‘Did you see Sarge’s letter to the editor in the Poplar Park Times?” asked Michael right after his neighbor said hello on their daily check-in call.
“You mean the one where he commends Vivek Ramaswamy?”
“Wait a minute, Walt, I downloaded it. Here it is, for saying right before the debate, ‘I do think the real choice we face in this primary is, do you want incremental reform from traditional Republicans? I stand on the side of revolution.’”
“Yeah, Michael. I saw it,” Pastor Walter Mitty replied. “What do you think Sarge … I mean Ramaswamy … means by revolution?”
“Well,” his friend began, “I think Ramaswamy is trying to be Donald Trump Jr. He says climate change is a hoax, supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and promises to pardon Trump when he is elected president. You know, to be the next generation carrying the MAGA torch forward.”
“So, by revolution you think he means draining the swamp?”
“Walt, don’t you agree that Trump’s populist message is that big government is the enemy and that woke is the enemy’s creed?”
“Like drop an ideological nuclear bomb on American institutions because they get in the way of freedom?”
Michael thought for a minute and took a different tack. “Is it like incremental is a 4-letter word?”
“Maybe,” Mitty replied, “but our conversation made me think of what Sharissa said last Sunday at the coffee hour after church. She is frustrated with Biden’s incremental approach to moving the country forward. Sharissa is a disciple of AOC. She was sort of like Sarge in a way.”
“Well, Sharissa wants a revolution, too. She said climate change demands an immediate, all-hands-on-deck response.”
“Sort of like FDR after Pearl Harbor?” said Michael.
“I guess so. She had AOC’s agenda memorized: support for workplace democracy, Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, a Green New Deal, and abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Michael laughed. “I would like to be there to hear a conversation between AOC and Ramaswamy!”
The two friends decided to walk over to Bernie’s History/Herstory Bookstore and ask him to throw his two cents into the conversation. After listening to their summary of the “debate” so far, Bernie gave historical perspective on the question.
“First,” he began,” the American Revolution wasn’t really a revolution. It didn’t turn the world upside down like the French Revolution did. It was a war of independence, Like a teenager moving out of his parents’ house but retaining the same values.
“Second, the Declaration of Independence put one foot on the accelerator with its vision of liberty and justice as a goal to strive for and a few years later the Constitution put the other foot on the brake with its checks and balances. The founding fathers were terrified that what they saw going down in France might happen here.”
Mitty’s mind naturally went to his theology of human nature. “You mean we’re created in God’s image so we should put our foot on the accelerator and press forward to form a more perfect union but at the same time we’re fallen beings, so not so fast? Let’s put hurdles in place to test the worth of any radical ideas?”
Michael added, “You know Kina Collins is running against Danny Davis again in the Seventh District. I once was at a meet-and-greet for Davis where he told the group that they have to be patient, that it takes a while for things to move through Congress.”
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good?” asked Bernie.
Mitty couldn’t tell if the question was rhetorical or not, but he started laughing.
“The gospel for Aug. 13 was about Jesus walking on water, Peter trying to walk on water too, and the one Jesus called ‘The Rock’, got scared and sank like a stone.”
The next morning Mitty sat down with his coffee and went online to see what was happening in the world. He found a piece by David Brooks who commented on Ramaswamy:
“Wednesday’s debate illustrated the cancer that is eating away at the Republican Party. It’s not just Trumpian immorality. The real disease is narcissistic hucksterism.
“If Trump emerged from the make-believe world of pro wrestling, Ramaswamy emerges from the make-believe world of social media and the third-rate sectors of the right-wing media sphere.”
Pastor Mitty prayed with special urgency, “Thy Kingdom come, they will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.”