Saturday, September 17, 2016

Only Trump Can Prevent Forest Fires

How does an Orange Slug make a run for the White House?

Why are millions of Americans willing to ignore his business incompetence, endless deceit, misogyny, racism, selfishness, unkindness, and cruelty?

Answers are not forthcoming.

It's fear, sure... but of what?

Perhaps an explanation might be found in a closer look at one of Trump's largest support-groups: the sell-our-souls-for-a-cup-of-power Evangelical Christians.


Before I go on, I should point out that there are many evangelical Christians who are indeed against the Orange Slug. People who are sickened by the slide-to-the-insanity of what has traditionally been "their" political party, and who are not going to go down without a seriously-earnest facebook campaign to the contrary. If that's you, or if you are one of those evangelical Christians who see Trump for the gelatinous blob of icky opinions that he is but somehow (amazingly, astoundingly) believe that your best option is to hold your nose and vote for a pathological liar and tyrant-in-the-making in the belief that he will keep his promise and legislate morality in your direction... well, then I'm not talking about you, either.

I am speaking, rather, about the ding-a-lings running around with a Bible in one hand and a plasticated icon of the Orange Slug in another, flipping the bird at anyone who dares deny his clearly divine awesomeness. 

They are apparently a rather large group of voters.

Although I'm tempted to fixate on the fact that their rabid desire for a Political Messiah clearly indicates a lack of faith in the Empire-defying Messiah their belief structure is ostensibly named after, I want to focus instead on where I think their seemingly endless fear-of-the-Other comes from. 

What leads masses of people to believe in imaginary bugaboos? Not fear itself, I think. Fear is just a symptom of the real disease, which is...

Shame. 

Here's where I flip my argument on its head and say that I think the deep-down reason that the evangelical Christian masses are voting for Trump is because of something good that's inside of them, trying desperately to break out. 

C'mon... the similarities are striking.
These folks aren't fear-driven monsters, or lunatics, or sociopaths—at least, not much more than any other general demographic. 

I think, rather, that their long history of being steeped in the language and stories of Jesus is testifying to them on the level of their guts that there is something really, really rotten in the state of, well, these United States. 

I think that on a subconscious level they are bothered by the way the planet is being violated on a second-by-second basis for their convenience, ease, and entertainment. I think the poisoning of our waterways and the violation of the good earth really, really bothers them... all evidence to the contrary. I think they are troubled by the fact of their immense wealth, weighed against the poverty that has been shipped overseas to make it possible. I think they are disturbed by the facts of Empire: the misogyny, racism, selfishness, and above all violence that has been perpetrated in their names. 

We're all bothered by this, I think. 

Because as much as selfishness, greed, and violence exist within us, there is also SO MUCH GOOD. There is love, kindness, and the inescapable still, small Voice of the Divine whispering away at us, deep down inside.

How will we respond? 

Will we ignore that voice?
Will we shut our ears and eyes to the suffering around us? 
Will we buy more shiny plastic trinkets and entertainment-machines?
Will we run ever-more-desperately after stacks of green paper rectangles? 

Will we cast our lot with a man who tells us that the best way to avoid thinking about our shame is to cast stones: fast, furious, and indiscriminately elsewhere?

You don't need to feel ashamed, the Orange Slug assures us. 
You can feel righteously angry instead.

And so, crippled by the unbearable weight of a shame which no other politician is even trying to acknowledge, let alone address, we take the Easy Route that Does Not Work.

Away from kindness. 

Away from compassion.

Away from the amazing, upside-down love to which the words and life of Jesus so unfailingly pointed.

It's tragic, really—tragic, and understandable. Who likes discomfort, after all? Who likes facing the Heart of Darkness within themselves?

This is people. This is Trump Supporters and Hillary supporters and you and me and everybody. This is us, at our worst: so afraid to face our complicity in the pain of the world that we will believe anyone who'll present us with a scapegoat that isn't Us. 

The Orange Slug may be the worst, most public offender, but he's not the only one offering to help us hide our shame from ourselves. 

And we can do better.

We can own our actions.
We can face our complicity.
We can change. 

We can take the hard, lonely, slow-going path of love. 

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