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OP-ED: God called me to talk politics


The phone rang early this morning. The clock radio said it was 3:30, my husband mumbled that it hadda be a crank and the phone screen showed "Unknown." I answered it anyway.

It was God.

I was peeved: "Why are you calling at the crack of dawn?"

"Oh, you know I don't keep track of hours and minutes," she said. "For me, everything takes place at the same time, past and present and future. I separated darkness and light, and called it a day."

"But ..."

"I did have a pocket watch for a while, but it kept slipping through," she said. "No pockets. Anyway, I'm calling to tell you to run for president."

"You're kidding," I said. "You mean just like Scott Walker?"

"Oh, that governor of Iowa?" said God.


"I get all those cheese and corn states mixed up," she said. "Maybe like him. He's a radical Republican, isn't he?"

"I guess you could say so," I replied.

"I love those radical Republicans," God said. "Take that Thaddeus Stevens — such a strong voice against slavery. And the tall, dark-haired guy, the one who splits hairs."

"You mean rails?"

"Yeah, I guess," said God. "Must have been a typo."

I told God that the United States had abolished slavery 150 years ago. She was confused. God said she'd assumed that slavery was still allowed below the Mason-Dixie Line because on her last visit there, she'd seen a lot of Confederate flags. I didn't try to explain, but I said: "And it's Dixon."

"Who is?"

I let it pass.

"That Scott Walker is a man after my own heart," said God. "He supports the working class, he's a strong union man."

"No, no, no." I couldn't believe this. Walker limited collective bargaining in his state among public employees. Was I talking to a God who approved of this?

"Well," said God, "my intel heard him singing that Union Maid song, the one that goes, 'Oh you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union.'"

"Are you sure," I asked, "that he wasn't singing, 'I'm sticking it to the union'?"

"Could be, could be. But I want to talk about you. My plan is for you to run for president."

"Me? I don't have experience."

"I have just one word," she said: "Rauner."

"Exactly. He wants to cut back on pensions that public workers in Illinois have paid into."

"But he's a Republican," God said.

"A 21st-century Republican." Then I explained how the party had shifted over the years, and how the Dixiecrats were all Republicans now, and I tried again to talk some sense into God: "Look, I have a psychotherapy rap sheet as long as your _ I mean as long as my arm. I have enemies who are vengeful and petty."

"Who doesn't? You won't believe the things people say about me, behind my back. Or they would say behind my back if I had a back. Or a front."

"I'm busy," I protested. "I'm trying to finish a book and I'm an ideologue, I admit it. I believe that government should keep people from starving, and it should provide health insurance so people aren't going to the ER for everything."

"Well, duh," God said. "Every rational human being believes all that. You have to differentiate yourself. What else you got?"

"Um, I think people deserve unemployment insurance, too."

"Natch," she said.

"Uh, I want to fight against terrorism."

"Good, good," said God, "that Andy Jackson looks like he's going to be dangerous _ I swear he's going to go on the warpath some day."

"Jackson, like on the $20 bill?"

"Money," said God. "That's like time. I don't use 'em. I don't understand 'em."

I tried again. "I'm Jewish. No one's going to vote for a Jewish president. Al Gore had a Jewish vice president on the ticket, and look what happened to them."

"Of course," said God, "that's just what I mean. They won."

I reminded her about the hanging chads, the recount, and the Supreme Court decision. She sounded very disappointed. Then she changed the subject.

"Before you go," I said, "explain to me why you told Scott Walker you had a plan for him to run for president."

"I did no such thing." She sounded irate. "Now that must have been a crank call."

— S.L. Wisenberg is the author of "The Adventures of Cancer Bitch" and other books. She wrote this for The Philadelphia Inquirer.