Day 1304, Truth to Power
Our scientists and artists have to speak the truth to power;
They have to speak the truth, although the taste left may be sour.
Hans Christian Andersen wrote in, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” (1)
A pompous and deluded man stood naked, nose to toes.
And, look at Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment,” (fresco in the Vatican.)
Most figures there were naked, whether woman or a man.
God does not see your raiment when you’re taking your last breath,
You came from your mother naked, go naked to your death.
Some faces from the Vatican had been consigned to hell (2)
And thus, we see hell not confined just to the infidel.
Exalted Cardinals did not like that, theologically;
They could not buy their way to heaven, followed logically.
Now, let’s move on to science, starting with Copernicus.
Earth’s not the center of creation, shook up all of us.
Giordano Bruno also said, we may not be alone.
The Church burned Bruno at the stake; a crime they can’t disown.
Then Galileo joined the challenge to theology…
Said science was the source of truth about cosmology.
The Inquisition forced him to recant or face the fire.
They pardoned him in ’92; a move we should admire? (3)
And then came Charlie Darwin, saying Genesis was wrong.
For evolution made us, and the evidence is strong.
Now, though the Pope accepts it, right wing Protestants do not.
Some preachers, sensing slipping power, are visibly distraught.
And now we’re watching Covid 19 flummox Donald Trump.
It does no good to call it names while raving on the stump.
The scientists know what will work, which Donald won’t concede.
It’s masks and social distancing; not Donald’s rambling screed.
Though other countries follow science, Donald Trump will not.
So Europe’s done much better while our country has been taught
That it’s a fatal error to trust in a narcissist,
Who tries to bully truth with power. When will we resist?
(1) The Emperor’s New Clothes, 1837, one of the fairy tales by Andersen.
(2) Biagio da Cesena, Master of Ceremonies to 4 popes. He objected to the nudity. He was represented naked with a snake coiled around him.
(3) That’s 1992, 359 years after condemnation. Galileo had no comment.