The Golem

I am interested in how fables and folktales reflect politics and modern life.  I’ve been thinking about the story of Golem for a while now.

In folklore, a Golem is a huge being drawn from inanimate matter.  The word Golem does occur in Scripture and means an unshaped form. It is commonly means an uncultivated being or a brainless hulk created to do another’s bidding.  (This is not Golum from The Fellowship of the Rings.  Different spelling and different kind of being.)

In folklore, the Golem’s purpose is usually  to fend off attackers or defend against maurauders. This being does in fact turn back or destroy those who would attack the community.  The problem is that eventually the monster turns on its creators and does terrible violence to those who raised the being from the unformed mass.

This story of the Golem reminds me of Tea Party and the Republican party. Fox News and the Koch brothers largely drew the Tea Party from an inchoate mass of distrust, anger, and fear in certain parts of the population. Now this Golem is turning on the Republican party it was meant to defend.

Tea Party candidates have run against mainstream Republicans and have defeated more moderate elements of the party. These more extreme Tea Party candidates are causing untold problems for Republicans who believe in cooperation, moderation, and reaching across the aisle to get things done.

The budget and debt limit crisis the latest and most extreme example.  The Tea Party is pushing the party further and further to the right when Republican candidates must appeal to a wider audience of independent voters in the general election, an audience who doesn’t share their extreme views.  Even traditional corporate allies and big business lobbyists are finding the Tea Party extremists impossible to work with and unwilling to make practical compromises.

It will be interesting to see how this particular Golem story plays out.  Will the Tea Party destroy the Republican party it was created to defend?  Or split the party into two wings?  Polls seem headed in a growing unfavorable Republican direction.  It will be interesting to find out whether politics follows folklore.

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