graphic by twolf

When PEBO becomes PBO on Tuesday, our wounded nation and struggling people will see Hope take the oath of Office in a ceremony invoked by Hate. After the last Inaugural ball ends and the bleachers come down, what will PBO choose to keep around: Hate, or Hope?

Like most grade school kids in the Sixties, I was taught how America is a nation of hope, starting with the brave Pilgrims and continuing right through to our war against the evil Commies. Save for the wax candles on my family’s Thanksgiving table, the Pilgrims seemed pretty abstract. Thanks to our monthly "drop and cover" drills, the black and yellow fallout signs outside designated fallout shelters, and the air raid siren tested each Friday, the evil Commies seemd quite real. The message we were taught about the Second World War was also quite real: the good Allies had defeated the evil Nazi Reich and Japan’s Imperial Empire. Our fathers and uncles and grandparents (as well as the jeeps, gas masks, and other "war surplus" so common in postwar Southern California) made WWII all the more real for us. The kids I went to school with all heard about the brave heroes who’d stood up to the Nazis and their hatred. We also heard about the silent collaborators with Evil: the good burghers who kept silent about the hate even as it was constructed around them. We learned "silence is assent" as well as "who you choose to be with shows who you are". So near as I can tell, the messages worked. Kids who repeated anti-Semitic slurs (usually their parents’) learned they couldn’t do that without severe consequences. We stood against the haters, not with them. No one stood with anyone who had a good word for Hitler, his followers, or their Reich.

A few decades later, the man who professes to bring Hope to America chose for his Inaugural invocation the prominent Southern Californian who openly invokes Hitler Youth as a model for his Dominionist religious cult, openly proclaims hate that bars one-seventh of Americans from full participation in our nation, and openly supports Christian "leaders" in Africa who demand persecution of LGBT folk and wink when the militia they command commits sectarian mass murders.

The man PEBO chose to host and question him in campaign debate and has now chosen to appear before America and the world to give the Inaugural invocation turns out to be a true reflection of the America I didn’t learn about in school. The Pilgrims my family and I still remember and set out candles to represent every Thanksgiving were actually part of a Puritan sect viciously intolerant of other Christians, much less non-Christians. The avowedly "Christian" colonies in New England soon turned to massacring Native Americans and seizing their lands, atrocities that later became de facto American policy. Soon after succeeding in subjugating almost all of America’s rightful owners through the "Indian Wars" and the detention camps called "reservations", America herself embarked upon Empire. The first victims of that Empire — our empire — included the Filipino people our troops tortured, raped, and systematically slaughtered when the ingrates had the nerve to demand America honor her pledge to free their lands from the Spanish Empire, rather than seize them for our own. America lent out her armed forces to pulverise indigenous peoples and authentic leaders in order to make Central America safe for what would become Chiquita: the locals learned to accept our Banana Republics, or die. American spies overthrew the Iranians’ legitimate government so the corrupt Shah we installed would give away his nation’s oil; that worked so well our Langley syndicate went on to knock off leaders around the world to make their nations safe for our megacorps. Our Langley syndicate even brought in the Nazi spy General Gehlen and his "organization", who obligingly helped us create the death squads our brave and honorable spooks unleashed whenever democracy threatened out Imperial control over Latin America. Not to be outdone, America’s most senior military leaders supported Indonesian death squads against the orders of America’s own civilian government.

Did Admiral Blair end up facing court-martial? Nope. In fact, he just got promoted: he’s PEBO’s intelligence czar. A perfect match for Rick Warren as America’s Pastor.

Who will PBO keep on at the heart of American Power when the Inauguration circus leaves the Village: Hate, or Hope? I’d like to hope for the latter, but Rick Warren and Admiral Blair serve the former. Who does PEBO serve?

Looking at PEBO’s spook czar, I fear I know the answer. I hope I’m wrong.