By Will Durst
As rare and mythical as the unicorn, it too cavorts amongst the clouds with double rainbows birthing from its unfathomable depths. But instead of worshipful 12-year-old girls, it is conservative politicians who tack drawings of this inamorata on walls above their beds. We’re talking about the legendary… Mainstream.
The message is relatively straightforward. Inside the Mainstream, you will rub elbows with everything that is good and right and true and just about America. Families have 2.4 children, none of whom sport barbed wire piercings or dragon-neck tattoos or ever talk smack back. Lawns are broad and green and crabgrass-free. And children are cheerfully shuttled to school in orderly processions of grey and beige Minivans. The place to be.
Outside the Mainstream, red turbo hybrids prowl discordantly with hip hop-infused rock and roll blasting from aftermarket Korean stereo systems. Uncomfortable shoe choices are flaunted by pregnant teenage girls, while Steve Jobs’ subversive acolytes encourage impressionable minds to “think differently,” actively disrupting the carefully nurtured herd mentality. The place to flee.
Dedication to Mainstream purity extends to within the holy liquid circle as well. Newton Leroy Gingrich castigated Ron Paul for being “totally outside the Mainstream of every decent American.” And Ron Paul is a medical doctor. Apparently the Coast Guard patrolling the Mainstream is ever vigilant.
Then Willard Mitt Romney went and said pretty much exactly the same thing about Newt, which must mean he considers poor Dr. Paul dying of thirst two counties away in some desert of his own moistureless making. And President Obama? Forget about it. He can’t even see the hint of a whisper of a shadow of dampness due to the curvature of the earth.
The obvious intention of Team Romney is to plant Mitt in the soft squishy loam as the sole candidate an ordinary person could expect to meet up with in the middle of the flood plains of normalcy. Preserving the Mainstream as a very exclusive territory. A restricted tributary complete with velvet rope and a couple of hulking bouncers protecting it from the dinghies of the hoi polloi. Sort of a watery, gated community. Behind which the governor seems plenty comfortable.
Only proper, God-fearing, decent Americans are allowed to soak in the aqueous chestnut that is the Mainstream. The rest of us boundary-crossing reprobates are prohibited from enjoying the divine waters and directed to spend summer afternoons splashing each other in shallow muddy puddles.
Of course, even to those who can afford the initiation fee, recent responses from Republican debate audiences indicate that voyaging down the Mainstream is a very expensive way to travel. Exacting heavy-duty psychic dues.
First, crowds booed a gay soldier, then cheered the death of an unfortunate who couldn’t afford health insurance, and finally leapt to their feet to applaud one of the grandstanding creek-side tide surfers who ridiculed food stamp recipients.
If loss of your moral compass is a necessary qualification for luxuriating in the surging current of the Mainstream, more than a few of us will be happy to view the entire proceedings lounging high on the embankment. Besides, we have better picnic spreads.
And for those who do decide to soak in the narrow-minded current, you might want to invest in a heated wetsuit, because that menacing, red-tide torrent of the Mainstream looks to be mighty cold.