Yesterday, December 24, 2016 I said good by to my mother. I was able to be alone with her one last time and thank her for my life, and her love, and her guidance. But, when I touched her beautiful cold skin for the last time, the overwhelming sadness I had somewhat successfully contained for the past month overwhelmed me. The grief burst from my chest and scraped my throat raw with its violence and intensity and I must admit that it has been hard to write, or even see through the blur of tears today.
My world had already changed in every sense of that over used expression. Now the woman that gave me life is gone. Of course just her death would have had a tremendous psychological and potentially symbolic significance. But, by chance, her death is now linked in my mind with the death of my country. Or, to be less mellow dramatic, her death is now linked with the death of many of my dreams and the trust I had for many of my friends and family.
Those dreams have been replaced by a dystopian nightmare; A bad 1984 or a rehashed Hunger Games, where every day and with every cabinet appointment it gets worse. For example, the state that I live is literally no longer considered a democracy , the president elect actually said he did not need intelligence briefings and denied that there was a Russian hack and dismissed the overwhelming proof presented by US intelligence reports and yesterday a family member jokingly asked what was wrong with Carl Paladino's comments about the Obamas.
I am not a granola eating "damn libral" communist chasing utopian fantasies. I am just an average guy trying to come to terms with what just happened. Our next president won the election on a coded promise to "Make America Great Again" and a promise that he alone could fix America's problems. He has insisted that we wait and trust him to do the right thing. Anyone that has questioned his intentions or methods has been been mocked repeatedly with 140 characters, or has been attacked by his supporters, or worse.
On this religious holiday it has finally sunk in. OUR PRESIDENT ELECT IS A TERRORIST and if you are a Christian, as are most of my neighbors and many of my friends and family, I NOW understand your acceptance of his vision for the future. I NOW understand why you really could not vote for Hillary Clinton.
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)
I NOW understand why you applauded the idea of building a wall and bombing the hell out of your enemies because;
“Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.” (Deuteronomy 13:8-9)
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and woman: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5-6)
“Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.” (Isaiah 13:15-16)
I NOW understand your uncomfortable tolerance of me and for those that wish for compassion and equality for all humans;
“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 13: 5)
I NOW understand why you have enabled and why you encouraged the terrorism of your enemies. It is because YOU ARE ANGRY or YOU ARE AFRAID.
I did not agree with my mother's politics, but she was the person that taught me to never follow the herd. She also never tried to tell me what I should believe. Instead, she encouraged me to question conformity. Throughout my young life, if I ever mentioned wanting to have something or said I wanted to do something because everybody else was doing that, she would reply, "If all of your friends were running toward the edge of a cliff, would you follow them to your death?".
On this Christmas day in 2016 I wish my friends and family peace and happiness, but I will not follow you over the edge of that cliff. I will not support a leader that uses fear and now very real threats of violence and intimidation as a weapon to terrorize the people of our great country. And, more importantly, I will not tolerate those that condone his rhetoric or actions.
On this Christmas day I challenge you to consider the following;
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:23-26)
I believe the passage above is the key aspect to being a true disciple of Christ. I literally just looked upon death, so these issues are weighing heavy on my mind. Each of us will die and we will take nothing with us when we go. To devote one's life to the accumulation of material wealth and power is useless. It is the antithesis of Christ's teaching. That idea is beautifully illustrated by the character Jacob Marley in the Christmas story Scrooge.
But the most import passage that the Christians that I know choose to ignore is;
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44)
Since I have gone this far down the rabbit hole with my rambling quixotic rant; and since we have already crossed into an alternative reality run by a xenophobic celebrity game show host, I do not feel guilty about throwing out one more strange idea.
Pulp Fiction presents an incredibly effective examination of a Biblicalesque conversion by using a very unusual narrative sequence (Here is the movie rearranged in the correct sequence) to emphasize the results of interpreting an event as a miracle. The scene below happens at the end of the movie and functions as a comparison of the characters alternative interpretations of the event. At this point, we, the viewers know that John Travolta's character, Vincent Vega is dead. He did not believe in the miracle and there is a wonderful allusion to his own death scene in the final few seconds of this clip. Remember that Vincent Vega died right after he took a shit.