8/07/2017

When Nothing Means Anything

It struck me, last night about 3AM, that the Age of Trump has proved something many of us hoped wasn’t true: that nothing means anything. Religion, decency, justice, honesty, fairness, truth, reason, and many of the institutions and people who represent those institutions have all been shown to be hollow and insignificant, thanks to the election and support of Donald Trump. There are all kinds of ways to take this sea change: ranging from fighting to restore America’s values to assuming that is a lost cause and going full nihilist. At 70, the fight is pretty much out of me, but I have to hope younger, better people decide there is some point in restoring moral values to our government and country. Otherwise, the American experiment is finished and it was a failure. Best case, the country collapses into disarray and becomes irrelevant. Worst case, we destroy life on this planet in an effort to prove one of the many insane religious scenarios that pollute our national discourse.

Trump’s assault on decency began the moment he entered public life, back in the 70’s. The Republican campaign against all of the values that Trump’s existence opposes has been going on a lot longer than my 70 years. Since the moment Teddy Roosevelt left office, Republicans have been scraping the bottom of the ruling class barrel for candidates and talking heads to lead their class war against working people and the poor. Starting with Taft and accelerating that movement with Reagan, Republicans have lowered the bar for what passes as “leadership” to the point where we now suffer Donald Trump. Personally, I don’t see much improvement in our future, but I tend to see the glass as half or completely full of sewage.

Religion, in America, has taken a radical turn to the right, which is not only traditional for religion (redundant, I know) but reason to doubt the sanity of anyone who still calls themselves a “Christian.” The difference between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity is the carpenter-turn-minister character: Jesus. Without Jesus, fundamental Christians are just Jews who hate Jews; unless the Jews are at war with the Muslims. Without Jesus, there is no charity, no humility, no generosity, and plenty of tolerance for hate, war, greed, and prejudice. Without the moderating words attributed to Jesus, Christians are unbounded by any rules other than to pretend to believe in their gods. A rational look at the lifestyles of the evangelicals and televangelists would convince any sentient person that the purpose of religion is to make a very small number of hyper-corrupt people very, very rich. Those people, not surprisingly, are totally behind Donald Trump and his obscene administration. The only interest they have in government is protecting their tax-exemption and Donald has no intention of betraying their trust; unless they actually begin to act like Christians. Not likely, though. Is it?

The country’s frayed and decaying justice system is taking a beating these days, too. Trump is praising cops who violate laws and act like the Gestapo he desperately needs to “reform” this country into the fascist model he imagines will make him fearless leader. Trump and the Republican congress are appointing judges who will set back civil rights, election integrity, and Sessions is reversing every half-progressive order Obama’s Justice Department issued.

There should be some kind of freedom in knowing that nothing matters. It doesn’t feel free, though. It feels lawless, dangerous, and unpredictable.

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