What does it mean to be an Evangelical Christian?

ufcThe 2016 election was a doozy in terms of bringing strange bedfellows together into voting blocs for both presidential candidates. But one of the most confounding and in some aspects a disturbing conundrums was why a group of faith-oriented believers seemed so drawn to the likes of Donald Trump.

Here was a womanizing, money-worshipping television reality star who never met an insult he did not like. Yet Christian voters were flocking to support him.

What did the so-called “evangelical” community find so appealing about Donald Trump?

To answer that question, we can turn to a variety of sources. But one must first consider a definition of the term “Evangelical Christian” and where it comes from. So here’s a nice little description from a site titled GotAnswers.org, a Christian website.

Here’s how they answer the question: “What is an Evangelical Christian?”

Answer: To begin, let’s break down the two words. The term Christian essentially means “follower of Christ.” Christian is the term given to followers of Jesus Christ in the first century A.D. (Acts 11:26). The term evangelical comes from the Greek word that means “good news.” Evangelism is sharing the good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. An evangelical, then, is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ. Combined, the description “evangelical Christian” is intended to indicate a believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news.

In Western culture today, there are many caricatures of evangelical Christians. For some, the term evangelical Christian is equivalent to “right-wing, fundamentalist Republican.” For others, “evangelical Christian” is a title used to differentiate an individual from a Catholic Christian or an Orthodox Christian. Others use the term to indicate adherence to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. In this sense, an evangelical Christian is a believer who holds to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone. However, none of these definitions are inherent in the description “evangelical Christian.”

In reality, all Christians should be evangelical Christians. The Bible is consistently instructing us to be witnesses of the good news (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 1 Peter 3:15). There is no better news than Jesus! There is no higher calling than evangelist. There is no doubt that holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview and, yes, political belief. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation. An evangelical Christian is called to share the good news, to preach God’s Word, and to set an example of purity and integrity. If these callings require political action, so be it. At the same time, evangelical Christians should not be sidetracked into abandoning our highest calling—sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Putting faith to work

There are several things I found fascinating about that description. For one thing, I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA.) Our particular congregation contains both highly liberal and highly conservative Christians whose issues of concern are often addressed from the pulpit. But the central goal of the church the last few years has been to encourage discipleship, which among other things, means putting faith to work through action.

This is a most effective way to distil issues of theology. When people are called together to work in service to others, as the bible calls us to do, fine points of theology do not matter that much.

Faith matters

Yet there are times when theology matters a whole bunch. Throughout the history of the Judeo-Christian religion, sorting out the meaning of scripture and the right relationship of God has taken on highly controversial tones. One could argue that the entire ministry of St. Paul, for example, was spent helping people confront misunderstanding of this new religion that would come to call itself Christianity.

But before that, a long series of *prophets stood on the outskirts of civilization calling people to repentance. When John the Baptist started dunking people in the Jordan river, the rumor mill about his activities got all the way back to the chief priests. John had no patience for their prurient curiosity.

And neither did Jesus. When it came down to it, the Son of God was a sonofabitch to the people in charge of religion. He set out to make them feel the wrath of God.

Unpopular voices

This proves that it is sometimes the unfortunate work of true evangelicals to say things and do things that are not popular with the proponents of mainstream religion. True to this tradition, Pope Francis has been acting like a prophet for the Catholic Church. His claim that “all scripture that does not lead to the love of Christ” is a highly evangelical statement.

He is not a popular man in conservative quarters because more conservative Christians, both Catholic and Evangelical, are accustomed to enforcing the rules of faith and driving a confessional brand of involvement. In order to belong, one must speak and choose to reflect the words of God in a certain way. In other words, “talk the talk,” or get out. You obviously don’t belong.

Dog-whistle religion

The sad thing is that this brand of faith can also come to constitute a certain “dog-whistle” cliqueishness. The confessional brand of religion is like joining a club. And when a club is formed, it can be leveraged to political as well as religious purposes. This is the exact form of social construct to which Jesus most objected. He branded those d0g-whistle priests a “brood of vipers” for huddling together and lashing out at anyone that stood up to their supposed religious authority.

But there is great comfort to many people in a religion where the rules are clearly mapped out. Not having to think about what you believe or explain it to anyone else is a simple form of existence. And if by convenience it also simplifies the voting process, well that’s just dandy, isn’t it?

And so many evangelicals look to their religious authorities for direction. If those authorities communicate that the “greater good” will be served by supporting even as flawed a candidate as Donald Trump, then evangelicals will support the man through thick and through thin. And sure enough, many evangelical leaders and conservative political voices called for evangelical Christians to vote for the man because promises were made that he would work to ban abortion, or gay marriage, or any number of theo-political issues bandied about during an election cycle.

Challenging authority

Anyone that challenges this central authoritarian call to loyalty can be branded an outsider and not worthy of attention. Traditionally, this is manifested in statements such as “you can only test scripture with scripture.” That is, the bible is the only source of truth.

The problem with this approach to authority is that it can fail miserably in the face of legitimate theological challenges. The preferred method is to simply deny the possibility that scripture could in any way be wrong. This is a convenient tautology.

It is also the practical method of those that used to stand on top of the walls or before the city gates shouting at the seemingly crazed prophets calling people to account for the true voice of God. So it is no coincidence that when a man such as Donald Trump puts forth a call to “build a wall,” the concept has great appeal to conservatives accustomed to blocking out that which they don’t want to consider. It is the perfect symbol for an insular faith.

A prophet in his home town

The problem with this approach to belief is that it is not biblical at all. It stung the Lord Jesus, for example, to be mocked and disavowed in his hometown. Mark 6:4: “Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

Thus it is not unexpected that even today, any evangelical willing challenge the cliquish or dog-whistle signals of Christian faith should be similarly despised and mocked. People take great offense in being questioned about their faith, especially when they sense a vulnerability in themselves that they might not like to admit.

Interesting observations

As a writer who talks about religion quite a bit, and who is willing to challenge both the religion and politics of others based on what the Bible says, rather than what people say about it, I have bumped into plenty of anger and disappointment from friends, relatives and strangers. One confronted me with this interesting observation: “You make me feel shitty about things.”

And I suppose that is probably true. If one clings to beliefs that don’t stand up to rational or religious scrutiny, it surely can make you feel “shitty” about it.

Stiff-necked and hard-hearted

Being challenged on theological grounds can simply harden those beliefs even more. I can honestly attest to the fact that I have likely had that effect on more than one Christian believer. The risk of abandoning cherished beliefs is never easy. But neither does God appreciated stiff-necked or hard-hearted believers. Giving up the legalistic ways of hard-hearted faith has always frightened the shit out of people.

Some have accused me of having no heart at all, that I am more about the theoretical idea of faith than having  a trust in God. But they have not walked a single step in my shoes, or faced the same deaths in my family that I have faced. I have trust that God will play a role in how those lives will end, and what happens to the spirit of that person in the long run.

Thus I feel empowered to speak as honestly as I can about the deceptions created on foundations of biblical literalism and the relativism that evangelicals too readily accept in trading approval for political power. It’s disgusting, and it produces ugly and false compromises in support for leaders such as Donald Trump. There have been many other abusive figures in history that claimed to be a Christian and turned out only to be selfishly murderous bastards.

And so, to not challenge those trading in politicized religious beliefs… when the Bible clearly maps out the call to speak truth to power… is to abandon the heart of all Christian belief.

Pope Francis

That is what the Pope is talking about when he says that scripture that does not lead to the love of Christ is obsolete. That is the true and honest calling of all evangelicals. To trust that the love of God has meaning, significance and purpose in your life, and to feel the love of Christ and do your best to extend that grace and love to others. That is the mission of faith.

Yet the Evangelical Prophet must also suffer in the face of distrust when challenging others to consider how their authorities might be misleading them. Jesus set the example, it is for prophets of all levels and calling to follow that lead. His disciples did it, trusting that they would be greeted or else they dusted off their feet and left that town to the dog-whistle virtues it claimed for its own.

That’s what it means to be a Christian Evangelical.

*In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.

 

 

Advent of the Neocontrarians

 

despicable-me-advent-calendar

The Despicable Me Advent Calendar

 

This is the Advent season for people of Christian faith. Many children enjoy the process of opening windows on their Advent Calendars. Starting December 1st, the Advent Calendar marks with anticipation the arrival of the traditional day celebrating the Birth of Christ.

 

This year, Americans are experiencing a different kind of advent. With a new President about to be Born Again in January, the process of naming cabinet members has been taking place the last few weeks.

Against all reason

Almost without exception, each new cabinet member named by Donald Trump to head a government agency has preached beliefs that run contrary to the purpose for which the agency was originally designed. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was originally established by President Richard M. Nixon, a Republican in the year 1970. Those of us alive during that era recall the massive environmental problems our nation was experiencing. Air pollution was choking cities and acid rain had begun to sterilize lakes east of the Rust Belt. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons were dying off thanks to DDT poisoning that made their eggshells too weak to sustain normal brooding. Rivers were on fire in Ohio, and vicious levels of heavy metals, toxic chemicals and nuclear energy byproducts were regularly leaking into the ground, air and water.

Thus our nation saw fit, with bipartisan support, to fix the problems our industrial activity was causing. We passed laws to take the lead out of gasoline. And over the years since, the auto industry has been pushed to improve gas mileage in the vehicles it produces. Some said this was impossible, impractical and economically unfeasible. But they were wrong. Modern vehicles use less gas and emit less noxious fumes than they did forty years ago.

The other direction

All these improvements in protecting the environment have paid dividends in protection of human health. Still, the battle is never won. There are still many significant challenges in environmental pollution that remain threats to the human race and other living things on earth. At the top of this list is anthropogenic climate change, manmade global warming. Governments around the world recognize the dangers of this threat to human health and the stability of the world’s economy.

And yet, President Elect Donald Trump called on a fellow named Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team. Ebell prides himself on being a “climate skeptic,” one who does not believe that climate change is even occurring, or that it is manmade.

He is, in other words, a contrarian. Or more accurately, he is a Neocontrarian. This is the Post-Modern version of a contrarian. Armed with opinions that ostensibly trump facts, Ebell is the type of person who seeks to impose his ideological will on the world despite all evidence to the contrary. This is how the website Whatsupwiththat describes the appointment of Myron Ebell to head up the EPA:

Choosing Myron Ebell means Trump plans to drastically reshape climate policies.

Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said.

The Trump team has also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign.

Contrary opinions

This is the peak of his Myron Ebell’s supposed wisdom: that he holds an opinion contrary to 95% of established scientists around the world. He abides with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has proven itself over the years nothing more than a shill for whatever business feels threatened by any sort of regulation.

That means that no matter how much pollution or other dangers a company might choose to pump out, the Competitive Enterprise Institute will take their side and defend them to the death. This is the philosophy of Neocontrarians in a nutshell.

And as such, Myron Ebell chose a fellow Neocontrarian to run the EPA. This is what the Los Angeles Times had to say about the selection. “Donald Trump’s meeting earlier this week with Al Gore gave environmentalists a glimmer of hope. They’re feeling a lot less hopeful now that Trump has selected Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt disputes the scientific consensus on climate change, is an ally of the oil industry and has tried to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. If Pruitt is confirmed, here’s how it could play out in the states.”

Flattening public education

The EPA is not the only government agency that Trump’s new wave of Neocontrarians is assigned to run. Trump also chose billionaire Betsy DeVos, a strong believer in charter schools and for-profit education, to act as Education Secretary. She is a devoted Neocontrarian when it comes to the education of children, preferring to diversify against public schools than qualitatively seek to improve the existing public school education system. Hers is the Winner Take All, free-market philosophy in which vouchers are distributed to families left to find the right education opportunities for themselves.

In other words, she’s an advocate of “trickle-down education,” in which those most equipped to avail themselves of the best educational opportunities will profit while those less equipped to seek or make those choices will be left behind. That’s how the free market works when it is unregulated. It is positively Darwinian at its source, which is ironic given the typically strong resistance to the theory of evolution among those who typically advocate for “school choice” based on so-called values-based learning, or Christian home-schooling.

It has long galled such ideologues that public schools actually teach science rather than fanciful notions such as creationism or so-called “intelligent design theory.” Even the names of those ideologies are contrarian.

Nothing trickles down when education as a system is flattened like a pancake and public schools are deflated in both funding and philosophy. Yet this is the approach of Neocontrarians to all sorts of ethical standards in government, science, medicine and the environment. Ever since President Ronald Reagan spouted the Neocontrarian Mantra, “Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem,” Neocontrarians have rushed to dispel any notion that government has a positive role to play in our lives.

In and out of control

When that daft and devout Neocontrarian George W. Bush took office with his henchman and turgid Neontrarian Dick Cheney at his side,  the United States went for a wild ride of Neocontrarian speculation on the role, or dispensation, of governmental responsibility.

The Bush administration was exposed for its lack of attention on national security when the 9/11 attacks occurred. The Bushies wanted to run things their own way, and significantly ignored warning signs of terrorist attacks because they did not want to listen to any of their predecessors, or even their own internal source Richard Clarke.

And from there, the Neocontrarians took advantage of the fear rushing through the populace to contrive a war of choice in Iraq, which fit the documented ideology of Neoconservatives who wanted to reform the Middle East around their own ideas of free markets and Western democracy, only to have it blow up in their faces. Literally.

Then the floodgates of Neocontrarians opened even further with the sponsor of torture in the very same jail cells used by Saddam Hussein to torture his own people. This was the height of cognitive dissonance, torturing Iraqis under the guise of saving them from Saddam, yet Neocontrarians in the media sought to defend it at all costs.That mean little suckup Sean Hannity and his bludgeoning cohort Rush Limbaugh preached torture as truth seeking.

Think about the contrary nature of that philosophy for a moment. When Senator John McCain protested against use of torture because he was himself tortured during wartime, some Neocontrarians mocked him as weak. This is the problem with Neocontrarian philosophy. It quickly unhinges from fact in order to support beliefs that are typically devoid of proof or common sense.

Trumped by nonsense

Donald Trump is expanding this tradition of Neocontrarianism as if he invented it. But that’s not certainly not true. Trump is merely expanding the Neocontrarian tradition to suit his own lack of moral, political or ethical direction. The fact that he Tweets with anger at every criticism or perceived transgression is evidence of this massive insecurity. And as such, his choice to assign Neocontrarians to every single position in his cabinet is an indication of his boldly inferior, incurious approach to life.

His own misogyny and aggressive treatment of women is the direct product of his own Neocontrarian worldview. “No one respects women more than me!” he claims. And how contrary is that? In other words, he’s lying to himself in order to bolster his own lack of self-esteem.

And that’s what Neocontrarian is, and what it does to this world. By advocating views that are completely contrary to pure and visible evidence, it wrests power from those seeking to abide by fact, and make decisions based on reason, not ideology or wishful thinking.

Longstanding contrarianism

We see the effects of Neocontrarianism in the aggressive defense of ideologies such as creationism, the religious belief that scripture is a better foundation for science than experimentation and rational examination of physical evidence.

We have dealt with the consequences of Neocontrarianism time and again with the economy as it collapses under one Republican regime after another that advocates cutting taxes on the very rich, and allowing regulations to fall lax so that financial greed runs amok and crush the foundations of economic stability.

This is the Advent of an entire new level of Neocontrarianism. It is highly unlikely it will be any more successful than the ugly attempts in the past to ignore fact and foist opinion on the world. Every new day we’ve opened a new window in the Advent Calender of Neocontrarianism and it always a strange reveal. How else do you explain the appointment of Linda McMahon?

“U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will nominate professional wrestling magnate and former Senate candidate Linda McMahon as his choice to head the Small Business Administration.Trump’s announcement said McMahon would be a key player in his effort to generate stronger job growth and roll back federal regulations.McMahon, 68, is a co-founder and former CEO of the professional wrestling franchise WWE, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut. She ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut in 2010. She was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign.”

Questioning the fake world

I wrote this somewhat controversial piece a year or so back that disturbed many people. It played on the fact that conspiracy and suspicion often drive the Alt-Right view of the world. Hardly an event has taken place over the past five years, ranging from  mass shootings to terrorist attacks on American soil that has not been postulated by the Alt-Right as a government attempt to manipulate public opinion on issues ranging from gun rights to abortion.

Now we’re being led by a man whose entire political philosophy is based on Alt-Right contrarianism. Which is why he feels so confident naming a woman who helped run an entertainment franchise based on fake wrestling that makes millions off the false dramas created to cater to the lowbrow tastes of the flyover voters that put Trump in power.   with a combover and orange makeup into the Hall of Mirrors of

I’m not going to apologize for calling this all a big, fatass mistake. We’re being led by a Neocontrarian narcissist  with a horribly vain combover and a coat of orange makeup. It all feels like a bad, horrific dream from which American cannot wake up.

And so, we cannot possibly expect proponents of the Neocontrarian philosophy to be self-analytical and realize the disturbingly false core of their belief system. This is the Advent of fascism as an American value system. It will be up to all of us to call them on their lies disguised as policy. And it could be a strange, strange trip indeed.

 

 

 

 

We once had a prayer

urlThe hopes of so many American Christians seemed to have rested on the election of Donald Trump as President. His was the premise upon which Christian leadership so often depends. A man of conviction. Of strong words. A man who promised, along with his running mate Mike Pence, to ban the legal right to an abortion.

This was the centerpiece of the movement by the voting bloc known as evangelical Christians to elect Trump. There have been many other attempts over the years, with hopes pinned to men such as George W. Bush, who talked the talk but never even flirted with the idea of banning abortion.

Going way back to the likes of Ronald Reagan, fundamentalist Christians and biblical literalist have been leaning on presidents and politicians to make the case that America is indeed a Christian nation. If only some form of theocracy could take over the national narrative, everything would work out. America would again enjoy favor in God’s eyes, went the theory.

Instead, the nation leaned toward installing human rights to people that were not favored by the Christian Right. In particular, the notion that gay people deserved civil justice such as the right to marry has stuck in the collective craw of evangelicals and their ilk. It all sinks back to a literal interpretation of the bible and a selective view that some passages found within Holy Scripture are immutable even though others, such as outmoded laws in the Book of Leviticus or Deuteronomy can be conveniently ignored.

We might have had a prayer of progress on such issues if such claims were not at the heart of the cognitive dissonance behind what so many evangelical Christians claim as truth. The history of literalistic religion is anchored in such false beliefs that have also been used to make the contention that blacks are inferior, or should be kept as slaves. Or that women were not capable of working the same jobs as men, or to vote.

Such prejudices are not the product of honest biblical understanding. Instead, they have long been the product of stubborn, stiff-necked minds wrapped in fears of The Other. Most adherence to biblical literalism is the product of selfish aims. The fact that the Chief Priests in the days of Christ were legalists who turned scripture into law drew wrath from the Son of God. Yet to this day, so-called Christians behave the exact same way, exacting punishment and disbarment on all who do not agree to abide by harsh and strict forms of law derived from a literal interpretation of scripture.

Admissions

These are the sins of believers that they never like to admit. Indeed, they will not. And as a result, they must become ever more forceful in their endeavors to install their belief systems on the world. Deep within their conscience, they know that their selective beliefs are a house of the tallest order. A Tower of Babel, as it were, constructed of repeated errors in using scripture as a weapon, not a tool of understanding.

The same selectivity that supports the prejudice of so many Christians against gays or other supposed cultural opponents was also applied during the 2016 presidential election. Evangelicals lined up against Hillary Clinton on belief that her support for her husband in his transgressions actually constituted a character flaw of her own.

This contention was not a Christian instinct at all, but a political one for sure. It gave evangelical Christians an excuse to dismiss the very public demonstrations of misogyny and aggression toward women by Donald Trump. Evangelicals lined up to justify voting for the man by claiming that he stood for a “higher purpose.” That would be the vote against abortion and installation of a conservative Supreme Court that would do the religious will of the evangelical Christian community.

Silent Night, Holy might

We might have had a prayer of defeating this anti-Constitutional movement if the Christian church at large had attempted to call these gross interpretations of scriptural verity and political expedience to account. We might have had a prayer of calling Trump’s bluff in those moments when his claimed devotion to Christian faith proved so shallow and false that it bore not resemblance even to the casual Sunday worshipper who struggles through church just to get back to the couch and watch an NFL game, the other Sunday religion.

It did not help that the conservative media spent the past two years castigating the Catholic Pope Francis as a “liberal” who therefore did not deserve the attention of “real Christians” or conservative politicians. When Pope Francis explained that everything in the Bible that does not lead to the love of Christ is obsolete, he wittingly offended evangelicals whose very life support in faith depends on those passages that are interpreted to offend and isolate entire segments of society.

It is the opposite of what Jesus came to represent for the Christian faith. We might have had a prayer of respecting real Christian tradition by resisting the likes of Donald Trump. But the complicity of evangelicals in electing a man who is clearly a money-grubbing, selfish, sexist, racist, misogynistic and fascist jerk put all that to rest. That prayer of understanding and Christian leadership was exploded like a balloon the day that Donald Trump was elected. And to fulfill his role as the effective anti-Christ, Trump turned around and named Stephen Bannon as one of his chief advisors. Bannon subsequently praised Satan and the value of darkness as inspirations for political practice and cultural foundations.

Turning backs on God

We once had a prayer of doing the right thing. But Americans with narrow minds and fear in their hearts turned their back on God and elected a man with the heart of a wicked king that has installed heartless, clueless and faithless people as leaders of this country.

God will not be amused. Nor will Jesus Christ or all the saints of the past. Donald Trump is the worst thing to ever happen to America. And so-called Christians made it happen.

It makes you wonder if Stephen Bannon and all those Left Behind Christians haven’t been right about this place we call America all along. Perhaps it is the height of evil on the order of the Roman Empire in its worst moments. We had a prayer of proving that wrong. But we didn’t. And now the reincarnation of Caligula is in charge.

We once had a prayer. But we had better start praying all over again. And this time get it right.

Why the Christian church deserves a big kick in the ass, or at least a tweak on the nose

Gecko Toad Tweek.jpgA few years back, I considered signing up for seminary school. I filled out all the applications. Considered the financing. Even attended a class or two to see what seminary classes were like. And I remain intrigued. But I have not enrolled for a very simple reason. I don’t think the church is committed to change.

That is, I do not think the Christian church as a collective body is capable of challenging itself to arrive at some kind of comprehensive understanding of what Christianity is supposed to be.

My contention is based on a conversation I picked up during my travels in and out of those circles. The church to which I belong is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA.) And I love my local church. Love the pastors. Love their ministry to so many people. I have been a direct beneficiary, both financially and spiritually, of the service of my church to its members and the community.

So my complaint is not with what the church is, or what it does. I am concerned with what the church may never be.

As a member of Christian churches for all my life, my faith has gone through a long evolution of belief and purpose. Most recently, I have sensed that the church itself feels as if it is failing in its mission. In many places, church attendance is dropping. This is especially true with mainstream denominations. And churches like that are in a quiet panic. They don’t know what to do.

Meanwhile, megachurches keep growing. I have sat in those congregations as well. Listened to the sermons. Watched the stage show with the perfectly matched musicians playing their praise songs in perfect harmony.

But when I look behind the scenes, and it isn’t too hard to do, these megachurches are nothing more than Old Time Religion packaged in cereal boxes of modern trappings.

Because I played the same Praise songs they play at the Megachurches when I played my little guitar at the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church where our family belonged for 25 years. We attended that church because that’s the denomination in which my late wife was raised. She went through Lutheran parochial schools until high school. Then we met after she attended college and we got married by the wise and relatively liberal pastor who presided over our church in those days.

But when that pastor left, the theology of the church first careened around thanks to some pastor with a bad toupee and then a series of interim dudes took over. There are no women pastors in the Missouri Synod, so don’t ask any questions about that.

Finally, a nice man took over. But his backwoods Minnesota theology was the same as the dirt poor churches from sections in America where no one believes in evolution and gays are considered one of the great evils on the earth. So after 25 years we left that church for one that preaches tolerance, love and the mission of serving Christ without denying science or humanity.

And that should be enough for most of us. But there’s a problem in this world that needs to be addressed. We’ve previously mentioned the fact that Megachurches rely on highly conservative sources for their theology. Often this is anchored in a quite literal interpretation of the Bible. Secretly this theology hides all sorts of anti-intellectualism beneath its crinkled leather cover. Openly it preaches a Pro-Life attitude and often wrinkles its nose at the idea of evolution without really coming out and saying it in the open. This is Wink and Nod Christianity at its worst.

And that brand of close-minded faith bleeds out from the halls of quasi-conservative churches all over America. It holds hands with conservative beliefs in social, fiscal and political arenas as well. The dog-whistle secret of its power and force is evidenced in the most recent election, where a cabal of principally white people falling within all these stripes of conservatism got together and cast a protest vote against what they all consider the demise of American culture and Christian tradition. That would be liberalism.

And that’s why I blame the Christian Church for the election of a profane and incurious man in the likes of Donald Trump. This dog-whistle conservatism has to stop. It must be confronted for what it is. That is, a habitual and well-preached resistance toward modern and progressive thinking.

Christianity has been wrong on so many things in its history it hardly deserves credence as a source of knowledge. It has forced its ugly anger and prejudices based on confusingly literal interpretations of the bible for far too long.

But the worst part in all of this is that no one within the Christian community save the current Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic church, for God’s sake, has any balls to challenge this mega-stupidity being preached in the most popular churches in the land.

Where is the theological challenge to the brand of dumbed-down theology being pumped out at he Moody Bible Institute? And why doesn’t the mainstream ELCA aggressively confront the doomsayer traditions that threaten society with predictions of the apocalypse, and by proxy preach the dog-whistle belief that it doesn’t matter what we do to the earth because Jesus is coming back any day now?

The church has not got to guts apparently to force these issues. It ought to be engaged in a vicious wrestling match for the narrative of Christ. These TV preachers stealing money from old ladies ought to be tarred and feathered and dragged through the streets as examples of heresy. Yet we sit back and let them rip off the world in Jesus’ name.

I say fuck all that. For too long the church has been acting like a lazy teenager that does not want to get off the sofa on a Sunday. It needs a big old kick in the ass to get moving. Jesus would puke if he came back now to find the brand of conservatives (he called them a ‘brood of vipers’) now running the show. He kicked their asses with his sacrificial Passion Play two millennium ago, and yet the latter-day Pharisees have been allowed to waltz back in and shove legalism down everyone’s throat as if Jesus never existed.

Grow some balls, you Christian leaders. Challenge the goddamned conservatives that have perversely stolen the mantle of Christ and turned it into a spiked Iron Crown used to torture the minds of all those who attempt to uphold the true and liberal ministry of Jesus Christ.

We’re sick of you, and not surprised that numbers are falling at mainstream churches. It’s because you show no guts, have a bad habit of dampening down real initiative and dun your innovative members. These are the people who actually want to change, and hold those accountable who do not. Would the church die if it risked these types of changes? Which is more important in the mind of Jesus, to push the envelope and test the faith of others or to wrap our arms around them and pretend we’re all not dying off?

It’s time to stand up and be real leaders. Stop worrying about organization and start thinking about action. The world needs you. Get off your ass. That couch is no place for anyone on a Sunday, much less the rest of the week.

The final answer to conservative problems is Donald Trump

Monarch scales

Ever since 1998, when I wrote an essay titled How the Earth Was Forgotten Since Creation, I’ve been conducting a personal campaign against less-than-compassionate conservatism and how it damages the world of politics, religion and the environment.

That initial essay about the effects of biblical literalism on environmental policies was expanded into a book that took seven years to research and write. I never thought it would take that long, but it did. When it was finished, I titled it “The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age.”

The book expanded in scale to cover politics as well as religion, focusing on how authoritarian minds in both sectors of human activity collaborate (for better or worse) on civil rights, science and cultural issues.

To analyze these processes, I deconstructed the manner in which people arrive at their worldviews, and why. Predictably, people who support biblical literalism also tend to align with conservatives who interpret the United States Constitution the same way, through originalism. And that is what has taken place over the course of thirty years.

Simple minds

It’s that simple, which is why it is also so common and dangerous to find authoritarians of both political and religious persuasions lining up to do battle with their perceived common enemies. That would be anyone who dares interpret the bible or Constitution any other way than a generally literal or original form of understanding. This has its limits, as we shall see.

IMG_3180Because there’s are major problems with all this literalism and originalism. Both sources of thought ignore the fact that our material and cultural understanding of the world has advanced incredibly since the Bible was written down and codified. And since the United States Constitution was written, slavery has been banned, and women were actually given the right to vote. But it nearly 200 years to accomplish these things because people clung to the letter of the law on both fronts. That is not just sad, it is immoral.

And there still seem to be some people who claim to like things the old-fashioned way. They do not give up easily on the notion that things were somehow better in the Good Old Days. In fact, they will fight to the death in some cases to prove their martyrlike devotion to literalism and originalism.

Conservatism

It’s all a product of what we colloquially call conservatism, which is defined as “adhering to original standards and traditions.” But the problem with old-line conservatism is that it often clings to traditions that deliver advantage to one sector of society while excluding another. This was certainly the case with slavery and this imbalanced dynamic has persisted to this day through discrimination and persecution of black people and other minorities in America. The same certainly holds true for attitudes toward women, on whom conservative men project patriarchal standards of behavior.

These beliefs often conveniently stem from anachronistic habits of mind taken literally from the Bible. For example, the idea that a man is inherently superior to a woman can be drawn from the idea that Eve was supposedly formed second in order, and from the rib of a man. It sounds so stupid when you say it out loud, yet some people insist this is the natural order of things.

This is what I wrote about the dangers of anachronism in my book The Genesis Fix:

This perspective is known as anachronism, defined as “(one) from a former age that is incongruous in the present.” Anachronistic beliefs are based on a refusal to accept or comprehend change. It is inevitable that anachronism begets asceticism, defined as “a life of strict self-denial, especially for religious purposes.” Both anachronism and asceticism depend on the idea that all worthwhile wisdom comes to us from the past. This attitude may serve the purpose of encouraging reverence for the wisdom of the ages but fails as a device to reconcile faith with knowledge in the modern age.

It’s all storytelling pap run amok, yet arch conservatives tend want to own the religious and cultural narrative so badly they can become obsessed with this rigid form of doctrine. This is also convenient, for it imbues them with a supposed authority over all other elements of society. This became an actual movement in American, when 40 years ago, thanks to the efforts of men like Jerry Falwell, groups of Americans decided that a rigid form of conservatism needed to be imposed on American culture. This movement ultimately attracted other authoritarian thinkers from the political, social and fiscal realms, and came to be known collectively as neo-conservatism, an oxymoron if there ever was one. It is also ironically known as “neo-liberalism.”

Chronology of neoconservatism

Back when I started writing my book The Genesis Fix in 2000, the Republican Party had just finished grabbing the Presidency through the workings of a cooperative Supreme Court. From watching the actions of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush the First, I had become highly suspicious of the behind-the-scenes workings of the GOP. I knew too well how the double-speak of arch conservatism worked on the environmental front. I’d seen how some political organizations and companies used “greenwashing” to cynically make themselves seem like environmental advocates. The same practice of grabbing a positive narrative to hide ulterior motives of greed or despoilation spread into politics as well. This was combined with a winner-take-all approach that led to what is called “scorched earth politics.” That is no coincidence of terminology.

But I sensed an entirely new level of hypocrisy in the actions and words of the people embracing neo-conservatism on many issues. Their Holier Than Thou actions and words resembled those of the Chief Priests who maligned Jesus in his day. And that raised real alarm bells in my head. We all now how that turned out, with the good of the world turned “inside out” in favor of political power and control.

Unleashed

And once Bush II took power with his claims that God was telling him to be President, the neoconservative ideology was unleashed in all new ways. At that point, suspicions about neoconservatism were confirmed and it had one thing in mind: wiping out the political opponents to install a long term reign.

But then came the negligence on the terrorist watch with the tragedy of 9/11 despite warnings issued well in advance. But by the time America had come to grips with the fact that we’d been attacked, the Bush administration was already floating the notion that we needed to attack Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the events on 9/11. That’s when it struck me that all the predictions I’d made in my book The Genesis Fix were about to come true. These were delusional, radically motivated people in charge.

Eight years of hell

The radical actions of neoconservatism continued throughout the eight years Bush held office. We even heard tales that some Zionists wanted Bush to take over the Middle East and bring on Armageddon. In some respects, we succeeded in bringing on a Holy War by attacking Iraq when that country had nothing to do with the foreseen attacks committed on American soil on 9/11.

Then Bush and his conservative cronies in the financial sector ran the economy into the ground as well. No one would admit it on the conservative side of the equation, but it looked like God really had it in for the Good Old USA.

That didn’t stop arch-conservatives like Pat Robertson from blaming natural disasters on the fact that gays were still allowed to live in the United States. The radicalization of conservatism has many such prophets. Most of them had Big Money and maintained little contact or concern for how the Middle Class and the Real People got by in America. When the economy crashed and millions of middle managers were cast aside in the fray and unable to find work, some in the corporate world responded by saying that they would not hire anyone that had been out of work for more than six months. This was evidence of the “I’ve got mine” brand of independence lacking in both compassion and understanding of how the nation’s economy works in the first place.

In fact, neo-conservatism has engaged in something of a war on the middle class as a rule, busting up unions and suppressing the minimum wage at every turn. It’s no surprise that this faction of society should go looking for a hero to Make America Great Again on promise of restored jobs and hope of a future. But there’s a cognitive dissonance at work in the thought that the people whose policies led to the economic crisis in the first place would be the ones to fix it. And Donald Trump is no exception.

Racism arises

The shrill cries of neoconservatives only got louder when Barack Obama won the Presidency. The sector of the Republican Party that is backed by folks who believe white people should rule the world rose up to fight the President on every front. The dog-whistle racism of men like Mitch McConnell was obvious, but no one likes to speak of such things in public if they can help it. Democrats are typically more polite than that, and Republicans just don’t want to admit its true. Somehow Obama made it through eight years of heck dealing with obfuscation and resistance, and accomplished some good things along the way. It could have been better perhaps, but simply fixing the nation after the crash of 2007 was enough of a challenge to start out, and getting change to work in an atmosphere of so much resistance made it difficult to get anything done.

Which sets the stage for the 2016 election. The GOP threw sixteen people on the stage who wanted to run for President, and all of them appeared to want to run against the tenure of Barack Obama. Yet the only one who stood out to bloodthirsty neoconservatives was a loudmouthed white guy with orange hair and a lot of money. In classic style, he fit all the worst aspects of neoconservative ideas. He was pronouncedly white with his awful combover hairstyle and peach-colored rouge all over his face. His snarling lips and manner of speaking had all the class and patience of a slavedriver, and his openly racist statements laid bare the naked intentions of a political party short on ideas but long on the lust for power. Whether they liked him or not, neoconservatives had their man. It was Donald Trump, all the way.

The Trump Factor

So Donald Trump roared through the primaries and became the Republican nominee for President. At first, supposedly principled men such as Ted Cruz refused to support Trump as the part nominee. After all, Trump’s bitter campaign tactics included personal attacks not only on the other candidates, but on their wives as well. This was new and fertile ground for the seeds of hate, and they began to sprout across the land. Trump supporters felt their man had unshackled the world from the binds of political correctness.

But Trump didn’t stop there. He openly maligned women in public, acting like an angry pimp toward any woman that stood in his way. He lined them up and knocked them around. Carly Fiorina. Megyn Kelly. And finally Hillary Clinton, whom he stalked like a physical abuser during their October debate.

The entire process has been a surly spectacle on the order of a coup by a psychotic Emperor aching to take over the Roman Empire. What the Republican Party needs to do now is get back to its roots.

As I wrote in my book The Genesis Fix:

The admirable goals of political conservatism; keeping the powers of government in check, protecting citizens from excessive taxation, maintaining moral certitude as a principle of government, and encouraging free trade and commerce are all noble ideals. 20  And at a values level, conservatism prides itself on support of tradition, liberty and love of God and country. Despite its reputation as a staid element of social structure, conservatism has at times been quite progressive in the manner with which it has pursued its goals, particularly as it set about using media outlets to communicate its message in from the 1980s to the present. Conservatism’s doctrinal approach to seeking power, influencing culture and leading government has attracted many followers.

The one lacking element in neoconservatism (versus true conservatism) is compassion. This is what I wrote in The Genesis Fix:

If you are looking for a single factor in the success of conservatism with the American public, convictions22 are the political capital of conservatism. Any discussion of politics, social policy or human welfare must contain a healthy dose of “convictions” to be taken seriously by members of the conservative alliance. People with strong convictions tend to love clarity, but the desire for absolute moral clarity among conservatives can lead to intolerance for other viewpoints and cultural prejudice. This may be one of the principle points at which conservatism contradicts the true message of the Bible. It is difficult for people to have compassion and tolerance for others if they are blinded by a discriminatory fixation on the competing interests of a material, political or personal priority. The missing component of doctrinal conservatism as it relates to Christian beliefs is therefore unqualified compassion.

And that is the heart of the matter with Donald Trump. He is the perfect expression of the lack of compassion in neoconservatism. One could argue that he took it a major step further than any neoconservative even dared. Even the likes of Newt Gingrich, arch-conservative that he is, have backed off the Trump Train because The Donald is the beast that neoconservatism created, yet cannot tame.

And that is why, from now on, whenever I am asked why neoconservatism or any brand of conservatism lacking compassion is such a contradiction to American values, I will calmly say the name of Donald Trump. He is the ultimate expression of everything wrong with what conservatism has become in its long arc from Ronald Reagan––who started this “hate the government” mess––all the way to now.

Government is not the problem as President Ronald Reagan once claimed. It’s the lack of belief that people can do good that is the problem in America. It is also a lack of concern for fellow human beings that is the vexation of this nation.

Conservatism has one thing right, and it is tried and true. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions. But that does not mean finding ways to exclude others as equal stakeholders in the American Dream. That is where neoconservatism has led real conservatives astray.

Hopefully something can be learned by all this, and the Bad Example that emerged in the figure of Donald Trump. We need to get back to our belief in America for sure, but not at the cost of tossing people over the side of the ship, or blocking our borders, or dissing them in public if they don’t look like you, act like you, or go along with mad schemes of in religion, politics and culture.

 

American politics are just a gas

IMG_3180.jpgFor a long time, I’ve searched for a symbol that can describe American politics in simple terms. And yesterday at the gas station, I found it. It all breaks down to types of gasoline.

 

Liberals are Unleaded Gasoline. 

With the environment in mind, liberals long ago pushed to have the lead removed from the gasoline we use in cars.  Lead is a serious environment toxin that can cause illness through polluted air and water. It even gets into our food. And against resistance from the oil and gas industry, and friends in conservative places, liberals fought and won to have gas cleaned up. The liberal movement also pushed for higher MPG standards. The auto industry said for years it could not be done. But now it has. Cars,

And against resistance from the oil and gas industry, and friends in conservative places, liberals fought and won to have gas cleaned up. The liberal movement also pushed for higher MPG standards. The auto industry said for years it could not be done. But now it has. Cars, trucks and minivans are now more fuel-efficient. Liberals also pushed for higher safety standards. Sure, all these changes took effort, but they’re worth it.

So it can be fairly said that liberals, Progressives and Green Party supporters are like the unleaded gasolines grades and the vehicles we use today. A little cleaner, more efficient and worth the extra trouble to make sure people don’t get sick or die.

Conservatives are Leaded gasoline. 

Conservatives don’t like to be bothered about things like lead in gasoline or pansy-ass safety standards. Those things cost money to implement. And let’s just say conservatives hate regulations wherever they occur. The Big Oil folks would have been happy to continue pumping out gasoline with the lead still in it. That’s one less step toward making profits.

And let’s be honest: conservatives would have been perfectly happy to stick with the gas guzzling vehicles of America’s past. The romance of the road was sufficient for the American conscience for many years. Why change?

Well, the answer is twofold. Leaded gasoline was poisoning and killing people, plants and animals. So there’s that. Then the gas shortages came along in the 1970s, and more fuel-efficient foreign cars entered the American market. Automakers took a long, long time to change. Meanwhile, they got their asses kicked by Toyota, Honda and others.

Then came the big economic collapse of 2008, and American automakers were stuck on side of the road again. The government had to step in, jump-start the industry (to the chagrin of conservatives everywhere) and shake the lead out of the American auto industry’s ass. And it has largely worked.

Of course, conservatives are frustrated by the idea that they were forced to accept all this change. They be happy to Take Back America to its “glory” days of gas-guzzling, pollution spewing muscle cars. Because they fit right in with the hom0-hating, women-baiting, unpolitically correct attitudes when people were free to be radically consumptive assholes and pollute the environment without anyone questioning them about it.

Sorry, folks. It’s the truth.

Libertarians are Diesel.

You gotta love the Libertarian Party in America. For the most part, it chugs along hardly making a sound except for that weird ticking noise it makes whenever it senses the word “government” in the air. Then the engine roars into action, spewing weird purple smoke and acting not-quite-like the other vehicles on the road.

To Libertarians, this is a point of pride, as it would be driving a shiny silver Delorean fixed up like that Time Machine in Back to the Future. Never mind the fact that the funding for the company that manufactured Delorean cars came from backroom cocaine deals. The Dirty Money got the job done, right? What’s a few snorts of coke if the world becomes a better place?

One might argue that the counterculture Tesla road machine is instead the perfect Libertarian vehicle. But that would be stretching it.

And there you have it. An accurate and perfect categorization of American politics according to gasoline types and the cars that drive them.

My search is over. It turns out that American politics really is a gas.

 

What rock’n’roll and the Bible have to say about conservatism

John-Lennon-john-lennon-34078983-1024-768There was a time when devout fundamentalist Christians went on the attack against rock’n’roll. In the early 1960s, stacks of records by The Beatles were raised high and burned in public places. The Boys were disclaimed by Christians because John Lennon said, and we quote: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

What Lennon was saying about those “thick disciples” missing and twisting the message of Jesus was true. That has all come true. Christianity as a religion has vanished on many fronts, and shrunken as well. It has not disappeared altogether in large part because it has divided into two lopsided groups. On the Right are massive numbers of thick disciples still clinging to the twisted version of theology that dumps the Christ who resisted the authorities of his day to make the point that scriptural literalism should not be turned into law. On the Left are people trying to convey the moral truth of the Bible in rational terms. But that takes work, and as a result, attracts less of an audience as a rule. People simply don’t like to be asked (much less forced) to think. It’s the conservative approach to life: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” they say. “It’ll all work out in the end. God is in control.”

But what if he’s not? What if we’re supposed to play a major role in all this. What if we’re supposed to do what the Bible actually says, and bring the Kingdom of God to life in principles, morals and actions that put that plan into effect?

People try, but too often they mistake rules and regulations for the principles, morals and actions God might want from us. That was the problem Jesus saw at work among the chief priests of his day. He called them to account for their methods, and it pissed them off as badly as a high school principal whose authority in the lunch room was called into question.

Genuine call to faith

The genuine call to faith as expressed by Jesus in the Bible was revolutionary stuff. But on the surface, it did not seem to work out so well for Jesus. The man that served as the symbol for a radicalized Jewish faith was crucified for claiming a father-son relationship with God. He was hunted by the priests who considered statements like that to be the ultimate blasphemy. And yet today, many people proudly proclaim themselves Children of God. How is that different than when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God?

Well, it is those types of semantics that have turned Christianity into both an expansive religion and a withering source of pain for the human spirit. In alternating patterns, the Christian narrative has been controlled by the same brand of authoritarianism to which Christ most objected. It just keeps coming back, and has only been liberated through time by the brave grace of men such as Martin Luther. It may be time in this day and age for a new Reformation, to take back the liberal origins of its mission.

Rock’n’rollers

Christ and Luther were the rock’n’rollers of their day and age. They busted down walls of conservative thought by introducing liberal new ways of conceiving the world. But in every case, and with so many martyrs, it is conservative authoritarians who fight their cause and do them in.

Liberal thinking is simply not welcome among those that see themselves as protectors of a “higher order.” What they are actually protecting, in most cases, proves to be their own personal power and authority. And when questioned, they grow mighty threatened when the truth of their manufactured circumstances is revealed or brought to their attention.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-1280x800-3When Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived on the scene to question of both religious and secular authorities about the nature of civil rights, social justice and America’s military adventures, he was vilified by conservatives of his time. The ignoble J. Edgar Hoover tracked his every move. Hooever also tracked other civil rights activists including President John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby. It’s no coincidence that all three were eventually murdered inside the decade of the 1960s. That’s how murderous authoritarianism works. These are the same forces that killed Jesus. If authoritarianism cannot dominate the conversation, it gets its way through brute force and murder.

CQVsQ1bUEAAecjrWorse than that, conservatism sometimes travels in banal fashion, such as the likes of Dr. Ben Carson, the black candidate for the Republican nomination whose theology and logic was so confused he was not fit to tie the shoes of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet today’s conservatives could not tell the difference, and some flocked to that vacuous man just because he held up signs that said, “I’m a Christian.” The shallowness is breathtaking. But not unexpected by any means. Conservatism loves short answers and shallow thoughts that seem to hold the truth in a nutshell.

Social rebellion and how it actually works

During the 1960s, the music known as rock’n’roll began taking on political subjects. The music was rebellious because the 1960s were rebellious times. One can more readily imagine Jesus Christ walking into Woodstock to address the crowd of 100,000 people than one can imagine him entertaining invited guests at some crystal church playing supposedly holy music in the hills of California.

Yes, Jesus went out to people in the country, where the message was closely connected to the earth and communicated through organic parables that talked of trees and grass and mustard seeds. He preached about being baptized in the water of life, and of being the light of the world. None of these things is found inside a crystal palace.

Lennon and Jesus

John Lennon recognized all this in advance. He knew people were hungry for unmitigated messages about their soul and their lives. He was concerned that the dull disciples of the world would be left to rule the place if authoritarian thinkers were allowed to dominate the discussion. And so, much like Jesus, he boldly challenged the conservatism ruling the social culture of his day. John Lennon was also later shot, as we should recall, by a fan jealous of the fame and magnitude of the man. Crucifixions happen in many ways. We’re only a few decades removed from Lennon’s death. And while he was no Christ figure, that’s too soon to tell how much significance his words might hold in the future.

What Lennon did was challenge perceptions, just like Jesus. .And yet, the Beatles Revolution song did not propose complete chaos to replace the existing social order. Instead, Lennon wrote that he was out to change the way people thought about the world, but not throw away social institutions altogether. This was the same methodology of Jesus Christ, who insisted that Judaism should not change one whit of scripture, but that it depended on how you THINK ABOUT IT THAT COUNTS.

Both wanted a revolution of consciousness. And here are the lyrics.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out…

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Give unto Caesar

Jesus accepted that money due to Caesar was a necessary aspect of citizenship in Ancient Rome and beyond. But he suggested that coveting the rest, or using it for selfish reasons, was the root of all evil. Money, in that case, would come to possess one’s heart. He advised wealthy people who really wanted to seek the Kingdom of God to give away their money and truly seek their purpose in the world. But many could not. Or would not.

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791And so the dichotomy exists over the worship of money to this day. And America has a presidential candidate who weakly claims to be Christian, yet who clearly worships money, and himself.

And to illustrate his covetousness, The Donald’s campaign illegally co-opted the Queen song “We Are the Champions” to use as a motivational tool in his campaign. The band quickly told him to cease and desist. Many rock’n’rollers have done the same thing with politicians over the years. There is even a full floor dedicated to the use of rock music in politics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. One of the display’s videos clearly illustrates the illegal mis-use of rock music by politicians, most of them conservative.

Born again where? 

Who can forget the tone-deaf idiocy of Ronald Reagan’s campaign illegally using the Bruce Springsteen song “Born In the USA?” The lyrics clearly indict the burgeoning yet blindsiding neoconservative ideology so boldly flaunted by Reagan. Here are some of the words:

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said “son if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said “son, don’t you understand”

It was a song written about the disenfranchisement of the middle class by the entire military-industrial complex and the wars it fought to enrich those able to leverage that dynamic to their own means. Forget that Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general in World War II, warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex. Republicans in the early 80s were all for go-go growth whatever that meant. The Gulf War in the early 1990s and the Bush II Gulf War in the early 2000s were simply executions in the collective denial of good sense by neoconservatives.

They never understood that “Born In the USA” as an anthem was meant in ironic fashion. It was not a celebration of all things that make America great, as the Reagan campaign numbly intended to use it. And sure enough, Reagan went on to fulfill every aspect of the darkly predictive lyrics of Springsteen’s song by busting labor unions, foisting the ugly cynicism of “trickle-down” economics on the nation, gutting environmental laws and conducting illegal military-industrial activity in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair.Those were evils all Born In the USA. They’ve gone on to poison the rest of the world as well.

Reaganomics was the same thing as pissing on the backs of blue collar workers and telling them it was raining. Reagan also branded ketchup a vegetable even while his wife introduced an inanely simplistic anti-drug campaign called Just Say No.

How ironic that a few years later, the highly capitalistic operation known as Nike, Inc. would introduce a marketing campaign that said “Just Do It.”

Southern Man

The other notable clash between rock’n’roll and conservatism that deserves examination is the lyrical battle between longtime rock’n’roller Neil Young and the Southern man band known as Lynyrd Skynrd, who seemed to have no budget for additional vowels.

Young’s song Southern Man lyrics contained lyrics recalling slavery and the rampant racism that continued across America’s southland:

Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern change’s gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast

Southern man

I saw cotton and I saw black
Tall white mansions and little shacks
Southern man, when will you pay them back?
I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long?

Stung by the truth of these lyrics, the Skynryd band shot back with an apologist set of lyrics that were meant to be defiant.  Yet they still confessed and affirmed the very qualities of stubborn reticence about which Young accused the South in his original song. In other words, the conservative position of the Skynyrd lyrics typically missed the real point, which was “Can you change?”

Sweet Home Alabama

Big wheels keep on turning

Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the south-land
I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again
And I think it’s a sin

Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around any how

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the Gov’nor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Now a certain man named George Wallace served as Governor in the 1980s, and his position on race relations was never really clear. This is what the blogger Charles H. Dean wrote about the time period following the murder of four black girls in an Alabama church bombing during Wallace’s reign:

George Wallace“From that point on I think he manipulated the white middle class on race,” said Lewis. “But was he a racist? Was he a segregationist or was he just using race to win elections? I don’t think we will ever know because we don’t know his heart.”

Now it is worth noting that Wallace was a declared Democrat for his political aspirations. Yet the Republican Party so grew to admire his success in winning votes in his Southern State by plying racism, they copied his methods. And so, Ronald Reagan and his crew leveraged dog-whistle racism into a political strategy, and over the next decade, turned most of the South into Republican country by courting racist voters. It was the work of the Devil, but it worked.

Meet Donald Trump

That methodology closely resembles the candidacy of a certain controversial candidate now running for President of the United States. That would be Donald Trump, who has refused on multiple occasions to refute the claims of racists or deny their support when clearly racist support groups and individuals come out in his favor. This complicity may, in fact, be a contributing factor to getting the man elected.

And just like the weak-ass excuse given by the supposedly stalwart band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trump chooses to shrug his shoulders and deflect criticism and blame about these matters by claiming it is his right to free speech, even if that speech is hateful in nature.  This is all done in order to avoid the hard questions about his actual views.

Country music and Bible beaters

This is the history of so much country music as well, which for so many years leveraged the sad, sick pattern of broken marriages, faithlessness, drunkenness and hard life on the road as American values. And to put it in rock’n’roll terms, that is really fucked up thinking. Country music traditionally sides with conservatism in America, which likewise is the progenitor of some really confused, backwards, anachronistic and equally fucked up thinking.

And just as conservatives seem incapable of reading or understanding the basic meaning of words in rock songs, or the defeatism in old style country music, they likewise can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that Jesus castigated his own disciples for their failure to grasp the meaning and purpose of his parables. Matthew 15:16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

Bible beaters seem to miss these indictments of literalistic thinking and shortsighted interpretations as if they don’t even exist. But they do. And it’s time they be held accountable for the true and earnest damnation of their dull ways.

Get the hook

One of the basic methods of creating great rock music is to establish a “hook” or a central theme around which a song is built. The hook is often repeated, thereby delivering a catchy or memorable lick or lyric that catches attention and brings people to the song.

But even Jesus’ disciples did not “get the hook” of his parables at times. The dullard brains of his supposed avid supporters demanded constant repetition and lessons so that they would be prepared in some fashion to carry the message of Christ to the world.
A kick upside the head

Even more striking, it took a blinding lightning flash to the head of the Apostle Paul to convert him from an ardent persecutor of Christians into an elegant communicator of timeless principles.

And let us not forget that many of God’s most faithful servants were avid murderers and genocidal heroes, zealots of the foremost kind even while in service to the Lord. But even God had limits, and told King David at the end of his life, when David was asking the Lord if he could build a temple in his honor, God said, “No, you have too much blood on your hands.”

In this respect conservatives also miss the fact that perhaps times have changed. That specific moment in biblical history may have been meant to serve as a turning point from which we are meant to learn that you do not always have to wipe out a nation in order to do God’s work. By contrast, Jesus professed interest in making believers out of “all nations.” He does not say, “Go threaten or kill them to make them follow me.”

Double down

But that lesson seems lost on today’s dullheaded conservatives who not only fail to see the light, but double down whenever challenged about their militaristic ways and how it seems to conflict with their supposed Christian faith. Instantly they being waving the so-called Sword of Faith and singing Onward Christian Soldiers. That didn’t work in the Crusades and it’s still not going to work in the Middle East to this day. But that’s never going to stop the addle-headed zealots from trying. George W. Bush and his devil-may-care henchmen Dick Cheney proved that. So let’s not hold out hope or even take the chance that God is that interested in our best interests. We have to fight back when these dull yet angry disciples get try to get hold of the reigns of destiny.

Satan and his real ways

It might indeed have more impact on the zealously devout if they were confronted by Satan himself, who might get to get them to understand their direct role in corrupting the world, and by proxy, God’s Kingdom. Let’s not forget that it was the symbolic Serpent as Satan that taught Adam and Eve those prescient lessons about Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. But note the methods used by Satan to trick the two into questioning God.

From the Book of Genesis:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

What you need to understand about this passage is that it predicts the very nature of the evils Christ would later confront in his life in those legalistic priests whose constant word games about the intentions and laws of God were always on the tip of their forked tongues.

Brood of Vipers

 Jesus branded the religious authorities of his day a “brood of vipers,” and that is no coincidence. In branding the priests of his day as “vipers,” he is communicating the frightening fact that the single Serpent of Satan multiplied into the many priests who were constantly getting people to doubt their own relationship with God by installing all sorts of rules about how to earn favor with God. See, the conservatives of Jesus’ day knew that letting people be free and liberal about their faith would result in them losing power over them. That’s the same fear that was expressed by the Catholic Church when Martin Luther questioned all those requirements to pay yourself into the favor of God. The pattern happens over and over again in history.

Yet the people doing the deeds of Satan, as it were, never recognize themselves in these characters. They unwittingly confess, as the Southern band Lynyrd Skynrd once did, that their ways are wrong. Yet they profess pride in them. “It’s our way,” they stubbornly say. “And you can’t make us change.”

Pent up racism

And so the pushback of the Donald Trump candidacy is releasing all the pent up racism and people sick and tired of being told not to call black people “niggers” and gay people “fags.” Likewise the black community needs to address its own issues with rappers branding women “bitches” and “hoes” and celebrating its own internal conflicts, reactionary gangsta life and social problems as signs of liberation. In fact, these represent reactions represent an isolationist brand of conservatism all of its own making. The rap and hip-hop community. It somewhat owns black-on-black crime, for example, and while genius on conception and execution, there is far too much emphasis on real executions to be taken as a truly serious social revolution.

That’s what John Lennon was trying to tell us all. And he was one fucked up motherfucker at times, but he was at least willing to admit his problems. Most of the world stands in denial of their complicity in this big process of dancing with the one we call Satan. And so we’ll leave you with this inspiring, enlightening set of song lyrics from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Read the lyrics carefully, for the song Sympathy For the Devil is not meant to convey literal storytelling, but to address by inference all the things the world has done to undermine things that are good and true and worthwhile.

But rest assured, the conservatives probably still won’t get that. It’s one of the most brilliant rock’n’roll songs every written, almost in code to communicate with people of enlightened minds and actual spiritual depth. It’s both a rock’n’roll song and an anthem to how faith gets turned inside out by the powerful and the mighty.

Sympathy for the Devil

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
(Woo woo, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
(Who who)
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
(Who who, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
(Woo woo, who who)

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
(Who who, who who)

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
(Woo woo)
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

 

Trump and his followers are so 2002

911-terrorist-attack

2002 arrived on the heels of the 9/11 disaster.

Perhaps you can recall the atmosphere in the country in 2002. The tragedy of 9/11 had just happened, and people were scared that other terrorist attacks might be coming along. The people sworn to protect us had somehow forgotten to do that, and the consequences were about to be shifted back to the American people.

Along came the Patriot Act and a series of surveillance requests that granted the government almost unlimited powers to informationally monitor American citizens. This was ostensibly done in the name of protecting our rights to free speech, freedom and the American Way. And to further that philosophy, Bush told us all to go out and go shopping.

That was 2002, the year the Bush administration began ramping up excuses to go blast away in Iraq. It wasn’t really a plan, as we learned later, but an excuse to use America’s military might for imperialistic reasons in the Middle East. It went badly after the bombing ended. There was no management plan. There was looting in the streets, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives.

Then American soldiers began a campaign of torture and our military rounded people up and put them on a base in Cuba, of all places. We didn’t even have trade relations with Cuba, yet we owned a prison in Guantanamo. That kind of international management is the product of the fear and anger we were sold in 2002.

And let us not forget the lies used to sell that fear and anger. American and international arms inspectors found no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet people believed it when General Colin Powell pushed out curried “facts” that were all fictionalized. But the fearmongering that sold that lie was begun in 2002. Fox News trumpeted the lies for all it was worth. The divisive, angry voice of Rush Limbaugh ruled the airwaves, and even the likes of Howard Stern jumped on board the Bomb the Muslims campaign. And Donald Trump was interviewed by Howard Stern back in 2002, and these days denies that he supported the invasion of Iraq. But this is how the conversation actually went:

“For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues. But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Because that’s how too many people thought in 2002. No one knew what to make of the people who were lying so boldly to our faces, and with such force. So Donald Trump has simply stolen that playback and brought the fearful attitudes of all those duped by Bush and his henchmen and updated it for the election.

But it’s 2016 now, people. We should know better. We’ve learned what Dick Cheney is really like. We’ve learned how his position on Iraq from 1991 to 2002 was a complete flip-flop. The money he stood to make from invasion of Iraq overwhelmed his principles. And his principles were already based on outrageous notions that America could rule the entire world with impunity. He insisted the entire action in Iraq would take weeks and that we’d be welcomed as heroes. The fact that he presided over torture in the very same prisons where Saddam Hussein tortured Iraqi citizens just might have had something to do with the fact that everyday Iraqis refused to trust American intentions.

But in 2002, when Cheney was working behind the scenes to map all this out, pushing Bush around like a schoolyard bully and his lackey. America could not imagine that our President and Vice President could be so shallow, vicious and naive. But they were.

And some of us knew and recognized this in 2002. But we were called Bush-haters for resisting the loss of freedoms and the wars of choice. We were told we were not “patriotic” in refusing to support the insane actions of an administration clearly bent on war. We were called even worse names as well. Because it was 2002. And a lot of people were afraid to fight back against our own government when we’d already seen an attack on our own soil. That had not really happened at that scale before. And the Bushies took advantage of that.

But that was 2002, and this is 2016. And the nation can’t possibly fall for the same bad instincts conservatives have been selling for so long. Or can they?

Because the people now following Donald Trump are spouting the same brand of fear that Bush and Cheney sold back in 2002. Perhaps we’d hear it better if we all picked up our Motorola Razr phones and listened through those devices? Because it’s the exact same load of fearful crap repackaged, and badly wrapped, in the golden fleece of Donald Trump.

When his campaign makes promises to Take Back America it is really more a threat to take us back to 2002. Because you may recall that the Bush administration also sold fear on domestic policies, blocking major medical advances in stem cell research, resisting critical science about global warming, and literally extracting language from research papers and scientific data that did not fit their political opinion. This brand of politics is called Mind Control, and the authoritarian followers who were drawn to Bush ate it up like candy.

That hardly explains why some independents are drawn to Donald Trump. But again, let’s go back to 2002 and examine how the country got to be such a mess in such a short time under Bush. Recall that the 2000 election between Al Gore and Bush came down to a decision from the Supreme Court, who essentially installed Bush as President. Justice was not served, yet Gore acted with class and elected to support the President.

So Democrats were somewhat reeling from the tidal shift of the Bill Clinton years, which were by many measures prosperous and well-managed, to the Bush years when even our military could not protect the Pentagon. Think about that for a moment. For all the claims that Republicans better understood the military and knew how to protect Americans, somehow our lead military base in Washington was struck by some sort of exploding object. No one seems to be able to produce a reasonable video of an actual plane hitting the building. The best we supposedly have is a cheesy surveillance video that does not show a plane at all.

In any case, how is it that the Pentagon is such a paragon of weakness even when it was already clear that something really bad was going on in New York City? The answer is simple: According to the doctrine of 2002, nothing could touch us with Republicans in power. America was ostensibly the most powerful, well-armed nation on earth, with a Commander in Chief who could read the soul of leaders such as Russia’s Putin, just by looking him in the eye. And the Bush family had close ties with the Saudis and especially the bin Laden family. How could something like 9/11 ever happen if we had things under control?

Well, we’re being asked to believe the same load of crap from Donald Trump in 2016. He claims to be able to negotiate “deals” better than anyone on earth. He wants Mexico to pay for a wall, and has basically told the Chinese to go fuck themselves. He considers his own council the best authority on a multitude of subjects. And he appeals to independent voters because he appears to answer to no one.

That is his appeal. That The Donald answers to no one. Well, we’ve already tried that formula back in 2002. And it led to military disaster, thousands of lives lost and American soldiers killed, and an economic crash that nearly ruined America forever.

It was all so 2002. Let us hope that people come to their senses in 2016.

 

Dancing at a funeral is no surprise with George W. Bush

George-W-Bush Singing and Dancing.jpg

The video from the memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers was disturbing. There was George W. Bush dancing and laughing as if he were attending a child’s birthday party. It was, to say the least, highly inappropriate behavior from a former President of the United States of America. Frankly, it was quite insane behavior for anyone.

Michelle Obama tried her best to bring dignity and respect to the situation. But Bush was having none of it. Looking drunk or crazed, or a little of both, he kept swinging hands and singing out loud like a preschooler high on cookies and Kool-Aid in the year-end pageant.

It was a shocking display. But let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time President Bush has embarrassed the nation. At another very public event, he proudly yucked it up over his failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The irony was bitter considering that America invaded that nation based on specious contentions that Saddam Hussein had WMDs that he planned to use against America.

Never mind the fact that international inspectors had done their jobs and found no traces of WMDs anywhere in Iraq. To counter that evidence, Bush and his snide administration trumped up their own “evidence” as reasons to invade. That pack of lies led to thousands of American soldiers dead or wounded in Iraq. Yet Bush thought it sensible to make jokes about his enormous folly that cost thousands of American lives and trillions in American treasure seeking to prove the point that America was the most powerful nation in the world.

In horrific fashion, Bush even tried to cover up evidence of American lives lost in that cowboy venture. The Bush administration banned photographers from taking photos of the war dead arriving back on American soil. Hiding the truth is the most cynical act a politician can do. Yet Bush had no qualms in doing so, even when it effectively dishonored the sacrifice of those willing to give their lives for their country.

The company of fools

It made America look like fools to go along with the insane plans of the President. Yet the facts are clear: George W. Bush and his Republican friends thought they could easily fool the nation into believing their doctrine of imperialism was the best course of action for America. And at first, many believers were fooled by the fear and terror Bush threw in their faces. Ultimately, however, became clear that it was lies and complicity that led America into that war. Those of us who protested the Iraq War at the time were branded unpatriotic. That’s a fact that still angers true (and actual) patriots to this day. We knew that whole Iraq strategy was a partisan farce.

Laughing in our faces

When a domestic crisis hit during Hurricane Katrina, Bush again demonstrated a near total lack of grasp of the situation. People were drowning in New Orleans. Then the population lacked food and supplies to make it through the initial stages of when hunger and thirst were a threat. Loss of homes and places to live were desperately needed. Indeed, the delays and shortcomings of the self-oriented Republican administration were a massive failure, and the American people knew it this time. Yet Bush saw fit to compliment his inept and incompetent FEMA leader by saying, “You’re doing a heckuva job.” 

No respect, self or otherwise

 

So it should not be any surprise, perhaps, that George W. Bush did not know the somber meaning of an occasion when respect for the slain officers should have been paramount. He was dancing around as if he were attending a religious revival. Perhaps that provides the ultimate explanation. For Bush projected his strange brand of faith onto all sorts of situations over his tenure and beyond. But all it has proven is that he’s a goddamned fool.

There was absolutely excuse for him to be dancing during that memorial event. But then again, there was no excuse for why he was elected in the first place. It was both a theft of the voter’s will and a theft of conscience that the merry dolt named George W. Bush was installed as President in the first place.

And what that means to America is that it can happen again. The same people who dismiss the likes of the idiocy of a jokester like Bush are rallying behind an even greater jerk named Donald Trump. There is no excuse for that support other than the fact that people do not understand that he’s dancing on the grave of what America once was, a nation with a conscience.

It keeps happening because people who think and act like George W. Bush keep getting elected to prominent positions by people who can’t tell the difference between dancing at a funeral and dancing a strip club. It’s the pornography of American politics. And welcome to it.

The continuing saga of the fuck-ups and the fuck-yous

urlNow that the effects of Brexit are becoming real in terms of uncertainties in world financial markets, international trade and basics like where people are allowed to live, people have begun to realize what an honest-to-goodness fuck-up it actually turns out to be.

Stalwarts will long insist that Brexit is the step toward political freedom Great Britain needs to take. The Scots and many other sections of Great Britain, which itself is a union of nations, will forever disagree considering that country voted 62% to 38% to Remain in the European Union.

Flirting with Fuck Ups

Those voting for Brexit surely did not understand all the political and economic ramifications of the decision. These were the fuck-ups who drove the big fuck-up. Such is the nature of angry populism, which can lead even to fascism in the wrong political hands. Here in the United States, we’re flirting with a massive fuck-up of our own in Donald Trump, the designated nominee for President of the United States for the Republican Party.

This is a man who flaunts his failed marriages and failed businesses and dares people to challenge the perception that he’s not a massively famous fuck-up. In that respect, Donald Trump issues the world a massive Fuck You every time he shows his orange face in public. His hair is a fuck up. His speech pattern with all its perverse Yoda-like and backward braggadocio is definitely the hallmark of a habitual fuck up. He starts with his false contentions and qualifies them as he goes along.

And a Huge Fuck You

His fans (whom we must hesitate to call voters for the moment) all seem to love his Fuck You message. Former Republican politicians such as Joe Walsh, now a conservative radio host on AM 560 in Chicago, have publicly stated they would rather “blow this thing up” than let a Democrat such as Hillary Clinton win the election. Walsh and his ilk were critical of Barack Obama before the man even took office. The Republican-led Congress have behaved like a pack of massive fuck-ups for all eight years of Obama’s administration and have done nothing of any consequence except shut down the government and pass about 50 appeals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Other than that, they’ve spent all eight years of their authoritarian rule telling the American people and Barack Obama to go Fuck Off.

Trump steps into this Fuck Your role perfectly because his “Take Back America” campaign theme cloaks the extremism of his supporters behind a bit of patriotic language. Never mind the fact that the America for which his supporters yearn is one with racist roots and based on an economic model that was gutted by the very Republican Party to which so many conservatives and angry independents claim to subscribe. All those manufacturing jobs shipped overseas and down south to Mexico by free market capitalists with globalism fever are never coming back. America has created some 11 million new jobs since Obama helped turn the economy back around, but less than 1% of those jobs have gone to people without college education.

Fucking duped

That means all those honest, hard-working Blue Collar Trump Supporters have been fucked over by the very people they claim to support. The union system in America has been trumped by a euphemistic Right To Work campaign that says Unions Are Bad, Jobs Creators Are Good. At least the national elections in which Obama won and then retained the office of President prove America still has some common sense. But the Fuck Ups still know how to win local elections where rube anger is so easily leveraged into repeat terms for Congressman and Senators selling Pro-Life as the ticket to national office.

Here in America, we may yet see a Texit if the State of Texas gathers enough Fuck You votes to secede from the Union. At least America might be freed from the fascist control of public school textbook content if that were to happen.

But again, a Texit would be a fuck-up on the order of the original Civil War, in which a small slice of controlling slaveowners convinced thousands of Confederate loyalists to go fight and die so that white people could continue to own and torture black people for profit and entertainment.

Sophisticated Fuck Ups

The people who support Donald Trump are following the same sort of instincts. Just as slaveowners were calculating fuck-ups with enough sophistication to rig the system to their own favor, and damn the consequences of human rights and equality, so has Trump played American Fuck-Ups for all they’re worth in running away with the Republican ticket.

dick-cheneyRemember that Trump comes on the heels of the biggest Fuck Up and Fuck You administration in American history. George W. Bush was a primo fuck up. He let 9/11 happen on his watch and then let psychopaths like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the like loose on the world. The Bush administration sold fear like it was bitter candy, convincing gullible Americans through lies and manipulation that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And what was the Bush advice when America was shocked by the 9/11 attack? “Go out and shop.” That’s what he said.

It was all an ugly breach of public trust followed by one horrific fuck-up after the other. The Hurricane Katrina debacle and the Bush indifference to people’s suffering perfectly symbolized what would later happen to the American economy under his watch. Fuck Ups like that always lead to Fuck Yous from their authoritarian authors.

Petulant ignorance

The petulant ignorance shown by American “conservatives” in support of Bush and his torturous presidency amounted to a fuck-up of massive proportions. Yet even with the catholic brand of support for Bush and his evil bishops, there has never been much will to confess to the crimes and abuses perpetrated on the American people. Instead, we’re all told by conservatives to Look Forward rather than look back at the recent fuck ups of the past. Bush and Cheney were the dual kings of Fuck You, claiming rights to the Unitary Executive, with Bush proudly stating that his job would be “easier if I were a dictator.” They should have been tried for war crimes but Obama in a show of good will refused to pursue those actions. It would have been good for America in the long run to demonstrate how evil and corrupt those criminals really were (are) but to Obama’s credit he truly did Look Forward and has done a stellar job of leading the country despite resistance from the pack of racist fuck-ups who insist their ways are better.

And that brand of tripe is now in full evidence in support for Donald Trump.

Don’t you get it? Can’t you see the message Brexit is sending America? Don’t you understand that if you support Donald Trump, whether he is genuinely a serious candidate or simply a man thriving on a massive media campaign whose theme is Fuck You, this is not a good direction for America to travel?

If you can’t see that, then you really are a fuck up. And in that case we all have one thing to say: And that is Fuck You for being so goddamned stupid.