October 6, 2019
It looks like I didn’t say enough prayers for Bernie’s health (as I mentioned in my September 22nd blog) because, as of today, Bernie is sidelined and off the campaign trail due to what has been reported as a possible blocked artery. I was afraid he would have a heart attack if he kept up the fierce tirade against economic unfairness in our society that he has shouted at every whistle-stop on his campaign circuit during the last two nomination contests. His blocked artery problem could be worse—or equal to—a heart attack. Bernie probably won’t (and shouldn’t, in my opinion—as often stated in my previous blogs) make it to the presidency but his oft expressed belief in the basic unfairness of our present economic system may have marked the turning point in what I hope will be our transition from an electorate and government adoring the evils of unbridled capitalism to an electorate and government having a reasonable concern for the social welfare of all our citizens. If so, he will deserve, at least, our thanks and appreciation—if not the Presidency.
And then, just to make the matter of prayer or faith as related to our political problems worse, I had an ‘ancient mariner’ experience at my gym this morning that really stopped me short. While passing the row of stationary bicycle machines, I was stopped to be introduced to an elderly, and very frail looking, gentlemen as a fellow ‘writer of books’. Being as polite as I knew I should be, I asked him, “What was the subject of your first book?” And he replied, “Faith in the Bible!” And then, almost without taking a breath, he continued, fixing me with his ‘ancient mariner’s eye and long grey beard’, “I’m a Baptist! Isn’t it a shame what they are doing to our fine President, Donald Trump?” Fortunately, I had been taught by a very special ‘best friend’ that, rather than giving an answer that is possibly going to offend the questioner, I should “just change the subject with a great deal of emotion”. So I said, “I’ll bet you a nickel I’m older than you.” He was only 84 but looked 94 and I am 85 but, being lucky and having good genes, am told that I look 75. I wished him ‘good luck with his writing’ and continued my workout.
I had another experience along the lines of faith, religion and politics, which I hope, when I relate it, you will accept it as explanatory rather than judgmental. This one happened at our bridge club during a duplicate session last spring. My partner and I were playing against a pair of elegant ladies when I accidentally dropped a few of my cards and, without thinking, criticized my ‘dropsy’ with a “D-m it”, rather than a “Darn it” or just a polite “Excuse me!” The lady sitting to my right gave me a brief but stern lecture on my use of an offensive (to her) term, equivalent, she said, to having taken the Lord’s name in vain. I thought she was a bit ‘over righteous’ so I asked her what church she attended. She replied with a name I recognized as one of the local, Christian, ‘Mega-Churches’ that teach religion as if the congregation was watching football games in a giant sports bar on Sunday morning. Then, just to confirm my suspicions, I apologized and asked her who she had voted for in the 2016 presidential election. She said proudly, “Donald Trump, of course!” A few Sundays later, I had the opportunity to ask the new Pastor of our very little, not-so-United-anymore, Methodist Church how a supposedly Christian woman who proudly claimed membership in one of the rich, power projecting, Christian Mega-Churches, could possibly endorse such a proven evil, totally corrupt, white supremacist, and proud of his admitted experience as a woman-groper, man named Donald Trump. He explained, rather painfully it seemed to me, (and, I am taking the liberty to summarize his explanation in my own words) that those churches are based on the belief that money is power and privilege and those who have it have been blessed by ‘god’ and should get to keep it.
I haven’t been able to understand, much less explain, how a country with a Constitution based on the moral principles of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas could elect a person so basically amoral as Donald Trump. Perhaps the little stories related above will help illustrate my dilemma? How could almost half of our electorate vote for him and, after watching his performance for almost three years, a smaller but still significant number, be supporting such person? I cannot find any other explanation as to how or why any truly ‘Christian’ person could vote for, or excuse the conduct of Donald Trump but, to re-phrase the words of an old Bob Dylan song, “The answer my friends, isn’t blowing in the wind, the answer is— we don’t have morals anymore!” Sorry friends, any person who claims that morality doesn’t have anything to do with our government hasn’t read our Constitution.
As further proof, I call as ‘Chief Witness’ to our lost morality, the Roman Catholic Curia and its’ endorsement of clerical pedophilia as just a to-be-excused bad habit of a few overly ‘child-loving’ priests, bishops and arch-bishops. As best I know, no popes have been accused, or convicted, of that deranged behavior, yet. However, a serious number of that rank have known, hidden, or ignored that activity by their underlings for decades, or, perhaps, centuries. In church and state, leadership has been failing and morality falling—for a very long time! That brings me around to the motto I’ve made up for the new currency which I expect the Trump administration to create: In Power and Privilege, Avarice and Greed, we believe! It will replace “In God We Trust!” on our currency. In reality, it now defines a great portion of our electorate and ————How else Trump?
Hubris says he didn’t vote so why not just quit complaining and go for a ride on the ditch-banks. So, with a hearty shout of Hi Ho Hubris, Aawaay! we are off to clear our heads in the high mountain, early Fall evening, cool, clear, air. Sorry, Sons of The Pioneers, I don’t drink water, I drink vodka and gin, over ice. Maybe they will come back someday and write a song about my favorite drink?
Copyright, October 6, 2019, Louis J. Christen