America’s growing old. Tired. Worn out. Hell. America’s dying.
America Augustus Mirth of Middlebury, Vermont and Key West, Florida that is. Cancer in his throat. Six months, tops. Has to tell the kids. And grandkids. Party’s over.
“But for what purpose was the earth formed?” asks Candide.
“To drive us mad,” replies Martin.
Voltaire was an amusing and sarcastic guy. If his was the Age of Enlightenment, we live in the Age of Schizophrenia. We are all at once going stark raving mad and attaining the deepest levels of spiritual fulfillment. Insanity and Nirvana all in the same breath.
At times it’s hard to grasp and enough to make us gasp.
But meet now the hero of Gawd Bless Amurica, America Augustus Mirth. August, he prefers. He’s a throwback to the Sixties, to the Age of Aquarius, to cross country trips in an old VW microbus and a fat bag of weed. But before his hippie sojourn, he played middle linebacker for Middlebury and fought with the Marines in the jungles of Vietnam. Three wives, a dozen kids all named after the original thirteen colonies, August is a chatty but impenetrable guy, a complex American male.
America’s Middle Class has grown long in the tooth. No longer up, up and away. Mostly a struggle now just to make ends meet. Look at poor Eddie Rucker. Laid off, ticked off, and utterly disenfranchised.
Master automotive mechanic Mr. Ed Rucker has been thoroughly disenfranchised in this Age of Schizophrenia. He’s lost and lonely as hell and recently purchased a handgun in the Live Free or Die State. Eddie knows his wife is boffing the pastor. Eddie knows his job at Jiffy Lube is a lousy, dead-end, loser’s job. Eddie knows he’s a crappy son, husband, and father.
And by God for all these reasons and many more old Ed is thoroughly ticked off. He’s also depressed and strung out on booze, painkillers, and worry, but Ed can’t digest all these marvels of the modern world so he settles on anger. Rage. Vexation. And the oh so sweet possibility of revenge.
American Christian Spirituality has gone the way of the condor and the West African Black Rhino. All but extinct save for the Holy Rollers crazy as loons. No better example out there of our dying spirituality than the Reverend Sanford Miles. Once a true believer, Sandy has lost his faith. He’s obsessed now with golf and debauching married women. Including the lonely Mrs. Eddie Rucker.
Reverend Sandy Miles has been having sex with Ed’s wife. Can’t help himself. He may be a Man of the Cloth but he is wholly a Man of the Flesh. He has lost interest in his wife and his kids and in God. The whole notion of God has started to bore and annoy Sandy. All that faith and sanctimony. Sure, he puts on a good show every Sunday morning so he can hang on to his cozy position at the First Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, but the rest of the time he’s lying and cheating and gambling and living a life of pure delightful sin.
America Augustus Mirth, Ed Rucker, and Sandy Miles are on a collision course. Destiny is about to bring this trio of depleted American males together at that Presbyterian Church in Chestnut Hill.
What happens at that chapel and in the days to follow up at the Mirth family farm in Middlebury, Vermont will change the course of all three men’s lives and with it, potentially, the future of America, the nation, and its quasi democracy.
A perfect metaphor for contemporary America, Gawd Bless Amurica will amuse, reinvigorate, and inspire all who experience its magic.