Happy New Year – Welcome to Armageddon

Or is it?

In 1959, the Kingston Trio released a song entitled The Merry Minuet. Catchy little number about the state of world affairs:

They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in
There’s hurricanes in
Texas needs rain

The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much!!

But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away!!

They’re rioting in Africa
There’s strife in
What nature doesn’t do to us
Will be done by our fellow man

Is it any wonder that on the first day of the new year, I’m thinking of Armageddon, the End of Days, and the Rapture? The world feels frighteningly unstable as we begin this new year. It’s surreal. Check out the references in the song and bring them forward:

  • Rioting in Africa – Congo, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic
  • Starving in Spain – climbing back from the edge of bankruptcy to confront separatists and neo-fascists
  • Hurricanes in Florida (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands) in 2017
  • Texas needs rain – but not the climate change, Hurricane Harvey, kind
  • French hate the Germans – maybe not as much thanks to Trump
  • Italians hate the Yugoslavs – no problem, the genocidal Yugoslavs killed each other
  • South Africa (post-apartheid) the most stable country in Africa is held together by a thread
  • There’s strife in Iran – yes, today there were countrywide protests
  • But, most prescient –
    • For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
      And we know for certain that some lovely day
      Someone will set the spark off
      And we will all be blown away!!

  • Yesterday, President Trump insulted Pakistan (a nuclear power)
  • He’s insulted and threatened a pre-emptive strike on North Korea (a rogue state and nuclear power)
  • He’s insulted Iran (a nuclear wannabe) and threatened to abrogate the negotiated nuclear agreement clearing the way for them to resume their weapons program.
  • He’s provoked Arab states by proclaiming Israel (a nuclear power) the rightful owner of both East and West Jerusalem.
  • Today, he poked Kim Jong Un with a tweet about the size of his nuclear “Button” (aka penis). Shameless, dangerous, juvenile, playground banter.

Is it any wonder I’m thinking of Armageddon?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Armageddon refers to the site or time of a final and conclusive battle between the forces of good and evil…a usually vast decisive conflict or confrontation.” Armageddon is a biblical construct out of the Book of Revelation. Rounding out its variants on the mythology of creation, rebirth, resurrection and redemption it ends either where physicists tell us it all really began – with a Big Bang – or with the biblical Rapture. I’d rather not be around for either one.

I’ve lived through the world-on-the-brink several times – WWII, the Korean War, the Cuban missile crisis, Watergate, the Vietnam War, 9/11,, and our endless wars in the Middle East. There are cycles and then… there are cycles.

Right now, the forces of good are in need of a resupply if they want to maintain the high ground. The swamp is being drained but the autocratic creatures – Russia, North Korea, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Philippines, Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, and Iran are ascending. Democracy is weakened. America is hanging in on the democratic side but there’s a would-be autocrat tweeting away in the White House. If the great American experiment succeeds it will validate the Founding Fathers vision, but the Tweeter-in-Chief is currently doing his ignorant best to undermine 240 years of our institutional infrastructure.

I want to believe in a higher power, in karma, in the mandala’s circle of life. Yes, even in the promise of redemption in Christ, but lately I’ve been banking on the secular triumph of good over evil–no divine intervention, no mythological rack to hang my belief on, no promise of eternal life if it doesn’t work out. It’s faith at its most elemental. Will good win? I don’t know. What I do know is that Donald Trump has sold his soul to the other side, and I’m going to do everything in my power to see that he isn’t rewarded any more than he already has been.

Still… there’s a little part of me that would like a taste of The Rapture, a quick trip to heaven, preferably without Joel Osteen and his posse. Just a glimpse… no harps, no fluffy wings, no togas – just some Elysian fields.

Thank you and Happy New Year 2017.

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