Waking up on the 411th anniversary of an attempt to blow up Parliament, it was strange that the news headlines were about the Daily Mail’s front page unconsciously directly repeating specific German front pages of the 1930s with pictures of a row of judges’ faces and a headline ‘Enemies of the People’ and about an American judge granting restraining orders against potential intimidation at Polling Stations. Of course many have commented on all this – how the ‘the will of the people’ can be expressed as much by a lynch mob as by a reflective democratic process and how external independent judiciaries are precisely what enables us to navigate between the two.
My despair continues to be about how ‘a reflective democratic process’ can be informed as much as expressed. I’ve worried away before at the way things like political PR planning rubbishes any church attempts to open up fresh genuine discussion. Now referendum and Presidential campaigns have illustrated not only that explicit untruth is one of the marketing tools but also that we are so inured to it that there are no consequences when it is either unmasked or brazenly paraded.
I read the fresh commentaries this week – from Rowan Williams’ “metacrises... grounded in illusion and contradiction... the symbiosis of oligarchy and majoritarianism” to speculation about the way in which game show voting has infantalised expectations of the immediate consequences of a narrow majority vote – but such awareness is not going to deflect the cynical PR management of the democratic processes we have.
So here instead is the burning bush created at family worship at St Nicolas’ on Sunday. The voice from the bush named the desolate place as holy ground, had God name himself, and promises that he hears the crying and suffering of his people. Moses reaction is that the people will say it is untrue and that he himself is so slow and hesitant that he wouldn’t be much good at arguing otherwise, at which excuses God gets quite shirty with him.