Category: Creative Writing

Waking up in “Trump nation,” I feel Psalm 146ish

Do not trust in presidents and ideologies, traditions and institutions, creativity, ingenuity or good will. No human being or organization can truly liberate and heal. These cannot offer pardon and release, not really, and someday you may require forgiveness to carry on.

Establishments crumble and people pass away, and on that dying day every grandiose scheme is forgotten.

True privilege and fortune is being loved by God. He is your help and your hope. Learn to trust him – the God of your generation and mine.

With precision and unfathomable patience, God created the earth, the sky, the oceans, our solar system and galaxies of others. He remains faithful forever to everything and everyone he made.

No matter what religious people say, and how misguided their priorities, remember that God is on the side of the oppressed. God feeds the hungry. God provides amnesty for political prisoners. God’s justice is not the law of our land. God’s justice is merciful and his mercy is just. He lends a helping hand to those who are struggling. God reveals himself even to those who do not seek him. He appreciates those who try to do what is right, especially when their motive is to reflect God’s character and concerns.

God’s righteousness and justice are not self-centered, hypocritical, or capricious. God watches over the stranger, the alien, and the refugee. He supports and protects vulnerable people, the grieving, the homeless, the children.

God is certainly not on the side of corrupt and powerful, the malfeasant, the hateful, and the ruthless. In fact, God stands in their way. He frustrates their plans. God is not a tyrant. He is neither conqueror or terrorist. He is a liberator – one who rescues from danger, and makes all things new. He is the ice in the mountain crevice that will split the earth – and the human heart – to rescue his children from the consuming tumor and every invisible cancer.

So model yourself after God. Make room in your heart for both God and others. Do not succeed at your colleague’s expense; do not lie, do not cut corners. Rather, trust in the Lord. Care for others; avoid the temptation to gossip. Even if your destiny is to resist the monstrous evil of this world, you will not be defeated. He has better things in mind for you.

The Lord reigns forever. He is the rightful ruler and he is good. The Lord is my God and yours, the God of Every Generation.

Praise the Lord.

[Originally written on after Mel’s sermon on Ps. 146 on September 25 2016, Peace Hill Christian Fellowship.]

Eco on fascism sounds to me like Trump

The other day I used the word “fascist” and, midspeech, I confessed that did not know precisely what the word meant. Turing to Wikipedia’s definitions of fascism, most of my questions were not answered. However, I was struck by Wikipedia’s summary of Umberto Eco’s  Ur-Fascism [The New York Review of Books, 1995].  Eco’s “properties of fascist ideology” are easily mapped to the Trump candidacy and elements of his populist appeal. Heavily abridged from that Wikipedia entry, consider these five of Eco’s fourteen characteristics of fascism:

  • Fear of Difference: Fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate differences, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
  • Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class: Fascism fears economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
  • Obsession with Conspiracy: Fascism hypes enemy threat and fears of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society.
  • Concern over Elites: Fascism plays up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation.
  • Machismo: Fascism includes, among other attitutes toward sexuality, a disdain for women.
  • Newspeak: Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary that limits critical reasoning.

Admittedly, Bernie Sanders (my first choice) also appealed to a frustrated middle class. And I concede that my concern about the elite financial class (that influenced my support of Sanders) mirrors the concern that many Trump supporters express regarding the elite political class.  But I am troubled that the rally of the Trump phenomenon can be heard in Wikipedia’s account of Eco’s general properties of fascism.