by Justin Robbins
Since his initial free-form announcement of his presidential bid, celebrity statesman impersonator Donald Trump cobbled together policy ideas the way comedians settle on the best jokes; with an applause meter. By the time anyone took him seriously, it wasn’t the anyone who should have been all along. He now has the keys, the codes, and the coiffure that will, for the next four years, lead the free world. It hardly matters that he doesn’t have the capacity.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far: policy announcements will be no more than 140 characters, and shall be announced on the official Twitter account of the President within two hours of him learning about them on the new official state media KCNA, (that’s North Korean for “Fox News”). Secondly, words will no longer mean what you think they mean. For example, as of January 20, 2017, the indiscriminate use of executive orders to enact policy shall continue to be referred to as “tyranny” or “imperialism”; but, only insofar as those words now mean “patriotic.”
One more factor of note for the man who campaigned as “not beholden to anyone”, is groups who may disagree with that sentiment. Especially groups comprised of people who abandoned every previously claimed and highly touted principle just to vote for him.
Case in point, former Montana Representative, and budget hair gel model Matthew Monforton. He views the Clown Prince’s scattered, whack-a-mole approach to governance as an opportunity ripe for manipulation. It’s an age old formula, really…wherever insecure, unstable demagogues declare an era of “alternative facts”, you will find God(s). After all, why create new alternative facts, when you can tap the original authors?
In a recent blog post, Monforton hits the conservative essentials (bastardized Founding Father quotes, open bigotry and dog-whistle racism) to argue the Dear Leader should use executive power to derail the Johnson Amendment. This is the 1954 tax law which restricts tax-exempt organizations such as 501(c)(3) nonprofits and (importantly for Monforton) churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Monforton’s reasoning is as cynical as it is short-sighted.
He first argues the President could follow the “noble tradition” of presidents (other than President Obama) refusing to enforce laws they deem unconstitutional. Here, he slips in a Founding Father reference, ironically noting Thomas Jefferson’s refusal to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798. That’s right, Monforton thinks Trump should employ a tactic made noble by ignoring laws designed to deport foreigners and restrict immigrant voting. Trump. Its like a joke that writes itself.
Next, he baits Hair Majesty with a potential voting block. Monforton reminisces that a “truckload” of votes went to the thrice-married paragon of virtue specifically because Trump (and at least two Corinthians), pandered to Christians with this exact promised carrot. Monforton intimates that its bad politics to make people, who believe we all descended from one man made from dirt (and a woman from his rib), on a 6,000 year old planet, look foolish.
For his climax, perhaps the only kind he’s ever known, Monforton claims repeal of the Johnson Amendment will reveal, once and for all, the sheep in shepherd’s clothing. Those cowardly pastors who use the Johnson Amendment as a convenient excuse to minister to their parishioners about religion; rather than shove a political agenda down their throats. You can almost feel the spittle as Monforton vows to “expose pastors’ true motives”, force your children to pray in school (presumably to a state-approved god), and let the gays get stoned again…you know, like biblically.
Side note here: am I the only one who finds it disturbing that when you attach the term “biblically” to the phrase “get stoned”, everyone knows you mean literally pummeling someone to death with rocks? This from the perfect guide-book on morality…?
In all likelihood, the Johnson Amendment is in genuine peril. People like Monforton, dripping with the type of righteous arrogance only available to those who see in themselves the earthly vehicle of their god’s will, did help elect this, the nation’s first atheist president. I mean, he’s never at the meetings, but do you honestly get the impression Trump believes there’s a being greater than himself…sorry, Himself?
(Disclaimer: atheism is one answer to one question, at which people arrive for a variety of reasons. As a rule, atheists tend to value reason, verifiable evidence and honesty. This armchair comparison is offered tongue-in-cheek, to illustrate the depth to which religious Trump supporters truly fell. No offense was intended to non-believers by this association.)
Of the many, varied, and staggering differences between today’s Republican Party and Founding Fathers, a front-runner is the Fathers’ insight and foresight. In a Congress of just 56 men, they were able to recognize there were approximately 56 different ideas about who, what, or if God was. From there, they realized the only way to ensure all citizens received equal treatment under the law, was to ensure no man’s god took precedent. With their very first constitutional amendment, they built a wall of separation between the church and the state to serve and protect everyone; a wall with actual purpose…the only kind worth building.
But, it’s a new day. The Monfortons of this country, justifiably concerned that the Information Age may complicate their efforts to indoctrinate children with Iron Age morality and mythology, currently have a share of the reins. If Trump wants to run again, he may need to pretend he cares what they think; but hey, he’s done that before.
All of the opinions contained herein are those of Justin Robbins. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.