“They are not besotted with the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. They are interested in him and his every little word because he has power, and power is what they are all about,” writes Rebecca Hamilton in her latest weblog item, “Pope Francis is Writing an Encyclical on the Environment, and Both Sides of the Political Spectrum are Sharpening their Knives.”
Hamilton, who just retired after eighteen years as state representative in Oklahoma, is an old-fashioned Democrat, concerned with the poor and the middle-class, pro-life, not reflexively pro-business. She goes too far, I think, in her pox-on-both-houses analysis, but she does put starkly the reality behind many on both sides of the political divide:
We live in a time when corporatists are raping the American economy for their gain, while they also rape the planet on which we all live. At the same time, nihilists are selling us a cant of destruction of the family, the valueless of human life and bloated social programs that do not heal the wounds our indifference to human beings have inflicted.
Does anybody besides me see that these two things are not opposites? They are different verses of the same song, and that same song is the satan-inspised ballad of the pit, the cultural refutation of the value, dignity, worth and meaning of human life. The fact that one side does it for corporate interests and the other side does it for nihilistic interests makes no real difference. Dead is dead and we are killing ourselves in the service of these false gods of our politics.
The American people . . . they flip from one of these extremes to the other, in search of someone who will listen to them. Every few years they toss out whoever is in there and elect a new batch of wing nuts from the opposite political spectrum. Then, after the people they elect ignore the people who elected them and follow the the corporatist pipers who paid for their campaigns, we the people wearily, and with a deepening sense of hopelessness, toss them out and try again.
How does anyone keep putting their faith in princes in the face of this? More to the point, how does anyone keep chasing after what Elizabeth Scalia call “Strange Gods”, in this case the false idol of political salvation, year after year, election after election?
She goes on to describe what she calls “the political heresy,” which has infected Christians of all parties and positions. Well worth reading.