I wrote that yesterday in a post I published at 9:58 a.m.
— a post that combed through the text of the speech. It's now a day later and I haven't followed through, and I could just forget about. Would anyone remember? Is anyone thinking, yeah, what did she think about, while running and viewing the sunrise, about a speech she'd listened to but not yet read? It's highly unlikely, and "I'll tell you some more about that later" isn't even a promise.
We're having a big thunderstorm here at that moment:
I'm thinking of keeping my non-promise. I made notes to myself — audio notes — as I was watching the sunrise yesterday, and I've listened to the notes and can see there is something I wanted to say that I haven't said yet. Let me get something to eat and settle in and see if I can find a way to put it in writing without it seeming too... internal.
ADDED: This is a rewriting and an expansion of my audio notes to myself.
What stood out to me was the religion. Standing in front of a deep red glowing background, Biden spoke of the soul — a shared soul belonging to us all but from which some of us, by our own sins are excluded. He spoke of flames, and an image of a flaming heart came into my head. That's some kind of Christian iconography I would need to look up. I come from a long line of mainstream Protestants, not Catholic, but this is the image that came into my head and lodged there:
The Sacred Heart... is one of the most widely practised and well-known Catholic devotions, wherein the heart of Jesus is viewed as a symbol of "God's boundless and passionate love for mankind"... The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes, the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Christ's passion, while the flames represent a furnace of ardent love.
Not used to the red flaming heart, I didn't experience the glowing redness and the talk of flames as anything like God's boundless, passionate love. I thought of hell. Biden was demonizing people, but at the same time, he was calling us to the place he occupied — the political center, the mainstream — and there he was in what looked to me like metaphorical hell. Doesn't that make him the Devil, calling us to join him in Hell? Did anyone — did Catholics — experience him as a Christ figure, offering us his flaming heart, his boundless love?
I thought about how politically mainstream I am, and I wondered why I felt so disturbed by his call to everyone to join the mainstream. Do I hate myself, my own blandness, my equivocation and passivity? Why was I not... heartened by his depiction of the middle ground as the place where we can all come together and feel at peace, feel loved? My empathy went out to the extremists — the sinners — so many of them, nearly half of America, more than half if you infer that what he was saying implicated the extremists of the left. Let's not forget that Biden found his way into office because elite centrists needed to stop the extremists of the left — Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
"I am essence of mainstream," I said to myself in my little recording. "I want a mainstream President. I think mainstream politics is the best we're going to get." I read mainstream media. But when I hear mainstreamosity propounded as the one true
religion politics, I recoil. He's drawing a line and excluding some people: Here, take my flaming heart or go to hell. It's too exclusionary! It's not democratic unless you define democracy to mean you must first enter the circle of people who believe the correct things and then you may participate.
In a country with an established religion, you get a religion that embodies the mainstream values that merge with government interests. Religion is used to keep most of the people in a cooperative, peaceful (supine?) position. That's not America. We have, at least theoretically, a separation of religion and government. People belong to mainstream and nonmainstream religions and to no religion at all. What keeps us from going wild? Some of those nonmainstream religious are exciting and passionate, just as some nonmainstream politics are exciting and passionate. What makes you so sure people should not be extreme in their religion or politics?
Obviously, most of us like cooperation and peace, but there's no way a President can simply call us into the mainstream. And it's inherently not mainstream to force us to be mainstream. In America, we have our rights to think and speak freely — including speaking lies and believing untruths. You can't control us. You can only debate us. Those are mainstream values. But with mainstream values like that, you can get some scary results. Are you sure you love democracy and freedom, Mr. Biden, or do you just use them to quiet opposition and produce a complacent citizenry that will accept what our betters in Washington decide needs to be done?