In the wake of this incredibly divisive campaign season which we just lived though, I can’t help but wonder whether our nation has a reasonable chance of surviving this perfect storm which has arisen around us, having been fed for so long by the forces of paranoia, fear, environmental volatility, and economic uncertainty, which are all surging at unprecedented levels, and amplified by rapidly shifting racial demographics and dramatically constricting natural resources… Clearly, two paths are emerging. One would have us band together and fight alongside one another, challenging each other think creatively, and relying upon facts and science to guide our way. The other would have us battle it out, Hunger Games style, with those more adept at doling out the ultra-violence progressing farther. I think, over the past ten years, I’ve made it pretty clear which path I’d like to head down. I’m not, however, beyond reason. And, with that in mind, I continue to spend my evenings, scouring the internet for ideas coming from all quarters. Tonight, while doing this, I stumbled across two pieces of video. Taken together, I think they demonstrate just how wide the chasm is that stands between the left and the right in our country at the present moment.
The first is a video is of an exhausted Barack Obama thanking his campaign staff in Chicago yesterday for all of their hard work. The President, exhausted, and with tears in his eyes, tells the young people on his staff that he expects great things from them. It’s a completely unguarded moment, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen it. As much as I like our President, I don’t think, until this evening, that I’ve ever connected with him on a human level. As incredible as many of his speeches have been over the years, I think this simple, unscripted, five minute address, on the journey that brought him to Chicago at the age of 25, in search of a way to make a positive impact, is my favorite. All the bullshit and artifice of the campaign is stripped away. All the talking points are gone. And what we’re left with is an earnest human being, encouraging young people to do good in the world, and live up to their full potential. I am incredibly happy that I watched this, and I hope that some of you have a similar experience.
The second video, which stands in stark contrast, is of Glenn Beck, who, on his radio program yesterday warned that we are about to experience God’s wrath. The results of the election, according to Beck, demonstrated that the American people are “so dead inside that they can no longer see the difference between good and evil.” (Yes, that man you just saw wiping tears from his eyes in the above video, and encouraging his young staffers to embody the “ripples of hope” that Robert Kennedy spoke of, is apparently the embodiment of evil.) What’s Beck’s solution, you might ask… “We have to be destroyed.”
I could write for hours about this apocalyptic vision of Beck’s, which he’s attempting to sell between revenue-generating ads for things like magic beans, which will make it possible for you to feed your family once society falls apart, assuming, of course, you have the firepower to guard your garden 24/7, and overpriced gold coins, which can be used to buy weapons once paper money becomes a thing of the past. As I’m falling asleep, though, I’m going to leave it at that.
I should add that I know that Beck doesn’t speak for everyone on the right, but, even after losing his position at Fox, he still has an enormous audience, and there are a great many people who share his worldview, and believe that they’re the chosen ones, being persecuted by a godless, brown-skinned hoard of lazy “takers.” Here, with more on that, is another quote from Beck.
“If you look at history through a biblical world view, the last step before a nation is completely destroyed is they drive the righteous from among them. If this isn’t a sign of a group of people that will drive the righteous from among them, and that’s the last step before God’s wrath comes, I fear for our country and it is – it cannot be overstated, it cannot be called paranoid … If you are a God‑fearing person, hear me. Last call, America. Last call. Because the righteous will be driven from among them.”