It makes me very uneasy that so many people seem to be surprised by the appearance at center-stage of someone like Donald Trump. He is actually quite a familiar figure to anyone who has had his or her eyes open in America for the last several decades. I was a child and a teenager in the 1950's and 60's and encountered countless men similar to Donald Trump. They were generally not as rich as he is, but they were essentially the same sort of person, the same type of character. And the same is true of his supporters. I see no strangers there. These are the all-too-familiar people of one type who at times made my growing up a genuine and sometimes dangerous ordeal. For me, the appearance of candidate Trump is not a new mystery, but a very old problem that has refused to go away and has continued to fester and grow all my life in America because no one ever made choices that might actually result in the termination of such a type of person in America. When I look at the faces of the supporters at a Trump rally, I see the same people I encountered when I marched for Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 60's. These were the people whose existence resulted in my having a broken wrist and a fractured occipital bone because I physically stood up for the truths being proclaimed by King. This is the same face I saw on the man who came at me with a chain because I said the Viet Nam war was an American crime. I remember these people quite well. They are a consequence of choices made by this entire culture which never really questioned the doctrine of America Above All. These people are in fact one of the cornerstones of America. There is nothing new about them. But now they are directly claiming the kind of power they always wanted. They are a long time coming. They are America Now.
If I had to choose someone to represent American politics as a historical phenomenon, I might well choose Hillary Clinton. American politics is the long story of how property rights subjugated individual rights until 'freedom' was just a behavior in a pathologically hollow consumer society sinking deeper and deeper into debt until it was itself just a possession, just a property. It is the story of beguiling and intoxicating the hypnotized and oppressed with glorious dreams that never come true. Hillary Clinton has been in every crevice and corner of the game gathering knowledge and weapons. She has grown old and seasoned in the game of property and the manipulation of 'freedom'. She is the smiling old face of American Imperialism. She is the finally revealed truth and soul of Betsy Ross. She is the creation and consequence of innumerable choices in American history. She is a long time coming. She is America Now.
When I was a boy, I longed very deeply for Jesus Christ to be the otherworld Hero who would transform this world, transform reality itself, into something that erased all my confusion and pain and gave me an existence of true indestructible human meaning. I longed for him to make it a place where the great trees never died, where the waters ran forever clear and free, where the animals were at peace and never driven by the violence of blind hunger, where creative people (who had no stomachs) were awake and fearless and friends with all things under the sun, or beyond the sun. But I kept meeting Christians who talked big and lived small; Christians who believed in Jesus, but who seemed to believe in Money more, just in case; Christians who always talked about morality and responsibility and politics and who had big cars and eyes like sharks; Christians who eventually drove away my frail, romantic boy-dreams about Jesus and a beautiful world.