Curtain Raiser

Leader of the Precious Few, Colltalers

‘I’ll never let you down,’ Trump told a roomful of enthusiastic believers at the National Prayer Breakfast (er, club?) last week. It was another cue for the religious right to express approval for a morally broken leader, just because he can help carry their agenda.
Neither he nor them seem interested in the explosion of opioid overdoses throughout the country; the extreme weather created by climate change; or, heaven forbid, this Black History month. They want to outlaw abortion and he, a wall and maybe another war.
In a nutshell, that may characterize the priorities of a special interest group, and a president, who, despite representing a minority of the U.S. population, are highly invested on turning this country into their own image. Needless to say, they’re both bound to fail.
Not just that almost 30% of Americans are not religiously affiliated, or call themselves atheists – known as ‘nones’ -, according to Harris, the Pew Research, and other polls, but also that not even all Republicans are 100% behind the president’s stated priorities.
The estimated 36 million to 55 million nones are already a sizable percentage of the population, compared to Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists. In other words, a powerful voting contingent that is increasingly demanding to be heard.
The trend is even more pronounced globally. In 2016, the National Geographic proclaimed, rather exaggeratedly, that nones are already the world’s biggest ‘religious’ group. A closer read

however show that we’re not quite there yet, even as new generations, such as millennials, have little use for the concept of an invisible, all-too powerful being. They’d rather thank goodness, not god.
When Trump vowed, at the State of the Union address, to prohibit what he called ‘late-term abortion,’ which is itself a misleading label to an extreme, emergence procedure, far from being routinely prescribed, many had to wonder: what was he talking about?
He was, of course, ignoring the presence of the biggest number of women ever elected to Congress, right in front of his podium, and who are determined, and gaining widespread support, to use their mandate to keep reproductive rights under a woman’s choice.
His audience was not the American people, though, or victims of a pharmaceutical industry going awry for profits, or the black and brown communities being chased, persecuted, and imprisoned around the country: his choir was church leaders, who have pinched their noses and given their votes and money to a thrice married man, proven to be a cheater, and whose word is routinely a lie.
What the president was doing, in what could be considered another stop on his 2020 reelection campaign, was making sure that those who can help him stay at the White House, and write fat checks, are still in his corner. And they gladly respond to him: yes.
Some say that it’s all a sign of his political instincts. There are growing concerns that the now proverbial ‘poor, uneducated whites,’ who went out of their way to elect him, sadly believing he was one of their own, may be having some serious second thoughts.
Although his core supporters, the less than 30% of the voting universe, continue to believe that a wall will automatically stop all immigrants from coming to America, and at the same time, generate the jobs and opportunities they’ve missed out for the past 30 years, others may be experiencing a ‘woke’ moment. That is because the majority is not really better off as they expected to be now.
On the contrary, the economy keeps producing stellar numbers that absolutely don’t reflect the reality on the ground. While the administration brags about jobs, Americans see is a steady flow of non-livable offering positions, with no benefits or labor rights.
The last about the oh so pious religiously bent is the contradiction most seem to profess. When it comes to women making their own choices, send in the guards, curses, and all the weight of intolerance and hate. But childhood poverty and hunger are not of their concern. Even worst is the church’s sinister tradition of sexually abusing children and denying accountability for its acts.
Those women in Congress, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just unveiled the Green New Deal, which addresses a series of way more relevant issues than who’s your god, or whether a woman’s choice is anybody else’s business. The focus for resetting our goals for the future, however, is what’s crucial about the proposal: to address climate change, the real biggest crisis of our time.
So the president may, and certainly will, lash out at, and belittle, what moves and motivates the majority of Americans, by creating crisis of his own making to distract and terrorize the nation. But the hypocritical backing he enjoys among clergy and lobbyists, and fading unanimity within his bases, along a collusion probe that may lead to his impeachment, could be too much even for him.
What most Americans really want is a nation that leads the world toward survival, by investing its power into reversing climate change, as it seizes back its image of beacon of freedom and respect to every citizen, regardless of race, politics, beliefs, gender and sex orientation. If it’s up to us, he will let zealots and xenophobes down. Enjoy your Valentine and don’t give up the fight. WC


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