American Shithole #34 — Perhaps This Time We Shouldn’t Forgive?
By Eric Wilson
I’ve been thinking a great deal about faith lately. I don’t have many religious friends, and I lost a few more this week.
It was several decades before I truly understood the thought-dampening power of faith, and the seductive draw of the false promise all religions provide — that they spare humanity the existential fear associated with death and the unknown.
I’ve been frustrated with organized religion since a very young age, but I’ve always tried to maintain an uneasy truce with my secular friends; mostly by not shitting all over their laughably stupid ideas in mixed company.
The truce has ended.
Religion sells the lie that if you just have faith, it will put your fear in a neat little box for you. An enticing offer I imagine, for a young, frightened mind.
Unfortunately, only curiosity ends up in the box.
Informing religious people of this over the course of my life has resulted in zero hugs from the throngs of churchgoers I have encountered. Mostly, I don’t get invited back to Easter dinner. The facts remain:
There is no box for fear. You either face it, or it infects everything you are until you do.
I’ll give him this; Trump has done more for exposing the truth about the faithful in America than any other president in history.
Never before have we seen the naked hypocrisy of the Evangelicals on display as it is now. Why is there no low, no rock-bottom that Donald Trump can sink to, profane and depraved enough to separate Fundamentalist Christians from their unwavering support for a man who is demonstrably so morally and ethically bankrupt?
I understand you don’t want to experience the embarrassment of being horribly wrong, but it’s more than that for you, isn’t it? This is more than partisanship or tribalism for the Trump base. They are all in, because they’re convinced they have everything/nothing to lose.
As (thankfully) more and more traditional conservatives, moderate republicans, and independents are coming to understand, unless you are extremely wealthy, you have not benefited in any way from the Trump presidency. Even the billionaire class — the only beneficiaries of that enormous tax-break bestowed by Republicans — did not gain in some life-changing manner. They didn’t get a coat they needed to survive winter. They didn’t receive food for their hungry children. They didn’t get much-needed access to healthcare, or an opportunity to advance their education.
They got their eleventeeth fucking yacht.
That’s all this has ever been about — for centuries. The emotionless bean-counting from high atop Mt. Greed, at the expense of all else.
With millions of Trump supporters (that would apparently rather die than value fellow Americans as equals, refusing to champion affordable healthcare, adequate housing, education, etc.) still finding the anti-hero of their dreams in the insufferable primordial vanity of our chest-puffing cheeto-in-chief, will there ever be an end to what fuels Nationalism and Evangelical dogma in America?
What a wretched thing, the Trumpian mind. What a miserable beast. For fear of even a moment of self-reflection, they would rather instead let a narcissistic sociopath run roughshod over the constitution, leaving nothing but a wake of destruction in his path.
So, it is my opinion that if you voted republican in 2018, it demonstrates that you don’t believe Donald Trump has done anything requiring a check or balance from one of the other two branches of government — which means to me, you are at the very least, a fascist enabler and a dangerous simpleton.
There is a part of me that wants your vote to count in a way you never imagined. I want your vote for fascism to matter. I want a fiscal rebuke of the millions of miserable idiots handing this one-man societal wrecking-ball a blank fucking check.
Here’s my argument:
Someone else you know and actually like that is undoubtedly suffering from one or more of the countless atrocities committed by this administration, either does what their Trumpian counterparts do, or buys or sells some version of it. Let’s make our evaporating value in this corrupt economic system count for as much as we can. If pro-Trump conservatives are so sure our democracy is safe in the hands of this known charlatan and admitted serial liar, they shouldn’t mind losing support for their businesses because of it.
Let’s see how fucking committed they are to Making America Great Again, when everyone other than their fellow screaming Trumpian lunatics refuses to buy what they sell, or support whatever it is they do for a living.
I would say that many republican voters would have a change of heart before the 2020 election, if their livelihoods were in doubt.
Then I realized, like many progressives, that I just don’t want to make people suffer — but what if that is the only way they will ever change? Every time in America that the Republicans are in office, the bottom 90% gets fleeced, and everything goes to shit. Every fucking time since Reagan, and exponentially worse each time. Then Democrats come in, we do our best to clean it up, and we always forgive the morons that can’t stop voting against their own fiscal interests.
Perhaps this time we shouldn’t forgive?
I was so mad at a now ex-friend for still voting republican, that I lashed out online and cut all ties with him and his family. A not uncommon event across America, I imagine. It pains me that their fear is something that they are, in the end, incapable of overcoming.
I am so angry, and I feel that anger changing me; I hope the change is temporary, but I suspect (as I wisely instructed myself from the future) that it is not. This anger regarding American fascism and the greed of the billionaire class has weighed heavily on me these past two years. I am changed, likely for the worse. We all are.
As I was working through these things this week, my thoughts drifted to another childhood friend, whom I have not seen since high school, but have rekindled some level of social media contact with over the last decade. I know he’s probably not the progressive I am; he is a Marine, a veteran, and an LA cop. If I find he voted republican this year, do I cut ties there as well?
I believe service to country at that level affords the right to be terribly wrong politically, without penalty — but does it though?
How can I hold one friend accountable for their shitty actions, and not another?
I have tried to be forgiving. I can forgive a Trump vote in 2016 (it took me a few years, but I worked out the reasoning along the way) — but to have witnessed what we have all bore witness to, with our own eyes and ears, the horror of this presidency and this administration, the spiteful cruelty on a near daily basis for two, fucking, years?
And then this past Tuesday to still cast your vote for republicans in Congress?
We all decide what we can forgive, and what we cannot. Former first lady Michelle Obama confessed she will never be able to forgive Donald Trump for putting her family in danger with his reckless, despicable rhetoric.
For me, the line was the 2018 midterm elections. In a sane country, we never would have let it get this far. The midterms should have ended the political careers of every single republican running for office.
It wasn’t Russia. It wasn’t Facebook. It was the immovable block of terrified stupidity, the Trump base, that has allowed this horrifying charade to continue.
Your failure to protect America cannot be forgiven. At least, not by me.