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Webster’s New American Dictionary defines a “red-neck” as : “a poor, white, rural Southerner, often, specif., one regarded as ignorant, bigoted, violent etc.”  Just in case readers didn’t know, it explains that the term is derived “from the characteristic sunburned neck acquired in the fields by farm laborers.”

Donald J. Trump is neither poor nor a Southerner, nor did he ever in his life work in a field as a farm laborer.  But he is ignorant, bigoted and violent.  Anyone who has ever lived, as I have, in Deep America and frequented country bars, has witnessed the sometimes riotous, noisy ambiance, enjoyed the Country and Western music and maybe even Bluegrass, and been somewhat shocked by the uninhibited behavior of some of their customers.  It is not difficult to overhear (in fact it is hard NOT to hear) groups of sturdy men in six-gallon hats, each behind a man-sized glass of beer, vociferously disagreeing with each other, until one of them emerges as the one who “tells it like it is”.  He knows what’s wrong with those dudes in government, those city-slickers who don’t know shit from clay or “B” from a bull’s foot, and never did a day’s real work in their whole f..kin’ lives !  He knows what’s wrong with the country – and how to fix it.  He spells it out, loud and clear, and then orders another beer.

Apparently New York can engender the same breed of orator in the heart of Manhattan, every bit as much a Red-Neck as an Okie from Muskogee.  The present scene in Washington, covered 24/7 by CNN, would be comical if it were not terribly tragic and frankly frightening.  None of us, including Trump himself, expected that he would become President.  But now that he is, we should not be surprised that he is putting into practice – and putting into law – what he promised, threatened, throughout his campaign.

As a former preacher myself, I can’t help thinking what a rival Trump would have been for Billy Graham or Oral Roberts, or, more to the point, Jim Jones and other fanatical tent-revival, Bible-bashing rabble-rousers, who could whip a crowd into frenzy and even collective suicide.  In spite of such precedents, many still do not recognize how dangerous such charismatic characters can be.  It’s bad enough when such people brainwash and manipulate their fan(atic)s in the Bible Belt.  It’s far more worrying when one of them is speaking to the world from within the Beltway, as President of the United States.  We can only hope – praying is pointless, though demonstrating and writing stuff like this may help – that his sound and fury are resisted by more intelligent people and his disastrous projects rejected by more rational law-makers.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO

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