GOP Cheerleaders Trapped In Political “Flatland” Refusing To See Real World Dimension Of Being Christians FIRST
By John Lofton, Editor
That’s it! The Christian/conservatives who are, in reality, first, Republican Party cheerleaders, are political “Flatlanders.”
In 1884, the British/Victorian Edwin A. Abbott wrote a science fiction novel titled “Flatland.” The story tells of a two-dimensional-only-world inhabited by flat creatures knowing no space higher than their own. A “Flatlander’s” entire visual world is contained within a single line subdivided into the objects of his perception.
The hero of “Flatland” is a figure of geometric shape named “A. Square” because he is one. “Square” is a young and idealistic flatlander who is visited one evening by a sphere from “Spaceland,” the realm of three dimensions. The noble “Lord Sphere” manifests himself in “Flatland” in the only way he knowsas a two-dimensional cross section. What “A. Square” thinks is the whole turns out to be merely a part. This and other insights come only later to “Square” as he undergoes the most difficult educational experience of his life learning that there is a reality beyond what he thinks he knows.
In short, the details of the “Flatland” society and the immersion of
“Flatlanders” in all its petty peculiarities amounts to a vast web of distraction in which “Flatlanders” are caught and thereby fail to realize their own vertical possibilities. The “Flatlander” world is seen as a flat, horizontal sheet within which his geometrical figures glide in any of the compass directions. The “Flatlanders” know nothing of “up” or “down.” Their entire universe consists of this single, flat world.
Abbott says of his novel: “If my readers have followed me with any attention, they will not be surprised to hear that life is somewhat dull in ‘Flatland’….How can it be otherwise, when all one’s prospect, all one’s landscapes, historical pieces, portraits, flowers, still life, are nothing but a single line, with no varieties except degrees of brightness and obscurity?”
When “A. Square” realizes that there is a reality beyond “Flatland,” that “Lord Sphere” is (gasp!) three-dimensional, he says: “An unspeakable horror seized me. There was a darkness; then a dizzy, sickening sensation of sight that was not like seeing….; When I could find [my] voice, I shrieked aloud in agony, ‘Either this is madness or it is Hell.’”
To which “Lord Sphere” replies, calmly: “It is neither. It is Knowledge; it is Three Dimensions: open your eyes once again and try to look steadily….I come to proclaim that there is a land of Three Dimensions.”
As I read “Flatland,” I thought of a recent interview I did with Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy for “Focus on the Family Action” and a Bush/GOP/cheerleader/political-“Flatlander” if ever there was one. At one point, we had this exchange:
Me: “Let me ask you — in your own words — at what point would Tom Minnery think about saying, for whatever reason, the Republican Party hasn’t produced, we’re tired of excuses motives, they haven’t produced — we have to think of something new. What would it take for you to start thinking that way?”
Minnery: “John, I don’t think — know — I can’t imagine, uh — the Republican Party going backward that far. It has taken so long to get it where it is today. I think the effort is going to be constant and it’s going to be a lot of hard work —— to go forward.”
Bingo! There it is the mindset of the political “Flatlander” except, of course, Tom’s myopia is worse that the “Flatlanders” in that he sees only one political dimension that of supporting the Republican Party.
And notice what Tom says. Even though I asked him an abstract, theoretical question about just the possibility of, maybe, perhaps, leaving the GOP, under certain circumstances, he can’t cope with this question. Indeed, he says he “can’t imagine” such an eventuality, ever.
In fact, when I asked Tom my hypothetical question, he reacted similarly to the way “A. Square” reacted when he realized there were three and not just two dimensions. Like “A. Square,” Tom, too, viewed my inquiry as an unspeakable horror, a darkness. Tom, too, seemed to experience a dizzy, sickening sensation when simply asked about the possibility of leaving the GOP.
But, regardless of Tom Minnery’s reaction to my question, there is a political dimension outside of being, first, a cheerleader for the Republican Party. And one of those dimensions the most important one for Christians such as Tom, is for him, and all Christians in the political arena, to start being Christians first.
Remember what Edwin Abbott said. He said that in “Flatland” life was “somewhat dull.” And so it is in political “Flatland” as a Republican Party cheerleader. Life in this mythical realm is also dull, very dull, and very unrewarding — something that can never be said about putting Christ first and seeking to advance His Kingdom here on earth.