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.

In the B.C. period, presidents agitating for war (see the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Iraqi WMD hunt) cooperated with agencies of the “deep state.” In the A.D. era, our president has discredited their motives and methods, so his efforts to exacerbate a “wag the dog” conflict with Iran seem less than entirely believable. Such skepticism might be healthy, but it’s counterbalanced by the Dear Leader’s scorn for the First Amendment and his insistence that a free press is an “enemy of the people,” to be treated with the same disdain his obsequious, right-wing sycophants once pretended to feel for fascists, sociopathic liars, racists, misogynists, adulterers, and xenophobic bigots and bullies.

During the final eight years B.C., tea bagger conservatives at least pretended to care about the deficit (which actually decreased each year of the Obama administration). In 3 A.D., the GOP’s misnamed Freedom Caucus has become cheerleaders for the most profligate borrower and spender in presidential history. They’ve slavishly rubber-stamped budget-busting tax cuts and record-setting deficits that even George W. Bush and St. Ronald might have considered fiscally irresponsible.

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.

 

 

We also have mixed feelings about military service. Five times during the past 30 years B.C., presidential candidates who’ve never served have run against veterans. In each case, the former soldier lost. Draft avoider Bill Clinton beat World War II vets George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. Draft avoider George W. defeated Vietnam vet Al Gore and decorated war hero John Kerry, whose service the GOP slandered and libeled. And Barack Obama beat John McCain, whose courage and self-sacrifice in Vietnam would eventually be mocked by Trump, who smarmily opined, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Many baby boomers (myself included) did what we could to avoid Vietnam, but that should never have included disrespecting veterans and POWs. Sadly, Colonel Bone Spurs, our commander in chief, disagrees and continues to denigrate Sen. McCain. The Donald may be one of the few people ever to lose an argument with a dead person.

AD Republicans have covered up the name “McCain” on the stern of a Navy destroyer, so the president wouldn’t be offended. They’ve barred its sailors in “McCain” hats from a Trump rally, defended the mocking of Gold Star parents and smeared Marine hero Robert Mueller. The sort of decency that might have once prevented the taunting of POWs, vets, minorities and the handicapped has joined respect for subpoenas, the rule of law, the Constitution and the separation of powers on the dung heap of Trumpian conservatism.

Some on the Right now proudly wear tee-shirts that read, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” Personally, I’d prefer even a Republican to a fascist, but it’s getting harder to discern the difference. If the Trumpists win another election, it will be a distinction without a difference by A.D. 8.


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