Imposition 2012: Nut Groups

   They call us one of the nut groups.


   Nut groups are single-issue groups who form as a voting bloc around one party that will pay attention to their issues. Nut groups are expected to deliver large, consistent numbers of votes without much encouragement.


   We are thought to be easy to manipulate. Show up at church during election season, sponsor a Prayer Rally in a stadium somewhere, meet with the mega-church preachers a few times, talk the way we want. We will get our people to the polling site for you.

   We are a nut group.

   Get a few nut groups stored up and get elected.

   Now, you can imagine how it hurts to be called a nut group but the "nut group" designation refers more to storing up for the winter of primaries, as in something you can count on, than lunacy. Or, so they say after we are safely stored in the hollow tree.

   My dad was an elected official for 28 years. He was Constable of Precinct Two, Johnson County, Texas. He had to run for office every two years. So, every two years, we got religious. The entire family went to church for a couple of months prior to the election.

   And, I mean, we went to every church. Every one. We had the preachers over for fried chicken and mashed potatos and sweet tea with chocolate cake. We were thinking of joining his church. We really meant it. We might join him at any time. It could happen. You watch.

   Dad would win the election with a coaliton of veterans, red-necks and the churches. Then, we went back to business as usual.

   "Those preachers can sure pack it away," Dad would say. "They nearly ate every chicken in the coop."

   Years later, I became a preacher. I still am a preacher. I look with some amusement at the candidates who show up in my church a few months prior to the elections. I fear I have not been all that nice.

   "We are thinking of joining your church," one told me. He was running for mayor.

   His family nodded their enthusiasm as I recall.

   "That is wonderful," I cried. "We have the baptistry full and ready to go. Let's baptize you all right now."

   We didn't and I wouldn't have done it but, well, you know.

   The family did not seem so enthusiastic.

   "Well, we ain't made up our minds yet," the prospective mayor told me. "We are still praying through it."

   The family was fired up again.

   "No! No! No!" I cried. "Today is the day. This is the hour!"

   The family ceased to beam.

   As I recall, he lost the election and his concern with religion at about the same time. He went back to selling used cars out of his house.

   What is the use of having a  nut group if you cannot count on them?

   And what is the use of being a nut if your whole lot in life is to be manipulated, deceived and used? And at what point are evangelicals going to realize there are a lot of them, they are not really represented by the mega-guys or the TV preachers and the parties they coalesce around use them for a voting bloc, give them a judgeship or two and then forget about them until the next election cycle?

   Nut groups, your party of choice or candidate of choice actually needs you more than you need them. You can carry on without them. They must have you. They do not need you for money. For that they have huge-dollar Super Pacs. They need you for votes, which are the coin of the realm in democratic elections. Since you have what they must get you could insist they take you seriously.

   Nut Groups of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your nuttiness.



Opinions expressed here are mine alone.


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