Forget about the heated battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for a second, and let your mind wander back to a Washington, D.C. in the rejuvenating throes of springtime.
Those famous cherry trees leading to the Jefferson Memorial blossom in pink and white, their petals fluttering away in the breeze. Spectators watch as these flowers glide over the walkway and out onto the horizon over the Tidal Basin. Everything looks peaceful, if not serene. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and passers-by cannot help but smile.
But behind closed doors, amid the maze of offices where raw power is brokered, Democratic National Committee executives search long and hard for a way to stop Bernie Sanders. The independent socialist U.S. senator from Vermont is working overtime to derail Hillary Clinton’s Republican coronation.
The DNC, despite supposedly being neutral ground, has long since devoted itself to aiding and abetting Clinton through any means available. She represents the status quo, while Bernie stands for New Deal-plus programs primed to shatter establishment Democrats’ comfortable corporatist setup.
Things have grown so dire for the Clinton/DNC camp that extraordinary measures are raised for discussion. Kentucky and West Virginia have primary day just around the corner. The tea leaves in both places read well for Bernie and disastrously for his opponent.
“It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage,” DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall asked three of his coworkers in an email. “I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
Say what? Why should there be any difference – specifically within the context of a political race? Unless Bernie brought his religious beliefs into the campaign, why should anyone have thought to attack him on them? His candidacy was a secular one, yet the DNC sought to instigate theological bigotry.
This is the nonsense Republican politicos rightly get criticized for – now from the party of ‘tolerance’.
“It’s these Jesus thing,” Marshall declared two minutes later. Can this guy spell or what?
So, the matter does not even boil down to anti-atheist claptrap, but opposition to those who deny Jesus as humanity’s savior. When Bernie is the target of this, said scenario adopts an anti-Semitic character. One may expect as much from David Duke, but the DNC?
Marshall got a response from Amy K. Dacey, the DNC’s chief executive: “AMEN.”
This Wikileaks-revealed carnival of deceit and hypocrisy shocked many, but not yours truly. Religion is a battering ram handcrafted for politics, perfect to use even in technically secular governments like our own. Lefties and rightists alike capitalize on the common folks’ superstition.
“All religions, with their gods, their demigods, and their prophets, their messiahs and their saints, were created by the credulous fancy of men who had not attained the full development and full possession of their faculties,” political philosopher Mikhail Bakunin wrote in his seminal 1882 book “God and the State.”
“Consequently, the religious heaven is nothing but a mirage in which man, exalted by ignorance and faith, discovers his own image, but enlarged and reversed - that is, divinized,” Bakunin continued. “The history of religion, of the birth, grandeur, and decline of the gods who have succeeded one another in human belief, is nothing, therefore, but the development of the collective intelligence and conscience of mankind.
“As fast as they discovered, in the course of their historically progressive advance, either in themselves or in external nature, a power, a quality, or even any great defect whatever, they attributed them to their gods, after having exaggerated and enlarged them beyond measure, after the manner of children, by an act of their religious fancy.”
Words well worth remembering – especially when listening to other words; namely those of politicians, pundits, and partisan operatives seeking to advance a religion-based agenda. Scratch the surface and find not ‘progressivism’ or ‘conservatism’, but material interests being advanced at your expense.
Do not be a loser.
Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.