Monday, January 9, 2017

Screaming the truth in opposite land

This is a simple, quasi-manifesto from Charles Blow.  In it he insists on the importance of continuing to speak the truth, to not soften or accomodate our relationship with things we think are fundamentally wrong about Mr. Trump's ascendancy and impending presidency.  The present situation is not normal, and we should not allow ourselves to become comfortable with it.  This is an important, inspiring counterpoint to the personal and collective compromises people make in a state of emotional, misleading propaganda.

My own little addition to Mr. Blow's insights is that recently I've been dismayed by the tendency in US society, both in the very public political and media sphere, but also on a personal level in our daily interactions, to discount or even disdain decency, honesty, insistence on what's right, and the pursuit of the common good.  Those who speak out in favor of human rights, who fight against discrimination of all kinds, who say it's wrong to cheat the system for personal gain, or who argue against faulty logic or destructive passions, can be easily dismissed as being unrealistic, idealistic, "politically correct", or even elitist.  It is a sad state of affairs when those who advocate oppressing, swindling, and excluding the vast mass of humanity (both inside and outside the US) based on their incomes, or their skin color, or the religion they practice, are considered to be "of the people", while those who speak out against oppression and exclusion are considered to be elitist.  A rich kleptocrat whose fortunes are based on dishonesty, bad dealing, and a huge inheritance is framed to be the populist, and the grassroots organizations staffed by ill-paid, decent, working people who struggle to pay bills are framed as being out of touch with the very populations from whom they have sprung and whose interests they represent. 

This inversion of roles represents the ultimate triumph of destructive ultra-Right Wing tendencies, by their successfully labeling progressive causes and people with all the bad qualities in fact held by those who oppose those noble causes.  If the Right-Wing dictatorships of 1980s Latin America had been smarter, they wouldn't have persisted in their use of brute force to control society, but instead would have followed today's playbook of very publicly labeling those who fought on behalf of the poor masses as somehow being pretentious and scornful of the people.

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