The Fate Of The United States: Repent Or Perish

John_Martin_-_Sodom_and_GomorrahA ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor; but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days (Prov. 28:16 RSV).

Trump, in his haughty ignorance, continues to prove the prophetic value of the book of Proverbs. On Monday, Trump announced his takeover of public lands for the sake of private interests. Speaking in Utah, he stated that he will downsize Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase national monuments.  He said, once again like Bane in the Dark Knight Rises, he is giving it back to the people. The people, however, did not ask for this. The people have access to it when it is a public land. By removing its protected status, the local government can sell it out, giving it to the highest bidder for whatever they desire the land for (such as drilling rights). The people who had access to the land lose it, for, despite Trump’s rhetoric, they will not have control over what happens to the land.

Trump’s doublespeak is clear; he is “giving it to the people” does not mean he is giving it to the public to control and do as they wish, rather, he means he is giving it to some people, to those interest who he considers worthwhile, while he disregards the desires and interests of the public, thinking them to be unworthy of his time and energy. Money and power is what counts to him as being respected. Those who have it, he grants rights and privileges, using words which normally used for everyone to them alone. The dignity of the human person, the rights of the public, are entirely outside of his thoughts. Trump does not see the working class, does not have interest in them, while he uses rhetoric which fools them because it has traditionally been used for their favor. He is equivocating; when he references “the people,” it is not the ordinary citizen with rights, let alone immigrants who are struggling to make their way in the United States, that he is considering, but the corporate powers and rich elite who will buy and sell the land (whether or not they are citizens of the United States).  Certainly, he is not interested in those who are most affected by his policy, such as Native Americans who consider Bears Ears to be a sacred place, because he views rights and privileges only along the lines of wealth,  ignoring history, and the rights and obligations previous presidents of the United States have felt necessary to defend. [1]

Trump, therefore, calls the evil he does good, because it satisfies either his private desires, or those of his rich friends from whom he expects he will be rewarded. He calls evil, good, because for him there is good to be found, but as with all evil, it is the rejection of justice and the fullness of the good where his actions are to be shown to be evil. He gaslights the country, confusing them as to what he is doing by his sophistry. It is to such a leader the prophet Isaiah preached against when he said:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! (Isa. 5:20-23 RSV).

The whole political process, as can be seen in the way the new Tax Bill has been put together, is evil, in part because the rich elite use their lobbyists to push for and make laws for their own private good, bribing and blackmailing politician so as to make sure their way comes out on top. The innocents, the public, have been deprived of their rights, because law and government should be for the common good and distributive justice. There will be, as in the time of Isaiah, hell to pay:

Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and he who exults in her (Isa. 5:14 RSV).

God’s justice will be made known. If the evil is not corrected, the system will collapse upon itself, and those who benefited most from it will find, like in times past, the karmic retribution will come from the hands of the people who they once squashed down. “Such are the ways of all who get gain by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors” (Prov. 1:19 RSV). The workers, being oppressed, find themselves more and more mistreated as their rights and freedom is overturned by authoritarian oligarchs. What James spoke of in his day, will once again emerge in our own, perhaps not the same kind of labor, but with the same kind of outcry:

Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you (James 5:4-6 RSV).

The sin of Sodom, the rejection of the common good, of the needs of the poor and oppressed by the elite, will once again have a cry going across the land.  The evil gains taken by the elite today will come with a great price, and one day, like Sodom, they will have to pay:

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.  They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezek. 16:49-50 RSV).

Truly, the slow but ever-growing oppression of the general populace in the United States comes from the malignant ignorance of its leaders. They have no interest in the public, though they will say things which they think appeases the public. Most citizens not have the know-how, time or energy to explore and understand the sophistry of the rhetoric being given to them, and so they hope that what they hear is what they get; they will find out, when it is too late, all that has been taken from them because they were never considered to be the people the leaders were talking to.  It is possible, if the country repents and fights back against the evil being promoted, to put a stop to the doom which is bound to come to the United States if it does not change its course soon. The prophet Jonah warned of the destruction of Nineveh, but because its leaders took to heart the condemnation they received and changed their ways, that doom was prevented; we, now, live in a similar time. Either the United States and its leaders repents now, and returns to the path of justice, or the retribution of God will come raining down, ending its history with great pain and misery for all. “Behold, therefore, I strike my hands together at the dishonest gain which you have made, and at the blood which has been in the midst of you” (Ezek. 22:13 RSV).

[Image=The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]


 

[1] It is clear that Trump considers moral and social obligations to be negotiable and anything which counters absolute power gets in the way of sovereignty and must be denied, which is why he is pulling out of so many treaties which came before his time.

 

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