Whole nation has gone pledge crazy

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I pledge. You pledge. We all pledge. Pledge allegiance to the flag. Pledge to stop smoking and drinking. As much. In front of the kids.

NPR and PBS are ridiculous with their annoying pledge drives. Our leaders pledge and pledge and pledge to stop ignoring the past. Then they don’t.

And in every second living room in America you can smell Lemon Pledge.

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These are the pledges of our lives.

But this campaign season, the whole pledging thing has rocketed out of control with broken O-rings. To where anybody who plans on getting up close and personal with a Republican candidate in the near future might want to carry an oath-repelling umbrella, because pledges are raining down like frog parts after a methane gas explosion in the amphibian wing of an aquarium.

The pledges have become longitudinally rampant, running all over the map from gay marriage to abortion to Shariah law to the teaching of intelligent design.

Which we can all agree is neither. Keep waiting for the American Association of Apple Growers to issue its demand that potential nominees publicly vow to avoid blueberry pies while running for president. “Communists eat cherry pie.” “Meringue is so French.” “Rhubarb is for Wimps.”

Rick Perry recently signed the Anti-Gay Marriage Pledge, which counteracts his previous pledge to leave the question up to the states.

So, according to him, pandering homophobia trumps states’ rights. Of course, Rick Perry not so long ago pledged not to run for president, so he seems to have a rather fluid attitude as far as these pledges go. This good ol’ boy needs to be careful lest he get labeled a pledging contradicter.

Righter-than-right conservatives first gained success with the Susan B. Anthony Pledge, in which anybody running for president promises to appoint anti-abortion cabinet members.

Then out flew the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge, which cuts, caps and balances the budget, focusing on giving rich people more money.

And now, the Marriage Vow, which is similar to, yet different from the Anti-Gay Marriage Pledge. In this, candidates oppose same-sex marriage, reject Shariah law and pledge personal fidelity to their spouse.

Which you’d think they’d have done during their wedding, but you never know with these kids and their crazy vows these days.

Haven’t heard anything about the Paris Hilton Pledge to wear underwear while getting out of cars. Or the Foot-Long Corn Dog Pledge: never to allow photography while eating at the State Fair.

And let’s not forget the Charlie Sheen Career Management Pledge, in which people take an intractable oath not to embarrass everyone they’ve ever met. Then again, these are politicians.

The Marriage Vow is the one that said black children born into slavery were more likely to be raised by a two-parent family than African-American children today, which some people pointed out kind of, almost, nearly, endorsed slavery. Little bit.

Although Michele Bachmann admitted signing it, she later recanted, claiming not to have read it.

Oh, there you go. Signed it but didn’t read it.

You know what we need? I’ll tell you what we need. We need candidates willing to sign a pledge not to sign any pledges they haven’t read. And bearing in mind the state of illiteracy currently in evidence, that in itself should cut down on this widespread pledging, considerably.

Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.