While I wish it were true that Newt Gingrich were a comedian and his shtick was harmless fun, his high-profile pronouncements are so bizarre and paranoid that it truly is dangerous to national discourse. Here is the latest from the fear monger, discussing his favorite incendiary issue — the Islamic Center to be built in the general vicinity of the former World Trade Center:
“This is not about religious liberty, they want to build that mosque in the South Bronx, frankly they need the jobs,” he said. “But I am totally opposed to any effort to impose Sharia on the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will Sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law.”
I am not sure how his fitting together of religious liberty, building a mosque, and creating jobs in a single sentence makes any sense (because it doesn’t), but the second statement shows that any absurdity Gingrich utters is accepted by many without any thought or reflection. Not a single person any where or at any time has proposed that Sharia law be used in any American court to arrive at a judgment.
Obviously, Newt is making things up — fantasizing in dangerous and demagogic ways. All this reminds me of the witch trial-hysteria scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she’s a witch?
Peasant: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: [skeptically] A newt?
Peasant: [meekly after a long pause] … I got better.
Crowd: [shouts] Burn her anyway!
Translated to American politics, Sir Bedevere stands for the voice of reason, the peasant is Newt Gingrich, and the paranoid vengeful crowd represents those who live in fear of their own fantasies.