TIS (A RESPITE FROM) THE SEASON

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Today we substitute a mystery play—one of two seasonal ones—for the political Punch and Judy show that has been playing non stop for six months or so and promises to go on another eleven and a half. Not that that show wasn’t worth watching; we just need a break and, luckily, tradition give us alternatives.

Each of the two mystery plays—I show only one, more on that below—subbing for our political dramady have almost distinct groups of celebrators. At the far edges of each, they despise the other, but at the near edges their beliefs overlap quite a bit. Both groups are backed by deep-pocketed organizations—more accurately, closely-aligned groups of organizations—that profit from their adherents in proportion to the adherents extremity. So the organizations promote such extremism.

Both flavors of backers tout salvation and they both use the old “give to get” prosperity gospel pitch to to do so as well as line their own pockets. Always have, always will. And when an adherent asks about why it doesn’t seem to be working as advertized. The answer is “maybe you didn’t pray/buy enough; ante up and try again.” Better luck in the next round, or world.

The political dramædy, now sharing the stages for the holidays, is more than your typical Mr. Punch Show instead of just one “Mr Punch” (the cowardly liar and a sociopathic braggart who’s the star) there are at least a dozen. There are also hundred of “Professors,” (he’s the hands in the puppets, he runs the show) in the form of super PACs and dark money as well as other ill-gotten gain of a more individual/inherited sort. There, too, are thousands of “bottlers” (the Punch show assistant who works up the crowd and collects admission fees.) And what about Judy, the abused/abusing wife? In this theater of the absurd she is us.

So why do I only show only one—the buy-more one—of the plays. I’m a chicken; I’m afraid that if I show the pray-more one, some or other radicalized fundamentalists, empowered by the rhetoric of the political Punches, professors and bottlers, would do me harm. I fear they believe they can, yea must, do this and that they, answering to a higher authority, are above the law of the land.

I don’t buy any of that; I say you believe your myths and I’ll believe mine. The U.S. Constitution (1st amendment, establishment and free exercise clauses) agrees with me on that giving all of us—fundamentalists, apostates and “nones” alike—equal right to our beliefs, but no right to force them on others. For the time being, anyway. So feel free to disagree with me. However try it with anybody else mentioned here at your own risk.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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