"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Saint Biden–Joe’s Fanciful Dreams Of Utopia

Marsha Fallon was an ordinary woman, born of lower middle class means, educated far above them, but never strayed far from her roots.  She married up and well.  Her husband while not of the Beacon Hill, Rittenhouse Square, Park Avenue social elite was high second tier and his family influential in colonial New England. He had been educated at Choate and Yale.  His father, a well-known businessman and investor in his town’s then-burgeoning tool-and-die industry, was a member of the Fenwick Country Club and the Episcopal Church.

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Robert Trowbridge’s well-to-do family was of the ancestrally privileged; and over the years her modest background was either forgotten or subsumed within her husband’s more recognized history.  No one knew or even suspected her immigrant roots.  Her ethnicity had been nearly erased by her education (the Seven Sisters were brutally cleansing when it came to ethnic ‘otherness’ – Long Island Jewish girls were cured of their accents, their pushiness, and their gaudy outfits by sophomore year) and her years in the girl ghetto, man-hunting, Upper East Side. 

When she married Trowbridge, heir to the Davenport fortune and legacy (the original Davenport had founded the colony of New Haven and rooted Puritanism in Southern New England), she thought that she was well on her way, far removed from her very modest social past.  But it was not that easy to forget the Easter lilies, stations of the cross, Holy Communion and Blessed Virgin of her mother; or the practical, patch and sew-up parsimony of her cobbler father.  She may have married into Great Gatsby, Martha’s Vineyard, Gstaad wealth; but she could never shake her simple foundational beginnings.

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The privilege and ease of wealth came with difficulty.  It was not easy for Marsha to let things be done, to be taken care of.  Her father, grandfathers and European ancestors had worked hard for a living and applied the same enterprise and ambition in America.  Every problem had a solution.  No undue consideration or tiresome reflection was ever necessary.

The problem was not only that Robert was a scion of a traditional, conservative family at ease and at home with wealth and privilege, but he was an Epicurean – a man of of diffident values, no particular moral or social convictions and certainly no belief in improvement, progress, or betterment.  He was a come-what-may Christian, a man of belief in the cross but not untoward assumptions of salvation.  If there was to be a final reckoning, then, given the historically proven relativity of values, his place was as reserved as any in Paradise.

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The conflict between such esoteric, moral values and the practicalities of everyday life is common.  While Marsha’s Catholic side constantly drew her to the cross, the Holy Spirit, and Life Everlasting, it was her practical side – that insistently, indomitably down-to-earth leaning that held sway when it came to living.  While there might be a saving grace in the Mass, Holy Communion, and Penance, there were certainly rewards in renovating one’s life.  So much so that concerns about spiritual well-being, resurrection, and eternal life were secondary.

In this, Marsha was quintessentially American.  Despite America’s religious confirmation – no country other than India professes so much belief in a Divine Creator and His earthly intervention -  it is perhaps the most practical country on earth.  Collectively, nationally, personally, there is indeed no problem that defies solution.  There is the paradox of our great nation.  We feel beholden to God Almighty but with caveats.  If we work hard enough with enough diligence, bump out enough kitchens, improve, renovate, and expand our spiritual quarters, the road to Utopia is clear.

It is this unique and characteristic combination of religious belief and consummate secular practicality which makes us American; and Marsha Trowbridge nee Fallon was the perfect example.

Hers was an unusual and not uncontentious marriage, for how could it be?  Wife of the noblesse oblige privileged Anglo Saxon husband of America’s ruling class and heir to the intellectual diffidence of father and grandfather, follower of Hume, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, she was under a very strong yoke.  The more she aspired to improvement – a more adequate kitchen, more spacious dining room, and more commodious guest quarters – the more she was stymied by her husband whose statutory existentialism was maddening.  Life was short if not brutal, he said, so why the flim-flammery of ‘betterment’?  Privilege, wealth, and financial security meant relaxing one’s hold on reality, kicking back rather than forging ahead.

And so the Fallon-Trowbridges were the microcosm of the new Biden Administration.  Joe Biden was a good Delaware Irish Catholic but one who had moved beyond the Church’s heavenly prescriptions.  Doing His will meant acting, intervening, doing something; and not waiting for the final bell and the call to Paradise.

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Admittedly he had his moments of doubt, drawn in as he was by the likes of his Vice President, secularist, venal, self-annointed Utopian-in-Chief and her shills and claques in Congress.  Joe wanted to be a good Catholic, all for the promotion of religious rights and the rights of the unborn child; support for the fundamental, Darwinist and Biblical heterosexual nature of the human race; and belief in the foundational belief in individual, God-given entrepreneurial freedom; but he had been coopted by compromise.  A dreary life in the House and the Senate, never a leader, always a follower and compromiser could only lead to a forgetful erosion of belief.  Gone were his Irish Catholic roots, and in was his secular, take-it-as-it-comes progressivism.

Joe was a doer despite Jesus’ injunctions and warnings against secular illusion.  Somehow, in his long, slogging, muddy time in Congress, he forgot that God determined what is and what is to come, and transferred much of this determinism to himself and the Democratic party.

The point is not the Trowbridge-Fallons but about democratic Utopianism.  How easily Joe Biden has dismissed his Biblical past, the Church, the Vatican, and two thousand years of Christian history and replaced the notion of Christian salvation with a very secular one.  His pastor at St. Mary’s church on Fessenden Street in Wilmington would be appalled at Joe’s volte face, his substitution of spiritual salvation with its sorry, sad, and time-weary secular traveler.   “There is no such thing as salvation without the Almighty”, Father Murphy was wont to preach at Sunday Mass; and here was his most famous parishioner taking the country otherwise. 

Biden surely has his moments before he signs executive orders making abortion more accessible, limiting the rights of religious institutions, and promoting the gender spectrum and transgender absolutism.  He wasn’t brought up that way.  Yet, endless years in Congress and government can erode the most rock-ribbed faith.  Who, after decades in a compromise-first, principles-last environment can hold fast to moral principles?

So, while most Americans are still morally and spiritually principled, not only do they have to put up with progressive posturing but put up with it from a turncoat.  Joe didn’t grow up that way. 

Perhaps it would be more tolerable if he were to disavow his Catholic heritage and belief.  Been there, done that.  The Church stands for white, straight, privileged hegemony, and even if there was a Jesus Christ, his legacy has been tarnished and discredited.

Of course the Catholic vote is still considerable, so he can’t do that; so we will have to put up with a prevaricator and an opportunist.  Big deal, most of us will conclude.  Isn’t politics always that way?

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