American historian David Blight says, “American democracy is in peril and nearly everyone paying attention is trying to find the best way to say so. Should we in the intellectual classes position our warnings in satire, in jeremiads, in social scientific data, in historical analogy, in philosophical wisdom we glean from so many who have instructed us about the violence and authoritarianism of the 20th century? Or should we just scream after our holiday naps?” Answering Blight’s question, I decided to produce an imaginary conversation between God and Satan.
Kenneth Burke’s proscript in The Rhetoric of Religion provides the template for my effort. I have incorporated Burke’s brilliant analogical masterpiece to a conversation between God and Satan prior to the attempt of Satan to conquer heaven. The implied theme: January 6, 2021 raised the spectre of a “paradise lost” for democracy. Using Burke’s pentad, the scene of this conversation is the throne of God. The agent in the conversation is Satan. The act is a coup to overthrow God, an insurrection. The purpose is to put Satan on the throne as the ruler of the universe.
The curtain rises
Enter the master of ceremonies: “Ladies and gentlemen: Try to imagine a conversation between God and the most magnificent of all the angels in heaven, Satan. Or imagine every event of universal history made accessible instantly to both the mind of God and the mind of Satan. Also imagine a time before time, millions of years before the mythological story of Satan attempting a coup in heaven.
Imagine a dialogue that at times sounds like an interrogation as God asks Satan about rumors of an attempted coup filtering through the legions of angels and soundlessly through the galaxies. And, finally, imagine such intuitive expression as a dialogue between two persons that are somehow fused with each other in a communicative bond whereby each question is its own answer, or is answered even without being asked.
One bright heavenly morning Lucifer slowly descended from the upper reaches of the fifty-eight-story Lucifer Tower toward a stage below. Lucifer waved at the gathered crowd as he arrived at the podium to announce his campaign to be the new ruler of heaven. “It’s great to be at Lucifer Tower,” he said. “It’s great to be in heaven. And it’s an honor to have everybody here. Look at the size of this crowd. There’s never been a crowd like it.” Lucifer brandished his incredible wealth and his fame as the most favored angel in heaven. He told the crowd that God had made a mistake in creating humans and that God had grown soft in his determination to allow all kinds of trashy people – convicts, murderers, rapists – into his heaven. A wall has to be built, he claimed, to shut the riff raff out. “This has to stop, and it has to stop now.”
God: “Gabriel reports that you have been going around the universe making speeches that sound disloyal.”
Satan: “It’s a bunch of lies.”
God: “Are you saying that you are not being disloyal?”
Satan: “Absolutely. Gabriel is a liar. And all the seraphim are a bunch of radical, mentally ill misfits.”
God: “The angels elected Gabriel to be the chief executive angel and I have heard that you are making speeches about the election being stolen from you.”
Satan: “That’s right milord. Angels that are not even in heaven but are out on long-term assignments mailed in their votes to the heavenly post, and the angel board of elections counted them as legal ballots. And there’s overwhelming evidence that fake ballots were filled in and counted as votes for Gabriel and there were votes cast by creatures in heaven who are not angels.”
God: “I really thought you said ‘rioters.’ Are you planning a riot in heaven?”
Satan: “No milord. I’m talking about the network routers.”
God: “It’s more complicated than that, but I’m counting on your loyalty and obedience.” (Satan bows to the Lord and leaves the throne).
Master of Ceremonies: “About two months and some days later, time is hard to keep in heaven, Satan gathers a large crowd at the foot of Mount Zion for a really big speech.”
Satan: “Well, thank you very much. This is incredible. God, sitting on the high and holy throne of heaven, will not show the magnitude of this crowd. When I showed up, I looked, I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, shouting with full voice. Heaven’s media department will not show this scene because they don’t want the rest of the universe to know what is happening here.
We have hundreds of thousands of angels here and I just want them to be recognized by the fake news media. They’re not going to take it any longer. Go ahead. Turn your cameras, please. Would you show? They came from all over the universe, but they came mostly from right here in heaven where there is so much corruption.
I’m honest. And I just, again, I want to thank you. It’s just a great honor to have this kind of crowd and to be before you and hundreds of thousands of angels who are committed to the integrity of our heaven.
All of us here today do not want to see heaven ruled another day by the God who is so controlling, so demanding, so authoritarian. The people no longer support God, but the vast machinery of the divine organization has stolen the vote. The people want a new ruler. They want me. I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” We will never give up; we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.
Heaven has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with: We will stop the steal. There’s no way Gabriel got that many votes. This was not a close election.
And by the way, does anybody believe that Gabriel had 800 million votes? Does anybody believe that? He had 800 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace. There’s never been anything like that. It’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace.
Even when you look at last night. They’re all running around like chickens with their heads cut off with boxes. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. There’s never been anything like this.
We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen, I’m not going to let it happen.
Angels: “Fight for Lucifer.”
Satan: Thank you. And I’d love to have if those tens of thousands of angels from the outposts of the world would be allowed. The angel army, the secret service. But I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let him come up, please?
All over heaven, the angels, some of the twenty-four elders, and so many other creatures are demanding to revote. God has defrauded us all. They were given false information. They voted on it. Now they want to recertify. They want it back.
Many of you have traveled from across galaxies to be here, and I want to thank you for the extraordinary love. That’s what it is. There’s never been a movement like this, ever, ever. For the extraordinary love for this amazing heaven, and this amazing movement, thank you.
Angels: “We love Satan.”
This can’t be allowed. And you must get your people to fight. And if they don’t fight, they should step aside and let us do what must be done.
We are going up the hill of Zion, and we’re going to overthrow God. We must be strong. Because you’ll never take heaven with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand our rights and take our lawful place as rulers.
I have made life wonderful for so many of you. I have taken care of things, done things like nobody’s ever thought possible.
But our fight against the powers and principalities of heaven have just started. This is the greatest movement in history. There’s never been a movement like that.
You look back there all the way to the gates of heaven. It’s hard to believe.
We must stop the steal and then we must ensure that such outrageous election fraud never happens again, can never be allowed to happen again.
And today we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a heaven anymore.
Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow angels, for our movement, for our future, and for our beloved heaven. And I say this despite all that’s happened. The best is yet to come.
So we’re going to, we’re going to ascend Mount Zion. I love Mount Zion – ‘beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.’ And we’re marching to Zion, and we’re going to take over the place. We are going to take over the holy hill today. O that deliverance would come to Mount Zion, and I promise that I will restore the fortunes of heaven. I alone can do it. I am your Savior.
So, let’s ascend Mount Zion. I want to thank you all. Thank you all for being here. This is incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you. And at my command, unleash hell.”
Master of Ceremonies: “And you know how this story ends.”
Curtain slowly falls.