Donald J. Trump has been president for less than two weeks as I write this and already the protests are growing larger and louder. Trump made it perfectly clear during his campaign that he was a woman-hating religious bigot who valued people by their ability to contribute to the GDP. He made it clear that his views are as racist as anyone who has ever risen to power in this country. And he also made it clear that he is a no nonsense law and order type, his laws, his orders. There can be no surprises at this point in the Trump presidency. He is as president what we all knew he was before he lost the popular vote but still managed to win the office.
What we need to realize, before we completely sink into the abyss of totalitarianism in this ever darkening nightmare, is that the battle isn't about one man. He is all of the things we knew he was. He is deplorable, heinous and obsessed with power. He doesn't care about anyone who can't or won't further his agenda, which clearly has personal strings attached. But this battle isn't about him.
This is a battle of world views. It is a battle for our tiny piece of humanity's soul. Trump isn't the wizard or Grand Master of conservatism. He is an outlier. He is their blunt-edged tool who can do their bidding while at any time they can raise both hands and say, "not really our guy," especially if things go sideways. All the while, of course, he is their wet dream of a leader—stern, divisive and happy to punish anyone who gets out of line or in the way. He is their chance to pound progressive policies into oblivion and nullify them for decades to come.
What we can't allow to happen is for Trump to become the poster child for all that is going wrong, or all that will go wrong. This is a battle that began decades ago. It is a long game that has been played out over many years here in the United States and several times elsewhere throughout the course of human history. We are simply the latest playing field for that game.
The American conservative rising began in the late '70s and early '80s with the formation of the Moral Majority. The Moral Majority opposed equal rights, believed homosexuality should be punished, attempted over and over again to ban abortion—even in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman's life. And, in spite of the fact that these same people like to wave the constitution whenever possible, they don't believe in the separation of church and state (they've lobbied hard for years to have Christian prayers in school). The Moral Majority dissolved in 1989 but their influence was ingrained in our culture. As their captain, Jerry Falwell, said, "Our goal has been achieved…The religious right is solidly in place and … religious conservatives in America are now in for the duration."
As Americans we are woefully educated in world history. If we weren't we would all understand a few very real facts regarding religious rule. It always includes massive amounts of discrimination (against any other religion, against women and any group outside the accepted norm) and massive divides between the wealthy and everyone else. All religious based societies have also included massive numbers of poor. History is clear on this. It happens every time. No civilization that is ruled by religion has ever existed that didn’t have each of those faults. God has proven to be a piss-poor governor.
The Republican Party is the Moral Majority and they are beholden to that section of our population, nearly half of us want that crappy governor because we believe we will be on the right side of things and come out for the better. And if things aren’t so wonderful? Well, at least we will know there are others suffering more than we are.
So we can't just focus on Trump. Making him the fall guy and allowing them to wipe their hands clean of him when he finally goes too far only prolongs the battle. Besides, the guy behind Trump, he's nearly as bad on most things and worse on others. We need change, certainly. But we need to understand what that change looks like. Our world view—of equality, fairness, openness—has to extend farther than the White House and the man residing in it. Otherwise, nothing really changes.
The real source of power is in Congress, in the House and the Senate. Taking back the country, making America great again—it all starts there.
Religion is supposed to be a private thing. It doesn't belong in the legal ledgers of a democracy, except that people be aloud to worship freely of whatever god they choose. Through our bowing down to the religious right for decades we have invited all sorts of hell into the core of our democracy. We’ve allowed it to become warped and we’ve allowed the religious zealots to shift our perspective.
And in Trump they’ve found the perfect guy—the hero to rectify the progressive ills they have been forced to suffer. Or the perfect foil if we reject him and they are able to keep their hands clean of him. We can’t let that happen. They have to own Trump and everything he does, says and becomes. They need to be dirtied by him. We have to remember this isn’t just about the president. This, as I said before, is about our tiny piece of humanity’s soul.
in category Life