Editor’s Note: I guess I’m just fascinated by how fast the conservatives around me have gone from right-wing fanatics to fascist nutjobs since the 2016 election. There are people whose opinion I once respected who now refuse to ever say anything negative about our current president, and are willing to sound incredibly foolish (and, at time, even amoral) defending every single thing this pig of a politician does. I don’t normally quote the New Testament, but the line that keeps coming to mind from my long ago Baptist Sunday School days is Jesus’s comment (picked up by Tom Wolfe in “Bonfire of the Vanities”) ... “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul.” I’m pretty sure that, if there are souls, and conservatives ever had them, they have now cashed them in in exchange for tax cuts for millionaires and right-wing judges. This time, at least someone had the good taste and patriotism to write to the newspaper in support of my position.
In the Year of Our Lord
Even a cursory reading of the U.S.
Constitution reveals that the words “God,” “Bible,” “Jesus,”
“Jehovah,” “Abraham,” “Moses,” “Christ” or “Creator” never
appear. Like the specious notion that the framers were Christian conservatives,
evangelicals’ oft-repeated claim that American democracy is founded on a
Judeo-Christian framework is fiction.
There is one small exception, however. In
Article VII, the date is specified as being “in the Year of our Lord,”
although this is more pragmatic than sectarian. It denotes the Founders’ use
of the Gregorian calendar, established in 1582, which employs B.C. (before
Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini) to represent the years before and after a point
in time designated “Year Zero.” (The 13 colonies adopted the Gregorian
calendar in 1752, and the last European countries to do so were Greece in 1923
and Turkey in 1926.)
Cultures celebrate milestones they believe
embody momentous change. Based on a mythological date of creation calculated
from the Book of Genesis, Judaism identifies 2019 as 5779.
Muslims date Year One from Muhammad’s 622 A.D. Hejira (flight) from Mecca to
Medina, and, in the Islamic calendar, 2019 is 1440. In America, we pretend to
separate church and state, so maybe it’s time we revisited B.C. and A.D.
Based on the tragedy of November 2016, one could make the case that the seminal event in American history this century has been the election of our current president. Hence, I don’t think the Trump cultists now running the country would object to abetting the president’s narcissism by establishing a Making America White Again (MAWA) calendar that redefines B.C. as “before collusion” and A.D. as “anno The Donald.”
As B.C. was drawing to a close, an unholy trinity of Republicans, evangelicals and conservatives was striving to mold America in their image. By 3 A.D. (2019), they were unified under the rubric of Trumpism, and have made the country almost unrecognizable. For example, the president now discounts military intelligence from our allies and even our own security apparatus, such as the CIA or FBI. Instead, we’re urged to put our faith in murderous despots, such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and the Saudi crown prince.
Throughout America’s B.C. history,
we’ve pretended that, because we like to call ourselves “a nation of
immigrants,” we welcome immigration. But the history books make it obvious
that those already here seldom approved of the next batch of settlers, be they
the Chinese, who built the transcontinental railroad, or the Irish, who served
as Civil War cannon fodder. The only foreign imports we’ve ever really valued
were the African slaves, who came unwillingly as cargo.
During World War II, our racism was extended to interning Japanese-American citizens in concentration camps, while letting Germans and Italians live free. A.D., our president calls Hispanics “rapists” and “murderers,” cages their toddlers, and claims native-born Americans of Mexican ancestry are unfit to be judges. Leaving no doubt about their bigotry, white supremacists at Trump’s hate-mongering rallies, whom he calls “patriots,” are incited to scream about sending brown Americans back where they came from — even women elected to Congress who were born here.
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