November 10, 2016

The state-god is dead.

The state-god is dead.

Long live the state-god!

Eight years ago I saw, heard, and read the terror and depression of nearly half the population as America elected the most progressive oriented President we've had since FDR, or perhaps ever. My friends on the right didn't care that he was black, they were terror struck because the last defence against the 'evil' progressive left that already owned the house and senate was now wiped away. Their god, which was the state, had just died. Or been killed by city dwellers who don't know how the real world works!

Yesterday I saw, heard, and read a similar terror and depression sweep over my friends on the left. It wasn't that the new President was white, the terror comes because the last defence against every step forward over the last eight years had crumbled. This invincible-all-just-all-knowing-all-righteous progressive god of the state had died. Or been killed by rural citizens who don't know how the real world works!

The same could be said for the end of the Reagan/Bush era and the end of the Clinton era. And no doubt changes in administrations long before I was born.

But here is the thing, you are in a bubble.

It may be the bubble of Seattle (where I live) where every war is unjust and every city park a campground. It may be you are in rural Montana (where I grew up) where every gun is sacred and every tax an affront to liberty. Or it may be on Facebook, where algorithms make sure you don't hear from people you disagree with.

When you are in a bubble and when every voice sounds the same and every voice says the same things (*cough talk radio, *cough NPR) and then the state is handed over to the other people, you will feel insecure and you will feel depressed. The institutions and voices you put your faith in, who told you everything would be ok, have suddenly been revealed to be empty and toothless. Your state-god is dead. While the other people have their state-god back.

I'd like to suggest to you that you shouldn't put your faith in the state. It exists to carry out injustice with the hope that it will pick the lesser of many evils 51% of the time. To take from one, and give to another. To jail one, and let another walk free. To take life from one, to free another from bondage. To praise children as the future, and discourage population increase. To make one thing cheap, and another thing expensive. It wields mighty power but has a terribly inconsistent track record. Beyond this, it is also a racket obsessed with protecting itself (one of the many reasons that 6 of the 10 wealthiest counties in America surround the capital).

If you put your faith in the state then at times you may be delighted when tanks roll, or the White House is bathed in rainbow light. At other times you will fall on your face in grief because it got slightly harder to get an abortion, or a new city refuses to deport undocumented workers. Some laughed eight years ago when Texas wanted to succeed from the union. Now others laugh when California wants to do the same thing.

If your state-god died today, or eight years ago, or back in the 80s, or the day Lincoln was shot : keep it dead! The state makes a terrible god. The D or the R floating next to a leader's name should not dictate your happiness, the way you treat your family, or the way you treat your neighbours.

I'm not saying issues and policy aren't important. I'm not saying you shouldn't vote. I'm not saying you shouldn't run for office. I am saying that your life will regularly be hell if you worship the false god of the state.

Don't worship your kids, your spouse, your church, your college, your governor, your President, Social Security, the UN, or the planet. Don't assume that nothing is durable when the tiny spider silk thread that holds your world view together appears to be cut. As Obama said on election day, the sun will still rise no matter what happens.

Finally, don't waste your talents and creative energy trying to cut others down to feel better. Their spider silk threads will snap on their own in a few weeks, months, or years.

Trust in good things, trust that good things endure, love others as God enables to do so, and then teach others to do the same.