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When does America become Amerikka?

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | September 13th, 2017

The four horses of the Apocalypse are running wild on the American plains

In the last book of the New Testament, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride around the world on their red, white, black, and pale horses representing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death.

The rider of the white horse held a bow, was given a crown, and rode out as a conqueror. The rider of the red horse was given a large sword to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. The rider of the black horse carried a pair of scales and was measuring out quarts of wheat, barley, oil, and wine representing Famine. The rider of the pale horse was named Death with absolute power over a fourth of the earth to kill with the wild beasts of the earth.

America seems to be at the point in history where the four horses are ready to race around the country bringing pain, misery, famine, and death—except they have different riders.

My favorite cynic about our species is the French philosopher Voltaire: “Animals have advantages over man: they never hear a clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians…their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”

We will excuse my 18th Century countryman for not observing elephants or our brothers the chimps as they grieve and visit cemeteries. At least we know now they have no theologians.

In the country with the “best health care in the world,” according to Republicans, a New York City couple in their 50s jumped to their deaths between Park and Madison avenues. They left a note about their children upstairs: “Our kids are upstairs, please take care of them. We both have medical issues, we just can’t afford the health care.” Man, don’t we live in an exceptional country?

Grand Dragon David Duke of the Klu Klux Klan wears a dunce cap and full regalia, galloping on a white horse

The election of Donald Trump and the re-election of the Republican Congress appear to have brought us to a “revelation” fork in the road. We could have hoped the election of Barack Obama would substantially end the 400-year battle over race in this country, but after living in the Jim Crow South for three years in the 1950s both Corky and I knew better.

In Corky’s second late pregnancy we hired a local black woman to come in once a week to help with the housework. The first time she came she was around at noon so we invited her to sit down with us and have noon lunch. She almost went into shock. She refused, saying she would never be hired for anything again if the whites found out.

My two black master sergeants, both decorated battle veterans of Korea, would have been beaten up by whites if they had dared walk on the sidewalks of Jacksonville instead of in the streets.

Welcome to Southern culture. The Southern white would bring his wife and children to celebrate a lynching on a Saturday afternoon, attended by thousands of whites—and then go to the country club for a relaxing dinner.

During the violence at Charlottesville a protester held up the sign “Wake Up And Smell The Nazis.” I hope the entire country will heed the sign. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination evidently saw the protest and the sign because it issued an early warning: “We are alarmed by the racial discrimination, with overtly racist slogans, chants, and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred.”

King Donald has failed to identify “the fine people” he saw marching with the Neo-Nazis and members of the Klan.

A Roman Catholic bishop on a red horse, that believes 60 categories of gender and orientation created by God are “intrinsically evil”

For 2,000 years the Roman Catholic Church has been befuddled, confused, puzzled, and implausible about its ignorant masculine arrogance surrounding sexual matters such as contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, and sexual mores.

For 500 years most evangelical Protestant churches have continued the mysteries and falsehoods propagated by the Vatican. On September 1, 2017 a group of evangelical Christians under the umbrella of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood published a document called The Nashville Statement, which emphatically renewed their pledge to inhumane bigotry in America. It’s a statement of intolerance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and the 58 other categories identified in the last few decades.

According to these literal interpreters of gospels passed on or written thousands of years ago, only heterosexuality is permissible in a moral society, and that the other 58 gender identities and orientations are all evil, “disordered,” and immoral.

In other words, all people who qualify for the label of LGBTQ cannot be accepted as true and real Christians. This is why some LGBTQ children are kicked out of their parents’ homes and are homeless on American streets.

The Nashville Statement is not the ravings of a fringe group. More than 180 influential conservative evangelical leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council endorsed it.

These are the people who elected Donald Trump, a sexual predator who couldn’t keep his pants on.

Who created the 6’2” Bruce and Caitlyn Jenner who won a gold medal in the Olympic decathlon and then appeared on the covers of many magazines as a transgender?

Do the theologians who signed the Nashville Statement believe in Deuteronomy 22 that demands that a marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin, and if she isn’t, she should be executed?

Should the six openly gay college football players who recently came out be allowed to play the game? (There are about 74,000 men playing college football, so realistically about 7,400 are gay!)

Did Houston suffer Hurricane Harvey because it had elected a lesbian mayor? That’s what some evangelical ministers are trying to sell!.

Should lesbians and gays be allowed to show affection in public?

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, on a black horse, a billionaire completely ignorant of all aspects of public education

Evidence shows Betsey on her black horse Ignorance is galloping wildly on the American plains. We used to lead the world in the ratio of young people attending colleges and universities. We now struggle to stay in the top ten countries.

Public colleges and universities in Minnesota have tuition and housing and food costs in the $23,000 range while an article in the Star Tribune titled “Sticker Shock: Private Colleges in Minnesota Near Tuition Milestone” outlines tremendous increases for private colleges.

Eight of our private colleges have hit the over $50,000 mark for room, board, and tuition. Carleton and Macalester have hit the $65,000 mark. St. Thomas has gone above the $50,000 level for the first time, but the administration claims that the average student is eligible for about $20,000 in grants. What can the average Minnesota family afford to pay for higher education?

Because of the news about the ever-increasing cost of student loan programs, students are trying to avoid large debt. Currently, about 44 million people in the U.S. are in student loan debt to the total of $1.34 trillion, which is more than credit card debt and car loans. We have a generation of college graduates who have a tremendous burden of debt while trying to find a decent-paying good job. Some seniors are still paying student loans or are paying off their children’s loans.

Of the country’s 18 million undergraduates, over 7.2 million attend community colleges where the tuition is around $10,000. Of those, only 62% can afford it full-time. Over half of all undergraduates live at home to save living costs, while 25% work full-time—and go to school full-time!

Fully 4.5 million undergraduates are over the age of 25—and 4.5 million are single parents. One in five students enrolled in two-year colleges come from food-insecure households, and 14% of community college students have been homeless at some time in their lives.

At LaGuardia Community College in New York, 77% live in households making less than $25,000 per year. It often takes these students between three and six years to finish a two-year program.

So King Donald appointed a billionaire Secretary of Education who had never entered a public institution as a student. The development of reason, logic, and critical thinking is crucial in education at all levels. Poor billionaire Betsy has yet to demonstrate the three essentials.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Pat Robertson riding double on a pale horse, preaching the prosperity gospels

It has to be one of the biggest hypocritical photo ops of our political history, all of those evangelical ministers laying their hands on the lying, pussy-grabbing, amoral, immoral, and ignorant sexual predator King Donald in the White House Oval Office.

According to many church authorities, the laying on of hands has no power in itself except when God uses it to establish His Word. But the ministers were there to celebrate the election of one of the biggest sinners in history because he, in his infinite despotic power, was going to take them into the Promised Land of white supremacy power, a land without abortions by overturning Roe V. Wade, the elimination of homosexuality and same-sex marriage by sending them all to Hell, and restoring the ultimate power of man over woman instead of having any more of this “cracked ceiling” crap.

A study of exit poll data by Pew Research found that King Donald won 52% of the Catholic vote, 58% of the Protestant vote, and a “miraculous” 81% of the white evangelical vote. It was just another political race won by concentrating on the subjects of race, abortion, gays and same-sex marriage, and, of course, guns.

When evangelical minister Joel Osteen ranted his prosperity gospel, accounted for the collection plates and then left his 16,000 members to go home to his $10 million residence, he made sure the church was locked up so the carpets wouldn’t be muddied by Houston flood victims seeking shelter. That was not a Christian thing to do.

He reminds me a lot of Pat Robertson of 700 Club fame who once ran for the Republican nomination for president. Pat is really a man of the cloth---as long as it’s cashmere and hides the diamonds on his wristwatch. I see Pastor Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, is a great fan of King Donald as his father would be if he were alive. I see many Liberty graduates are sending their diplomas back to the university, protesting its support for the apostate riding in Air Force One.

Even those Liberty grads evidently realize we are all at the crossroads in this country. Let’s hope we take the right fork.

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