I fell asleep last night after finishing the last few pages of a cleverly written book, The Once and Future Witches,by Alix E. Harrow. On its face, it chronicles the return of witches to the world years after the Salem witch trials but not long after the Underground Railroad and segregation. Really, however, it is a story of misogyny, racism, and mob barbarism like lynching and burning, driven by superstition and fear. The tales are dark and familiar, but the ending is hopeful if not happily ever after.
One might close the covers of the book, make a reader’s appraisal of its literary and entertainment value, put it down, and utter a sign of relief that those days are behind us.
No. They are not. I woke to a report by Joel Rose on NPR’s Morning Edition, December 30, 2020. Headlined “Even If It’s ‘Bonkers,’ Poll Finds Many Believe QAnon And Other Conspiracy Theories,” his report stated that “A significant number of Americans believe misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus and the recent presidential election, as well as conspiracy theories like QAnon, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.”
Perception is 9/10ths of reality. It is the driver of and the apology for all kinds of wicked behavior from violence to an end of democracy. Do a quick Google search and it’s easy to find stoning, witch burnings, lynching, and political parties’ machinations and lies, here and abroad, in our time when we most need truth, rationality, and trust.
How can we take the advice of Proverbs 15:12 if even the wise among us don’t know from whom to take advice?
The flag belongs to all of us, as does this country. Let’s be worthy of it! Confront superstition and ignorance; turn off the talking heads that spew and spin; let your news and social media outlets know that you will no longer support them if they continue to promote superstition and conspiracy theories, glorify the cult of personality, and neglect the real dangers to our society and this planet.
To quote Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”