Monthly Archives: December 2019

A Letter from “America’s Mayor”

Kierkegaard’s Ghost

(News that’s fake, but credible)

See the source imageKierkegaard’s Ghost is proud to publish this editorial by our distinguished guest contributor, Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor and attorney for president Donald J. Trump.

Dear United States of America,

Let me dispense with the pleasantries and get right to the point. Donald Trump is your president today and will be after November 2020. Get used to it.

Please don’t bore me with your recitations of all of Donald Trump’s moral deficiencies, corruption and incompetence. I know all about that and so does his base. We don’t care. We don’t care about BLM demonstrations. They only help your president make his case for law and order. We don’t care that over 120,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. That is all the fault of Obama, Hillary, George Soros and the Deep State. We believe that Donald Trump is the one who is going to fix it and our minds can’t be changed.

Do you think I don’t know that Donald Trump’s base is dumb as a bag of hammers? That’s obvious. You heard Trump himself say his supporters were so hopelessly stupid that they would keep on supporting him even if he were to murder an innocent person in public. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have known then and there that they had just been insulted. Not our stalwart base! Donald Trump could torture a puppy to death in the Oval Office on national television and the base would still adore him. That’s what makes him invincible. You can shout facts all you want. Donald will just tell his followers that it’s fake news cooked up by the press and the Deep State. They, for their part, will swallow it hook, line and sinker, turn around and dismiss your facts as lies. They believe what they want to believe which is always what Donald Trump tells them.

And here’s the thing. As goes the base, so goes the Republican Party. It’s no secret that even moral ciphers like Mitch McConnell are somewhat concerned about the conduct of our president. But they will back him no matter what comes out of the Muller Report, the impeachment hearings, the BLM protests or how many people die from Covid-19. They will support Trump to the end because the Trump base is the soul of their party. There is nothing left of the Republican party beyond adoration of Donald Trump and they know it. Crossing Trump is political suicide. Ask Jeff Flake. That’s why Mitch follows Donald into the rose garden nuzzling his pant legs like a stray cat looking for dinner. That’s why Trump can call Ted Cruz’s wife ugly and his father a murderer, yet still Ted comes whimpering to lick the boots of his president and plead for an endorsement. As the Good Book tells us, the sheep know the vice of their shepherd.

“The truth will prevail,” you say. Let’s have a little talk about truth, shall we? I have to confess that I love watching liberal politicians and the press go into conniptions whenever Donald Trump says something that is obviously inaccurate. “How does he keep getting away with it?” they ask with exasperation that amuses me to no end. They just can’t get it into their elite brains that facts don’t matter. Truth has nothing to do with facts. Truth is pictures, pictures deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds of white Americans-and not just those within Trump’s base. Frightening, disturbing pictures burned deep into the white man’s soul. Pictures of taxes eating away at their hard earned savings to feed social programs for people too lazy to work. Of course, we never said these folks were black. Nobody has to. It’s all in the pictures. Yes, pictures of lily white daughters seduced by the sons of dark skinned immigrants and foreigners with unchristian faiths-or no faith at all. Pictures of a nation where faith, family, patriotism and the flag no longer matter. Call Donald Trump ignorant, incompetent and inarticulate. But he knows instinctively how to summon up these pictures and employ them to convince white Americans that the America they know and love is being taken away from them-and only he can take it back. You can make all the fact based rational arguments you want, but it’s the pictures white Americans will take with them into the voting booth. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

And one more thing. After November 2020, it’s no holds barred. The press, the instigators of impeachment and disloyal members of this administration will-let’s just say “go through some things.” And having put the troublesome concern over re-election behind us, you can be sure the kid gloves will come off when it comes to dealing with protests.  “What about the rule of law?” you ask. “What about the United States Constitution?” Let me tell you something about the almighty Constitution. It’s just a piece of paper. In fact, it’s so frail it can’t survive outside of a helium-filled case in a darkened room at a temperature of 70 degrees and constant humidity of 25 to 30 percent. Expose it to the open air and the light of day and it falls apart like a cheap shirt. That’s your Constitution. Law is only a matter of words. Truth, the only truth that matters, is in the pictures: blood, soil, race, nation.

You, America, are not the only people driven by these pictures Donald Trump so skillfully evokes. You saw what happened in Britain with Brexit. You see what is happening in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Brazil and Argentina. You see the populist tide rising in Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and other places around the globe. This time there will be no alliance of democratic states to stop it. Trump is the future. Join that future or be crushed under it.

Sweet dreams America,

Your Beloved Mayor,

Rudy Giuliani


FAKE NEWS ALERT: The above article is satirical. The events it describes didn’t happen.  “There are people who will say that this whole account is a lie, but a thing isn’t necessarily a lie even if it didn’t necessarily happen.” John Steinbeck

Imagination-the Eye of Faith

Image result for the peaceable kingdom paintingSECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

Prayer of the Day: Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming nurture our growth as people of repentance and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

“They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:9.

In last week’s reading from Isaiah, the prophet assured us that the day will come when the nations of the world forsake war and turn their weapons into farm implements. If you thought that improbable, you must think utterly absurd this week’s oracle about predatory animals becoming vegetarians and living peacefully among those formerly their prey. Isaiah’s vision of such a peaceable world runs contrary to everything we know about the biosphere. Death is an essential feature of ecology. One generation dies to make room for the next. Healthy vegetation lives off the remains of animals and plants that have died and been absorbed into the soil. The population balance between herbivores and the plants they need to live is kept in check by carnivores. Take death out of the ecological equation and the biosphere implodes. A world without death and killing is unimaginable.

But that might well be the point. The problem is not the boldness of Isaiah’s vision, but the poverty of our imagination. The oracle diagnoses an inability on our part to imagine existence without violence and death. It has become axiomatic that death, along with taxes, is inevitable. That being the case, we make room for death in all of our thinking, planning and doing. Death is always the unacknowledged yet ever present elephant in the room guiding our financial planning, directing our politics and shaping the way we think about heath and medicine.

Violence, too, is accepted as part and parcel of what it means to live. Consider how thoroughly the language of warfare and violence has permeated our talk about every facet of life. Political movements are labeled “campaigns” with strategy meetings taking place in “war rooms.” When someone experiences illness, we say they are “battling” the disease and often say with admiration “he’s a fighter.” We “draw lines in the sand” when discussing issues critical to us and vow that we will “go to the trenches” defending our point of view. We speak of all our social problems in terms of warfare. Our government’s legislature has declared war on poverty, drugs, crime, illiteracy and a host of other abstract nouns, thereby illustrating the truth of the now well worn adage: when the only tool in your box is a hammer, all your problems start looking like nails. I sometimes wonder whether it would be possible for us to have a conversation about anything if all these battle metaphors were magically cleansed from our vocabularies. Or would having to choose new metaphors compel us to think differently, creatively and imaginatively about our world?

The prophet’s job is to kick our imagination into gear. That is important because faith is impossible without imagination. There are mysteries that only imagination can grasp. That is why Jesus always spoke of God’s reign in parables. It is why Paul, after speaking at length about the resurrection of the dead, finally dispenses with all analogies and says, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery!” I Corinthians 15:51. It is why John of Patmos resorts to the lurid images of apocalyptic literature to speak of Jesus’ final victory over the powers of death and of the new creation in which “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” Revelation 21:4.

What we confess in our creeds to be true is bigger than what we are able to comprehend or even imagine. Yet if our imaginations can be stimulated to grasp even fragments of these mysteries, it becomes easier to imagine and visualize anew the things we can comprehend. The impossible becomes plausible. It becomes possible to imagine Israelis and Palestinians sharing the land and living side by side in peace; to imagine a world in which no one is food insecure or without access to medical care; to imagine an international forum in which disputes between countries are resolved without resort to warfare. Prophetic imagination is what “prepares the way of the Lord.” Matthew 3:3.

Here is a poem by Phillis Wheatly speaking to the power of imagination.

On Imagination

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! how deck’d with pomp by thee!
Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.

From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend,
Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend:
To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,
Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.

Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,
Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes,
Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,
And soft captivity involves the mind.

Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.

Though Winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyes
The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;
The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,
And with her flow’ry riches deck the plain;
Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,
And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:
Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,
And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.

Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain,
O thou the leader of the mental train:
In full perfection all thy works are wrought,
And thine the sceptre o’er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,
Of subject-passions sov’reign ruler thou;
At thy command joy rushes on the heart,
And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.

Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:
From Tithon’s bed now might Aurora rise,
Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,
While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,
But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,
Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;
Winter austere forbids me to aspire,
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;
They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,
Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

Source: This poem is in the public domain. Phillis Wheatly (1753 – 1784) was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatly family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her to write poetry when they saw her talent. The publication of her book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, brought her fame in England as well as in the American colonies. Her poems won praise from no less than George Washington as well as other prominent colonial figures.  Wheatly was emancipated shortly after the publication of her book. She married in about 1778 and had two children, both of which died in infancy.  Her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784 at which time Wheatly fell into poverty and died from chronic illness. You can read more about Phillis Wheatly and sample more of her poetry at the Poetry Foundation website.