Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lightning Strikes, Giuliani Jokes, and the GOP Debate Rages: Tobit Revisited

Last week a lot of Catholic literary contemporaries were asking me about the latest Republican Presidential Debate. What did you think about Giuliani's "stormy" joke? Or how about Romney's about-face on Spanish? Specifically; was the storm that cut Giuliani's mike right when he was reciting his "right to choice" rhetoric (causing him to quip "for someone who went to parochial schools, this is very frightening!") a sign from God? "Of course!" I answered. And did Romney look silly when he called for English to be our official language—and then an audience member pointed out Mitt not only runs ads in Spanish, but also has a Spanish website? "Si, SeƱor!" But certainly my insights were nothing original ... until I fit them in with this week's liturgical First Readings from the Book of Tobit!

Tobit, for the unacquainted, is a wild ride in Old Testament history in which the seemingly righteous title character is blinded when he looks up and bird droppings land in his eyes. Later, his son Tobiah is nearly eaten by a fish and told by a stranger to marry a girl despite the fact her first seven husbands died before their marriage could be consummated. But the stranger turns out to be an angel, and the fish provides Tobiah with medicine that makes the girl's demons flee and heals his father's blindness. Finally Tobiah gets the girl and the family fortune and they all live happily ever after.

But what if we cast Giuliani in the role of Tobit? A Paul-like conversion is far too dignified for the quasi-Catholic ex-governor. Frankly, blindness by bird poop seems much more fitting for this "Giuli-Man."

Also, instead of a woman with seven dead husbands, we could have a husband, Mitt the Mormon, who has seven wives who perish because he doesn't know if he should make love to them in Spanish or English. Meanwhile, Sam Brownback, the pro-life Evangelical who converted to Catholicism (and the favorite of FIT) could play the role of the hero Tobiah. Mike Huckabee, the other strong pro-life candidate could play the part of the fish, and Duncan Hunter, a third GOP traditional-values Christian running for president, the role of the angel.

Just as Tobiah gets to marry Sarah because he wants her "not out of lust, but for a noble purpose" (Tobit 8:7) Brownback gets the "girl," the nomination, because he declares "we must nominate somebody who's pro-life, because it is at our party's core." Huckabee, the fish, seems to be at odds with our hero, but instead Sam catches Mike's similar values and uses them to help him; when Huckabee serves as Brownback's vice-president. And as the Archangel Raphael protects the protagonist and keeps him fearless, Hunter, as the next secretary of state, will proclaim the Word courageously to the world, while guarding his master from the threat of war.

As for Giuliani and Romney? Well in the story the father does get his eyesight back—but only when he repents and regains faith in the son. And Romney would have to settle on one stance before he could "take" or be taken seriously. In real terms there's still a high place in the cabinet for this motley duo if either or both can change. Of course, the GOP candidate/Book of Tobit metaphor is not perfect. For example, there's no Republican that could play Tobit's shrill and nagging wife; we'd have to go over to the donkeys and draft Hillary for that role. On the other hand, if Giuliani fails to see the hand of God in this lightning warning, he becomes a Democrat by default, making Hillary Clinton an even better fit for Rudy than Bill. They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and what could be stranger than a pro-abortion Republican blinded by B(ird).S.?


JimAroo said...

Well Tom, last week was the only week of the year we read Tobit and we had our RudyJohnMitt National Stupidity Bee the same week. Coincidence???? I dont think so!

From now on everytime I hear that Tobit reading at a wedding I will focus on the idea of Bird S in Rudy's eyes AND him being married to Hillary. I will be the guy in the 7th row laughing hysterically during the 1st reading.

I am sure the Bride and Groom will understand

Tom O'Toole said...

Tobit or not Tobit -- that is the question!

Well, Jim, I'm glad someone (besides Jeanette) appreciates my orthodox sense of humor ... and let me know; I may crash that wedding.