These prophetic words from J. William Fulbright: “Certain drums have been beaten, to ward off evil spirits preaching, appeasement and isolationism without sufficient vigilance. Who are the self-appointed emissaries of God who have wrought so much violence? They are men with doctrines… who believe in some cause without doubt and practice their beliefs without scruple; men who cease to be human beings and instead become living, breathing embodiments of some faith or ideology, wreaking havoc, and bringing misery to their intended beneficiaries and destruction upon themselves. Bellicosity is a mark of weakness and self-doubt rather than of strength and self-assurance. The true mark of greatness is not stridency but magnanimity! Man is qualified to contemplate metaphysics but not to practice it. The practice of metaphysics is God’s work.”

For over 40 years our country has been stuck. At one time the United States was No. 1 in everything, to include infrastructure, public education, electronics technology, plus the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Republican initiative. The fundamentalist evangelical extremists became the Republican Party to quietly undermine democracy and enforce cultural divisions. The television evangelicals have capitalized on bigotry, various discriminations, and other made-up issues; a marketing strategy that has made a couple of them billionaires and too many more multi-millionaires (oligarchs) with "qualified immunity." The "meek shall inherit the earth" clergy nationwide of all faiths and denominations are doing the heavy lifting by recognizing that adjusting away from the "stuck" is imperative to our futures too.

Citizens United is nothing more than a slush fund of dark money to support criminal activities and criminal organizations like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Boogaloos. White supremacy is alive and sick as ever. Many claim to be Christian, but we have yet to see it in action or legislation. It must be another qualified immunity thing, which would explain the murderous, treasonous coup attempt on Jan. 6.

Right or left, right or wrong, we are all victims of the "Big Lie," the "Big Con," the "Big Fix" and the "Big Stain" that is derived from a sick form of qualified immunity and placed a knee on our collective necks. Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Josh Hawley of Missouri emulate Donald Trump Jr. with their selfish spoiled brat attitudes and profound arrogance. They are emblematic of elitist, absurdly well-monied oligarchs who are having a pretty good time with all of us; turning our shared democracy into games of shuffleboard and spitball. Plantation owners all!

Propagandist Rupert Murdoch is America’s most dangerous oligarch and plantation owner. Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and fellow travelers are the water carriers for right-wing supremacists and fundamentalists. COVID-19 has proven what a faith-based government looks, smells and tastes like: 570,000 dead Americans – a colossal failure. The stain is indelible, and we are all stuck with it until "qualified immunity" is discarded in the trash heap of history and let democracy ring!

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Leland Jenson lives in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.