Category Politics/Culture

“Defending Democracy”: A Guest Post by Reverend Jim Burklo

The blog post below by my longtime friend and United Church of Christ Minister Jim Burklo so well encapsulates many of my concerns regarding the challenge to our Constitution and standing in the world posed by President Donald Trump that it felt redundant to fashion my own treatment of this same basic subject matter. Jim is the associate dean of religious life at the University of Southern California, the author of three books, a former church pastor, and prominent spokesperson for the movement known as “Progressive Christianity.” The only addition I will make to his essay below will be to add to the end of his quotes from President Trump a fourth one from the current (February 13 & 20) edition of The New Yorker magazine, which places in highly sobering context the seriousness of the concerns many millions of people across the country have after the troubling first three weeks of the new administration.

*...

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One More Thing I Was Wrong About: Bernie Would’ve Won

So yes, we wuz robbed:

Fidelity to an antiquated, fatally flawed electoral college system that violates every tenet of one-person, one-vote.

Active voter suppression efforts in key Southern states.

Russian hacking.

Fake news.

James Comey.

But we were also wrong.

So, so wrong.

***

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, a couple of friends and I engaged in a long-running email laughfest that treated him as the joke we thought he truly was. Surely, such an obviously uninformed, narcissistic buffoon and royalist billionaire had zero chance of becoming president, but we would at least enjoy the comic value of his candidacy while it lasted.

So, so wrong.

On the other side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders rode some of the same heat of anti-establishment rhetoric as did Trump, but with the key difference that he was actually informed and articulate...

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President Trump and the Hard Rain That’s A-Gonna Fall

“I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
 I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
 I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests

“It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it...

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The Moral Imperative of Hope

So the unthinkable happened. A shallow, venal, vindictive, mendacious, unprincipled demagogue has won the presidency of the United States, and many of us are disheartened and crushed and fearful and angry and just aching to emote.

So we do, and it is good and necessary. We howl to the heavens to release our outrage and frustration. Our sadness for those most vulnerable to the fiscal machinations that lie ahead—the poor, the elderly and infirm, and even the untold numbers of ‘Regular Joe” working class types who will see tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals but likely precious little flowing into anything that will benefit them.

(This will be but one of Trump’s betrayals of the working class voters who made him president...

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I’m Voting for Our Common Humanity

A thought experiment: What if the current presidential election pitted Tim Kaine against Mike Pence? What would be the tone of argument, attack and vituperation between two, by most all accounts, decent middle-aged men who exhibit next to no bombast and would appear to harbor precious few skeletons, legal or otherwise, in their respective closets? Might the entire campaign have been conducted with at least a modicum of respect and focus on the issues of the day rather than the character flaws of the combatants, er, candidates?

What if Kaine and Pence weren’t relegated mostly to defending the figures at the top of their tickets while savagely attacking the other’s, but instead would have been free to wax presidential about their plans for the country?

Or would it have been only a matter of time, in this riven age, before these two decent men were reduced and dragged through the same foul vitriol that h...

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