Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Story Told by White People

(Revised 10/28 to be less of an asshole)

It's way past time to air out & beat like a rug the central myth of the 2012 election : The Welfare King. It's the story, created by plutocrats and spread, openly & through back channels, down the pathways of darkness, that gives body to all the old ugliness & fake nobility to the rankest tribalism of white America. It's not directly racism, but that's the fertilizer.

In its basic form, the myth is that Obama is King of the Hobos, out to build a coalition of dependency while Noble Sir Willard will unbind the Galtian Heroes that the rest of us are holding back.

In the form I first heard it:
Obama: "I'm going to give you free insurance. Free food. Free housing and jobs!"
Crowd: "Why do we need jobs?"

From Romney, this is expressed in the "free stuff" speech about Obama & the NAACP, the 47% nonsense, and the endlessy repeated lies about repealing the welfare work requirement.

Of course, nothing like this is found in any actual speeches or policies of the last 4 years. So it's easy to look at the people who spout it as outliers, deluded souls. But the thing to remember is that most of them are aware that it's not literally true. It's a unifying myth, expressing something that most of us have felt at one time or another. The point is to make the followers feel that they are the chosen, and the Others are worthless.

There are some people in the world who are naturally good & decent. Many, like me, are prone to resentments (no matter how many second chances and undeserved blessings we've had). With all the history & diversity of the US, especially for those of us who were here a long time ago, there are easy, evil paths for this to emerge. We grew up surrounded by the detritus of race, class, homophobia, ancient wrongs, empire, heroism, mistakes, and all that a self-invented nation produced and smashed on its way up in the world. Mostly, when some unresolved garbage comes bubbling up, we have enough restraint to face it down, look at the origin, and Get Over It.

So, when those of us not pure of heart see the Beast not confronted, but unleashed as Virtue, it's a very scary thing.

It needs to be confronted directly in it's falseness & hatefulness. Then we can chill out & dance a bit.

Our text this weekend is a meditation on initiative from 1Samuel 15:

Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
4 Then Saul summoned the people and [c]numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 5 Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 So Saul [d]defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is [e]east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from [f]following Me and has not carried out My commands.” And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night. 12 Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on [g]down to Gilgal.” 13 Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this [h]bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the [i]lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak!”

17 Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, 18 and the Lord sent you on a [j]mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”

20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the [k]mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said,
Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king.”
Remember kids : Bible is wack. Ain't enough you kill all the babies, you can't wait to dinner time to slaughter the sheep.


Susan of Texas said...

Godliness is obedience!

And God (or the president, same thing) wants us to kill all our enemies and their children. They should have chosen different fathers.

Downpuppy said...

Heh. Yep, when I found this passage you came to mind.