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Letters from Downunder

The new religion

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to ignorance the nature of the unknowable Ambrose Bierce, the Devil’s dictionary

(4/2017) President Trump was elected for a reason that has never been stated or understood. No matter his lies, absurd statements, off the cuff pronouncements and communication by twitter, he did what no other person could: he restored a sense of purpose to the lives of those who had lost it.

When it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, and you stay stymied, put down, ignored, and treated like second class citizens, as well as being made to exist on part time and demeaning work and ridiculed by those in power, you will respond to anyone who promises to hope and restore purpose to your life.

Whether it was intended or not, his slogan of making America Great Again buried itself in the psyche of middle America where it grew wings and took off into an Alice-in-Wonderland world where strange things are normal, trips down rabbit holes, mad hatter’s tea parties and white rabbits are typical. Where the world is a fantasy - but so real. Where you are not in control, but you instinctively know that nothing really bad happens – even when your body seems to lose shape you somehow know it will come out right in the end. You will wake up in the shade, the story on your lap, find the world is as it was in the good old days, and go out to play.

By embracing such a story you will follow its author to the ends of the earth even when the wicked red queens and their media fools are attacking you and calling you the same old names . It doesn’t matter what your new hero says, because trust has nothing to do with right or wrong, truth or falsehood, morality or immorality; where he attacks your enemies, waves the banner of a righteous future, and marches over John Brown’s body. That’s all part of the saviour’s message.

He can do no wrong . You may not like everything he says, but it’s only part of this strange new wonder land. Like Dorothy you will return to Kansas safe and sound, with new found purpose - one that will carry you and your descendents into a safe and secure future. You do not know how it will be done and you do not care, but like the Wizard of Oz some levers will be pulled and presto! It will be back to normal.

If you have doubts about it, if those negative screams from the north cause you to pause, all you need do is close your eyes and wish upon a star, because whatever transpires, it could not be worse than it was before he came along.

And this is the strength President Trump runs on. It is doubtful that he ever intended it or thought of it this way, but he has well honed instincts and like all good showmen knew a brilliant slogan when he heard one. He never dreamt of being a ‘good’ president, a statesman, a world leader, except that his skills, having been honed in pop-drama bathed in snake oil, were able to confound the elite and soothsayers. And they are still on a leaky boat in the middle of a stormy ocean. All manner of schemes are discussed, all known plans dissected, but being unable – and unwilling – to be in this new pseudo reality they are unable to comprehend the power he has.

They see it as a fantasy land, yes indeed, but being cold hard pragmatists with degrees in everything they cannot get a handle on it. That they helped create the twister that blew so many away cannot be comprehended. The good old Queen of the east had proved herself; democratic capitalism was the power of their liner sailing the oceans of the world, and it would never sink. They never saw that it was sinking practically everything else around it, and are still reeling in this impossible new situation.

The thing is, the supporters of President Trump are paying homage to their new Messiah. That’s the role of Messiahs – to give purpose to life, to allow a glimpse of heaven to come into being, to inspire faith in followers, and to tell wonderful stories of resurrection. To condemn heretics, to show them that the old established religions have failed, are repressive and up to their ears in graft and corruption.

When that happens their Messiah can do no wrong. He shows it by his oratory, his ability to convince them he can perform miracles, hold up the vision of a future heaven, and that they must therefore kneel before him to honour him. That is his due. They become his disciples, spreading the word, being martyrs if need be, and willing to die in the cause.

The establishment has no answer. They may impeach and put him on a cross, causing the spread of his religion to increase, or try to reinvent themselves with grander structures and tweaked messages – but they will not suppress his appeal. Not immediately, anyway; and because we live in today’s frenetic world, time is something no one has. Yes, the Messiah will ignore the barbarians at the gate, the heathens sharpening spears, the traders stealing their money, but neither he or his followers care. Their purpose, their destiny is not today, but tomorrow when the apocalypse descends.

Then they will die happy, sure of resurrection in a remade America. Any sacrifice would have been worth it, because their purpose has been vindicated. That old time religion was no use to them. It landed them of the rust heap, and this new meld of secular noncomformism is their promised land.

I do not know what happened to the old religions in Jesus’ time, but his message is still alive and well today. That President Trump’s will not be doesn’t matter. Apocalypse of a different kind is edging on stage, and will drown us all in its rising tides. In the meantime, here’s to illusion.

Lindsay the unbeliever,

Melbourne Australia

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker