I have to hand it to the Republicans. They found a way to rig the U.S. presidency. Turned out it was even easier than controlling the head of state of Pakistan. The latter requires blood and gore, but the former, we now know, simply calls for the evil genius of Karl Rove.

As cable news talking heads would say, “Who would have thunk?”

The formula to control the leadership of the “free” world, it turns out, is relatively simple. First, nominate a septuagenarian for president. Then name a young, good-looking, Bible thumping, celebrity look-alike to the Vice Presidency. After your presidential nominee assumes office, simply bide your time until the actuarial odds kick in. Bingo! You have a new president with a pair of photogenic glasses, an electrifying hand-wave, a messianic conviction about holy war, and such paltry knowledge of the world that she has to follow your direction.

The nomination of Sarah Palin to the McCain ticket is the ugliest trick the Republicans have ever pulled.

That is saying a lot, for these are the people who gave us Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt, who thought we didn’t need to preserve the Grand Canyon because of the “Second Coming.”

These are the people who gave us Donald Rumsfeld, who famously said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Rumsfeld also notably said, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

The problem is that most Americans not only don’t know what they don’t know, but they don’t know what they should want or need or care about.

No wonder, then, that they have been hoodwinked into thinking that what they really need is the church instead of secure white collar jobs with benefits, a reasonable healthcare system, low cost education, a retirement and welfare safety net, and a healthy planet for their children and grandchildren.

They have also been told by Fox News that they should want a president just like them, meaning, someone as ignorant, uneducated, and parochial; someone who possibly thinks that Beijing is in Thailand, or that the world is 4,000 years old, or that if you just talk about abstinence it will happen.

Why would Fox News want to play such a dirty trick?

The answer, as usual, is the greenback.

Neo-cons like Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz have used the presidency of W. and words like “freedom” and “democracy” to work toward American dominance of the oil fields of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Oil is also the reason they will not stop arming Israel.

But to say so for them would be suicidal, because, no American, however hungry for gasoline, will give the president carte blanche to spend billions on an unjust war abroad while depriving citizens of the basic necessities of life.

So they invoke religion to incite the masses.

And all the while, the oil industry cronies of W. and Cheney keep getting rich off the backs of dead Iraqi civilians.

And peace in the Middle East remains a mirage.

As long as U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East does not shift, Islamic terrorism continues to escalate. Yet evangelicals continue to support Israel because they believe in the coming apocalypse, when the Antichrist will be defeated in the holy land.

Oh, you don’t think Sarah Palin believes in Armageddon? If she believes in creationism, you can bet your Miranda Rights that she believes in apocalypse, too.

Sarah Palin is the GOP’s clever ploy for a takeover of the presidency by the Christian fundamentalist bloc and the oil lobby, which, in this campaign, have become strange bedfellows.

So, fellow Indian Americans, don’t be fooled. When I hear some of you say that you won’t vote for Obama because he will stop the outsourcing of jobs, that he will thwart the entrepreneurial ambitions of the NRIs, I am alarmed.

When I meet Indian Americans who think of themselves as a model minority not dependent on government handouts, who fear that Obama will carry out an agenda of unchecked governmental spending and higher taxes, I am worried.

When I come across Indian Americans who are still smarting from the Clintons’ defeat, who are mad at Obama the novice, I feel helpless.

When I realize that some Indian Americans will simply not vote for a black person, I am saddened. Racism, I realize, is not the sole purview of the white man.

I want to tell all these Indian Americans, “Vote for McCain/Palin at your own peril, because you will soon be living in a land where you will be considered an elitist alien simply because you don’t carry a gun, don’t attend church, and don’t believe that arctic drilling was ordained by Jesus Christ.”

“And you will be stuck forever with Al Qaeda at the doorstep of your native land because the likes of Sarah Palin will never see Pakistan or India as more than pawns in their God-given geopolitical designs for the world.”

Watching Palin speak about the war in Iraq as a task from God, I can’t help wondering: Does she believe that Armageddon has already begun? That would explain why this hockey mom is martyring her only healthy son to the combat zone.

I am moved to remind the mainstream, middle, or working class voter in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Colorado that while Republican operatives invoke God to carry out their shameless greed, Wall Street is crashing, your children face a grim future, and a decent life is becoming more elusive for millions of Americans.

If things continue like this beyond November, we will all be wishing for Armageddon.

Sarita Sarvate writes commentaries for Pacific News Service and KQED. A collection of her writings can be found atwww.saritasarvate.com

Sarita Sarvate has published commentaries for New America Media, KQED FM, San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune and many national publications. Check www.saritasarvate.com