In 1973, Cliff Robertson starred in an ABC Movie of the Week production of Edward Everett Hale’s story, “The Man Without a Country.” In it, an American officer is being court martialed for consorting with Aaron Burr. He wanted to make a point about the disunity of the new country and so blurted out, “Damn the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!” The judge took him at his word, and in a rather pissy move, sentenced Philip Nolan to spend the rest of his life sailing the seas on American warships without ever setting foot on or hearing any news about the U.S. again. It’s one of my favorite stories (and made for tv movies!). I have thought about it a lot over the last few weeks. I think–even though I get the point Nolan was making (kind of like Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s in 2007, see https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/DemocraticDebate/story?id=4443788&page=1), my wistful call would be, “Bless the United States! I sure would like to live in ‘United’ States again.”
I took a break from blogging regularly over the last four years to go to seminary. In fact, the election of 2016 was a big reason I decided to go to seminary. I had a low, sick feeling more and more people would be hurting, and I wanted to be able to offer spiritual care. If you want to say I had a call, that was it. And that was before Covid-19, kids in cages, Russia and Ukraine, Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, corporate deregulations, revocation of environmental protections, withdrawals from the Iran Deal and Paris Climate Agreement, Jeff Sessions, William Barr, Brett Kavanaugh, insurrection, embracing of dictators, Kenosha, Cruz & Hawley, QAnon, Seattle, Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, The Big Lie, The Year 2020–and more that I could name, like these, off the top of my head. And oh yeah, did I mention Covid-19?
It is not hard to see, as all major news outlets and commentators are reporting, how every day of the last four years led directly to here. Radical insurrectionists planned for months to descend upon Washington, D.C. to be directed by the President of the United States to storm the U.S. Capital while Congress was in session. The President and members of Congress–bolstered by Republican led state legislatures–actually expected and attempted to overturn legally certified (by Republican legislatures) election results. Both Democrat Congresspersons and Republicans who voted to approve the Electoral College results–including the Vice President of the United States–are afraid they will be hurt or killed. By their congressional colleagues and their supporters. Some members have been attacked in airports; others are switching up their daily routines to throw would be attackers off. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted on Instagram she was afraid her colleagues would help the insurrectionists kill her. Let that sink in. https://www.nbcnews.com/video/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-tells-instagram-i-thought-i-was-going-to-die-during-capitol-riot-99380293747
I am still trying to form coherent thoughts about our United States at the end of a four-year dumpster fire. I am trying to see, as I have begun to do since seminary, where God is in all of it. Here is a ramdom list of (what I think are) relevant thoughts on the country on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration. Really random.
- For about one day I was able to feel a lightness of spirit as Georgia, the state I live in now, replaced two Republican senators with two Democrats, one, the first Black Georgia Senator ever. That was on January 5.
- Black people and white people do not live in the same country. Where White people are angry, fearful, frustrated, and shocked at the events over the last four years, Black people are shaking their heads saying, “We tried to tell y’all.” This is how it feels. As activist Kimberly Jones said, “Be glad Black people aren’t seeking revenge” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=YPfeg6E52nA). To reiterate: Black people AREN’T seeking revenge.
- Related: White people, People of Color are going to outnumber us in a couple of decades–in our lifetime. Start living now like that is a fact.
- Related: If you are worried about a “way of life,” or “American values,” or “The American Way” going away, you are resisting the above fact.
- A Confederate flag was paraded through the United States Capital on January 6, 2020. Even Robert E. Lee was not able to do this.
- Related: A gallows with an expert looking noose was set up on Capital grounds on the same day.
- It is looking more and more like the insurrectionists were led on recon tours by Congresspersons and Congressional Staff.
- The President is not The Godfather. He cannot call up and strong arm Secretaries of State or State Legislators to find votes that simply were not there. Everybody knew, including him, that they were not there. He and the radicals just wished they were.
- Concealed Carry is not a good idea. I don’t see how anybody could say it was ever a good idea. People voted for it anyway. Same with Campus Carry. Nineteen year olds with weapons. Again, who thinks that is a good idea?
- Related: Nobody is coming for your (hunting, social, skeet, toy, cigarette lighter, BB) guns.
- The President is using Christians. Christians please realize this.
- Hillary Clinton’s statement about “The Deplorables,” taken out of context, helped lose her the election. Donald Trump looked at his supporters and called them low class. Please be insulted by that, too.
- I knew the day Tommy Tuberville announced he was running for U.S. Senate he would be elected by the good people of Alabama. Even Alabama Fans (Roll Tide!) voted for the former Auburn football coach.
- Coach Senator Tuberville stated the three Constitutionally established branches of government are the House, the Senate, and the Executive. They aren’t. (Legislative, Executive, Judicial). If there are tests to become teachers, lawyers, accountants, doctors, airplane pilots, and drivers, we might think about having one for members of Congress. It wouldn’t have to be that hard.
- Between Tuberville, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Jeff Sessions, Alabama has done enough for the country for awhile.
- There did not have to be 400,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S.
- Related: There are places in this country where if your last chance to live is in an ambulance. If you can’t be revived there, you die. ERs are full.
- Science and God are not at odds with one another. Science and religion are.
- “My individual rights and my Freedom of Religion” should not be used as excuses or weapons for not doing what you want. See above about Christians being used.
- Radical Far-Right Extremism is the biggest threat to this country right now. They were hiding and secretive about their destruction until Donald Trump validated their voice and they came out into the open.
- Far-Right Extremism is White Supremacy is Far-Right Extremism.
- Read the above again.
- Fear of liberals and Democrats and Republicans and progressives is irrational. Fear of extremists is not. Decent people can become radicalized to not see this.
- Related: I have written before that MAGA people are angry. Maybe not all of them are, but some are, and they are also strategic.
- Those Senators and Congressmen must really love their jobs (power, privilege, status) if they are willing to make excuses for Donald Trump and not get rid of him when they had the chance. I don’t know how it is a question as to whether to vote to ban him from running for office again.
- Related: If they don’t vote to ban Donald Trump for running for office again, NONE OF THEM will have a chance at a 2024 presidential run.
- Related: Donald Trump is far from finished in his influence over conservative Americans.
- It only took 4 years for near-total devastation of capitalist-based democracy to almost colapse on January 6. Some Republicans condescendingly said asked after the November election, “What can it hurt to humor the President for these last few weeks?” See January 6. Now you know.
That’s enough for now. I’ll be back with more. Looking over my list, I realize my hunch in 2016 was right. People are hurting–and are hurting each other. I believe that love is the answer. That we scoff at that thought as empty, powerless, and trite, is part of the problem. It says a lot about how so very necessary love is. More on this later.
Ok, how about now?