Dear Leader

I was struck by the closing of Sen. Tim Scott’s speech at the Republican Convention. Where one would expect a liturgical refrain expecting “God” to “Bless” “America” (at least the already entitled), Tim added a line, “…and, Father, please continue blessing the United States of America.

A case can certainly be made that “Father” is merely a synonym for “God.” But it is at the center of a well-known model of the strong, autocratic leader and has political overtones.

After a speech/apology for the sitting authority-in-chief, invoking the “Father” language made it all too easy to connect with the standard Fascist trope of “Fatherland.” There is no reason to think this was accidental.

I take it this was not a slip of the tongue but a deliberate introduction of the current President as more than an officeholder eternal incarnation of the office itself. This identification is so close that the term “Father” preempts the office.

“Father,” as in “head of the family” (or nation), demands that “Father Knows Best,” without any of the irony in the TV show from days of yore. This is a political position that equates to “Leader” (as Füher or Duce) have meant in past eruptions of fascism. “Father” or “Leader” is not a “President” or presider over a process; an administer of policy. Father/Leader is a return to the Divine-Right of Kings.

Is this too paranoid a response in the midst of a disjointed moment? Is this an anticipation of giving the One Ring to one desiring, grasping creature blinded by such an external, precious power to comfort its own lack of a sense of preciousness/worth of its own?

Only time will tell whether this is a last gasp of patriarchal religion or a doubling down. Keep your ear open.

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