“Maybe the progress wasn’t as great as we wanted to tell ourselves it was. The Civil Rights movement was not as much a grassroots enlightenment as it was a top-down federally enforced policy. Racism is not going to be fixed by the government.”
That was my Twitter response to a thoughtful post written by a progressive. He was lamenting how we seem to have lost a half century of progress in racial relations. He was asking whether there was a way back to that progress; to turn the clock back to 2016. It struck me as strangely reactionary for a progressive; a strange comment for strange times.
Progressivism is an interesting movement. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t see themselves as progressive. We all want progress, we have different paths to get there and different rules we are willing to make or break, but in the end, we all have similar goals. Fair and equal treatment under the law, the chance to develop ourselves in our careers and education, the ability to earn a piece of the American dream. We want a steady, stable economy, laws that are fair and equally enforced, and respect from other countries. I think it is interesting that the political left has adopted a morally charged word like “progressive” as though deliberately trying to point out that the other side doesn’t believe in progress. It isn’t a set of policy positions is the appropriation of a value. It is a new secular religion.
One of the ironies of progressivism, as I have watched it unfold in the last decade or so, is how similar it is to the evangelical right. Although they claim to be opposites of each other, they have managed to become opposite of each other as one half of a pair of scissors is the opposite of the other.
This point of view is going to be inherently unpopular. As a staunch opponent of Trumpism, I am expected to be a reformed conservative, fully receptive of my new friends on the left who will teach me the true political faith. Unfortunately, I am as unlikely to be a progressive convert as I am to become a MAGA hat wearing, flag waving, rally attending, Trump supporter. I see as many problems on one side as I do on the other. More than that, I see the same problems. The big question for people like me becomes, is there a place for me to live? Is America big enough to fit me, or is there only room for these two faiths, so alike in so many ugly ways? Trumpism and Progressivism; America First and the Resistance; religious extremism and secular religious extremism. Two sides of the same ugly coin.
One of the hardest things to find in today’s world is a consistent definition of a value. For example racial equality used to have a consistent usage. America was not expected to create equality between the races, America was to allow equal opportunity. The statues of lady justice has a blindfold, and that was what racial equality used to be about. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Progressives have gone beyond that. Theirs is a moral crusade to tip the scales of justice in favor of the minority. The minority, in their morally zealous secular judgement, is too disadvantaged to compete in a level playing field. Instead, he or she must compete with the all powerful straight white male who has been held up as the source of all the evils in the world. White European colonialism, Native American subjugation, African slavery, Japanese internment camps, and Southern segregation are all evidence that it is time to overthrow the white overlords. The minority members deserve a leg up, a helping hand, an advocate in the government. Doubtless these vengeful revolutionaries will make life difficult for the privileged white usurpers once they are safely beneath the progressive heel.
The fracturing of America didn’t start on the right, it started on the left with the progressive movement. The hatred that has colored America in shades of darkest black began on the political left, and it’s growing. Consider for a moment, the zealousness of the progressives. They are determined to outdo the Puritans in their secular piety. Cultural appropriation is the new moral code of modesty, stringently enforced with public shaming of everyone from Kim Kardashian to Bruno Mars. According to the cultural appropriation police, Bruno Mars is only popular because his music makes black rap palatable to white listeners. In their view, only black people should be able to make a career out of African based music. Bruno Mars got so much hate, he got really down. He tried to stem the criticism with insistence that he was sufficiently grateful to the foundations of the genera of his music. It wasn’t enough, the tide of hate almost sunk Mars’s career. Thankfully, the black musicians he was accused of stealing from stood up for him as an artist who has found expression in the music they all love. Other artists with less visibility have surely been less successful in fighting this kind of prejudice.
Cultural Appropriation isn’t the only sin that progressives are into shaming for. LBGT values are huge. If you ever considered marriage as being reserved for only heterogeneous couples, forget ever having a successful political career. Look at the shaming of up and coming progressive politician Tulsi Gabbard. She is Hindu and American Somoan, so she fits the minority requirements, but at the age of seventeen, she advocated for a defense of traditional marriage amendment to the Hawaiian constitution. Her father is still actively engaged in pro-traditional marriage activism. (Cue the scandalized gasps of the secular-progressive knitting club). I don’t think anyone thinks she has a future in politics, let alone securing the Democratic nomination for President. Too bad for them. She seems like she might have a lot to offer in spite of her sins.
Consider the cases of Jeremy Kappell, a small town meteorologist who slipped up the name of a local park named for Martin Luther King Jr. He was publicly shamed when a video clip went viral on social media. He was fired within days without an opportunity to explain himself. Comedians too, it seems, are having past jokes examined for secular progressive sins. If the sins are deemed damning enough, their careers are over, even if they give the most abjectly humble apologies. There is no Savior in the progressive movement. No forgiveness. No redemption.
If things look bleak on the left, they are far worse on the right. The abandonment of the political right to anything resembling a coherent moral and policy value system has been a spectacular disaster. In a few short years, the cult of personality around Donald Trump has completely destroyed any credibility of the political right, and effectively paved the way for the progressive left to enforce their brave new world on America. They have adopted the hypocrisy and cruelty of the left and taken it to a new level. They have shown the most abhorrent use of religion to shield Donald Trump by making him out to be a repentant sinner who is now a soldier for Christ. They refuse to look honestly at the damage he is doing to trusted institutions and the way he targets his political enemies on Twitter, openly abusing his executive authority with no political or social consequences.
Surely in this awful state, we should take a good hard look at our nation. We need a baptism. We need a renewal. We need to start over and consider what our core values are. We need to strip ourselves of hypocrisy and pride. We need to bathe ourselves in the blood of Him who is Mighty to Save. The sins of the past are real. Racism, income inequality, gender discrimination, the ripple effects of slavery and segregation, drugs, gangs, police brutality, and all the rest. Those sins are real and we won’t fix this with secular religious piety coupled with government reinforcement or evengelical hypocrisy proselyted and enforced by Donald Trump.
We need a real Savior to unite us, and he isn’t going to be sporting a clever slogan and a red campaign hat. He will be meek and lowly in heart. He will care for and advocate for the disadvantaged, while refusing to force the human mind. He will lead from the front, and inspire us to be something more than the sum of our parts. He will show us what the real destiny of America will be, the nation that has always been his creation, formed for his eternal purposes. She doesn’t build walls or draw nationalistic boundary lines among people. She helps liberate the captives in foreign lands. She shows the world that leadership doesn’t equal tyranny and that wealth doesn’t equal value. She knows that there is only one who is King of this great land, and that is the true God of this World, even Him whose blood atones for all those who come unto him; Jesus Christ the King of Kings.
He is known in many lands and many religions by many names. I have been researching ancient cultures and traditions and the story of the hero who sacrifices his life for all is present universally. Human kind is instinctively aware that we are in an awful quandary. No religion of heaven or Earth can save us. We need a Savior! It is in our collective unconscious. Our modern identity of self-sufficiency is at odds with our subconscious knowledge that we are not enough. Our phones and tablets, mass transit and internet, our fast food restaurants and online universities, stock markets and bank accounts will not sustain us. We must come unto Him! We must confess our weakness and sacrifice our pride at the altar of his mercy. He is Mighty to Save! Mighty to Save!