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Martin LeFevre: America's Spiritual War Zone

America's Spiritual War Zone

Meditations - From Martin LeFevre in California

Like the terrible tornadoes that wreaked havoc throughout much of the South the night of the national primaries, the ground has been laid bare in America. We're down to the spiritual and political essence.

The fight to regain America's soul is taking place in the Democratic Party, while the Republicans, trumpeted by carnivores like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, are cannibalizing themselves.

Professional pundits quibble over health care proposal differences between Obama and Hillary, remaining willfully blind to the moribund body politic in America. Despite all the excitement on the Democratic side, and the self-congratulatory humbug about the health of democracy in America (which the very desire for 'change,' not to mention the allure of 'hope' belie), this land remains a spiritual war zone.

Cars jammed the parking lot at the evangelical church, which was, to my bemusement and amusement, my designated polling place. The church is a huge geodesic dome, intended, in its previous incarnation, for some other purpose. What would Bucky Fuller do?

Evangelicals in America are nothing if not adaptive. Near my former residence, they have converted another structure intended for a different purpose--a multiplex movie theater--into their house of worship. These are the people for whom the guitar strumming, stand-up comedian Mike Huckabee plucks their fraying, praying, and baying true believer chords. The mind boggles.

But I digress. An old fellow and a young fellow sat at the entrance table of the polling place, the old guy looking and sounding a lot more alert and alive than the younger one. People stood quietly in line--too quietly. A funereal atmosphere pervaded the place.

I was still in a fairly good mood when I went to dinner with a friend at a favorite Mexican restaurant. But as I took off my coat at the cramped table between two already seated couples, an older woman remarked, with feigned humor that came off even more snidely, "You came close to hitting my husband with your sleeve." Without trying to return the crack in kind, I said, 'Well, I could try again.'

Like everyone else in the packed place, they were talking about voting. The garrulous woman was, in the words of another older woman I met recently, "a Hillary girl." The larger context? Voting women on the Democratic side outnumbered men 57 to 43 per cent.

Hillary is running an unabashedly, unapologetically policy-heavy, 'programmatic' campaign, while Obama is running an inspiration-driven, stir the emotions of the young and young at heart campaign. With great irony, that means that the female candidate is appealing to the head, while the male candidate is appealing to the heart. This big difference trumps the small policy gaps between them, and gives new meaning to the cliché, "the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party."

The almost universally accepted narrative is that either a Hillary or Obama presidency would be, for obvious reasons, history making. But like everything else involving the Clintons, that's only half true (and it's the worst half).

If Billary manages to shoehorn their way back into the White House (an unlikely prospect, since nothing will unite the Republicans more than the prospect of the two of them back in the Oval Office), we won't be getting a woman as president, but a return of another dysfunctional co-presidency.

The other part of the glossy, mainlining media narrative is that the vast majority of Democrats, seeing little policy difference between them, don't have a strong preference for one of the two candidates. That cliché isn't even half true. Droves of Democrats (not all of them white males) won't vote at all if Billary gets the nomination. And as for independents, many, if not most would tilt toward Hundred Years War McCain.

Obama may sense, but he doesn't clearly see, what's at stake because he still believes Americans are a living and good people. Nonetheless, despite his vapid stances on the 'global war on terror,' his presidency could mark a rebirth of America's soul, whereas Hillary would mean the same old shit in Washington, the country, and probably the world. Even so, history has moved beyond Washington.

The line that drew the biggest applause in the deadwood Hollywood debate last Thursday between Hillary and Obama was this: "It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, and it will take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush." If so, why did Bill and George the First chum around the world together trying to restore decades of goodwill pissed away by the pea-brain that the American people elected (twice)?

Barack Obama, bless his soul, is trying to inject hope into a people that have lost theirs. He will win the presidency if he gains the Democratic nomination, but he won't get the nomination unless Ungrateful Deadheads, epitomized by the narcissistic Clintons, no longer rule the land.

Martin LeFevre


Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: The author welcomes comments.

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