by Jon Biddle

The Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders

Matthew 7:24-27

My anniversary is looming, I say looming at it mine and Sams 30th Wedding anniversary. Yes, 30th! I won’t say it has been 30 years of plain sailing, anyone who is also in a long lasting marriage knows that the trick isn’t trying to avoid the storms. It’s about how you go through them and come out of the other side and if you know the strength of your ship, when you are caught out to sea and see the darkness closing in. You can turn to the person you love and know that you will get through this together, you don’t need to batten down the hatches or abandon ship.

When you get married young, there is an expectation that it will not last. How can two people who are just starting out in the world have the experience or the tools needed to forge a life together? I thought us of as naïve, unable or unwilling to see that as we grew older, we would grow apart. I think back to when we announced our engagement all those years ago, one old family friend asked ‘What are you going to build your marriage on? Love?!’. 

Well… yes, actually, and that’s what we did.

My father (in law) Geoff who I consider as a father figure in my life and won’t disparage his love for me by suffixing his title and the role he played in my life with ‘in law’. He is an amazing orator and is blessed with being a natural public speaker, Geoff gave the traditional Father of the bride speech which was, as expected, amazing. He spoke about The Three Little Pigs and the importance of building a moral foundation, how a house of bricks and mortar needs a firm stone base. He spoke about the tenants of a strong marriage, how a marriage can only work when you start by building it with love, trust, compassion, communication and honesty. These are the building blocks that create a strong and loving marriage, so that when those knocks come, as they have for Sam and I, it won’t fall down around you. Instead, you will face these together, stronger and survive as a couple coming out of the other side with a love that is even deeper and stronger than before. 

The Story of The Three Little Pigs is known to most people in the western world, it is just another retelling of the bible story of the man who built his house on the sand and I’m sure there are other fairytales, parables or children’s stories with the same message. I feel as if the current occupant of the White House should have looked passed the basic story and looked at what the deeper meaning of The Story of the Three Little Pigs is about. As he has now enshrined it in American culture. 

Building not only his presidency but his business and life on a foundation of lies, corruption and dirty deeds. I won’t make any bones about Mr Trump, his politics aside, I think if you’re a morally bankrupt individual that uses bullying and cruelty as measures of success then you have no grounding from me. 

I think back to the Make America Great Again speech he made in 2015 and 2016 which spawned the infamous MAGA hashtag. He stirred the pot, got the voters taking notice, ‘I like Trump because he says what he thinks!’ His supporters said as he gathered momentum, that seemed to be his selling point. He didn’t sound like other candidates, he didn’t say things the same way other presidents in the past had done. Though we have now seen that you can’t just say what you want when you’re the president, your words have consequences. As seen by his comments on drinking bleach during COVID-19 or how he has made white supremacists feel confident enough to crawl out of their hole because there are ‘Very fine people on both sides’ when discussing clashes between Anti Fascist’s and Neo-Nazis.

My own friends were critical of me when his presidency started, unemployment dropped through the floor, domestic manufacturing increased, the economy was booming and everything was great. Even in a 2016 in a bittersweet interview with CNN after her astonishing loss, Hillary Clinton said Trump will be fine as president until there is a crisis because Donald can only think of himself. He was lucky, thanks to Obama signing the stimulus package in 2009, which kick-started 10 years of economic growth and job creation. Donald just had to keep it going. 

Hillary was right though, five months into the pandemic the biggest civil rights movement of a generation took to the street while poorly educated gun toting white folks stated their constitutional rights were being infringed by the politicians trying to protect them.

Now that the stimulus checks have ran out, there has been no moratorium on evictions, the worse mortgage default statistics since records began, employers revoking healthcare to their now out of work employees leaving them without cover, food lines the longest since the Great Depression, unemployment higher than the Great Depression and a pandemic is out of control with the highest global death rate which will need punitive quarantine measures to stem the infection vectors. 

Which coincidentally will statistically affect Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and migrant communities and single-parent homes, undocumented and documented immigrants, those who are already disadvantaged, low-income households and the disabled. All while Congress is being asked to kick The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in to the trash leaving it defunded while giant corporations take the lions share of the two trillion dollar quantitive easing programme with, standby. $730,000,000,000 (Yes! $730 Billion Dollars) going towards expanding the already inflated military budget.. Don’t think that is the total! Oh no! That is how much they are increasing it by making it the largest military budget in the world. 

When you are sailing into the face of a social catastrophe in which 20% of the military budget could go a long way to resolving. It is hard to see the of the MAGA movement staying standing tall and surviving. He built his house on the sand and now the tide has come in to collect. Sadly, though the victims washed up on the shore won’t be of the people who helped prop it up, no. It will be the ones stuck outside, the ones who refused to hold up a house build on poor foundations, the ones who saw the what was being built and knew of the incoming collapse.

We are seeing the formations of a civil war coming together, the gloomy clouds of war will soon move in, I can sense it, veterans have a nose for these kinds of things. I can hear the battle cries being carried in the wind as broken people find a voice in one another. The thud of boots on the ground as more and more members of the National Guard hidden inside Red Cross vans enforce the government’s will.

The milk of human kindness on both sides of the fence has run dry and all I know is that America cannot and should not wait until November 3rd to tear down the house before it collapses in on itself. I know that my house, the house I built with my wife, is made of bricks and mortar and can withstand whatever storm MAGA unleashes into the world. But we all know that what happens on American shores will tip the balance of global security for all.

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