Lost and Blind: Beyond Redemption?

On March 21, 2017, P45 announced by tweet that, “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican,” referring to Abraham Lincoln. The suspicion remains that the startling fact was news only to the Twitterer-in-Chief himself. Presidents are not required to be historians, accomplished or otherwise, but are expected to possess a reasonable grasp of the events and people who contributed in significant ways to the nation.

Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny and a highly regarded commentator, offered an observation in an interview (Jan. 14, 2021) that, after WW I, Germany was positioned to emerge as a global example of prominence in cultural and industrial strength. Its national leadership, however, embarked upon a mission to rationalize its failure in WW I by engaging in a “big lie” that the failure was due to internal enemies, specifically Jews. The big lie led to the rise of National Socialism and Adolph Hitler, culminating in another World War and the destruction of the nation. In the interview, he concluded that, “Big lies are part of authoritarian regime change in history.”

Having tracked and evaluated statements by P45 during his tenure, The Washington Post reported that the former president made 30,523 false claims during his time in office. There is no identifiable compilation or analog to the record of Adolph Hitler in this regard for the sake of comparison.

Political parties are helpful, even necessary, for their contributions to electoral competition among candidates offering voters policy choices in addition to ambitious people willing to voice those policies. Winners and losers in the contests generally reflect upon the reasons for outcomes. Oddly, the evaluation, the de-brief, expected from the losers in the 2020 presidential election appears not to be on the agenda.

For a period of one presidential term, the United States experienced a profound assault of deceit, deconstruction of civic values, and oligarchic politics that threatened to dismiss democracy and replace it with a cult of personality politics…. Oddly, the evaluation, the de-brief, expected from the losers in the 2020 presidential election appears not to be on the agenda.

Germany had no benefit of grace, amazing or otherwise, in the aftermath of WW I, and stumbled and lashed out against its European neighbors and international counterparts resolutely lost and blind. For a period of one presidential term, the United States experienced a profound assault of deceit, deconstruction of civic values, and oligarchic politics that threatened to dismiss democracy and replace it with a cult of personality politics.

Whether by luck, instinct, or thought, the electorate has rejected that slippery slope. Although damage has been done and civic mores seriously injured and in need of repair, the spirit of forgiveness and redemption promised by the hymn Amazing Grace belongs to the citizenry. Forgiveness for those who enabled or perpetrated the big lies may not be automatic; redemption requires acknowledgment of the three Rs in traditional theology: repentance, restitution, and responsibility. Sadly, those who engaged in promoting the big lies now have made appeals for healing and unity without reference to the three Rs. In effect, they seek to avoid the onus of redemptive requirements and plead for all to return to their previous homeostasis of being lost and blind.

Forgiveness for those who enabled or perpetrated the big lies may not be automatic; redemption requires acknowledgment of the three Rs in traditional theology: repentance, restitution, and responsibility. Sadly, those who engaged in promoting the big lies now have made appeals for healing and unity without reference to the three Rs. In effect, they seek to avoid the onus of redemptive requirements and plead for all to return to their previous homeostasis of being lost and blind.

The idea of amazing grace is emblematic as a voice of Black America. The amazing part is the tenacity and forgiveness demonstrated by Black Americans whom this country has so poorly treated, while a Republican president attempted to share an accomplishment with Abraham Lincoln and offered falsehoods about his efforts on their behalf. Despite repeated debunking and discounting, a July 2020 tweet from P45 stated, “I’ve done more for black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.”

Any finite measure or conclusion as to how close the nation came to resembling Germany in the post-WW I era remains to be seen. Surely, one measure of the distance down the slippery slope involves the extent of efforts to repair the damage. Other indicators may include the potential reemergence of P45 as a political figure or candidate, the outcome of his second impeachment, and the response of voters to the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results. In the absence of serious reflection by GOP leadership, the inclination to adopt and absorb the animus of the past may be overwhelming. Democrats may seize upon this potential weakness, further driving the opposition into nihilism and extinction. That is not a good result for the citizenry. Rapture is not the antidote; sobriety is.

Grace is amazing only when those who enjoy its halo effects, the epiphany of its renewal, appreciate its necessity to salvation, theological and political.

 



Categories: Issues, Local, National, politics, State

Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: