Will the GOP Sell its Soul to the Devil?
A menacing, muscled man strides into the ring, wearing a black t-shirt. On the back in large white letters it reads: DRINK BEER. On the front: F&CK FEAR. The letter “U” is a skull, but looks so much like a “U” that you hardly notice. The man in the shirt is the hero to millions of kids. His name is Steve Austin.
Fans hold up signs in the auditorium that say “Austin 3:16.” Get the reference? At NFL games, you’ll often see a sign in the crowd that say “John 3:16″, which refers to one of the holiest verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him would not perish, but have life everlasting.” “Austin 3:16″ is a deliberate mocking of that verse.
This man is bad and that’s what his young fans love about him. This is a dark world where he’s the hero. There are no good guys here. Good guys are sissies. Even the women in this world are macho — loud and brassy and vulgar and mean — and of course they’re as sexually attired as the medium will allow.
Welcome to the brave new world of Linda McMahon’s WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) empire. She and her steroidally-inflated husband Vince have taken an essentially harmless small-time business — inherited from Vince’s father in 1980 — and have turned it into something infinitely more violent, darker, edgier, and much more sexual. It is now an international business worth billions.
If you think of the WWE as harmless entertainment, you probably haven’t seen it much lately. You probably have an education and a job. Perhaps it makes you think of Hulk Hogan or Jesse “The Body” Ventura — or maybe even of Chief Jay Strongbow, Killer Kowalski, and Ivan “Polish Power” Putzki. But that innocent world was a child’s nursery rhyme compared to the sexualized evil of the WWE today. Most of the vulgarity and vileness cannot be described here, but a visit to youtube can give you some idea of how depraved it’s gotten. Make sure you hide the kids; and yet the McMahon’s have aimed their poison at kids deliberately, knowing the future profits that are at stake.
Anyone who longs for a Frank Capra-style, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington America filled with goodness and Judeo-Christian values should understand that the McMahons are your bitterest enemies. They are to American family values what the Gulf Oil Spill is to the Louisiana shellfish industry. Compared to Linda and Vince McMahon, Hugh Hefner is a gentleman and Jerry Springer is a Mickey Mouse huckster. And the McMahon’s have been so wildly successful at corrupting American youth that they are currently worth half a billion dollars.
But what do the McMahons plan to do with the wealth they have made corrupting our kids and grandkids?
How about buying a U.S. Senate seat?
But could Connecticut Republicans ever accept someone like Linda McMahon as their representative in the Senate? Surely the party of conservative family values would never countenance such a thing!
Unless the GOP was so extremely hungry to score a win — maybe even to win the Senate back — that they were willing to look the other way. Unless they were absolutely desperate…
Flash back to Europe in the early 1930s. The German economy was in free fall. People were jobless and starving and the shame and humiliation of Germany’s loss in World War One was unbearable. Germans had never been more desperate to turn things around.
So when a vulgar Austrian rabble-rouser offered them an opportunity to get back on top — to get back at their enemies and to be proud again — it was difficult to turn down. They had no idea of what he really stood for, and it was difficult for them to care very much, since they so badly wanted to succeed again. But if Hitler could pull them out of their current straits, they would overlook his character flaws. After all, once they were back on top they could always get rid of him.
People who sell their souls to the devil never realize what they are doing at the time. But one man did see. His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Bonhoeffer was a pastor who stood up to Hitler and who was murdered by the Nazis in 1945. He saw what Germany was up against. And he knew that there was nothing more dangerous and more tempting than success. If you offered people success when they were desperate, as Hitler had done, it would be very difficult to persuade them to take a noble stand for what was right. Success was addictive. Bonhoeffer tried desperately to warn the German people against Hitler. In many ways he was a prophetic voice, trying to get Germans to see that they were marching toward a cliff and that their ultimate end would be far worse than they could have imagined.
Needless to say, Bonhoeffer did not succeed, and Germany is still paying the price, eight decades later. But can Bonhoeffer’s warning be a warning to us in America today?
Will Americans learn from the lessons of the past? Let’s face it: the desperation of the GOP to win a Senate seat in Connecticut is shocking and ugly. No one who cares about America should let it stand. Certainly no self-proclaimed conservative should stand for it, and certainly no one who dares call himself a Christian should stand for it. Now is the time to speak up.
But as of today, most Connecticut voters have no idea of what’s really going on. That’s because Connecticut’s cynical GOP leaders love McMahon’s money and her willingness to spend it. And they love the fact that she can win. The key is to keep Connecticut voters in the dark about who she really is and what she represents. So far they’ve been successful — and the primary is on August 9th. Very few people even know that Rob Simmons is on the ballot against McMahon, and that they can vote for him and avoid unmitigated disaster.
Here’s the bottom line: the August 9th primary in Connecticut is nothing less than a referendum on the soul of the Republican Party. If the GOP will elect someone as self-servingly immoral as Linda McMahon in order to win, they will pay bitterly and dearly in the years ahead. They will deserve what they get and they will have no one to blame but themselves.
Just as Germans regret the terrible Faustian bargain they in 1933, the GOP of 2010 will, too. If we believe this is the way to win, we will lose everything. May God help us to make the right decision.
Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times best-seller Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy — A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. For more information, visit www.ericmetaxas.com.