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All right, we are two nations

One America has a sense of purpose, the other a terribly sick sense of humor

All right, we are two nations

Trump speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 8. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

“February made me shiver / With every paper I’d deliver.” That’s what Don McLean sang in his classic “American Pie,” and the first two cold Thursdays of February 2018 showed why most evangelicals voted for Donald Trump and still support him.

Feb. 1 brought “Life Is a Living Nightmare: A Telethon to Fix It,” located at the ladypartsjustice.com website (unless its creators have removed the video record of their horror show). I knew Lady Parts Justice describes itself as “a cabal of comics and writers exposing creeps hellbent on destroying access to birth control and abortion.” But when I read an account about the telethon on the conservative website NewsBusters, I thought the report must be exaggerated.

After all, would even crass comedian Sarah Silverman say a pro-life law “would make her want to eat an aborted fetus”? So I watched, and saw people laughing at that callous remark. When the hostess moaned about those who wanted to bury or cremate aborted children, Silverman ranted, “[Obscenity] funerals for [obscenity] aborted fetuses? I would like to speak at those funerals. He lived the way he died. He died the way he lived. The size of a sesame seed.”

OK, I know comedians are often angry, and Silverman has been clinically depressed (it’s now under control with Zoloft) and may still have pain from her parents’ divorce. On the other hand, she is privileged enough to have won a Creative Arts Emmy for writing and recording a song, “I’m [obscenity] Matt Damon.” If she wants to attack big men like Donald Trump, OK, but why pick on those who are small and helpless?

If Silverman doesn’t want to calm down on principle, she should do so pragmatically, because every creepy joke makes even Trump critics more likely to say, as John Dos Passos wrote in his 1936 novel The Big Money, “all right we are two nations.” Pronouncements from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, whose positions on abortion are Silverman’s without the expletives, have the same effect.

Dos Passos during the Depression defined the two nations in Marxist “class struggle” terms. He berated the rich and powerful “who have taken the clean words our fathers spoke and made them slimy and foul.” He learned life was more complicated: By the 1960s Dos Passos was a conservative. That was the decade our major arguments became social, not economic. That’s when clean words like “clinic” and “women’s health” and “choice” became, in the mouths of abortionists, slimy and foul.

The following Thursday, Feb. 8, was a good day for Trump supporters. At the National Prayer Breakfast he reminded attendees of important truths: “Our rights are not given to us by man; our rights come from our Creator. … No earthly force can take those rights away. … When Americans are able to live by their convictions, to speak openly of their faith, and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish.”

He pointed out the American nation of which we can be proud: “When catastrophic hurricanes struck, first responders and everyday citizens dove into rushing waters to save stranded families from danger. And they saved them by the thousands. Neighbors opened their homes to those in need of food, clothes, shelter. Firefighters braved blinding smoke and flames to rescue children from devastating wildfires. … Families have adopted babies orphaned by the opioid epidemic and given them loving homes. Communities and churches have reached out to those struggling with addiction, and shown them the path to a clean life, a good job, and a renewed sense of purpose.”

All right we are two nations. We have an America of compassion toward the very young and the very old, and a United States of callousness that promotes abortion and euthanasia. We have an America of individual initiative and community effort, and a United States where supplicants wait for governmental largesse. We have an America of religious liberty and free speech, and a United States of trigger warnings and safe spaces.

Since this story is published on Valentine’s Day, here’s a heart for the only president we have. After State of the Union and National Prayer Breakfast talks that moved away from callousness, President Trump has another opportunity to reset his presidency. And, although Trump tweets are often counterproductive and downright embarrassing, they do distract liberal propagandists from his deregulatory moves and reversals of overreaching Obama-era executive orders. Even The Washington Post has limited bandwidth, and every article complaining about a tweet is one less article attacking a needed policy change.

Don McLean’s February assessment was “Bad news on the doorstep / I couldn’t take one more step”—and adding another half-trillion dollars to our soaring national debt is certainly bad news. Still, Christians familiar with the Good News take a long-range view. In dealing with the domineering Romans of his time, Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” We don’t know what will happen on that second mile. We do know we have many steps to go before we sleep.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

  • MTJanet
    Posted: Wed, 02/14/2018 02:33 pm

    If we didn't have the Bible, we would all be insane - i.e. going along with child sacrifice and laughing at sick jokes about our unborn neighbors' demise.  I feel that Romans 1 is playing out before our eyes, and it just can't go on much longer...or can it?  I believe the two people groups here are the godly and the ungodly.  The party lines no longer have much meaning.  May God help and be with our current president.  

  • Greg Browning
    Posted: Wed, 02/14/2018 09:22 pm

    Back when the Center for Medical Progress filmed Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sales of fetal body parts, the left wing media defended PP and the State of California attempted to prosecute the film makers.  I recall making a comment at theat time that the PP folks could be filmed eating fetus stew as a menu item in the PP cafeteria and the Left would defend them.  Sounds like Sarah Silverman would like to have a bowl herself.  

  • Timmons's picture
    Timmons
    Posted: Wed, 02/14/2018 09:40 pm

    Mr. Olasky, I am encouraged by your article.  In our current political and cultural climate, I take heart in knowing that "the three men I admire most -- The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

  • Xion's picture
    Xion
    Posted: Thu, 02/15/2018 07:48 am

    Spot on!  The polarization of ideas is being amplified by fake news sources.  False narratives now carry more weight than reality.  The most radical positions are becoming mainstream.  Double standards are the new standard.  Truth is becoming hate speech. 

    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." (Winston Churchill)

  • E Cole
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 11:27 am

    A lot of truth in this article, but I think if you take what is implied as the “good” half of the world, that half is also divided.  There are those of us who hate abortion, but don’t believe that safe spaces are always wrong (why do so many people seem to enjoy being offensive?). There are those of us who serve God but don’t accept the implied criticism of the entire population of those who need help from the Government in order to survive.  There are those who can see some good in what has been accomplished in the past year, but are not afraid to believe what we see with our own eyes and hear with own ears regarding evidence that our President does not serve God.  I have never seen God’s people as divided as they are now, and that is one reason we have no influence on the half of our country that is unchurched. Sarah Silverman is an easy target and her words are ugly, but that other half is looking at Trump and seeing the church’s indifference to his sins, and they think we are just as ugly.

  • Fani's picture
    Fani
    Posted: Sat, 02/17/2018 11:06 am

    E Cole, I heartily agree with you. A church I do not attend but am familiar with is on edge due to a well-respected congregant who insists on vehemently advocating for Trump, by name, at every opportunity. This man is a pillar of the church in every good way that could mean. He's a former missionary, a good husband, a good father, and a kind, loving, lovely, generous man who employs many from the congregation who would not otherwise have income. I suppose the majority of the congregation are registered Republicans who feel as you do: perhaps Trump is doing one or two things well but the man himself is not a follower of Jesus. We must not trust in Trump! We must not speak of him as if he's the savior of our economy or the savior of our nation. He's a man, flawed as all of us, who uses key words and phrases to lull us into ignoring his flaws—flaws that could or might bring great harm to our nation in ways we don't currently understand.

    That church is in turmoil and people are taking sides. Leadership has spoken to this man, but that has resulted in more turmoil as some people on both sides feel that he didn't deserve an official reprimand, while people on one side feel that since he hasn't stopped in spite of the reprimand, more action should be taken (and the other side feels that leadership overstepped and he should continue to speak out in favor of Trump).

  • Fani's picture
    Fani
    Posted: Sat, 02/17/2018 10:50 am

    Marvin Olasky, THANK YOU so much for your final three sentences.

    I pray that on that second mile, a conversation might begin. In the Name of Jesus.

  • DWBrown
    Posted: Thu, 02/22/2018 08:30 am

    So much truth in Marvin's story and also much truth in the comments section. We know that our President has his flaws, but we also know our current tv news media with it's evil intentions could dig up and word smith flaws on Mother Theresa that would have the simple spitting at her. I laughed and considered it to be similar to the wisdom of solomon when President Trump took the funding away from "Planned Parenthood", they screamed loudly and the tv news was all over him. President trump said, okay quit killing babies and I will return the funding. The tv media and PP shut up like turning a faucet off. President Trump exposed the true intentions and lies of the so called "Planned Parenthood" just as those with cameras in brief cases exposed them selling baby parts.