The Corruption of Power

In the days before I jetted out to Arizona for our annual Rabbinical Convention, I hosted Mikey Weinstein, the Air Force Academy graduate who is in a one man battle against the Dominionist Evangelicals in the U.S. Armed Forces, for a meeting at Auburn. He wrote a book "With God on Our Side" about many of the abuses that have been carried out by certain Evangelical officers in the military. He argues that these folks have taken over the military bases and are imposing their agenda on all soldiers.

The first thing to know about the guy whose name reminds most folks of a Life cereal commercial is that Weinstein is a tough guy. His language is coarse, and his physical presence reminds one of the boulders that one sees along the highway headed towards Colorado Springs. He’s in “combat mode” and the one time JAG is now suing the U.S. government in order to stop the Evangelicals. “They are as serious an enemy as Al-Qeida!’ he says. He does not mince words.

It was a bizarre day -- After meeting Weinstein, I went to Marat/Sade, a play from 1968 about a group of mentally ill inmates of an institution putting on a play for the upper-classes about the French revolution. I was lucky to get a ticket to the current production at the Classical Theater of Harlem. (Thanks to my beloved) The show was performed by a mixed race cast who were encaged in a chain-link fence that not only occupied the theater in the round style center stage, but the aisles as well. Imagine the cage as a “w” and the audience sitting in its two valleys. The “inmates” stared at you from behind the fence. They drooled. They scratched themselves. Snot ran down the noses of a number of inmates. And as the play began, the show became a parade of blood, feces, and urine while we witnessed beatings, rape, and murder. My beloved was hunched over for more than half an hour, convincing herself not to vomit. It was certainly the most violent and riveting experience I’ve ever had in a theater.

So what is the connection between the rise of dominionist theocrats and the parade of abuse in Marat/Sade?

I'm not so sure...but the themes of martydom, control, and violence are all in the mix. A very strange day.