When public meetings turn into The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s astounding;
Time is fleeting;
Madness takes its toll.
But listen closely…
Not for very much longer…
I’ve got to keep control.

Never thought the lyrics from a song in The Rocky Horror Picture Show would come to mind while attending a public meeting or hearing in Floyd County but the words from “Time Warp” runs through the head a lot lately.

Public hearings have become side shows, dominated by a vocal few spouting conspiracy theories, quoting the Book of Revelation and issuing dire warnings about socialist conspiracies and a bogeyman under nearby rocks.

Too many of these claims are created by local activists who twist facts to fit narrow-issue agendas driven by political organizations with hidden motives.

Too often in recent weeks, local citizens who should know better go to the podiums of local meetings and rant and rave about socialist plots and United Nations-driven conspiracies. Speakers misquote the Bill of Rights, invoke visions of Armageddon and drag the Bible into land-use debates with dire warnings of “boiling babies in oil.”

A few of these troublemakers are homegrown but most are transplants who apparently saw Floyd County as fertile ground for stirring up problems by using false facts and misinformation to generate controversy.

As a result, public meetings have become studies in rude social behavior where so-called adults utter extemporaneous comments from the audience, talk loudly among themselves and allow their ringing cell phones — more often than not with some bizarre ring tone — to add to the din.

Some are members of the local tea party who bring their group’s national agenda of distraction, diversion and disruption to what was once a peaceful community of meetings where people respected decorum and courtesy. Others just like to make trouble.

Our local elected and appointed officials have difficult jobs. They do the best they can. There is — and should be — places in meetings for reasoned public comment but the last thing our elected officials need is the diversion that comes from listening to small minds spout big lies. Our community deserves better than having loudmouth agitators disrupt public meetings because they lack social skills, manners or basic courtesy.

It’s interesting that some of those who come to meetings and preach fiscal responsibility are often hauled into Floyd’s General District Court by creditors because they don’t pay their own bills.

It’s disturbing that the long string of one-liners spouted by some speakers at public meetings are lifted — word for word — from web sites that preach racism and white supremacy.

Hopefully, this behavior is an anomaly that will soon pass. Fringe groups come and go. The current crop are the CB-radios of modern politics — a fad with a lot of flash and very little substance. With luck, they will disappear into the dung-heap of other fake populist movements.

Until they do, some meetings in Floyd County will remind us of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or perhaps the words from an Emerson, Lake and Palmer song:

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We’re so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!

There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show’s about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll ….

(Lyrics from “Time Warp” by Richard O”Brien and “Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 2″ by Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

8 thoughts on “When public meetings turn into The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

  1. Doug,

    I appreciate and agree with your observations here. As a pastor, I find it appaling that people turn to The Book of Revelation (not Revelations…it’s singular, not plural as many commonly mistake it) to interpret present events. The book uses complex images and symbolism which, unfortunately, are frequently taken completely out of context and interpreted any way one chooses. Back during the Cold War, the Soviet Union or Communist China were considered by some to be one of the threatening beasts mentioned in Revelation. I remember somone pining that Gorbachev’s birthmark was the mark of the beast. Pretty ridiculous!

    Now, many of these same folks are reading Muslim extremists or North Korea or Iran or even some UN initiative into these same texts. Basically it’s “whoever/whatever is perceived to be a threat to white middle-class America…the “threat du jour”…must be what John of Patmos was describing in The Revelation.

    Interpreting Revelation (or any Scripture for that matter!) in these ways is completely dishonest to the text. We need to remember that “a text without a context is a pretext.” The Book of Revelation wasn’t written “for” white middle-class Americans, but rather “to” Christians struggling to live out their faith in a time of persecution around the end of the first century AD and the beginning of the second century. It is crucial to consider when and to whom it was originally being written to have any clue as to what the meaning of the text is.

    It’s apalling and dishonest for people to glibly cite Scriptures that have absolutely nothing to do with the current situation in support of their own personal political views.

  2. First paragraph “Tim Warp”. You need to add an “E”. Here, use one of mine.
    Again a bit over the top but so colorful. You can be Brad instead of Doug from now on. You remember the crowd participation response to Brad don’t you? Don’t be one.

  3. No problem, Doug! It’s a common mistake. Actually, Martin Luther thought The Book of Revelation shouldn’t be included in the Scriptural canon…thought it would be too confusing and, therefore, oft misinterpreted. And to some degree, he was probably right!

Comments are closed.

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse