We are a nation of dreamers: the grass is always greener, the air is cleaner, and some other neighborhood has a better demeanor than wherever we live. The island of misfit toys is where we exist, yearning for the better world of ‘if only.’ Our existential lament is rooted in the belief that a better place does indeed exist. It is the job of preachers and politicians to feed us that dream. They promise special knowledge and abilities that can guide us to the better world of which they have expertise. The more every-day folk hear and see their claims of expertise, the more we trust them. Even absurd and impossible assertions become accepted into the lore of common place knowledge. Our shared construction of faith-based knowledge, be it virgin births or fake news is methodically introduced and repeated until it is the lore of the land, and thereby, impossible to disprove.
This concept of a better place is so real to people, empirical evidence carries no relevance. Justification, as a rhetorical tool, has little suasion when dealing with an adherent of a theology or ideology or personality-cult making the ‘better place’ argument. The truth of the ‘better place’ is irrelevant to a firmly entrenched opinion. No ‘better place’ needs to exist if adherents already believe that it does. The pragmatic, objective, empirical realm of thought becomes nullified when it relies on faith in ‘better places.’
So, when America is finally ‘great’ and Jesus returns, Hillary is locked up, immigrant children are toothless, dirty and diseased, and gays, Muslims, Jews and people of color are dead in hell, the evangelical white MAGA cis-heterosexuals will finally live in peace and harmony. Is this “better,” or “dystopian?”
No wonder the movies are full of post-apocalypse visions of the end of days. Evangelicals tell us to just believe in the Better Place and all will be well, while our common sense and intellect tell us the dystopian world of Mad Max, The Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games is more likely than a dream-heaven. Neither thought gives me comfort, in fact, visions of dystopian futures are almost identical to a Better Place ideology. Pessimism creates the landscape of the dystopian future place, but the battle for dominion continues as it always has in both futures.
All dreams of a ‘Better Place,’ contain an ingredient that taints their success, humans. The human imperative to dominate and control is a corrupting influence. It leads to conflict and abandonment of ideals. Just look at the mulligans, absolutions, indulgences and the blatant abandonment of principles white evangelicals have allowed Trump. He is exempt from the moral influence of their own theology, so, in exchange, he will give them political power. Evangelic disfigurement of moral guidance now permits them to cheat, voiding out their moral authority completely. No descent god runs this scam, humans in a self-made, end of humanity scenario incite this abomination. The Trumpian voice of the evangelic god now says, “Screw them. Give me, give me, give me.”