I remember the night John Lennon was murdered when I was eleven years old because it was the first time I saw my father cry. I didn’t quite get the gravity of his death until Kurt Cobain killed himself and then I had some inkling of what my parents went through in those strawberry fields forever.
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
My Uncle Glen made sure to point out that John was burning in hell because he was an atheist. Glen was a fundamentalist as were my grandparents who agreed with him. He must’ve thought he was at a revival because he told me all about how Led Zeppelin were ‘devil worshippers’ because if you played their records backwards, you could hear them calling to the great Satan hisself. They was sinners I mean to tell you! Hallelujah and amen.
Granny had this old old antique chair she got in Czechoslovakia when she came to Germany just after I was born for a visit. It was all carved intricately and it looked like something out of Versailles. Nobody ever sat in it except Glen who would pull it out and plop down because he couldn’t sit in a normal chair with armrests on it because he weighed better than 350 pounds. After he got done telling me about John Lennon burning in hell, he leaned back in Granny’s chair and you could see that look on his face when he heard the first crack. It was as if the chair exploded into about 12 pieces. Glen’s girth had murdered the fancy chair. Even Pop couldn’t think of how to glue it back into some recognizable form.
I had already been sick of Glen’s preaching for years because I had to constantly roll my eyes into the back of my head listening to his religious predilections. One Thanksgiving we stayed at Granny and Pop’s and we got snowed in something fierce. Glen had a 4WD van and delighted in going out in the snow. So he came over right when Pop put it on Inherit the Wind starring Spencer Tracy who was one of Pop’s favorite actors and he loved black and white movies.
If you haven’t seen it, make a point to because it is a great movie. In between commercials, Glen would take the opportunity to inform me that evolution was a Satanic belief. He was apparently an expert on the great Satan.
“How did we come from Monkeys?” he’d say.
So I tried to explain it to him having just had my Darwin education in high school. Of course, this had the same effect as pouring gasoline onto some gunpowder and striking a match. By this time I had spent 14 years of my life being reared by the two greatest International World Champions of arguing the world had ever known, my parents.
Of course trying to explain Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species to a man who had never read any book besides the bible was an exercise in futility because Glen is what we call down in the south, “plumb ignernt.” Then we got to the climax of the movie when Henry Drummond is yelling at Colonel Potter in one of the greatest speeches in cinema.
“Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind.
-Henry Drummond, a character in Inherit The Wind”
― Jerome Lawrence
“He’s the ignorant one cause he don’t know his bible.” said Glen laughing.
I still think about that scene in Inherit the Wind because Glen’s ignorance reminded me throughout my education that people in the south were more like him than like me. I felt a deep camaraderie with Spinoza, Newton, Fermat, Wittgenstein, Voltaire, Einstein, Boltzman, Wittgenstein, Turing, Michelangelo, Copernicus, Galileo, Gödel and many others who groaned in the chains of religious zealots because they dared to bring enlightenment and intelligence into a world full of Glens and were immediately scorned and ridiculed for it.
Yesterday, I was reading an article about a Texas representative named Ron Wright who said aloud what Christian domionists used to only say in private about what they think should happen to women who have abortions. Oh, and he said it on video.
It’s never been a secret to me anyway that religious zealots have been at full froth since the Supreme Court handed down the Roe vs. Wade decision. You can never reason with them because they truly believe they are serving god by opposing abortion and there is no greater zeal than people thinking they are acting on behalf of god no matter how wrong they are, they simply do not care. Facts, logic and basic human decency goes right out the window the moment “you start killing babies.”
Glen never knew about the two abortions my mother had as a teenager and neither did my Pop because ‘it would have broken their hearts.’ There’s where the disconnect always is because men never have to carry an unwanted pregnancy and they don’t have to rear the children. Don’t think they’re interested in adopting either because you can look up how many children age out of foster care in your area if you’re unsure.
But that never stops them from ever doing “god’s will” which today in the year 2019 means that they can and will punish any woman who dares to violate what they call ‘god’s law’ despite god never saying anything but life begins at first breath, allegedly.
The locus of abortion rights is all across the former confederate states of America which are run by Republicans who mean to start locking up women if they are raped and dare to get an abortion. They not only want to lock up women who need abortion services, they mean to subject them to a completely unnecessary pelvic exam in Missouri for the specific purpose of tormenting women as Rachel Maddow reported last night.
The author Margaret Atwood wrote the Handmaid’s Tale novel as a warning to women everywhere in this country about what could happen if these religious men were allowed to get the reins of government. Republicans took her warning as an instructional on how best to subjugate women and they have brought her dire warning into reality.
The party that always claims to be about freedom and personal responsibility do not want to afford either to women in this country. Thanks to their full out assault on the constitution and their hatred for democracy, they have stacked the Supreme Court with dominionists who in practice allow their religious beliefs to supersede their oaths of office to preserve and protect the constitution.
Though they will never announce it, Republicans are at war with the American way of life and everything that made this country great. They have joined in action and in deed a hostile foreign enemy in Russia and have done everything they possibly can to prevent any action that might stop another attack on our democracy. Mitch McConnell has no intention whatever of doing a damn thing to impede Russia’s influence on our elections because he is one of the beneficiaries of their gratuitous help.
When the House passed a bill to spend $250 million on election integrity, every single Republican in the house voted against it.
Women are going to die from these laws Republicans are so eager to pass and they have no reservations whatever about women dying as they cut off funding to prenatal care. What more must they do before we take to the streets? They’re not exactly hiding what they intend to do at all. Mitch McConnell has delivered over 100 open federal judgeships from the Federalist Society for Trump to nominate so he could approve them. When David Vitter informed Mitch McConnell that sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska was going to open an aluminum plant in Kentucky, he fast tracked his wife’s confirmation to the federal bench. She is a conspiracy theorist and outright lunatic.
Meanwhile, we have a serial felon in the White House now who is openly and brazenly committing crime in full view of the world because Republicans have completely abdicated their duty to oversee the executive branch while the people silently sit in absolute horror of how quickly our country has gotten to the point where a convicted child molester named George Nader can come in and out of the White House without so much as raising an eyebrow.
This is where we are right now in 2019 and you best start getting ready for war because that’s what has happened every single time in history when income inequality has gotten to the point that it is now. Mix that with the lawmakers no longer being subject to the rule of law and you have a recipe for revolution.
Resist with all you have.