The Sacred Center of the World
the Washington Monument
A while ago down the yellow brick road I expressed my shock that there was no National Museum of White Trash on the Washington DC Mall.
Hey, there’s a National Museum of African American Culture and History right next door to the Washington Monument.
And there’s a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum right across the Mall from the National Museum of African American Culture and History right next door to the Washington Monument.
And there’s a National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. But it’s down at the other end of the Mall.
But there is no National Museum of White Trash on the Mall. How come?
Because, as we all know, the story of White Trash, and the history of America as the dumping ground for the "waste population" of England, begins in 1584 with the arrival of the first ship of White Trash off the shores of Virginia to found the Roanoke colony, courtesy of Sir Walter Raleigh, a favorite of Good Queen Bess. I have written about this as my "1584 Project."
I guess White Trash don’t matter. So they don’t belong on the Mall.
Well now I understand the deeper reason why there are no White Trash on the Mall. I get it from Mircea Eliade and The Sacred and the Profane.
Eliade says that every religion positions itself at the Center of the World.
[E]very religious man places himself at the Center of the World and by the same token at the very source of absolute reality.
Typically, this Center of the World is the peak of a mountain, or a sacred temple, a pillar between Earth and Sky, and every religious man seeks “to live as near as possible to the Center of the World.” It is where the world was created by the gods.
Now what is the Sacred Mountain in Washington DC, the highest point that signifies the source of the absolute reality of the American State, the last best hope of Earth?
You said it: the Washington Monument, 555 feet tall, at the end of the Washington Mall. The Washington Monument is the Sacred Place in America. It is the Sacred Mountain, the point at which George Washington came down from heaven and consecrated the “last best hope of Earth.” It is where America connects with Eternity. And if you look down from the monument, this is what you see.
That’s the National Museum of African American Culture and History on the lower left. You can’t quite see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; it’s round to the right.
Do you see the point? The fact that the National Museum of African American Culture and History is right next to the Washington Monument means that it is the second most sacred spot in America. And the fact that the next nearest is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum means that it is the third most sacred spot in America. White Trash need not apply.
Want a confirmation? The worst, most profane thing in America is to be a racist, and the worst thing you can do is to speak the N-word. The second-most profane thing in America is to be an Anti-semite. Ask Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) about that.
We talk, we moderns, about our secular age, about how humans have lost their connection to the sacred.
Not a bit of it. If you just look around and listen, you will notice the sacred everywhere: your experience of the sacred and other peoples’ experience of the sacred.
And you will often find that what you think is sacred other people think is profane. And what other people this as sacred you think as profane.
That’s fine, as long as your experience of the sacred aligns with the rulers. But if your experience of the sacred clashes with the rulers, well, watch out, you racist-sexist-hompohobe, you white oppressor, you climate denier, you.