The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

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I listened to Martyn Whittoch, being interview on Going Underground, he was being asked about his book ‘Trump and the Puritans – how the evangelical religious right put Donald Trump in the White House’ I found the subject so fascinating that I went straight onto Amazon and ordered a copy.

The book starts with the Puritans that came over on the Mayflower, and how a contract was signed by all (male) members on board the Mayflower, in the setting up of the new colony (the rules and regulation that would govern their behaviour). How this and similar contracts, by similar groups that came after them, settling father up the coast, became the foundations of what is now the Constitution of America. This he tells us in a US phenomena.

“Donald Trump’s success is rooted in peculiarly American experience since a very large and influential part of his support base lies among Christians of the so-called ‘evangelical religious right’”. He goes on “The influence of US evangelical Christians on national politics has never been more pronounced than it is today. From the appointment of Supreme Court judges, to US relations with Israel, from support for the wall to abortion legislation, the power of the extraordinary lobby is seen in the changing politics and policies of the nation. In this, religious faith has an impact that is quite unique to the USA amongst 21st-century Western states; and it stands in comparison with the impact of Islam in other countries. There is something destructive about US culture and politics that set it apart from comparatively developed democratic societies and states”.

Quite a statement to make. Whittoch gives us a good insight into the thinking of the Puritans, the second coming, and since everything was a grand plan of God, how they could accept the wiping out of native Americans, but diseases brought in by immigrants, as simply part of God’s plan, the same with the disastrous foreign policies in the Middle East and beyond.

Why Hillary Clinton shot herself in the foot at the LGBT Gala at Cipriani Club in New York City. Clinton let the cat out of the bag. After praising her warm-up speaker for ‘her advocacy on behalf of the transgender community, particularly transgender women of colour’, she moved on to attack the running-mate of her rival for the presidency, Donald J. Trump.

She went on to make a campaign promises in her Equality Act, end homelessness, take on the gun lobby, end the practice of conversion therapy…………… and after that, her name was chanted loud and clear around the hall. Buoyed by this she said “We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of Deplorable Right?” (the Washington elites, both Republican and Democrat, who served two masters, themselves and Wall Street).

The blue-collar mum’s and dads could sacrifice so that their children would have a better life, no longer applied. The American Dream ended in the ‘Rust Belt’ of the USA, from Pennsylvania, through Ohio and Michigan, to northern Indiana and eastern Illinois and Wisconsin – the abandoned factories spoke eloquently of their experience of America. But not just there but in the Midwest, to emotions were also running high.

There Christian faith in what many still held as a Christian country was being held in contempt. Clinton’s policies explicitly embraced every minority group imaginable but failed to see the ones in front of her face. Unbeknown to Clinton, she had handed the group identifying themselves with Trump a priceless gift, a banner to gather under, giving them the power of identity a badge if you will. Hillary Clinton may have believed that she was on the path to greater moral virtue, leading from the front. Sadly she had run up against the entrenched position that had millennia of history in Judaeo-Christian scripture and tradition behind it: ‘In the image of God he created them; male and female ‘he’ created them.’ To most active defenders of the belief system, it seemed that the liberal secularists had thought that they could overthrow the ancient natural order without looking back. The future belonged to liberal secularism. But now ‘they’, the ones left behind by history, Americans who felt they had had ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’ pulled from under their feet to be replaced by a patriotic an unrecognisable patchwork of banners and loyalties, suddenly had a flag around which they could rally, along with the stars and trips. The unlikely Christian crusader: Donald Trump would carry their banner. Outside Luverne, Alabama was a home-made road sign that read “THANK GOD WE ARE DEPLORABLE”.

Clearly, this is only scratching the surface of what Roberts and Whittock were teaching us, and if I had never started this book I would have been none the wiser why in the world would intelligent people vote in a man like Trump as president of their country? (or Boris Johnston for that matter). I am only at the start of the book so lots still to learn. And not only about America but about how the same rhetoric is now being used here too in the UK by the same people that are the ringmasters of the circus.          

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