And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence
So wrote Simon and Garfunkel in 1966. It’s an old story. The prophet sees clearly much like Amos did (and he was only a “herdsman and dresser of sycamore trees” 7:14).No advanced degrees necessary to out “the neon gods.”
“Prophecy” as Rabbi Heschel reminds us “is the voice God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor to the profaned riches of the world.”
One does not have to be an “expert” to speak truth to power. In fact as Thomas Berry says look at the PHds justifying global warming.How about the doctorates around the table of the Wanssee Conference in Berlin in January 1942 which produced the Final Solution in Nazi Germany.
Which brings us to Glenda Jackson, the Labour MP who told the truth about Margaret Thatcher in the British House of Commons. The former Academy Award winner stood up among the sycophants and reminded them of “the heinous social, economic and spiritual damage” Thatcher had wreaked upon the UK needlessly— blunt and cruel policies eschewed Germany and other Northern nations. She destroyed any semblance of social cohesion.
The Guardian editorial stated this succinctly:
She disdained the public realm and presided over the growth of the cult of marketplace success as the foundation of a good society – a low-tax, home-owning, privatised, high-carbon, possessive, individualist, winner-takes-all financial model whose failure haunts the choices still facing this country today
Dame Glenda Jackson reminded her country of all this.
“I was meticulous in not being personally rude. I didn’t know the woman: I did know the policies. I spoke up because history has been rewritten over the past week. I lived through the Thatcher period. I know what it was like. I know what it was like for my constituents. The reality bore no resemblance to what’s being presented.”
A class act unmasking marketplace idolatry, delivered by a non-expert who trusted her eyes.