I find myself finally in agreement with a slogan coined by the effervescent Newt Gingrich: America is at risk. But unlike the fear-mongering in his DVD (buy a copy to share with fellow Islamophobes at an afternoon Tea Party hate session), he himself and his shameless self-promotion are what put that which America stands for at greatest risk. The political opportunists (and anyone who is polling as appallingly low as Newt in the polls is an opportunist extraordinaire) have always stretched and even obliterated reality to suit their egos and their dreamed-for political fortune (in more ways than the ideological). There are terrorists in the world; some of them happen to be Muslim; most have grievances that have little to do with religious principles. The suicide bomber who screams Allahu Akbar is not a substitute for the devout Muslim who faithfully follows the pillars and values of his or her religion and who remembers that first and foremost Allah is merciful and compassionate (bi-ism-allah-ar-rahman-al-rahim). The Catholic mob which sawed Huguenots in half in France a few centuries ago, and so revolted Voltaire, is hardly created in the image of the Jesus of the Gospels. The risk to America is not from any military power or futile terrorist plot, but from the demise of the values that made America a beacon of freedom rather than a superpower flexing its muscles globally.

I have not padded the Gingrich Productions empire by buying his “Citizens United” (but only the right, White kind of citizens) DVD, but I did take a look at the slick (I am tempted to leave the letter “l” out of that last word) trailer. The list of talking heads says it all: Ambassador John Bolton, Steven Emerson, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen — all expounding on how dangerous those Muslims are. And then there is the doyen of bookstore Islam, Bernard Lewis, insisting (even if he might claim he was quoted out of context) that these Jihadists will not stop until America is destroyed. Newt outfoxes Fox News, but then adds insult to journalistic injury by standing next to his third wife in front of the New York skyline. Newt is not from the Big Apple, but there he and his partner are larger than life, warning us about all of the evil we face for not voting Republican. Expertise with family values (the kind divorced from reality it seems).

I can only imagine Newt as a Whiggish (he might as well wear a wig) member of the 18th century English Parliament supporting the actions of King George against the tea-party rabble in the 13 colonies. Instead of Bin Laden and scenes of the World Trade Center bombing, there would be a caricature of Paul Revere and a pan of the dead redcoats at Bunker Hill. These American rabble, he might intone in the same spirit as he degrades Muslims, spout the nonsense of French free-thinkers like Rousseau and attack the foundation of secure peace in the royal line begun by Henry VIII. Hang the rebels and chop the head off of that instigator Ben Franklin.

Or is it that Newt never learned to think of American foreign policy beyond the level of a Risk game, the new promo for which looks almost exactly the same as his DVD?

Luke R. E. Publican