When, in the 18th century, America moved from a God-centered Theocracy to a human-centered Deism, the revolution was on and democracy was born.
If you were ever in my English class and watched me belabor that for 45 minutes, now you know I could have done it in one sentence.
Sorry about that.
Here in 2018 we’re moving away from that belief that although God may have created the world, he then stepped back and let us run it; thus, for instance, we can’t blame God for the Holocaust—we can’t thank him for penicillin. Simple.
Here in 2018 we’re moving headlong in the other direction, back to a universe where God is actively involved, and his representatives are making sure that we all toe the line. Where does an irreligious and amoral stooge like Donald Trump fit in? Easy. He’s the empty shell whose space has been occupied by sharper and more decisive men and women intent on establishing that new Theocracy, a world order apparently no less draconian than the one of 350 years past whose leaders felt no compunctions about torturing women (Salem, anybody?) or practicing genocide (Read up on the Mystic Massacre.)
Seen through that lens, we can understand the new acceptance of misogyny (which before Trump was rife but subdued) and such factors as the deportations, the denial of alternative lifestyles, the distrust of immigrants, even the resurgence of a racist South.
Last night in Mississippi we were reminded again of how far the country has sunk. But even at that, blaming Trump is too easy. Like blaming a two-year-old. When Benjamin Franklin said “Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright,” he has to have been thinking of empty vessels like Donald Trump. Even so, my disdain for him pales in comparison to my utter revulsion for anyone who, this morning, can justify the means Trump uses to reach the ends he desires.
Whether they reside in Congress under the protection of their titles, or in Mississippi under a red hat that mocks its very message—these are the people responsible. We can’t fix them, or deport them, or relegate them to tents on the Mexican border; for what it’s worth, they’re Americans too.
But they’re also educable. So can they meet me halfway? Can they admit that there was unwarranted cruelty in Trump’s Mississippi appearance? That bullying is never pretty, especially when carried out by powerful men? Can they maybe retire the hat for one day? In embarrassment? It’ll be just as spiffy tomorrow. In return I’ll stop berating the president for one day.
I heard someone say last night that every time we hit bottom, we find a cellar. The Deist in me says that one day we’ll reach the bottom and find no elevator down. (Maybe on then I’ll reprise my Chaucer class and talk about the wheel of fortune.) Of course, whether we survive as a nation until that day arrives is the more pressing question.