At a time like this, approaching Christmas while facing an unexpected age of Trump, it’s natural to reflect again on the wonders of our land. Some call the USA a Christian country, but how is it possible for the Prince of Peace to blend so seamlessly with fascination for firearms? Some out there will be receiving a gun for Christmas with no sense of irony or embarrassment. And what magic could possibly be at work to spin the simple “live like lilies of the field” into consorting with billionaires? How does the world’s champion of the poor and weak inhabit the same mind as Ayn Rand? Surely there must be some jostling going on.
Or not, because those now taking power seem so sure of themselves, and blind to the inner dissonance, that they feel they’re the only real leaders of this country and anyone else who comes along is illegitimate. Well, I finally figured it out. They are actually right in one powerful way. The Republican party about to take power DOES represent the real America once you realize that its worldview of oddly clashing beliefs isn’t arbitrary but goes straight down to our roots.
The fact is, the centuries-old imprint of those brave, pious souls sailing from Europe bearing guns and Bibles to seek their fortunes has never wholly disappeared. What we are about to experience is a logical extension of this heritage we all share, a reincarnation for our time of historical America in all its self-righteous glory. Lovers of God, gold and guns, sure in their superiority, were the conquistadors of this land. Lovers of God, gold and guns, sure in their superiority, are who we now see ascendant in Washington.
The problem, of course, is that the extreme imbalances of these long-ago forebears are coming along for the ride. Maybe that will be our downfall; or maybe now is the time to face America’s soul disease once and for all and find some path toward healing. We know that colonists who called themselves Christian supported literal slavery and genocide; now we see the tendency blatantly rising again to push down and out people who have different racial and cultural characteristics. The colonists viewed the land as their playground for the making of fortunes; once again the cry of “freedom” is looking more and more like freedom to exploit every last bit of land and sea. The original settlers were oblivious to all the pain they caused, seeing Natives as mere savages and Blacks as fractions of a person; one gets the feeling that ugly excuses like these are not far below the surface. And “oblivious to pain” could be the Republicans’ tagline.
As the variegated majority in this country rises up now to deal with this retrograde steamroller, let’s consider gathering under the banner of one word: EVOLUTION. Let’s stand up for biological evolution first of all, for science and reason informing our choices. Let’s consider the real moral evolution of each of us as individuals, and of society as a whole. Let’s especially stand in defense of the monumentally hard-fought incremental evolution of the culture and Constitution of the United States over the last two and a half centuries. And let’s see if we can convince a few of the rightward leaning that far from being some ungodly fabrication, evolution as both physical and cultural reality is beautiful evidence of our Creator and has brought us all the gifts of this life including our spiritual nature.
This Christmas the babe in the manger may have a smile on his face. If so, it’s likely not because some billionaires and generals have gone to church; it’s because of the meek. When nine people praying are gunned down in South Carolina and their relatives’ first reaction is forgiveness… they have truly been listening. They have evolved from Old Testament to New. When others in North Dakota stand strong using prayer alone to protect their waters from a machine blindly grinding up our world… perhaps they are aligning themselves with nature’s Creator.