The prosperity gospel is quintessentially an American theology. It is 17th century Puritanism colliding with 19th century New Thought; a spiritual movement that included unconventional and nonconformist thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James.
This strange mix then gets hitched to capitalism with a generous sprinkle of hand raising, hallelujah happiness on top; a highly energetic spiritual movement emerging out of little old Topeka, Kansas, in 1901.
The prosperity gospel makes it alright to be rich. In fact, if you’re not rich, you are probably not a good Christian and probably going to Hell.
“The Lord is my banker; my credit is good”
This is Charles Fillmore’s reinterpretation of Psalm 23.
Fillmore founded Unity in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri. He wrote, “Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ; our objective is to discern the Truth in Christianity and prove it.”
It is one of the many religious movements towards the end of the 1800s coalescing and growing out of the New Thought movement.
Fillmore was known as an American mystic who was renowned for his spiritualist interpretations of Biblical Scripture.
His beliefs paved the way for even shinier and more fervent believers who felt God rewards those who are most deserving and faithful to him with money and wealth.
Laws of Prosperity
By the early 1900, the blending of the Puritan work ethic with New Thought was fully fermented into a very bubbly, verifiable, abiding religious zeal that would be enough to put any over-worked, poverty-stricken, overly anxious worker into a state of heavenly glory, at least for a little while, say the typical time of a religious revival promising wealth and prosperity to all of God’s law-abiding, hardworking sheep (Christian-speak for people of faith).
With earthquake-like economic disruptions caused by the Industrial Revolution, this refreshingly fervent religious pastime came just in time for greedy corporate capitalists who needed people to work hard, really hard, so they could make more money.
Add the Holy Fire of the Pentecostal church that believes spiritual gifts are the miraculous ways God works in the world today, and the bomb fire of the Prosperity Gospel Movement ignites into a big and growing spiritual fire of everlasting glory–Hallelujah…praise the Lord, our savior Jesus Christ!
Never mind about deep structural inequalities built into capitalistic systems that are designed to elevate and reward individuals who hold the reigns of power while holding down and keeping poor people who are not born into such privilege.
Russell Conwell and other very charismatic ministers (such as Kenneth Hagin, Ken Copeland, Oral Roberts, and Jim Bakker) blame poverty on an individual’s failure to believe hard enough or to be good enough people who deserve to be rich or to not giving enough of what little money they have to the preacher man.
The idea that you have to give money to get money is a fundamental message preached in the Prosperity Gospel like a little money seed that might grow into a great big money tree one day.
Trumpism Is the Prosperity Gospel Running Wild in American Politics
Since its beginnings in the early 1800s, the Prosperity Gospel has ebbed and flowed. It grew rampantly in the 1900s, then waned during the WW I and II years. It rallied again during the postwar boom of the 1950s, then waned only to return bigger and better than before with the big hair days of the ostentatious 80s.
The mega fall of mega church tele-evangelical preachers and power couples such as Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye or Becki and Jerry Falwell Jr. might have hinted at an incredible reservoir of hypocrisy bubbling underneath all the pretty God Loves You, hallelujahs, and Praise the Lord, but it wasn’t enough to inoculate the masses from the powerfully, tempting, very yummy Gospel of Prosperity.
Enter televangelist Joel Scott Osteen and his non-denominational very charismatic brand of christianity to save the day. He offers 40 powerful promises right from the mouth of God that he, little old Joel Osteen, can let you in on…if you buy his book, believe hard enough, and oh yeah, donated to his mega church in Lakewood, FL.
Jumping into the very big wake being made by Osteen and other mega-ministers who shepherd their ever growing flock of faithful followers with bigger, badder, ever better televangelism programming is the man with the yellow hair and permanent orange tan… and oh yeah, about half of the Republican Party who want to get in on all that fun and money!
And WOW-WE! Look how the Repubs are battling it out for who gets to have the biggest slice of followers! Looks like running down to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring on Trump’s orange hand after January 6, 2021 wasn’t enough to save you Kevin. God isn’t shining his spiritual gifts of prosperity on you today Kevin–that’s for darn sure!
But, I digress, let’s get back to Trump who makes a pretty simple political pitch that Jonathan Last sums up nicely in a piece he wrote after Trump whipped out a front page story about himself on February 6, 2020 at the 69th annual National Prayer Breakfast: Acquitted.
Trump’s simple pitch is this:
"God wants you to have what you want! I should know, because I have it! Come get yours too, for a small contribution!"
It might be interesting to note that at this time, while Trump was at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020, COVID-19 is already spreading in the United States.
Trump says nothing about COVID. Days and weeks after the prayer breakfast, Trump continues to gloat about his Acquittal but still fails to say much of anything about COVID.
He says nothing despite advisors warning him in December 2019 and in January 2020 and February and March of 2020 that COVID is coming!
Bob Woodward interviewed Trump during this time for his book Rage. Woodward repeatedly asked Trump about his response to COVID. Trump repeatedly played it down saying he didn’t want to cause a panic.
Rather than cause a panic, Trump turned commonsense ways of staying safe, such as wearing a mask, into a culture war.
The U.S. has one of the highest death rates from COVID since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019 and 2020. The vast majority of deaths occurred in 2020 while Trump was President and playing it down so he might get re-elected as President so he could make more money!
Personally, this doesn’t sound like a very good way to enjoy the fruits of the New Prosperity Gospel that Trump touts. Dying seems the very opposite of enjoying prosperity.
Wrapped & Tied in Knots of Powerful Positive Thoughts
Tara Isabella Burton sums it all up very well in her 2017 article published in VOX.
It’s difficult to say that the prosperity gospel itself led to Donald Trump’s inauguration. Again, only 17 percent of American Christians identify with it explicitly. It’s far more true, however, to say that the same cultural forces that led to the prosperity gospel’s proliferation in America — individualism, an affinity for ostentatious and charismatic leaders, the Protestant work ethic, and a cultural obsession with the power of “positive thinking” — shape how we, as a nation, approach politics.
Also see, Throughline’s very excellent episode, Capitalism: God Wants You To Be Rich, which aired July 8, 2021. Towards the end of this episode, they play a soundbite from an archived recording from a Trump rally.
TRUMP: You know, I said the other day - 'cause so many people, they carry around "The Art Of The Deal" because they're begging. They're begging their politicians, please, please read "The Art Of The Deal" when you negotiate with China and with Japan or with Mexico and with Vietnam.
One of the speakers in this episode unpacks what Trump is plugging into here.
BUTLER: And I think this is crucial for right now. It flows into a kind of Christian nationalism. It means that God is especially favoring, you know, the nation as a special place. And so the people who live in it, who follow after this particular kind of thing, are going to be more blessed than anybody else in the world.
And another speaker unpacks it a little further.
BOWLER: I think people crave - even if they might hate it, they crave a gospel where the responsibility always falls back on them. Because it's always the one thing we can control is ourselves. So if you preach an empowered individualism, you've got a gospel you can believe in, which is always us.
The prosperity gospel goes by many names: Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It. This “different gospel” teaches that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith. Prosperity theology developed in America in the last century and has been called a “baptized form of capitalism.”
The preachers associated with the movement — including Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and Creflo Dollar — have some of the largest congregations and best-selling books in the country, and they host television programs that seem to air at all hours of the night (and are some of the most-watched programming around the world).
1. John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The signature verse of the prosperity gospel, John 10:10 is used to suggest that God loves his followers and wants them to have every good thing. But interpreting this verse to promise physical gain neglects the depth suggested by its context.
The preceding verses illustrate the parable of the sheep and their good shepherd, Jesus, who calls them by name. The sheep know the good shepherd’s voice and follow. Verse 10 contrasts Jesus with false shepherds who steal and kill and destroy. The abundance of life suggested here has to do with knowing and being known by Jesus, not material things. The Tyndale Commentary explains, “He does not offer them an extension of physical life nor an increase of material possessions, but the possibility, nay the certainty, of a life lived as a higher level of obedience to God’s will and reflecting his glory.”
2. James 4:2 — “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
This verse is used to bolster the “name it and claim it” part of the prosperity gospel — if you don’t “have,” it’s because you haven’t prayed enough. This interpretation ignores the verse that follows, in which James says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Creflo Dollar says this of prayer: “When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass.”
While prayer (including intercessory prayer) is crucial to the life of a Christian, using it to force God into appeasing the believer’s desires also goes against the very prayer Jesus prayed on the eve of his crucifixion: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42
I wrote this piece about one year ago. Being brutalized (physically, psychologically, or spiritually) by someone who holds power over you takes unbelievable amounts of inner strength, courage, and perseverance. Feeling rage is never wrong. However, choosing how to express rage can cross social, cultural, and moral boundaries that exist for very good reasons.
I believe rage is something building up all over the world for many reasons such as being bullied by popular kids at school, bullied by a boss at work, bullied by governmental systems designed to enforce huge inequalities baked deep into its operating systems long ago, or bullied by another country who seek to control a people or a place through violence carried out with impunity.
It doesn’t matter where or how superior power is used to control another human being such use of force is humiliating and is meant to put someone else down. A person on the receiving end of this sort of abuse is suppose to feel fear, sadness, anger, and rage. It is part of the abuse. It is a form of social torture.
If you find yourself in a place of rage, you are right to feel it. Do not try to suppress your rage or run from it. Turn around and face it dead on. Only this way can you choose how to express this rage. It is energy. It has to flow. It will flow whether you are conscious of it or not.
How a persons deals with how rage flow depends on many factors such as family, culture, social groups, emotional maturity, personality, mental health, social structure, and so many other factors. But it is only with conscious awareness that you can capture your rage and choose a better path of action versus a more destructive path.
Rage is going to flow consciously or unconsciously. You begin to heal and regain your strength and dignity when you are conscious of your rage, when you feel your rage, when you own your rage. By doing this, you can use your rage to get to a better place like a sailor who uses the wind to get to where he wants to be rather than letting the wind blow you somewhere you don’t want to be.
Note: Rage can be manufactured, especially in these times. Let’s call this Fake Rage. It is artificially induced into people’s minds by other people seeking to manipulate public sentiment for their own purposes. This is not the kind of rage I am referring to in this blog.
Sacrifice to the Squirrel Gods
Thanksgiving… what a wonderful time to get together with family and friends and share our collective blessings, and oh how precious, after a year and a half of not being able to get together due to a global pandemic!
But, Thanksgiving, oh how aggravating, antagonizing, and infuriating it can be to get together with precisely the people who know how to get under your skin. The one’s who know how to rip off the fragile psychological Band-Aid you’ve managed to put over the bubbling hot well of pain, torment, and psychological abuse inflicted on you by people who are supposed to love and support you (friends or family), but instead they get their kicks inflicting emotional pain and psychological torture at your expense.
Since inflicting pain and torture back on them is not the karmic path you want to take, nor may you have the opportunity to tell them just how horrible and monstrous they have become as defectively amoral human beings… something like June was finally able to do when she confronted Serena Waterford in her prison cell in Season 4, Episode 7 of the Handmaid’s Tale. The part where she screams in her face ‘Do You Understand Me’:
If you don’t have this outlet to express your anger and rage at their moral deficiencies and extremely flawed character traits that are hurting you, then try a sacrifice to the squirrel gods!
t’s what our ancestors used to do long, long ago. We think it’s kind of silly and not what a modern person should be doing… but this is another ploy by your tormentors to keep you feeling horrible. They don’t want you to find your voice, your power.
You can’t let go of your rage any more than you can hold onto it.
The only thing you can do is to try to remove the inner obstructions that are hanging you up as you try to navigate through this blistering inner torrent that is moving through you like a river of rage searing its way through your soul.
That is what sacrifices where for long, long ago. They were never for some god sitting up on high making judgements over us all. They were for us… to help us navigate inner rivers of rage so that we do not become the monsters who are tormenting us and causing so much destruction not only in our lives but the shared reality of everyone.
So make a sacrifice…use your creativity to make your voodoo doll, your effigy of your tormentors. Project all their dangerous energies and damaged soul into your talisman and set it out as an offering to any animal spirit you choose–it could be ravens, wolves, or squirrels.
It is so satisfying…and when you feel this satisfaction inside, you have removed an impediment to your rage because it needs to flow, it’s part of your power and you need all parts of your power…the good, the bad, and the ugly… to heal and grow into the individual you want (and know) you are, which is not a monster like your tormentors but a healer and conscious decision maker of your destiny.
One year later, my rage has not gone away but it has evolved. Margret Atwood is a genesis in capturing the evolution of rage… the kind I’m talking about above. Season 5, episode 10 is absolutely awesome and Billie Eilish’s song dead on! Go Margret, go June, go Serena! Maybe there is hope!
And Other Things to Remember about January 6, 2021
First Archetypal Animation | Trying to Work It Out
In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, my brother-in-law was heard telling his son, “I can’t wait for the shooting and killing to begin.”
I don’t share this to expose what a despicable man he is (although after spending 2.5 weeks with him after attending a memorial service for my sister-in-law who lost her battle to breast cancer, he showed me just how repugnant, wretched, beastly, and hate-filled he has become as a sorry excuse for a man. I am video blogging about the good, the bad, and the ugly in myBig Sky Series).
Rather I share this sad sentiment to shine light on the reality that the 309,000 people living in the US who do not believe in the Big Lie and do not believe violence is justified to overturn an election whose results they don’t like probably know someone who does.
The University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats have been tracking insurrectionist sentiments in U.S. adults, most recently in surveys in June. We have found that 47 million American adults – nearly 1 in 5 – agree with the statement that “the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” Of those, 21 million also agree that “use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency.”
Why should we be paying attention to this when there are so many other Big Problems such as Climate Change, poverty, and disease that need our time and attention. Because the ramifications of the United States of American falling prey to autocratic, authoritarian, dictatorial rule are huge. And as a democracy, we have never been nearer to such an outcome since the Civil War.
Here is what Timothy Snyder, Yale history professor, predicts would happen if a Trump 2024 coup that is carefully being architected right now through our legal systems and then shored up with new legislation restricting voting rights and further bolstered by installing more compliant men and women at state and local levels who are willing to do as the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger refused to do when Trumped asked him to “find” enough votes to overturn his loss in Georgia.
Yale history professor Timothy Snyder predicts the horrific aftermath of a Trump coup in 2024
If Trump runs in 2024, he will lose the popular vote. If corrupt GOP state legislators install Trump as President, the United States will quickly and catastrophically cease to exist. That's what Yale history professor Timothy Snyder says in the latest issue of his "Thinking About" newsletter.
“In a situation where he is installed as president after losing an election, Mr. Trump would vainly try to control what will quickly cease to be the United States. His allies who wish to destroy the state will be the only winners. The precise scenario of the collapse of the United States is impossible to predict, but some of the following is likely to happen, and quickly.
Tens of millions of people protest. Paramilitaries on both sides emerge. Violence leads to fake and real stories of deaths, and to revenge. Police and armed forces will know neither whom they should obey nor whom they should arrest. With traditional authority broken, those wearing uniforms and bearing arms will become partisans, take sides, and start shooting one another. Governors will look for exit strategies for their states. Americans will rush to parts of the disintegrating country they find safer, in a process that looks increasingly like ethnic cleansing. The stock market and then the economy will crash. The dollar will cease to be the world currency.”
It would perhaps be easier if the 47 million people who believe the election was stolen, and especially the 21 million who are ready to take violent action to right their misperceived wrong, lived in a single state like Texas, and then let that state secede from the union like the South wanted to do during the Civil War. But that is not our shared reality. We are interwoven and connected to the 47 million American adults who believe the election was stolen from Trump and cross paths with the 21 million adults who are willing to use violence to get their way.
They are our brothers (or brother-in-laws), sisters, uncles, aunts, parents, children, and friends. So what do we do?
We stay informed. We find was to stay sane as my Big Sky Seriesis video blogging about. We endure the uncertainty and the extreme discomfort, anxiety, and fear that goes with it. And despite it all, we find ways to restore our sense of faith in people that at our centers, we are capable of heroic acts of kindness, goodness, and unselfishness as demonstrated just yesterday when Los Angeles police officers risked their lives to pull a pilot from his crashed plane seconds before a commuter train crashed into it.
What follows is a curation of some of the reporting on Jan 6 one year later and what has been learned as well as what remains a threat. It is by no means a comprehensive list. For example, I have made a conscious decision not to highlight “news” sources touting the Big Lie even as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulls the oldest trick days after marking this sad day in American history. It is a standard go to trick in the authoritarian’s playbook, which is pretend the other side is doing exactly what you are doing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office knocked Democrats over “the left’s Big Lie” — which it pegged as the belief that “there is some evil anti-voting conspiracy sweeping America” — as Democrats look to push for federal voting rights legislation.
A memo from the minority leader’s office on Sunday predicts that Democrats will “try to use fake hysteria to break the Senate and silence millions of Americans’ voices so they can take over elections and ram through their radical agenda,” likely referring to calls by many Democrats to abolish the filibuster in the Senate to pass voting rights reforms.
I have roughly laid out the information below by news sources, begining with a compelling interview with Evan Osonos about the building of a Right-Wing media empire just in time for the 2024 election.
Second Archetypal Animation | Purveyors of Rage
Building of a Right-Wing Media Empire to CancelCancel Culture
Fresh Air Interview with EVAN OSNOS who wrote about Dan Bongino in the New Yorker about how he is building a right-wing media empire just in time for the 2024 election--how to cancel cancel culture.
A Several Things That Grabbed My Attention:
When Evan Osnos asked Bongino for an interview, Bongino refused stating, “Why should I want to talk to the enemy.”
Bongino calls face masks mouth diapers and face burkas. While Bongino is vaccinated himself, he tells his followers to remain unvaccinated. When asked about this, he doesn’t see the connection to his vaccination status and continued health versus his followers deaths because they listened to him, remained unvaccinated, caught COVID, and died.
His fellow secret service agents said, “It’s like there are 2 Bonginos; the one who was a secret service agent and the one he is now.” He plays into the suspicion conservatives have that government is not working for us–the common man and woman in America with conservative values.
Bongino made the link between war and the battlefield with politics and differences between parties. He has been very successful in marrying the idea that violence and politics go together. He wrapped himself very tightly around Donald Trump that helped his growing business rise exponentially. He is better at tapping into rage than Alex Jones and others doing the same. Rush died. FoxNews and Matt Drudge are grappling with intense competition on the right for the spotlight.
He has a lot of gun related advertisers and survivalist businesses as well as Omaha steaks and sleep products. Guns and survivalist thinking are phenomena confined to the right. He promotes the idea that elections are rigged and are not to be trusted. He grew up during the time of the NRA dominance and embraces the idea and term the NRA promoted about having a combat mindset.
It is important to understand why we are at the moment we are now, which is arguably worst than one year ago.
This is a six-month Times investigation that has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.
7 Basic Characteristics Every Democracy Needs| The Advertiser Mirror, March 2, 2021 | (1) Civil liability, (2) Democratic values, (3) Guarantee of rights and common welfare, (4) Decentralized democracy, (5) Political participation, (6) Constitutional principle, (7) Democratic models
‘American democracy will continue to be tested’: Peril author Robert Costa on Trump, the big lie and 2024 | Interview by David Smith in Washington | A Trump 2024 sign seen at a vendor’s table during an anti-vaccine, anti-mask mandate rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, last month. Photograph: Paul Weaver/Sopa Images/Rex/Shutterstock | The Guardian, Sep 26, 2021
Chaos in Washington as Trump supporters storm Capitol| Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 | Israel Hayom — This is where we stand | US President Trump tweets: These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.
The Dan Bongino Show | iHeart | He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric. [Note:He is a former Secret Service Agent and NYPD officer…he is not so much debunking Republican establishment rhetoric as wrapping it and building a new authoritarian narrative to pave the way for Trump’s glorious return.]
Top Fox hosts lobbied Trump to act on Jan. 6, texts show | By David Bauder, December 15, 2021 | AP | “The revelation that Fox News Channel personalities sent text messages to the White House during the Jan. 6 insurrection is another example of how the network’s stars sought to influence then-President Donald Trump instead of simply reporting or commenting on him. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade all texted advice to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as a mob of pro-Donald Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chair of the congressional committee probing the riot.”
Marketplace Tech Description: One year after the assault on the Capitol, more police departments have deployed artificial intelligence programs for surveillance.
In the weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, law enforcement agencies and internet sleuths identified hundreds of people who stormed the U.S. Capitol. Many were later arrested or faced consequences at their jobs or in their communities.
Authorities used a variety of technologies to speed up that process, which was needed because there were millions of images, videos, messages, social media posts and bits of location data to parse.
Anjana Susarla is professor of responsible artificial intelligence and information systems at Michigan State University and has been studying the role that tech, especially image recognition, is playing in the ongoing search for suspects. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Amanpour and Company Reporting
Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun
Overview: Barton Gellman was among the journalists who predicted in 2020 that President Trump would not admit defeat if he lost the presidential election. Now, in a cover story for The Atlantic, Gellman says the former president is in an even better position to seize power. He speaks with Hari Sreenivasan about why he believes democracy will be on trial in the 2024 presidential election. Originally aired on December 10, 2021.
PBS NewsHour & WAMU Reporting
January 6 Was A Shot Across the Bow | It is a Harbinger
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman says the Republican party is increasingly unwilling to accept defeat and, in fact, is "prepared to win by sacrificing the essential elements of democracy." His new Atlantic article is 'Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun.'
Third Archetypal Animation | As The End of Democracy Draws Near
The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol affected many people — residents, elected officials and their staff, journalists, and the police who were called in to protect them.
WAMU's Naomi Starobin and Gabe Bullard put together this montage of the voices of some of these people who talked about the events of that day and how it impacted them.
This is the full episode of the PBS NewsHour for Jan. 7, 2022. At minute 23:30, Judy introduced a podcast she and three amazing women reporters witnessed and reported on live while the insurrection unfolded. Lisa Desjardins was inside the Capitol as the rioters invaded and had to hide. She tells about her experience inside the Capitol that day. Amna Nawaz was previously a war correspondent and has parachuted into dangerous places to report on them. She was outside of the Capitol as the rioters invaded and interviewed them in real time. She said the force and energy was just as violent and vitriolic as any of the places she reported during her days as a foreign correspondent reporting on wars. Yamiche Alcindor was at the White House as the day unfolded reporting on what Trump was not doing as the carnage at the Capitol unfolded.
Description: Congress is still investigating the people and organizations linked to the Jan. 6 attack — the most violent assault on the U.S. Capitol since the British attack during the war of 1812. The PBS NewsHour looked back at what happened that day, the lasting impacts on those who survived, where the investigations stand, and the broader effects on American politics, culture and democracy itself.
Fourth Archetypal Animation | Carnage at the Capitol
For months, my colleagues and I at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats have been tracking insurrectionist sentiments in U.S. adults, most recently in surveys in June. We have found that 47 million American adults – nearly 1 in 5 – agree with the statement that “the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” Of those, 21 million also agree that “use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency.”
The Guardian | David Smith in Washington@smithinamerica, Wed 5 Jan 2022 02.00 EST
Fifth Archetypal Animation | “I Just Want to Occupy Your Mind”
"In the year since the insurrection that reverberated around the world, Trump’s stranglehold on Republicans has seemingly become stronger, not weaker. Graham was soon back on the golf course with him; McCarthy was soon kissing the ring at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Many leaders of the party have set about changing the narrative of the insurrection to portray it as a heroic last stand – a new “lost cause”.
"Trump was the first president in American history to inspire an attempted coup. After a rally where the defeated incumbent urged supporters to “fight like hell”, the angry mob laid siege to the US Capitol to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory."
"Five people died, scores of police were beaten and bloodied and there was about $1.5m in damage in the first major attack on the Capitol since the war of 1812. More than 700 people have been charged in one of the biggest criminal investigations in American history."
"Today the loudest voices in the Republican party belong to the extremists. For them, Trump’s “big lie” that the election was stolen from him due to voter fraud, rendering Biden an illegitimate president, goes hand in hand with the lie that the insurrection was a morally justified crusade, an righteous endeavor to save democracy, not destroy it."
"Trump himself perpetuates this through a regular barrage of interviews, rallies and emailed statements since he was barred from Twitter. Notably he has sought to lionize Ashli Babbitt, who was shot dead during the riot, as a martyr."
"Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican congresswoman, has cast rioters currently held in detention in a similar light. In November she visit a Washington jail’s so-called “patriot wing” and complained the inmates were enduring “inhumane” conditions because of their political beliefs."
"Other pro-Trump Republicans in the House echo these messages – one referred to the Capitol attack as a “normal tourist visit” – or do little to contradict them. Some Republican senators are evidently more uncomfortable with the web of deceit and urge the party to look forward to the next election. But again only a small minority are willing to take Trump on directly."
It started with 'The Big Lie." Many argue that led directly to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th last year.
Over the last twelve months, hundreds have been arrested and charged in connection with the insurrection, including nearly a dozen from New England and six from Massachusetts.
But that's just a fraction of those who breached the Capitol that day. And as investigations - both by law enforcement and Congress continue - it has become clear that there was coordination, planning, at least by and for some of the participants, behind that breach.
We talk more about accountability, and what the future may hold for extremism locally and nationally with Joan Donovan, Research Director at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy and Andrew Lelling, former US Attorney for Massachusetts under the Trump Administration. Lelling coordinated with the U.S. Attorney's office in the District of Columbia on prosecutions.
Description: One year after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, the House select committee’s investigation into what happened that day is far from over. Much of the committee’s work has been behind closed doors, but the bipartisan group of lawmakers plan to enter a more public phase in 2022. This week, Kyle Cheney joins Ryan Lizza to answer a big question: What has the Jan. 6 committee accomplished so far?
Seventh Archetypal Animation | Blessed Be The Fruit
Description of Interview: President Biden has promised to face down authoritarianism and defend democracy – something Margaret Atwood sees as surprisingly fragile. The author is renowned around the world for her dystopian novels, including "The Handmaid’s Tale." In her latest project she takes a turn, with a focus on utopian ideals and how we might do better. It’s all part of a new online learning experience on Disco called "Practical Utopias: An Exploration of the Possible." Originally aired on December 7, 2021.
Description of Interview: Clashing ideologies about the meaning of democracy in America are no less harrowing than the events of January 6. Journalist Bill Moyers, a 30-time Emmy Award winner, shares his views and concerns in the new PBS documentary "Preserving Democracy," airing tomorrow. Moyers speaks with Hari Sreenivasan alongside historian Kathleen Belew – who also appears in the film – about the insurrection and the danger of a recurrence. Originally aired on January 5, 2022.
Description of Interview: In the Trump impeachment trial, a key element of the prosecution's case is a dramatic video taken at the Capitol during the insurrection. Who were the actual faces in the crowd? Ronan Farrow has profiled three different rioters to learn more about their backgrounds. All three have been arrested and now face criminal charges. One made threats on Farrow's life. Michel Martin speaks with the reporter about his investigation. Originally aired on February 10, 2021.
Description of Interview: Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley sees January 6, 2021 as part of a history of fascist impulses in American politics. This is the focus of his book "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them." His latest article in The Guardian is titled “America is now in fascism’s legal phase.” Stanley speaks with Michel Martin about what he calls an “extremely critical moment” for democracy around the world. Originally aired on January 6, 2021.
Description of Interview: A new study on the January 6 Capitol insurrection finds that of the nearly 400 rioters arrested or charged, 93% are white and 86% are male. Michel Martin speaks to the study’s principal investigator, Professor Robert Pape, to discuss these findings and some surprising revelations about the attackers and their motives. Originally aired on May 6, 2021.
Description of Interview: As former president Donald Trump's second impeachment trial enters its third day, the question remains whether his words or actions incited the January 6 assault on the Capitol. But little attention has been paid to a video that was shown that same day, at the January 6 "March to Save America" rally in Washington, D.C. Jason Stanley, a scholar of fascist propaganda, claims that this short video -- shown immediately after Rudy Giuliani left the stage, prior to the attack on the Capitol -- was full of themes and tactics that threaten liberal democracy. Stanley breaks the video down with Hari Sreenivasan and elaborates on its role in the violence that took place on that infamous day. Originally aired on February 11, 2021.
Description of Interview: "Presidents are not kings, and the plaintiff is not president." These were the words of a U.S. Federal judge rejecting former President Donald Trump's request to withhold records about the January 6th insurrection. The ruling will give a bipartisan house committee access to hundreds of pages of documents from the Trump White House. The committee also has issued 10 new subpoenas to former Trump officials. The Washington Post has conducted its own extensive investigation called "The Attack: Before, During and After." It included more than 75 journalists and interviews with over 230 people. Here is Michel Martin speaking with Post reporters Amy Gardner and Aaron Davis about the cascade of warnings received before January 6th. Originally aired on November 10, 2021.
"We often hear that, unlike in fledgling democracies, America's institutions are strong. But, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." If people abuse them, attack them, disregard them, they will slowly collapse."
Also, keep an eye out for Fareed Zakaria’s latest special on CNN: The Fight to Save American Democracy. It provides a deep dive into the rise of totalitarian, authoritative, and fascist regimes that follow surprisingly similar recognizable patterns to grab power and control thereby crushing previously democratic societies like Hitler did in 1930’s Germany. The parallels are terrifying. This special will be available at the link above on Jan 16, 2022.
Description: Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md., 8th District) talks about the year since the Jan. 6 insurrection, which he writes about in his new book, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy. Virginia Delegate Marcus Simon (D-53rd District) previews the legislative session, and the strategy for Democrats in a Republican-controlled House.
Power of Denialism
Denialism Is A Dangerous Virus | The Daily Show
“Don’t Look Up!”
Description: Based on real events that haven’t happened - yet. Don’t Look Up in select theaters December 10 and on Netflix December 24. DON’T LOOK UP tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. Written and Directed by Adam McKay.
This awesome movie with an all star cast (better watch out conspiracy theory believers (that’s you QAnon, Deep staters, False flagers operations, “Stolen election” conspiracy theory, Illuminati believers, etc.) totally captures humans ability to ignore and deny reality and facts in pursuit of selfish, egotistical, self-obsessed, money-grubbing, miserly, opportunistic, self-absorbed interests. Did I miss an adjective here?
Where Do We Go From Here?
This was such a hopeful and inspiring segment in the face of so much depressing realization of the forces at work in this moment and the terrible odds the U.S. has it to make it as a democratic nation beyond 2024.
Description: PBS NewsHour spent much of last week trying to examine what still divides our country and the deep polarization that preceded the Jan. 6 riots. Now, Paul Solman looks at multiple efforts to bridge those major political and cultural fissures in the U.S., beginning with smaller steps forward.
Description of Interview: Loretta J. Ross is a visiting professor at Smith College whose teaching focuses on white supremacy in the age of Trump. Ross speaks with Michel Martin about January 6 as a possible opportunity for reflection and healing. Originally aired on January 6, 2022
I wanted to link you, my readers who have made it this far down, to Christiane Amanpour’s January 7, 2022 episode, but it is only available to view on your local PBS station. In this episode Christiane with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Timothy Snyder; Loretta J. Ross speaks with Michel Martin on whether January 6 provides an opportunity for reflection and healing.
Here is the link to Christiane’s interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Timothy Snyder that really hits it out of the park as far as what are the take away lessons from Jan. 6, 2022 and things to pay close attention to in the years leading up to the next US Presidential Election in 2024. Will this fragile democracy make it? Listen and learn for you are part of the answer.
I was also looking for Christiane’s interview with the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu who died in the early days of this dawning year. Christiane’s Jan 7, 2022 episode was a recollection of interviews she had done that spoke to the actions and ramifications of the events of Jan 6, 2021. I have not found a link to her interview, but I found this one on the Dalai Lama’s Finding Joy and Happiness station on YouTube. It speaks to the same spirit that Christiane had recognized and was illuminating with her interview with Desmond Tutu.
Description: His Holiness the Dalai Lama reunites online with Archbishop Desmond Tutu from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 24, 2021, on the occasion of the release of their new movie "Mission: Joy - Finding Happiness in Troubled Times". For more info please see https://missionjoy.org/
We have so much to learn from these two Holy men who stand outside of the self-destructive forces of modern Western Civilization that seems hell bent on standing in a circle and annihilating the world in a mutual massacre of scapegoats. It doesn’t matter what side you stand on when the massacre of scapegoats begins the world is at the beginning of the end for the human race for we have evolved technologies too powerful for our primitive, puny minds to handle with the compassion, understanding, and care necessary to use them anymore.
What is our collective fate? I have no idea, but I am certain each and every person is casting their votes in the ever unfolding moment. We do it in their hearts and minds. We do it in the thoughts we think. We do it even more loudly in the actions we take.
As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Recently, as I have been struggling to understand and survive my husband’s toxic family structure long poisoned by his mother’s narcissistic personality disorder, I ran across this truth in a video by clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani who is a leading expert on Narcissistic Abuse, Psychopathy, and Sociopathy. She counsel her patients who are mainly the victims of narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths that their words and what they say they will do is always in direction opposition to what they do. It is the very same issue that all of us must heed now in our struggle to save our democracy and this is because our current most dominant system of consciousness, Western Civilization, rewards people who are narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths.
We have the power to create a more perfect union, but this creative process is on-going and must be lived with as much consciousness of ourselves and our own inner, hidden motives as possible. Without that, without conscious growth as an individual, we are doomed to live out our fate, which is our own unconsciousness projected out onto others.
Sources for schema above include (beginning from bottom to top, except when repeated from same source):
Ideapod | The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely
Jungian Genealogy, by Iona Miller | Embracing Shadow | “If it has been believed hitherto that the human shadow was the source of all evil, it can now be ascertained on closer investigation that the unconscious man, that is, his shadow, does not consist only of morally reprehensible tendencies, but also displays a number of good qualities, such as normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc.“ ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 423.
Remember that you are a beautiful conscious being! Let your light shine today. When you are fully connected to who you are deep down at the center of your being, your actions will align with life and you will be a creative force for change rather than a destructive force.
Image Source: Soldier/submachine gun by WikiImages | Pixabay | Deutsch • Member since Dec. 13, 2011 Dead man by soumen82hazra on Pixabay | English • Member since April 24, 2020 Gild Walking with Teddy Bear by reyerbaby on Pixabay | lisa runnels • Age 59 • magee/united states • Member since Jan. 13, 2012
Image Source: 7 Basic Characteristics Every Democracy Needs| The Advertiser Mirror, March 2, 2021 | (1) Civil liability, (2) Democratic values, (3) Guarantee of rights and common welfare, (4) Decentralized democracy, (5) Political participation, (6) Constitutional principle, (7) Democratic models
Second Archetypal Animation | Purveyors of Rage Culture
Images from Pixabay: Red monster by GregMontani Greg Montani • Age 46 • Bayern • Member since May 11, 2015 Green Scream by DaModernDaVinci Shaun • Perth/Australia • Member since Dec. 15, 2018 • #947 Man Eating Hand by Sammy-Sander Sam Williams • Italy • Member since Nov. 8, 2018
Third Archetypal Animation | As The End of Democracy Draws Near
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Chaos in Washington as Trump supporters storm Capitol| Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022 | Israel Hayom — This is where we stand | US President Trump tweets: These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.
Fourth Archetypal Animation | Carnage at the Capitol
Images from Pixabay: Watching the World Fall Apart by Alexas_Fotos Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay • but it continues on Pexels.com/under the same name • Member since Jan. 6, 2015