The year was 1988, and Pat Robertson got to thinking of himself as a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination. Robertson’s bid against G.W. Bush was a longshot, but he did manage to secure the signatures of three million volunteers, and a million dollars in campaign funding…mostly by whipping up hysteria against pornography, abortion and gays. Oh, those heady days of the 1980s, when the future was as bright as the flaming sword of Jesus, and nobody minded that his prediction of doomsday in October of 1982 didn’t pan out.
Like Al Bundy and his relentless reveling in the glory of his high school football days, the Silver Flops never really left the 1980s and early 1990s. In those days, a lot of urban myths were floating around about the potential weaponization of AIDS, a disease whose lethality was reinforced by Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. At the time, urban legends circulated through every middle school in America to check your seat for thumb tacks, because “that gay kid” might give you “Queen disease.”
That Robertson would choose to throw a Bundy Hail Mary to the AIDS thumb tacks of his past should come as a surprise to no one; we are, after all, talking about a man who (like Glenn Beck) sells myths to the willfully gullible for a living. He sure as Hell didn’t raise that million dollars on the strength of any comprehensive economic plan. He did it selling the fear that homos were going to poke God-fearing Christians with AIDs-infected rings and thumb tacks, just as Mayans tipped their arrows with “the stuff” in The Temple of Doom.
Of course, the fact that “the stuff” doesn’t live for more than a couple of minutes when exposed to air, that even blood-to-blood contact is far from a sure means of transmission, that intentional infections almost always happen during consensual sex, and that AIDS ranks somewhere between exploding chickens and negative psychic waves in terms of weapon effectiveness is irrelevant.
Fear is what makes Robertson money…fear of gays, Soviets, demon-possessed sweaters, Hell and fear of stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. Evangelists like him will invoke fear any chance they get…fear is to cat ladies’ money what the sound of a can opener is to their cats. That was true in 1988, and it’s true today.
One good thing you have to say about Robertson, though: He’s old, and he’ll be dead soon. Probably because some homo poked him with a ring.
Watch it here: