Many are the legacies you will leave behind for history to puzzle over. There is your destruction of the American Empire and the economy that supported it. There are your efforts to speed up the onset of peak oil by burning billions of gallons of it to militarily control the Middle East, even though it has always been the graveyard of empires.
But the one that will garner the most respect and admiration is how you got religion back into the barn.
People forget how frightening it was forty-plus years ago when religion kicked down the barn door and fled the bonds of propriety. Look at the trouble it caused: the civil rights and peace movement, the muzzling of the CIA, and the denigration of war. It was running around the paddock, kicking up its heels and spreading instability wherever it went.
The problem is that the cross Jesus is always talking about taking up is a real destablizer. It makes empire difficult, it has no use for political power, and it loves diversity.
The voice of the prophet raging against the injustice of kings is a thorn in any leader’s side.
You discovered that the best way to silence a prophet and to get religion back into the barn is to give the prophet political power and influence. As soon as he sits down at the table, the prophet is defanged as he begins to sing the king’s song. Once a prophet embraces power, he becomes a fossilized caricature of his former self as his ego builds a walled fortress around his soul.
His cries for justice become cries of bigotry and intolerance. Where he once embraced the unwashed, he now wants to incarcerate and deport them. He calls for a Christian nation run by Christian white men and for the damnation of anyone who refuses to accept the one pure and true doctrine.
Make the pious powerful and they will stamp out the last vestiges of democracy in their zeal to manifest God’s world on earth. A dark spirit moves them, giving them a force and energy few politicians are capable of. The fire of fanaticism burns in their eyes, making of them avenging angels who will cut down everything in their path.
Channel and direct their energy, George, while you stand in the background, your trademark sheepish grin on your face, mouthing your tepid platitudes.
May the Force be with you.