I recently saw a documentary from the 1970s about faith healers. It all came back to me.
The fabricated moral compasses. The desperate belief in a higher being. The conspiracy of the soul. The opportunistic taking and destruction of any semblance of faith from these downtrodden people. That’s when it hit me…there are no more downtrodden than the desperate. There are no more vulnerable than the weak. Money isn’t taken from the strong, well-adjusted among us, but from those who seek a higher truth, and end up with the highest form of lie. God.
The breadth of the deception cannot be overstated. The degree to which religious people are asked, to use a shop-worn phrase, <em>asked to drink the Kool-Aid</em>, is amazing in its arrogance. I saw a Facebook post from some woman who was discussing, quite mockingly, the premise of evolution. She ridiculed that the universe, according to her limited understanding started from nothing, then nothing exploded, then there were dinosaurs! This sounds very cute and snarky, until you realize that the philosophy which she herself is promoting suggests that there was nothing, then some spirit made a planet out of nothing, then he took some dirt and then there were people, animals and sunsets!
The premise that religion offers these poor people something akin to a purpose for their existence suggests that otherwise there would be none. And I suggest that there isn’t. How arrogant we must be to assume that there is some divine rationale for our existence, as compared to just our just being here due to a particular set of circumstances, no different than any of the other animals, birds or insects. How arrogant of those who claim that if there was no meaning to their lives, they wouldn’t want to live. If that’s the case, they are basically suggesting that they must, by necessity, fabricate some sort of life-meaning otherwise their lives will be unsustainable. (I don’t believe it, frankly. People wouldn’t start randomly killing themselves if they found that there was no God).
They think that, since religion assumes that we are the center of the universe and the only place upon which life exists, that all those planets and solar systems out there were apparently put there so that we’d have something to look at in the night sky, since the Bible does not specify any other reasons for their existence. God made an entire universe so that we’d have something to look at through telescopes.
The further premise that religion and morality are somehow co-inhabitors of our spirits, and that without one we would be devoid of the other is just preposterous. Some of the most hideously immoral people on the earth have claimed a religious cohort (Hitler wrote of “divine provenance”) and killed, raped and stole in the name of their particular brand of religious perversion. This is nothing new.
With apologies to Joseph Stalin, it is the crystal meth of the masses…
Webster’s defines Truism as a certain kind of truth—a cliché, a platitude, something so self-evident that it is hardly worth mentioning. One can use it to accuse another writer or speaker of saying something so obvious or evident and trite that pointing it out is pointless.
When someone says, “black lives matter”, s/he is not trying to suggest that black lives matter more than white lives. But that doesn’t stop many of the less educated, or less socially aware among us from feeling the need to respond with “all lives matter”, as if to come off as intelligent, inclusive and fair-minded. They, instead, come off as idiots.
That “black lives matter” has become a catch-phrase is indicative that many black people feel the need to remind the rest of us of the fact that they do. The nuance which flies at supersonic speed over the heads of the idiots to whom I referred above is the ironic sadness over the fact that they should have to. This is similar to when, in the 1960s civil rights demonstrations, black men would carry banners which read “I am a man”. They were not suggesting that white men weren’t, only that for some reason they felt it necessary to remind white people of this most fundamental of truisms. They weren’t saying that they were men to the exclusion of all others. They were saying that they were, also, men.
And that is what is meant by “black lives matter”. It is an attempt by black people to remind whites of something that is so basic, so accurate, that only an imbecile would need to be reminded of it-a Truism. They are not saying that black lives matter to the exclusion of all others. They are saying that black lives, also, matter. And that we apparently need to be reminded of it. It is a tacit, yet justified insult to the ability of whites to understand those who do not look like us.
When whites, in an attempt to pander to other whites, say things like “all lives matter” as a counterpoint, they shine a big, bright spotlight upon the fact that they miss the point entirely. Of course all lives matter. When one group feels the need to remind us that they, too, should be included in the “all”, it should suggest to thinking people that maybe, just maybe, they are not.
If you believe in God, St Peter, and heaven, you are going to have to answer this…
When you meet St Peter, do you think he will ask you about your life?
What will you say? Will you say that you protected yourself by keeping a bunch of guns in your house?
Will you say that you voted to keep poor people who needed a job to feed their families on the other side of a border in the desert?
Will you say that you taught your children to hate those who don’t worship like you, don’t speak like you, don’ t look like you?
Or are you just hoping that he won’t ask?
If Bernie is a shiny, elegantly appointed V12 Aston Martin sports sedan-dangerous but desirable,
And Donald Trump is a stretched Cadillac Escalade-gas-guzzling, bloated in size and covered in chrome,
And Ted Cruz is a jacked up 4×4 with a Confederate Flag attached to the back-red neck and trying to look tough,
Hillary is, apparently, a beige Toyota Camry-predictable, unexciting and just like everyone else on the highway.
Now, many of us prefer the comfort of the familiar, which is why there are about 1000 times more Toyota Camrys on the road than any of those other cars.
But it still makes me uncomfortable.
Some on the right, when confronted with the idiocy of many Repub presidential candidates, try to level the intellectual playing field by saying things like “there are crazies on both sides”. They are trying to elevate the right-wing’s particularly vitriolic radical dweezles to that of a thoughtful intellectual who just happens to have some unusual ideas.
There is no leftie counterweight to Donald Trump. Even Bernie Sanders, who has been referred to as “an old Bolshevik” has not said anything to counter-balance Donald Trumps comments about Mexicans and other immigrants. Even Bernie hasn’t made comments disparaging people like John McCain who allowed himself to be tortured rather than reveal information about US troop movements. For Bernie to be as radical as Trump he would have to be a full-blown Communist, which no one who actually thinks about these things would ever believe.
Why does this matter? Well, it wouldn’t save for one important fact. At least for now, a majority of Repubs think this guy would make a good President. He’s leading in the polls! Much like Herman Cain, the pizza guy, and Newt Gingrich led in the polls in 2012. Much like Sarah Palin was leading in the polls in 2008. Repubs are apparently willing, even temporarily, to place upon a political pedestal those who spew the most hatred with the least intelligence. And they do it often.
When a group of people, even for a short period of time, are willing to get behind this hateful braggart, this self-promoting bagpipe of a man, this man who thinks that refusing to back down from any comment, regardless how ridiculous makes him look decisive, then we must question the cognitive abilities of that group.
No folks, although some attitudes may be considered far-left or extremely liberal, nothing compares with the man who Repubs currently favor as their next President.
And that, my friends, says more about them than it does about him.
During my time in the landscaping industry, I came across many for whom golf was an important component of their leisure. Many people consider this sport to be one of high caliber, reserved for those who can afford leisure time during the week, or else are willing to get in line on weekends, depending on where you play. The cost of entry to this world can be quite high at times; in some cases, for private clubs, well into 6-figures.
Many, especially here in Florida, actually buy houses built on golf courses, so that they may play virtually every day, and socialize with others of their ilk. The wearing of pastels appears to be a prerequisite to this lifestyle, mainly because I can’t imagine any other reason to do so.
When I hear news of Donald Trump and his various success stories, I find that much of his legacy revolves around two things: buildings and golf courses. When I realized this the other day, it gave me some insight into this man and the things that appear to be important to him, and possibly others of his mentality.
Buildings, even those gaudy monuments to himself that Trump is known for, typically serve some kind of purpose. Housing, shops and offices tend to be useful to virtually everyone since everyone lives somewhere, shops somewhere and, hopefully, works somewhere. They displace natural environments in favor of glass and concrete, but presumably they serve some genuine purpose for society.
Golf courses, on the other hand, are for nothing but games. They serve no one other than those fortunate enough to become members. They tend, at least in Trump’s world, to be built on beautiful landscapes with ocean backdrops and gorgeous vistas, ensuring that no one other than members will be able to experience those backdrops and vistas again. Golf courses destroy the natural environment and replace them with conjured-up “natural” environments of high-maintenance grasses, artificial lakes, and only enough trees to make it look natural but not get in the way of long drives.
These outdoor adult playrooms denude the land, absorb billions of gallons of fresh, drinking quality water that is taken from farmers and reservoirs, and subsequently pour million of tons of phosphorus and nitrogen (from the fertilizers they use) into lakes and streams. All so that old white guys (and some women) can hit a little ball into a little hole.
Golf courses are functionally frivolous, serve little purpose to anyone other than wealthy white people, and destroy everything in their wake while doing so.
Are you surprised that Donald Trump builds so many?
This morning I saw an old, painted-with-a-spray-can pick-up truck drive by with a huge Confederate flag mounted in the back. It had oversized yet worn-out off-road tires and wheels, a flat-black finish and rusted dual exhaust pipes, one hanging slightly lower than the other. The shirtless driver looked about 30, with a ball cap, poorly maintained facial hair and less than a full complement of teeth. And he was smiling. It made me wonder what the attraction is to such a backward, offensive and insensitive display of disregard for the feelings of others.
Do these people, many of whom proudly describe themselves as “rednecks” really think that they’re making some kind of a point? Do they have such low aspirations that being considered uneducated, unsophisticated, racist and simple are attributes that they believe one should display proudly? Are they so bereft of cultural awareness, so in need of identifying with some group, any group, that they will seek that of the lowest-brow available to them?
The evidence suggests that the answer is, in fact, yes.