I am mindful some people supported the policies of the past president. Many claim their support is independent of the fact that he is a racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, sadistic, misogynistic, deluded insurrectionist. They say that as long as he was good for the economy in general and splendid for their 401 k account in particular, they couldn’t care less about his character, ideology, or morals. They claim his views are independent of their own.
Of course, these people are lying. Worse than that – if they do not explicitly denounce Trump or the GOPQ (Grand Old Party QAnon) party he now leads, they support their white supremacist authoritarianism. It is that simple. Why? Because the GOPQ has finally revealed itself as a party that only exits for the pure exercise of power at the expense of governance in the United States, that embraces corrosive lies at the expense of laws, that celebrates cruelty at the cost of justice and basks in the white supremacist glow of animus and self-righteous indignation. I could expound upon these statements with many more paragraphs of supporting fact and reason, but we all understand that fact and reason is not the realm in which Trumpites operate. So I will leave that to the comments section of this post, where others can eviscerate Trumpites.
The question I ponder is the morality of the moment we find ourselves. I do not mean morality in a religious or judgmental context. I offer the following (standard) definition of morality as 1. principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior, 2. the set of standards that enable people to live cooperatively in groups, 3. the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper, 4. what societies determine to be “right” and “acceptable.” Sometimes, acting in a moral manner means individuals must sacrifice their own short-term interests to benefit society.
Right or wrong actions that are taken according to a set of standards “that enable people to live cooperatively in groups” is the essence of what we are dealing with now. I submit that civilization can only be supported by people acting with good intentions towards that civilization, willing to engage in discourse, and respect resulting polity based upon fact and reason.
It is supremely ironic and sad that the group of people in our society who claim truth, law, and order to be the group that seeks to subvert our society in every way. We all know the Fox News old motto of “Fair and Balanced” is a wink-wink inside joke that burst its putrid bounds in 2017. It was replaced by “Most Watched, Most Trusted” at that time. The “Fair and Balanced” mythology has emerged as a nomer for conservative-think that allows for a constant state of profound cognitive dissonance. This cognitive dissonance explains why so many have embraced the morally indefensible position of supporting the GOPQ white supremacist agenda without denouncing it. How do I dare link the GOPQ to white supremacy? Because the fact is that Trump is a racist, and the policies of his administration reflected his white supremacist views. Again, in the interest of whatever claim I can make to brevity, I will leave that assertion to the comments section of this post, where others can eviscerate Trumpites.
So the question is, “Where do our conservative, maybe not Republican, maybe so Republican friends stand at this time?” Frankly, the word “conservative” has been forever soiled with the taint of Trumpism. It is theoretically possible to hold to a position that espouses traditional conservatism of limited government, “natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy and organic unity, agrarianism, classicism, and high culture as well as the intersecting spheres of loyalty” (according to Wikipedia). Such a position is difficult to honestly hold in the gale-force winds of a world-wide pandemic and wholesale dismantling of economic systems.
As for “Republicans” of any stripe... you face an immediate moral imperative to remove yourself from this shill that has cuckolded a once legitimate political organization. Otherwise, you should not be surprised if your fellow citizens cannot distinguish you from its white supremacist doctrines or its racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, sadistic, misogynistic, deluded insurrectionist leader.
My country, ’tis of thee,
Fractured and broken,
of thee I mourn.
My neighbors do not fly our nation’s flag alone.
With it they flew the banner of a tyrant.
Now both flags are gone and the trucks
with decals of the confederacy are parked
backed into their driveways.
They, like the insurgents before them,
They are not changed but are hidden...
again, and are waiting to strike.
Our father’s God to Thee,
Author of liberty for some,
But certainly not for all.
A constitution written with blood and hope
fell far short and tells a story of hypocrisy.
Our dark secret is fear of dark people;
their bodies broken for generations,
then exploited and violated,
lied to and devalued,
now brutalized on
The fear is as unacknowledged as it is deep.
So the dissonant undercurrent of rage has
replaced loss of dominance in language of
the oppressed oppressor,
the wronged injurer,
the aggrieved master.
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
Except that the land is not ours.
It was appropriated by our forbearers.
Its noble free were subjects of genocide.
Its builders were slaves not compensated.
Our Exceptionalism does not brook with
humility, or apology, or reparation.
Looking into this dark glass makes us dizzy.
Liberty, democracy, freedom, abundance
are words that drop away when a
a dominant culture is threatened.
Then authoritarianism is preferred to
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Long gone is reason.
It left, riding on the back of truth.
Enemies are everywhere because fear reigns.
Conspiracy rules because lies are our currency.
Lawmakers will not enforce the law because power
is more important than governance or welfare or decency.
Walls for borders.
Pollution in the service of economy.
Children torn away from their families.
White bodies coddled when breaking the law.
Bodies of color beaten when protesting mass murder.
Great God our King!
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr.
Lady Gaga, Amanda Gorman, Jennifer Lopez, Biden's speech... I have been crying all day. Spontaneous tears long after the fact continue to fog my eyes. The cumulative trauma of the Trump era catches me in waves, culminating with the final, insane insult. "This is my flag. My Capitol. My Country. My opinion. My government. HOW DARE YOU!", I scream at the phantom play-actors of insurrection. Heal? Yes. First, we have some accounting to attend to. Without that, white supremacy absent laws and consequences will win.
This day has dawned on a better America awakened in the beauty of all its citizens' contributions. This is a new day. Thank God!!
I met Richard Nixon in the White House in 1972. I thought he was a much taller man. In fact, he was rather short. I had just met the most powerful man in the world and was profoundly underwhelmed. I learned an extremely valuable lesson that day.
I learned that powerful people are just people. In our country, no one is more "important" than another person. They may have more responsibilities or wealth, but they are not innately endowed with privilege by God. That is because the American ethos dictates that all citizens are equal. We have no kings or queens. No person is above the law.
More importantly, I hope we take heed of the great lesson here... that many people in our country cannot see themselves in the moral and spiritual darkness of Trump's reflection, that they have fashioned him as god/emperor out of their deep rage of threat to what they perceive as "exceptionalist" privilege, and that truth will out – no matter how much we attempt to delude ourselves with an alternative to it.
I sincerely hope the Trumps learn from their experience with COVID-19 that they are not above any law made by man or nature. Their fate will be sealed by the imperious, reckless behavior they malevolently induced others to emulate.
It may be that over 207,000 people, like Shakespearian ghosts, are karmically beckoning the Trumps to their bosoms. It may be that nature is simply balancing the books. It may be that humanity needs to learn, yet again, that there are consequences to ignoring natural systems far more powerful than ourselves.
The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" has been playing over and over in my mind for days, even before the announcement that the Trumps have contracted COVID-19. I have considered these words, ever more poignant now:
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He has loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on..."
We Americans have lessons to relearn about humility, connection, governance for the common good, healing, egalitarianism, respect, and reconciliation. I sincerely pray for that.
My comments about Black Lives Matter today are basically in the form of a “Reporter’s Notebook”. I spend a lot of time in the foxholes of Face Book these days. Instead of a speech about Black Lives Matter I want to give you a flavor of how people who are unconscious white supremacists respond to the movement, largely through the propagandized lens of Fox News and other far-right outlets.
Earlier in the week, a very well known and respected Lake County right-wing conservative I spar with posted a graphic meme showing a picture of a white man and black man shaking hands. The caption read “I support my Black Friends, but not BLM, I support my white friends, but not the KKK. I don’t support Hate Groups. Skin Color doesn’t mean shit. You’re either a good person or a piece of shit.” My response to him was “Please explain to me how BLM is a hate group, or how it is, in any way, comparable to the KKK.”
There was no response from the original poster, but one of his friends kicked in to comment “I won't honor or acknowledge BLM in any way, until they stop destroying other people's property and stop killing other Blacks. Sorry, you're on your own.”
My response was the following:
“Is the BLM lynching white people? Have they been doing so for generations? Can you provide any evidence they advocate black supremacy over other races? Please show me evidence in any BLM literature or official communications (website, press releases, etc.) where they advocate for violence.
Making a claim that the BLM organization is equivalent or comparable to the KKK is nothing more than an expression of white fragility. This fragility, this inability to acknowledge white supremacy and systemic racism, is so profound for you that it causes you to post such a blatantly ridiculous meme without consciously thinking about how absurd it is. ''Skin color doesn't mean shit''? Really? Only a white person, steeped in privilege, and desperately attempting to erase 400 years of racism would write such a comical phrase!
Then, to double down on your comparison on BLM with the KKK is actually... well... rather pathetic. Blind fear has caused you to abandon reason in this case. I'd imagine that if we were not living in such a poisonous and polarized moment you would step back from this meme to perceive its seething racism.
So... here's my challenge to you: find a legitimate source for your claim of equivalence between the BLM movement and the KKK as hate groups and I will profoundly, sincerely apologize. Too difficult? Hell, just find a serious non-comedian black person who would say or write, ''Skin color doesn't mean shit''. Otherwise, I will consider this yet another example of how very, very difficult it is for some white people to recognize their own racism.”
Do you think there was a response to my challenge? Of course not! I have found it is impossible to reason with people who believe, against any evidence, that the Black Lives Matter Movement is not a hate group. We “modernists”... we lovers of fact, rationality, justice, and science have not recognized the post-modernist world where fact is irrelevant, science is a joke, there are no absolutes, justice is a myth, and the only thing that matters is whatever narrative you can spin to better yourself. We have not recognized this existential threat against reason because, like liberal progressives in pre-war Italy and Germany we see buffoons where others see saviors from a cruel world.
American Exceptionalism, which proclaims that our values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration, is of course, a myth. The effects of this thinking cause us to deny our true racist history of genocide and slavery and it makes us uncomfortable admitting to systemic racism and white supremacy in the present.
Why? How did we get here? How did we baby boomers, we hippies... so smug... so happy with the liberal changes we made to our nation 50 years ago fall asleep at the wheel? Well, first, we have to recognize that whether we like it or not, we’re in a fight for our nation’s soul. In this fight our opponents will not play by any rules. They recognized a long time ago that the institutions of national government and law we have so lazily relied upon to preserve our progressive gains can be assailed and compromised.
We Americans are not exceptional. These days we behave more like third-world totalitarian regimes and we need to wake up to that fact right now. We also need to wake up to the fact that the blood baths we saw between India and Pakistan in 1947, in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, in Rwanda, and other places where violence erupted along racial and ethnic lines absolutely can happen here. As an ardent student of history I am convinced of that. As a black man living in this nation I am sure of it. Every day, like other members of the Black Lives Matter movement, I vocally and visibly fight against racism and bigotry because I know my life depends on it. I am here to warn you in no uncertain terms... we must stop Trump and his cult of power now because all of our lives depend on it
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!