By Tom Ehrich
When Donald Trump was riding high, he took all the credit. Now that his fortunes are fading, he blames the Republican Party system for being “rigged.”
This makes sense, too.
Greedy, racist whites brutalized natives, stole their land, sent Army troops to hunt them down, forced them onto reservations far from population centers, jobs and arable soil -- in effect condemning them to be wards of the state. Now the descendants of those whites blame Native Americans for being dependent on the Federal Government.
Want more sense?
Greedy industrialists declared war on labor unions and made de-unionizing their factories a business plan. At the same time, they shifted jobs outside the borders, and eventually sent their profits and cash overseas. Meanwhile, they squandered the industrial economy. Now we face a large and growing cadre of people who feel cut off from the economy, find decent-paying jobs unavailable, and are angry. Rather than direct their anger at the greedy folks who did them in, these angry workers have turned to bigotry and xenophobia.
In other words, when all else fails, kick the dog.
If you can’t stand to see your real enemy, blame the vulnerable. If you can’t stand to see your own complicity in your downfall, blame someone else. If you can’t stand the persistent and unwanted consequences of decisions your ancestors made and from which you benefit, sneer and bully and swagger and arm yourself and threaten riots.
Meanwhile, the greedy and entitled few keep on plundering the economy and corrupting the democratic process. They divert attention onto weaker targets. They are behaving like corrupt wealth just before the fall of the Roman Empire. Some liken them to the leaders of the Weimar Republic who proved too weak to withstand Hitler.
The entitled few used to take great pride in how large they were living. Now they hide their purchases of $34 million penthouses behind LLCs. Their $300,000 Lamborghinis are an embarrassment. But they don’t move from embarrassment to shame to remorse to repentance to amendment of life. They just buy big-ticket items more discreetly. Ads targeting the mega-wealthy no longer show price tags; they use code images and wording to convey extravagance.
You can see why Jesus devoted an estimated two-thirds of his teachings to wealth and power. His consistent message to the wealthy: You have too much, so give it away. His message to all who imagined life made better by wealth: You can’t worship God and Mammon. Make a choice.
That message, of course, tends to make no sense whatsoever to people. We run from it. But it does make sense to God.