“We’re dead! We’re dead! We survived…but we’re dead!” It often seems that liberals are channeling Dash from “The Incredibles” on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Just yesterday they told us that South Asia will be hotter than the blazes of hell and damnation itself by the end of this century (sort of like Atlanta is already); and today we learn that not just our Indo-Pak friends but, indeed, all of humanity is likely deader than a “Star Trek” redshirt who just beamed down with the Captain.
I have written elsewhere (“Where’s Your Messiah Now–On the Left or the Right?,” Sects, Lies, and the Caliphate, pp. 151-154) that across the span of US history liberals have tended to be messianic, while conservatives have more often waxed eschatological. However, with the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, roles have reversed: some of the latter have adopted political messianism (so much so that they are in need of chastisement) while the former have plunged deeply into the eschatological maelstrom with a vitriolic anchor around their necks.
Ironically, considering how many Democrats profess no religion, liberals have been quick to adopt the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” motif from the Book of Revelation, chapter 6. In St. John’s apocalypse (which means, literally, “unveiling”) the horsemen are conquest, war, famine and death itself.
Albrecht Dürer makes even the Four Horsemen look Lutheran.
The horsemen are Scott Pruitt (EPA director), Rex Tillerson (SecState), Rick Perry (Energy Secretary, former Texas governor) and Ryan Zinke (Interior Secretary). No, wait! They’re actually the Koch family, Robert Mercer (conservative rich hedge-funder and “Breitbart News” supporter), Steve Bannon (Trump strategist) and The Donald himself. No, enough horsing around–the Fey Four are, rather, Vice President Pence, SecDef “Mad Dog” Mattis, Tillerson and “worse than Caligula’s horse” Perry.
A better argument for the four figures would posit them as civilizational problems, not individuals–such as, say, chemicals, disease, some aspects of humanity itself, and resources (or lack thereof). For “progressives,” then, the Four Little Ponies prancing in, now that President Trump has broken the seal (read Revelation chapters 5 and 6), might be climate change, capitalism, Christianity and cisgenderism–which unfortunately leaves them no room for Vladimir Putin. The first of these, in its old global warming version is, of course, the beast which many on the Left see as stamping out all the others (as alluded to above). Unfortunately for them, however, cold kills more humans than heat–as my wife likes to remind me whenever I set the air conditioner below 70.
Here are Four Horsemen that liberals and conservatives might be able to agree upon:
This is a painting (dated 1967) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio (which I visited in June of this year, in town to see U2). Marty Palin of Jefferson Airplane/Starship bought the painting in San Fransciso and donated it to the Hall. That fellow in the middle appears Elvis-ish, while the rider on his left presages a 1970s Jeff Lynne of ELO (holding Maxwell’s silver hammer?). The skeletal chap on the left could contribute something with that acoustic guitar. But how in Hades do you play a scythe?
Since the title of this entry comes from U2, I’ll leave you with the link to one of my favorite, and their most relevant to today’s topic, songs: “Until the End of the World.”