A Colon Rules The Country

Ed Raymond

President Donald J. Trump: “A Picasso of Pettiness, A Shakespeare of Shit”     

I am a fan of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, an immigrant from India. He is one of the many reasons I don’t bother going to “Christian” churches on Sunday anymore. His program “GPS” usually contains one of the best sermons about the world situation. On Sunday October 20 he tore a new orifice in Trump in his first few sentences:

“The hallmark of Trump’s foreign policy is a disdain for professionals, and a lack of interest in history or past policy. When asked during the campaign to name a few experts whom he consulted with on foreign policy, he replied, ‘my primary consultant is myself.’ The policies we are witnessing from Ukraine to the Middle East are a direct consequence of the triumph of guts over brains, of emotion over intelligence, and of personal ambition over national interest, and some of the pushback in recent weeks has been the revolt of experts finally fed up with the mess.”   

When Fareed says Trump’s polices are a “triumph of a gut over brain,” we need a discussion about the human digestive system. Enzymes and good bacteria break down food particles in the gut and send vitamins and nutrients through the blood vessels where nutrients replace and repair cells and tissue. The waste from this process goes to the colon where in crude terms it is often described as shit. Trump is not using his gut to make decisions because he has shit for brains. He is using his colon and middle finger to govern.   

I have drawn upon the marvelous description of Trump by English writer Nate White: “He has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honor and no grace. He has never once said anything wry, witty, or even faintly amusing. His idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty. He is never funny and never laughs. He thinks only in crude, witless insults. And worse, he is a bully. He is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. God knows there have been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.” White deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this diagnosis.  

Why I May Become One of The Millions Who Are Non-Affiliated With Any Religion     

Did the prayers of fundamentalist evangelical Christians actually kill Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings at age 68 because he was a strong opponent of Trump who messed with their “Great White Hope?” They think so. Sometimes their prayers were not answered. They prayed that God should kill Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun back in 1987 because he wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. They prayed that John McCain would be elected president in 2008. They prayed that God would kill McCain so Sarah Palin could be president.   

The American Psychiatric Association claims that six percent of Americans are bonkers each year. I think it’s an extremely low estimate. Over 80 percent of evangelical Christians voted for Trump in 2016. Some of them claim that Trump was sent by God to rule the U.S. so He killed Cummings because he used “cooked, deceptive evidence—and Satan’s demons—“(Christian fundamentalist Stacey Shiflett) in an attempt to remove The Donald from office. Shiflett added this comment: “Everything that he’s done (Cummings) has been nothing but trying to take this president out. I believe that God had had enough and God moved.”   

Black radio host Jesse Lee Peterson, another right-wing evangelical Christian, has a video out proclaiming: “If you notice, John McCain, he dead. Charles Krauthammer (conservative Washington Post writer), he dead. And Elijah Cummings, now he dead. They all didn’t like The Great White Hope; they went against him, they talked about him. Now, they all dead. That’s amazing. Don’t mess with The Great White Hope. You see what happens.”  

Why Are Young People Riding Tsunamis Out Of Organized Religion?

     One reason is the number of Southern racist fundamentalist evangelical Christians who deserted their moral and religious spines and voted for a narcissistic con man. But there are many other reasons. A recent survey of Catholics and ex-Catholics indicated that 13 to 25 year-olds are the largest group leaving any Christian religion. They are leaving the church in huge waves because, as ex-Catholic Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times, the Catholic Church is sick with sex. It is on the wrong side of medical and moral history when it comes to contraceptives, pre-marital sex, abortion, homosexuality, and the new science of gender fluidity and identity. Young people in that age group don’t accept the teachings of the church in these areas.

They are exposed to other people, so are learning to interact in nonracist, nonsexist, and nonjudgmental ways. Too many Christian denominations have attitudes, restrictions, and possess medieval philosophies contrary to the findings of modern science. Leviticus is 3,500 years old. The top 1,500 species on Planet Earth all exhibit homosexual tendencies. The same-sex wars in the Christian “faith” have ended with a victory for inclusion. It is particularly amusing to me that Pope Francis and the Vatican have canonized Cardinal John Henry Newman, a convert to Catholicism at age 44 who later founded a Catholic university. He was a Victorian-era intellectual who wrote about religion and faith in his essay Apologia Pro Vita Sua. It was always part of our English literature studies. The good cardinal was most likely gay.

He insisted on being buried with his close friend Ambrose St. John because he was “my earthly light.” Young people also believe in the science of climate change. They know we can’t put 7.6 billion people on the moon or on other planets. We are in danger of losing our home because of corruption and greed in the Trump administration. Harlan Garbell, president of HumanistsMN, recently wrote about the values of the young in the Tribune: “Secular and humanist values of inclusion, social justice, and environmentalism are an alternative to the political and economic forces today that are dividing this nation and despoiling the planet. We see more and more young people today coming to the conclusion that these are values that they want to adopt.”  

Another Reason For Becoming Religiously “Unaffiliated”     

One can safely assume that sex is here to stay. We can also assume there are religious denominations that will remain pro-life for some years to come. We are not in Huxley’s Brave New World----yet. But let’s consider these facts. Contraceptives are still not 100% effective. Abstinence is not popular. Accidents happen. When most are waiting until they are 28-30 to marry, most will not remain virgins until marriage. Actually 40% of births in the U.S. occur to unmarried couples. Catholic countries are finally removing very restrictive abortion laws. The latest is Northern Ireland, once one of the most “Catholic” in the world.   

It was illegal to abort from incest and rape. In 2018 the Northern Irish parliament voted to eliminate abortion laws and approve same-sex marriage within 15 minutes of each other. It was a great change from when police raided activist’s homes and workplaces, when a young student was charged with trying to hide evidence of a miscarriage, and when a mother was prosecuted for procuring abortion pills for her daughter. Contrary to Vatican teachings, 71% of Northern Irish now believe in a woman’s right to choose and 89% reject criminalization of abortion.   

In the U.S. the abortion battle continues even though the majority for choice keeps increasing each year. In 2018 we had about 3.8 million live births, even after about 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. But severe medical problems often occur before birth. Sarah Levin, a Pennsylvania federal employee, recently wrote about her abortion in The New York Times. At 20 weeks she and her husband discovered in a routine ultrasound her baby had anencephaly, a neural tube defect that stunts the growth of the brain and the skull. This is normally a terminal condition. If carried to term, the baby would survive for only a few hours. Pro-life adherents should read her article “I Shouldn’t Be Forced to Give Birth to a Baby Who won’t Live: Our baby had a fatal birth defect. My federal health insurance plan refused to cover the abortion.” About one in 1,000 fetuses have this condition, so about 4,000 fetuses are affected a year. Her abortion cost $2,500 up front because she was in her second trimester, which did not include anesthesia or pathology testing fees.  

Other Facts About Reproductive Problems     

Historian Lara Freidenfelds of Chatham, New Jersey miscarried during her first pregnancy and decided to learn about the causes. She spent 15 years researching her forthcoming book, ”The Myth of the perfect Pregnancy: A History of Miscarriage in America.” In a letter to the New York Times she listed results: “I discovered that many of the innovations of modern life—from effective birth control, to emotionally intensive parenting, to prenatal care complete with ultrasounds and home pregnancy tests, to aggressive baby gear marketing, to detailed pregnancy websites and apps—have promoted unrealistic expectations about how much we control pregnancy and encourage bonding with pregnancies that are not yet secure.”   

For many years I have asked a question of priests, bishops, and marching pro-lifers what they would advise a pregnant woman to do with a fetus with a severe brain abnormality discovered at a 20-week anatomy scan. As an old farm boy I have seen a number of birth abnormalities among cows, pigs, and horses. I have never got an answer. I think Lyndsay Werking-Yip of New York has a good answer in her New York Times article, “I Had A Late-Term Abortion. I Am Not A Monster.”   

The 20-week scan for her fetus was perfect except for one thing. The scan showed an empty space where brain matter should have developed in the frontal lobe. Also the middle structure that joins the left and right hemispheres had not grown properly. Her doctor and the brain specialists could not tell her what her fetus’s daily life would be like if she survived to birth.

Hourly, daily, weekly seizures? Could she feed herself, crawl, walk, talk? How much cognitive impairment? Would she know us as her parents? Would she know what was happening to her? No one could tell Lyndsay and her husband concerning daily life. So at 23 weeks and six days she had an abortion. Lyndsay ended her article with this statement: “My husband and I chose to end our child’s life. Many imagine this as an impossible decision to make. I will be honest with you. You may not want to hear this, but the decision was obvious to us. Our child would not be given a life of pain and suffering. Instead, we would take her pain as our own.”