Spiritual Smart Aleck


As I hear of children being separated from their parents, and parents and children being put into different detention centers; and see our country’s friends being insulted and made into enemies, and our country’s enemies being greeted as friends; and see editorial cartoonists being fired for portraying the truth of the madness; I stop and ask myself, where did we cross the line?

I was listening to Noam Chomsky the other day. He explained in his calm, reasonable voice that Trump is a distraction to keep us from noticing that the Republican Party is the greatest danger to the continuing existence of humanity. They might end us with nuclear weapons, or by their refusal to do anything about manmade climate change, which they know is real. In the Republican/billionaire/corporate universe, money and power are more important than leaving a world for their children and grandchildren.

After listening to him I felt the same way I did the first time I read that the mega volcano that is Yellowstone will erupt someday and destroy all life on the planet. Also the first time I heard that the sun will get bigger and burn earth to a crisp some billions of years from now. Also that when the Cascadia Fault finally slips, we are all going to be in deep, deep kimchi.

A little history. In my early adulthood, President Richard Nixon’s pettiness and paranoia led him to sanction illegal espionage. On the night of June 17, 1972, at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D. C., a security guard named Frank Wills noticed that a basement door had been taped to stay open. He called the police. When the police came, they found five intruders in the office of the Democratic National Committee.

The break-in eventually was traced back to the White House. Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 8, 1974.

I have often wondered if many of the guys involved in the scandal at that time felt mortified by the contempt in which they and the Republican party were held. I have wondered if they have been seeking revenge ever since.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected. All it took was the congenial actor and a little treason. I saw Reagan as a figurehead surrounded by a dark posse.

The first Bush was a steward for the Republican party.

Bill and Hillary Clinton made the Republicans lose their minds. First, they had to bash Hillary and her health insurance reform plan, and then they had to spend millions of tax dollars making Bill out as Satan incarnate for his sexual transgressions.

That was a case of many pots calling the kettle black.

And then eight years of George W. Bush, an affable dim bulb, smart enough to get elected and be dangerous. A guy who called himself a Christian as a campaign strategy. Another figurehead surrounded by a dark posse.

Looking back, I see that by the time W was in office, we had crossed the line. 9/11 happened, and that event was the pretext for everything that followed. I will not go into any conspiracy theories here. 9/11 happened, and it was horrible, and the Republicans made hay on the horror.

We went to war in Iraq. The Patriot Act was passed. Our rights were rapidly eroding.
By 2006, some people were beginning to compare the United States to 1930s Germany. At the same time survivors of the concentration camps during World War II were saying that it was already too late to leave America.

With the election of Barack Obama the racism that runs deep in this country rose up, loud and ferocious and out in the open and ugly as it ever was.

And now – the country is becoming safer for white supremacists, and bullies, and liars, and polluters, and people who think they can use the bible to justify ripping children away from their parents.

I saw a video of Jeff Sessions saying he was reading the “wisdom of Paul” from Romans 13, verse 1: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (NRSV) He was grinning like he’d just beat us at checkers.

This is the problem with ignoramuses quoting single Bible verses out of context to prove their points. If you go back eight verses to Romans 12, verse 13, Paul says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”

No bible verse is an island.

“Do what we say because God says to be subject to governing authorities.”

“I was only following orders,” did not cut much ice as a defense after World War II.

Vote this November. If we vote overwhelmingly for change, and it does not happen, we shall all understand better the nature of our situation, and, I hope, act accordingly. We aren’t dead yet.