Philosopher George Santayana famously said: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” We failed to remember the past during the high-rolling years leading up to The Great Recession of 2008, which is in many ways still with us 8 years later. It was caused primarily by the excessive, reckless, and often sinful activities of investment bankers and brokerage houses on Wall Street—and to some extent by poorly functioning government lending agencies in Washington, D.C. However, the chief thing we Americans never seem to grasp and hold onto is the fact that the organizations that caused this calamity are by and large the darlings of the Republican Party, which believes even now that these organizations should be minimally regulated and be able to do anything they bloody well please in the course of their business operations. They seem to have no memory of 1929 and 2008.
In turn, we also need to remember that Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are two of the primary supporters of the Republican Party—and by derivation—supporters of those who caused The Great Recession of 2008. Mr. Santayana was correct. These business organizations learned no good lessons from the Great Depression that began in 1929, and this allowed history to repeat itself in 2008. Furthermore, they are now trying to position themselves to get regulations lifted so they can do it to us all over again another time. It is like a kid putting his finger on a red-hot range eye, pulling it back in extreme pain and terror—and then doing it all over again time after time after time until some adult finally wises up enough to keep the little guy out of the kitchen.
Look closely below at a portion of a campaign speech made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. He is describing the causes and effects of The Great Depression. Then think about The Great Recession of 2008 and all that it entailed. The similarities between 1929 and 2008 are more than a little amazing and truly haunting. Here is the speech excerpt:
“For eight years our nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing government. The nation looked to that government, but that government looked away. Eight mocking years with the golden calf and four long years of the scourge! Eight crazy years at the ticker and four long years in the breadlines! Eight mad years of mirage and four long years of despair! And my friends, powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government—with its doctrine that that government is best which is most indifferent to mankind.
For nearly four years now, you have had an administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. And I can assure you, we will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs, and we know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.”
The most striking thing in that speech to me is the statement that refers to the Republican Party as having the doctrine that “that government is best which is most indifferent to mankind.” This means they care for a select few rich Americans and their businesses— which donate money to their election campaigns—and screw every other American. Do they really care about the homeless person? No. Do they really care about poor people? No. Do they really care about sick people? No. Do they really care about old people? No. Do they really care about the struggles of the working poor? No. Do they really care about any of the people Jesus referred to as “the least of these” in Matthew 25. No. And here is the really amazing part. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are completely sold out to the Republican Party in direct contravention to the concern of Jesus Christ for “the least of these.” Let us review the scripture right now so there will be no mistakes here:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
Perhaps Bob Dylan said it best, so I will quote him here for the Republicans and the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who support the Republican Party and its war against those Jesus called “the least of these:”
“It’s a hard rain gonna fall.” This hard rain will most likely begin in June 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court approves homosexual marriages nationwide. Consider it a plague visited upon the fundies and conservative evangelicals for their abandonment of any real love for their neighbors. And some people believe God has no sense of humor!!!
Jesus and I welcome Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical hatred of us—because hating their fellow man is about the only thing they are really, really good at doing.