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On the Edge


I had a dream the other night where I had taken a corner too fast on a sharp curve and went over the edge, trying to steer down a cliff-like drop.  It reminds me of our country lately, especially my part in this.

(Sorry, readers, this post appears to be current when in fact it appeared in 2016. Blue Host (publisher of my web site) attached the current date to it, and I don’t know how to fix that.)

The half-way decent Republican we could have had as president died last week.  I liked John McCain for his ability to say the unpopular thing – because it came out of his integrity.  That he once bore the agony of imprisonment with dignity impressed me; that he had run some twenty sorties, dropping bombs on those hapless Vietnamese didn’t.  Not all soldering is noble.  But I grant him credit; he did what he thought was patriotic then and since. 

McCain couldn’t secure the Republican nomination because right-wing Republicans left us with George Bush instead.  That such right-wingers pushed their angry way into the voting in Florida in 2000 and then the Tea Party and then the Trump phenomena distress me.  The main threat to America isn’t the Taliban, it’s those here who come from much the same mindset, imposing their harsh, presumptuous “morality” on whoever they can.  The assassination of JFK, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma, the mayhem and murder in Charlottesville, the rampant hateful lies (also aided by Russian bots) in our last election – all these are of the kinds of persons who can’t stand an inclusive, just democracy.

Donald trump’s base would let him drive us off a cliff into a hateful divisiveness (that only the NRA would cheer and profit from), a renewed civil war.  He and his Republican enablers are out to attack and ruin our government.  He is an iconoclast, only the icons he’s smashing are our cherished and long-sought mechanisms of civility, inclusion, and justice.  Trouncing the government fits a shallow, cynical attitude – that Hillary was “crooked,” that “regulations”(never detailed) are what impede us, that intelligent news is “fake.”  Somehow, we’ve been duped into electing a party whose slogan was “government is bad for us.”  With them, it is, only more so!  

McCain said, “I won’t take the lowest road to the highest office.”  Instead, now the highest office takes the lowest road.  McCain had overestimated the American character, at least the 1/4th or 1/3rd of it who perhaps wouldn’t object if he shot someone on 5th Avenue. 

Trump has praised Philippine president Dutarte for his handling of their drug problem: murder 9,000 in the streets while bragging he’d like to feed 100,000 to the sharks.  When white nationalists put on a bully show (titled “Prayer and Patriotism,” which is why I am wary of both) in Charlottesville and one of them deliberately ramed the crowd with his car, killing a woman, Trump used false equivalency to say there were bad people on both sides.  Similarly, he recently dismissed our bombs being dropped by our ally and customer, the Saudis, on a school bus of children in poor Yemen, saying all sides are involved.

America is perched on the edge of a slippery cliff, capable of falling into world-wide wars abroad and a renewed civil war at home while hurriedly pumping out the known causes of planetary global warming (among other long-lasting toxic tragedies for our children’s children).

Yet, irony of ironies, evangelical Christians bless him.  How spiritually lost and misdirected are we that his wicked ways are forgiven and encouraged?  I don’t mean his philandering with porn stars, but I do mean his lying about it (among hundreds of other blatant lies).  He ridicules science while undermining it, replacing capable people with sleazy shills from selfish, amoral corporations.  He undermines our free press if it reports on what he does, claiming they’re fakes, snickering at the mounting murders of reporters worldwide.  He divides Congress, never once consulting or respecting half of our representatives or the citizens they were elected to represent, and he threatens violence if any dare bring him to law.  

Yet the falling dream was mine.  Perhaps it is me who is in danger of sliding into oblivion.  I certainly have ample frustration with myself for seeing these social and spiritual problems and not succeeding in adequately addressing them.  I read Thomas Paine on the humanistic sense of our democracy seizing our own rule from the popes and kings and aristocracy that would usurp it, but what am I doing to help revive that?  I yearn for a community of support and access to a pulpit to speak some kindness and intelligence to our country and world.  I have a useful rubric to do that, but I am perched in my life on the edge of obscurity while a white devil leads us over a cliff. 

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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