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by Sally Herrin
Abbie Hoffman once said of a certain adolescent holy man, Maharaja Ji, who enjoyed great popularity in the early Seventies, if the silly young man really WAS God, “he’s the God America deserves.”
I personally do not believe that the “So Called Ruler of the United States” (SCROTUS) could carry Barack Obama’s jock strap. But a quarter of eligible American voters disagreed with me and voted against our first black president retroactively. Gerrymandering is delivering on its long promise to destroy democracy as we have known it. So, SCROTUS it is.
What the rest of us did to deserve SCROTUS is not entirely clear, but it’s looking more and more as if the election of SCROTUS was the ‘Pearl Harbor of Cyber War I.’ If true, Russian cyber battalions (that many!) stole a march on the U.S. that makes 9/11 look like no big thing. And may God have mercy on us all.
Seriously, if God now has no mercy upon us, we are in for it. SCROTUS has torn down the doors of the hen house and the foxes are moving in. The list of haters in the Cabinet alone is breath-taking. NATO is very much at risk. Nothing that comes from the mouth of the administration can be believed on the face of it. Why is my government always lying to me? has never sounded more alarming.
But wait. We’ve seen this all before: this is the Face of Evil. FOE, let us call him. The Foe. Every comic book, every action movie, every science fiction novel you’ve ever read has prepared you for this moment. Christianity calls him Antichrist. Navaho calls him Skin Walker. This administration is actually and in fact Evil, in a scientifically-verifiable sense.
We know how Evil comes into the world. All you have to do is abuse a child, and the well of vulnerable children never runs dry. Not every abused child becomes a monster, and it is a testimony to love and human grit that many abused children go on to loving productive lives. The great psychologist Alice Miller spent a lifetime studying the phenomenon: children who survived abuse and thrived, Miller found, nearly always had a memory of one time at least that someone somewhere stood up for them.
But not every child has someone to stand up for him. We will never know what the child must have suffered who became America’s CEO, what terror exactly created the Foe. His madness is so large, this man, I think his childhood must have been unspeakable. That said, he is a sociopath who, through his brand and book and television show and campaign, groomed his supporters in the same way sexual predators groom their intended victims. He flattered them and said he was their friend; he painted a dangerous worldview and himself as a protector; he got up the nose of people they resented; and he scattered promises like penny candy.
The sociopath takes power by recognizing the Evil in others and gathering it together, until a government is built of Evil, as in Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union. Always at the top is a madman and a bully. The Foe fills the corridors of power with thugs. I am referring specifically to Paul Ryan, whose dark eyes glitter with happiness at tax breaks for billionaires and gutting of healthcare and education. Michael Flynn was a loose cannon hungry for a ground war in Iran. Jeff Sessions is Strom Thurmond on steroids. Steve Bannon is mastermind and Grover Norquist the patron saint who made the original sale of the Republican soul to the devil.
Pope Francis said just weeks ago that it is better to be an atheist than to be a Bad Christian. Clearly Il Papa has the Foe and the GOP in mind and is, I am sure, trying to alert His flock. The good news here is the pushback. The March on January 21 and the protests following the immigration travel ban, plus the galvanization of principled elements within the government including judiciary, intelligence and national security and the tsunami of citizen watchfulness and activism all bode well—as long as we hold strong. God helps those as helps themselves, remember.
Evil cannot be dealt with. It must be resisted in the clearest strongest possible terms. Ideally, as America’s CEO’s skull cracks open and the green goo seeps from his coiffure, Congress will step up to the plate and send our ‘made-in-the-USA dictator-wannabe’ into retirement at Mar-a-Lago. I greatly fear that isn’t going to happen, though, or not until a great deal of mischief has been done.
If the Foe is unseated in whatever way without a nuclear incident or martial law declared, much of the damage done by the feeding frenzy of the GOP can be (and in my opinion will be) undone at great bother and taxpayer expense, though this will take years. I believe the Union will weather the storm that is upon us, though cries for secession will rise like wind speeds here on the Great Plains as the earth warms.
Likewise the siren songs of promising Third Parties—clickbait to bleed away the support we must all bring to the only horse, so to speak, we have to ride in 2018: the Democratic Party. Sadly, Thomas Perez and Keith Ellison are old, like dirt and me. A young progressive leader is needed, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, but I guess no one can pronounce his name.
The job of Democrats between now and 2018 is to keep it simple, which is not to say ‘stupid.’ A lot of evidence of bad governance and failure to deliver by the GOP will be the obvious drum to beat. There is a great deal of power in what unites us: income inequality. The assault on the U.S. presidential election makes Putin’s Russia by no means the only party responsible, but it may have just tipped the balance: effectively a stealth Third Party, you could say.
Other inequalities and assaults matter enormously—especially climate change. But ONLY income inequality and the threat to democracy can unite the millions of American voters it’s going to take now to stop all the madness.