Episode 10
I-75 South

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Previously in "Saecula:” An elite Republican cabal conspires to fix the 
2008 presidential election, but its plans to embezzle money from the RNC 
are uncovered and lead to murder.  Democratic Senator Winnie Scott
scuttles administration strategy with a blockbuster disclosure during
congressional hearings on the disasterous Islamic War.  The Vice President's
"A-Team" sets in motion the ultimate October Surprise: A terrorist attack
upon the nation.

Today: The Holy Trinity Constitutional Amendments.

The minute finals were over and Senior Sem papers were turned in, Reynolds fired up his RV and 
was on the road to Florida. He wouldn’t return until the tundra receded from the Alfred hills in May, 
barely in time for commencement. He would grade the exams for the two undergrad courses he 
taught and read his seniors’ papers, e-mailing the results to the registrar from his wireless laptop 
by the required date. Kyle would be happy. He snuck through with a seminal defense of conservatism 
as the engine of economic prosperity, using the tarnished, if not as yet quite trite, “raising all the boats
in the harbor” analogy.

Gar had been “full-timing” -- living in his RV year round -- for six years now. Reynolds and his wife 
had built a beautiful, chalet-style house along the ridge on the University side of the valley. It broke 
his heart to have to sell it, but it was either that or buy out his wife; impossible on a professor’s salary. 
He tried apartment living for awhile, but it was too much like a cheap substitute for a house to him. 
He preferred a cheap original. Full-timing fulfilled his primal urge for freedom. Don’t like your neighbors? 
Unplug and leave. No packing, no moving vans, no landlord, nor mortgage.

Marilyn had already conveniently downsized him for RV living when she emptied out their house, 
taking everything except the stereo, televisions, and even the clock radio. At first, Gar was mystified 
at why she had left all the electronics. Then he remembered a comment she made when they were 
moving from State College. She had wondered if the small portable TV they purchased for their flat 
would work in Alfred. At the time, Gar assumed she was joking. After 20 years of marriage, he knew 

There was a lot to be said for traveling in an RV. Gar never had to use the facilities at a Texaco station, 
stay over night in a Motel Six, or eat expressway food. Occasionally in traffic jams, he’d get to look down 
on people in cars who were sleeping or arguing or singing. It was kind of like being a spy satellite. 
Gar wished short skirts would make a comeback. The first few years, he had traveled extensively,
visiting his sons and their families in Oregon and Iowa. The outrageous cost of gas had limited his 
recent road trips to Florida.

He’d lived all over the state. He started in Key West, until it became overrun with cruise ships and 
millionaires, and its end-of-the-road funkiness was lost and replaced by just plain mercenary nastiness. 
New Smyrna Beach and then Fort Myers Beach followed. His current destination was Indian Rocks, 
like the others, a small, laid-back, working class beach town. Reynolds had no use for the glitz and 
phoniness of Florida’s southeast “Gold Coast” -- Manhattan South. He had dealt with enough pushy 
denizens of New Jersey and Long Island over his career, and was not about to put up with them in
his seniority.

At 63, Reynolds was two years away from mandatory retirement as department chairman and 
tenured professor. Over the years, he had flirted with offers from Stanford and Princeton, but 
concluded long ago that he liked being a big fish in a small pond. Still, he had an established national 
reputation, at least in liberal and intellectual circles, even removing himself from Ralph Nader’s 
shortlist of potential vice presidential running mates in 2004 by a strategically-timed preemptive 
endorsement of John Kerry. As with many Alfred teachers, he would remain as professor emeritus, 
teaching his Senior Seminar and helping out with other courses as needed. But his days as a powerful 
faculty chairman were nearing an end. He was okay with that. He had won his share of battles with 
the administration. Let the young Turks have their day in the sun. After this goddamn Trinity mess 
blew over, he’d be more than happy to stick his sword back in the stone.

Two years ago, Larry Lauer, the CEO of Morality, Inc., came up with the idea for Holy Trinity. 
He dredged up every right-wing culture issue of the last 40 years, packaged them into three
proposed Constitutional amendments, and declared a final showdown between “true Christian 
Americans and godless secular humanists.” Presumably that included Reynolds and just about 
everyone he knew. Lauer, working with congressional sponsors, joined the anti-abortion/stem cell 
research amendment, and protection of marriage amendment with an “American Values” mishmash. 
Tossed together were prayer in schools, and display of the Commandments and other religious
doodads in public spaces, with anti-profanity, anti-pornography and anti-flag burning. So far,
Lauer’s strategy seemed to be working. Trinity had passed congressional muster by the required 
two-thirds vote of each House and was signed by the President, alluding to Reagan’s inanity that 
“morning in America had truly begun.”

The core of popular support behind the Holy Trinity amendments came from Evangelical Christians, 
whose latest fantasy was something called the “Rapture,” at which time God would call the faithful to
Heaven. Not just any faithful mind you, but only the faithfulest of the faithful -- those who have been
“born again in Jesus Christ.” That this is all “true” is based on a fictional series called the Left Behind 
Books. They, in turn, are based on the nearly incomprehensible biblical Book of Revelations.

This celestial cut is called the “End Times.” It will initiate the aforementioned Rapture in which the 
“righteous” vanish, leaving only their clothing behind, to join God for eternity. The rest, who are 
the “left behind,” face the “Tribulation” or Hell on earth. With all the ramifications of something 
this enormous, ECs only concern seems to be how to account for artificial body parts, pacemakers,
eyeglasses and false teeth? Do they go with the bodies or stay with the clothes? Who says they 
are shallow thinkers who haven’t dealt with tough theological dilemmas?

If ECs’ maniacal ravings were those of a bunch of monks hidden away in a mountaintop monastery 
or some leftover hippie cult in California, rational Americans wouldn’t give two hoots. When individuals 
base their socio-political opinions on voodoo, mysticism, witchcraft, sun worship or messages from Elvis, 
they are normally discounted and subject to ridicule. But the size of the EC movement provides them 
credibility and political clout, ensuring their religious arrogance is no laughing matter. Forty percent of 
the GOP vote comes from this group.

It could be years before these morons conclude there are no End Days, no Rapture, no abandoned 
clothes, with or without Mr. Potato Head spare parts, and this lunacy implodes from its own silly and 
pious superstitions. The only solution is for mainstream society and media to treat them for what
they are -- a bunch of dangerous crackpots who have the ability to undermine American democracy.

On the other hand, Gar thought, this Rapture crap could be the best thing that’s ever happened to 
America. Fifty million dumb as dirt, reactionary knuckleheads suddenly vanished! “Hey God! You 
think you could pull it off before the November elections?”

He liked to say that he had read the Bible -- even if only to find the loopholes -- and it was pretty
apparent Jesus didn't have a lot of use for the Scribes and Pharisees. "(A)ll their works they do in 
order to be seen by men." (Matt. 23: 5). If the Bible thumpers were truly sincere in their desire to 
bring some semblance of civility and morality into the current cultural morass, Gar figured they 
had best learn to play with others more constructively. They needed to quit their petty proselytizing 
and moral posturing and come together in good faith with other Christians and non Christians. and 
they needed to include atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and new-age pantheists, among others.
Most of them had given a whole lot more consideration to their self-directed moral and spiritual 
codes than had the majority of their right-wing opponents.

Gar’s reverie was broken as a red Dodge Neon whizzed onto the interstate from an entrance lane. 
Gar broke hard to avoid it, and swore even harder. Naturally, it was a twenty-something female driver. 
Over the years, Gar had noticed a real difference between young women and young men drivers. 
The MAPS, as he called them -- Motoring American Princesses -- had a merge deficit disorder. 
They must all have been out buying bubblegum the day their high school driving instructors covered 
yielding on entrance ramps. They couldn't seem to figure out that challenging a 20,000 lb. motorhome 
traveling at 75 mph. in their 83 lb. compact car while blithely blasting onto the interstate wasn’t wise, 
no matter how cute their parents told them they were. Young adult males weren’t quite as self-absorbed. 
But they had as yet to comprehend that tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and pounding on their 
horns wouldn’t make ten-mile backups go away.

Gar shook off the interruption and regained his train of thought. Trinity proponents had easy 
ratification across the Bible belt and mid-America, where their first efforts were concentrated. 
However, the movement appeared to be stalled, having failed in the last five state referendums. 
Sponsors now were changing tactics for the more moderate states. They switched from statewide 
referenda with their circus-like atmosphere that turned out huge numbers of both supporters and 
opponents, to passage by state legislatures. Here they could count on right-wing constituents, who
knee jerk at the whiff of any God-type stuff, to pressure their representatives, and all but the 
leaders of the opposition to tire of the long, dull legislative process.

Discounting the “blue” states of the Northeast and West Coast left supporters with six potential 
states to achieve the remaining four needed for passage. Florida was numero uno. Reynolds 
anticipated his normal winter respite would not be as peaceful this year. He longed for good, 
old, boring Methodists. They went to church, did good deeds and didn’t feel the necessity of
practicing in-your-face religion, mainlining sappy zealotry like addicts at every opportunity
-- sort of like taking God's name in “vein.”

Next in “Saecula:” Adnan Al-Zuhari gets his chance for revenge.

by  Martin Gresko

Interested in publishing this manuscript?
Or to make comments, CONTACT Martin Gresko at VGABONSUN@hotmail.com
See his biweekly political column http://www.StPetePost.com

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