, rather than write editorials and argue the case in a democratic way, why not opt for a special hit squad to take care of this menace? "We could just get rid of him with one well-placed shot," so the argument goes. "Save ourselves a lot of trouble."
Those convinced of the need for swift action--and who may already be screwing sights onto their rifles--should, however, consider the following points.
First I will address the linguistic argument.
It's true that, linguistically speaking, assassination appears an apt end for Robertson. After all, the verb assassinate has not one but two asses in it, and Robertson is an ass if ever one thumped a pulpit. But this is false etymology: the word assassinate is Arabic in origin, and the asses in the word have nothing to do with removing asses like Robertson from their places of influence. So if we see Robertson drooling away on TV and think "pompous, self-righteous ass" or "arrogant nitwit ass," and if then our minds drift smoothly to the verb assassinate because of the assonance in the words, we would be forming a course of action based on pure linguistic coincidence, not etymology. This is not sound.
But there are more important reasons not to assassinate Pat Robertson. Consider his environmental record. Robertson has always been an enemy of the environmental movement and has always worked against it. This is because he associates protecting the environment with the Left and associates the Left with Satan. According to the Robertson view, protecting the earth's environment is of no importance because soon the End Times will be here and the elect will be transported away to Heaven, so who in Hell cares about the earth?
There is more. Robertson claims to have used the power of prayer to steer hurricanes away from his Virginia Beach company headquarters. He claimed in 1985 to have steered the course of Hurricane Gloria, which caused millions of dollars in damage elsewhere along the east coast, and made a similar claim in 1995 in regards to Hurricane Felix. So Robertson has even less reason to fear the threat of environmental degradation, since God apparently protects he and his own from its effects. And what can one say to that?
I think Robertson should not be assassinated, then, because it is important that he stays around a little bit longer to watch the planet heat up and low-lying places like Florida succumb to rising sea levels. Already Florida is starting to bear the brunt of the more violent hurricanes climatologists predict will result from global warming. Since much of Robertson's base is in low-lying southern states like Florida and Louisiana, he should have to be there for them when the waves start lapping into their living rooms and the winds blow off their roofs. He should be given the chance to steer the hurricanes toward the more godless places like New York and L.A., where those deserving of the Lord's wrath now live. Robertson should be parting waters like Moses did. And if he can't part these particular waters, well, then he should have to explain why.
Staying around will also give Robertson more opportunities to say idiotic things about the environment and thus will make him appear even more of an ass than he already does. In short, I think it's important to let the so-called Christian Right put a few more nails in its coffin before the real End Times arrive. By the real End Times I mean of course the unprecedented human catastrophe being sped up by the inane, anti-environmental policies of the Christian Right's current darling in the White House.
Twenty or thirty years from now history will be able to see clearly just which political forces undermined world efforts to do something about the real problems now facing humanity.
My thinking on these issues is quite simple. I believe powerful people should be forced to stick around long enough to see the fruits of their influence. That's why although I greatly regretted Bush winning a second term, I at least saw some advantage in it. At least Bush and the neoconservatives around him would still be holding the reins when all the messes they created really became unavoidably messy. Eventually even their spin doctors will not be able to keep people from seeing the truth: that all along the critics and skeptics were right.
But I'm drifting from the point somewhat. I set out to demonstrate that assassinating Pat Robertson was the wrong thing to do, and I'm not sure if I've persuaded anyone yet. I'll end with my final argument.
Assassination of a man like Pat Robertson would be murder. It could not be construed as self-defense because Robertson, like Hugo Chavez, has not attacked us in a military sense. Robertson's ideas and policy initiatives might be anathema to many, but he is not threatening our lives with any direct violence. Certainly Jesus would have seen killing Pat Robertson as murder, and as such he would have seen it as a grave sin. In any case, authentic Christian teaching is against "taking out" people we don't agree with, and I for one have the highest respect for the teachings of Jesus.
I believe there is even evidence Pat Robertson himself knows something of Jesus' teachings. From what I've read and heard, however, it seems he doesn't know very much.
Probably if Pat Robertson weren't around, more people would be open to the things Jesus really taught. They'd be more willing to consider the teachings actually found in the Gospels because they'd no longer associate Christianity with the sexually paranoid, hate-filled rants of right-wing morons like Robertson. But even so, even given the great benefit that might come from taking out flat Pat, such an action is still unjustified. What then can we do?
My plan is a simple one, though it may seem a bit idealistic. Still, effecting this plan might be possible if we adopted the right approach. I believe if enough of us pool our efforts together we may be able to convert Pat Robertson to Christianity. Do you think it would be possible to get him a Bible, maybe for starters one of those Bibles with large, easy-to-read type? If we were to get him a Bible and get him reading the Gospels he may stop thinking so much about his media companies, his boy in the White House, homosexuality (which clearly makes him nervous), feminism and Hugo Chavez. I believe that Robertson, although quite old now, might finally, with some quiet study, be able to see the wisdom in Jesus' words. Anyhow, it's worth a try.
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