I’m looking for a candle-stick maker.
I have a butcher from New Hampshire. I have a baker, Jack Phillips, from Colorado who, while on his way to a Supreme Court hearing for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, said, “I don’t believe that Jesus would have made the cake if he had been a baker.”
That’s what Trump has reduced America to – an Absurdistan where myth trumps reason, where sectarianism trumps democracy, where an American president travels to Europe and, while in foreign lands, criticizes his predecessor, criticizes NATO and the EU and throws his own intelligence community under the bus while denying that Russia attacked America in a massive cyberattack.
Where we’re driven to consider Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes to try and make sense of the world we live in.
I’m eager to know what the candle-stick maker would think. I wonder whether he can cast light on our troubled waters – on madmen adrift in a boat.
Someone has to shine the light.
Someone needs to cast light on these days of darkness where we live between bangs, whimpers, and tweets. Cast light on those who would normalize madness for governance, rhetoric that passes for policy, dog-whistles that shade intolerance.
This recent madness came to light as I witnessed Trump’s TV performance at the Celebrate Freedom Concert on July 1st. Sponsored by First Baptist Church, Dallas, an evangelical congregation led by Inauguration Day-preaching, book-banning, gay-bashing homophobe Rev. Robert Jeffress who believes “…Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else” are members of cults, who believes that Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell,” who believes that America is a Christian nation and the rest of us be damned.
Welcome to Trump World.
“Getting rdy to leave for tonight’s Celebrate Freedom Concert honoring our GREAT VETERANS w/so many of my evangelical friends,” Trump tweeted. “See you soon!”*
It’s no accident that Jeffress keeps appearing with Trump – see you soon, “my evangelical friends.”
The rest of us – people of color, sojourners, minorities, believers in Justice, Equity, Equality – are losers, victims. We don’t count.
The next day, July 2nd, Trump tweeted an edited version of a 2007 video of him beating up someone with an image of the CNN logo superimposed on the face to make it appear as though Trump was attacking the network.
Darker, vulgar, more violent.
Pray for the candle-stick maker.
Remember when Trump tweeted in January, “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
Well, it happened – happened too soon – and Trump wasn’t ready for it. We all knew it was coming yet here we are, six months later, and America doesn’t even have an ambassador in South Korea – where we have 28,500 troops – and we have no hint of any strategy.
Pray for the candle-stick maker.
So, when North Korea successfully launched an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska on the 4th of July, the president was reduced to taunting with a tweet:
“North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
Does the guy in the White House have anything better to do with his life – With our lives?
No, madness. Rub-a-dub-dub.
Trump in a tub (Tweet: ”My I.Q. is one of the highest – and you all know it!”).
Arab States are ganging up on Qatar where an American base hosts 10,000 American troops. Over 13 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance. Trump prepares to play footsie with Putin at the G-20 even though Russia’s repeatedly attacked our Democracy; for Trump it’s personal, for Putin it’s validation and a political win.
It’s getting dark: China’s staking out territory in the South China Sea and wants India to withdraw its troops from a disputed plateau in the Himalayas. American troops are actively on the line in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and in some yet undisclosed theatre. Israel is building settlements on occupied Palestinian land and the president tweets:
“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!”
Give it a try? Really? What has Trump tried?
He’s confounded American citizens and marginalized minorities, alienated allies, emboldened enemies. He advances false narratives. challenges a free press, and embraces authoritarians, tyrants and autocrats without regard for American interests or global stability.
Even what’s working – the seizing of territory from ISIS and eliminating their leadership – is an execution of President Obama’s strategic and tactical protocols.
The earth continues to warm (Tweet: “[myth] created by and for the Chinese”), Carrier AC and Ford are moving jobs to China (Tweet: “Nobody knows jobs like I do!”) and Republicans in Congress want to repeal current healthcare lifelines provided to millions of Americans (Tweet: “No-one has done more for people with disabilities than me”.)
Rub-a-dub-dub, Alone in a tub.
“Can you believe that with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S.,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “President Obama spent the day playing golf.”
Imagine this week spending a day playing golf while North Korea fires an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska.
Last week retired General David Petraeus, when asked if he thought President Trump was fit to serve, answered, “It’s immaterial,” suggesting that Trump’s grown-ups in the room are good enough to offset Trump’s impetuousness and ignorance.
That makes us feel better, right?
In the end, standing tall amidst the madness, illumed by candles, Jesus would bake the cake – probably with dates and cardamon – asking only, “How many layers?”
He would then turn to Trump, to Jeffress, to Jack Phillips, to all others who profit, thrive, and exploit the madness, and advise:
“It’s over – Turn the Other Tweet.”