"Because we could all use a touch of sportive satire right about now."
For some it begins early. For others, even more so. They gather in their great halls, dressed in their ceremonious reds, whites, and blues, with the name of their evangelist of choice painted across their chests. They listen proudly and shed tears of joy as others, clearly more knowledgeable in such matters than themselves, pronounce the magnificence of their chosen predicant and sing (in wild, foot-stomping melodies) the glories of his or her name. “He’s the one that will save us!” they chant with a riotous hope. “See the greatness of her accomplishments!” they exclaim in sincere and overly-excited reverence. And all the while they condemn their enemies, those evil fools who would dare mock and disdain their great and palpable papabile.
Once they’ve been so moved upon by the Spirit of patriotism as to work each other into a righteous frenzy, they will then go forth in great armies among their neighbors and friends, proclaiming their gospels to all who are (mostly) willing to hear, as if at the very walls of Jericho itself. “He’ll change your life for the better,” they proselyte, “as he cuts taxes for the middle-class!” “She’ll protect those who cannot protect themselves,” they testify, “as she abolishes abortion!” Like the crusaders of old, they will flood their streets and Facebook feeds with prophesies of better times, better education, and lower unemployment—if you’ll but join them in their suffrage.
But if you so choose to disagree with their beliefs, prepare to feel the burn of righteous indignation. For once you become one of them, once you willing submit to that grand old party, you’ll no longer entertain the outlandish claims of your people’s past mistakes. How dare you presume to purport that my potential leader may be morally questionable, or slightly hypocritical, or even just plain wrong. Why, attacking everything she stands for, or the platform he stands upon, is like attacking me! Now repent you immoral, un-American Satanist, and join us on our mission. Cease to dispute the truth that we’ve so painfully obtained and make your choice (as long as it agrees with ours) before it’s too late!
And then, beneath the chilly guise of a Tuesday in early November, the day of judgement finally arrives. They’ll line up outside their assigned parish, having earned their place through everything from birthright to being unfriended by twenty followers, and wait in anxious anticipation for a chance to step into the confession box. They know by now that long ago the founders of this new-fangled religion designed the system in such a way that their individual choice today would have very little impact on its own. After all, the simple, uneducated believer has no business in making the ultimate choice on who the next great and powerful P.O.T.U.S. will be. It is the electoral conclave that will do this.
For once, long ago, the people were not so righteous. They were not so educated in the ways of the world. Heaven forbid the people have the ultimate say in who will be the next leader of that new religion. Heaven forbid they be given the opportunity to ensue tumult and disorder, to be lead astray by that false prophet which could so easily manipulate the unknowing masses. No, the fathers were much wiser than this. The electoral would insure that only the worthiest messiah would be given such powers, that only the most qualified would lead.
But that matters not to the people. They are there to prove what kind of person they are, to make the “right” decision. They are there to join in a sense of community, to identify with intelligent, responsible, like-minded individuals such as themselves in the hopes of banning together in what they know would otherwise be a futile attempt to “make a difference” on their own. They will carefully tap inside the little box and emerge victorious, proudly displaying their self-adhesive badge of honor proclaiming “I Voted!” for all to see. And all of this they will do for the sole purpose of being able to later say, “I didn’t vote for that idiot,” when things go poorly, or, “I chose him!” when they go well. No, they are there to express themselves. They are there for the chance to be justified in their convictions. There to be right in their righteousness.
Once it is all said and done, once their penance to God and country has been paid, they will gather in their homes and at their watch parties and in their private places. They will wait in white-knuckled anticipation as each ballot is carefully counted, as each electoral vote roles in. They will hold their breath in hope and in faith that they have made the right decision. That their candidate is backed by Heaven and by God and by all that is good and right in the world. And then when all is said and done, when that great anticipation is finally over and we all know with a complete certainty just who our new messiah will be, they will chant and they will cheer and they will cry as their newly appointed Savior takes the pulpit and addresses them as one in a tone of revered humility, both comforting and wise.
But for others, for those whose choice was not the popular one, they will mourn. For to them, there is no cause to celebrate. A great earthquake has shaken through their world, and all they know and love. They were so sure in their cause, so certain in their convictions. So fully they believed in the righteousness of their ways and what their prophet-of-choice stood for. What will become of them in a world that no longer sees itself the way that they do? What will become of them and their so-closely held beliefs now?
Do these people, these “others,” have any idea what they’ve done? Do these people truly realize what leadership by this Unholy One entails? Have they really thought about the consequences of their actions? Do they not realize the darkness that will now descend on the land they once loved so much, on the America we no longer recognize? For these select few the process will continue for long after the deed is done and over. They will take up their righteous mantles and resort to crusading in the streets and in their places of business and on their Twitter feeds. “He’s not my President!” they will exclaim. “We didn’t vote for her!” they will insist.
As for most, once the storm has subsided and the calm ensues, they will go on about their lives, celebrating and hopeful or otherwise completely indifferent. Like the Sunday evening after service, they will return to their schools and to their jobs without giving such matters a second thought, melancholic and mostly unaffected until such time as called upon again to battle diligently for the sake of all that is democratically holy.
In another four years.
Why I Left the Church
The Importance of Friendship
Secrets to Staying Sane
Fighting the Rain