Imagine stories around a campfire…
a mystical möbius – curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a digital space around a safe, cozy, yet rather eclectic virtual campfire. My hope is to render an adequate sketch of history (a rough first-draft).
Beginning with current events
Perhaps you watched, or maybe you just heard about it later. The “presidential debate” was anything but presidential. Rather, it was the full-frontal display of a school-yard bully. One headline read: “Presidential Debate a National Disgrace.” Another had it this way: “The Disgrace Wasn’t the Debate. It Was President Trump.”
- The debacle we witnessed last Tuesday makes one question grow exponentially more vexing. How can anyone who has children looking on possibly support this president? Are tax breaks for the wealthy, deregulation of business along environmental & safety lines, and an economy that serves the one percent not the lower ninety-nine percent of society worth sacrificing our children on the altar of ‘only money matters?’
- Many people feel that denouncing White supremacist ideology, neo-Nazis, and White Christian nationalists ought to come quite easily for any American, and a real “softball” for any politician. However, President Trump has repeatedly had difficulty clearly denouncing White supremacist groups, individuals, and, ideology. Many times, he’s even denied the existence of systemic White supremacist racism. Trump’s ambiguity provides White Christian nationalist groups with room to work their recruiting propaganda. And, as ever, Republican “leaders” wring their hands and (but for a couple of rare exceptions) are silent about the president’s cynical ambiguity. President Trump seems to be betting on the idea that while groups like the KKK, neo-Nazis, skinheads, etc. may not be large in numbers, they represent a much larger group of Americans who basically feel the same way but are silent and would never admit to their ideology (this could explain why polls misread Trump’s support). Then, too, the president is also betting on the group of Americans who are in (not-conscious) agreement with White Christian nationalism (again, this could explain why polls misread Trump’s support).
- Trump’s “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” remark at the debate quickly became a Proud Boys meme—note: Proud Boys are a violent, right-wing, extremist, hate group. Paired with his request to the Proud Boys was his admonition that something must be done about ANTIFA (read: those who protest against Trump). Not-so-subtle posturing around the idea of mobilizing a MAGA militia, e.g., “stand by.” This is the dangerous piece of point four, e.g., discrediting our electoral process with baseless voter fraud claims.
- The president has declared war on the idea of the 2020 elections being free and fair—isn’t that the Russian disinformation message, too? The remarks the POTUS has made questioning the integrity of the upcoming elections should be a five-alarm warning for all Americans regardless of party affiliation. A couple of instances, please watch:
The whole, “take Trump seriously but not literally” defense, now long-offered by Trump-supporters, is grossly over-taxed by this cynical political gambit. Talking this way about our elections would be seriously dangerous stuff regardless of who’s doing it, and this is the POTUS making baseless voter fraud claims. Please watch:
Edit [update after I wrote this post]: Thursday evening [10/1/20] we learned that President Trump, and the First Lady, have tested positive for Covid-19. I pray for rapid healing and a full recovery for the president, Melania, and all those who are effected by this pandemic outbreak in the White House. I pray for all those everywhere who are effected by Covid-19. On the hopeful side, this could provide an opportunity to do a total reset on our pandemic response. This could be our chance to call the nation together under a superordinate banner of fighting Covid-19 with “moon-shot”-like planning, teamwork, focus, and determination. One thing seems clear, regardless of what the candidates would like it to be, the issue driving the upcoming election in the home stretch is Covid-19.
Bits and pieces
My intention this week is to share some videos I’ve encountered recently. Along with those, I’ve written some brief clarifications, comments, or reflections to accompany. The framing of the issues may well create a challenging environment for those who support the president without reservation. If “Trump supporter” describes you, please engage with this post because it is really written for you and genuinely reflects what I feel is reasonable information that you need to know to help inform your vote. We’ll begin with what may be the top kitchen-table issue.
I don’t think it’s a secret that President Trump doesn’t have a healthcare plan. Recall, this is the same man, who soon after becoming president, said: “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.” Please watch:
More recently, serial promises to reveal a healthcare plan very soon. Please watch:
Friends, that’s full-on gaslighting! President Trump has no healthcare plan because he (and apparently Republicans) seem to have forgotten that “Obama Care” [Affordable Care Act, or the ACA] IS the Republican plan. The Democratic Party was really interested in a single-payer approach to healthcare/insurance, but, in order to get something done, President Obama included the insurance industry in the ACA. The ACA is capitalistic medicine, THAT IS the Republican plan. The only change that President Trump and Republicans can really effect regarding health care is to harm people by diminishing the ACA as they have nothing to add. On November 10, 2020, one week after the upcoming 2020 election, the administration will be arguing in the SCOTUS to completely end the ACA. With no plan to take its place, Trump and Republicans want to end the ACA. That would be difficult enough in ordinary times. We are deep in the throes of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
White supremacist racism
How does White supremacist racism work in mostly white communities? Please watch:
Arguably, without movements like Black Lives Matter [BLM], mostly white communities are very unlikely to ever genuinely reckon with issues of White supremacy, and the systemic and institutional artifacts of it that are still troubling our society mightily. The president cynically leverages white grievance in his approach to racial dynamics. President Trump is counting on the way BLM protests—depicted as setting cities on fire—play in regions like the Berkshires and the rural Heartland.
BLM protest is about fair policing
“On precisely what day, at what time did policing become ‘broken’?” Please watch:
A Washington Post piece has a title that is nothing short of heart-breaking: “I keep a family photo at my front door. It’ll stay there until toxic attitudes toward Black lives go away.” Please read the article. It also includes a video that everyone should see. Please watch:
This rendition of the poem ‘Black 101’ memorializes the innocent lives that poet Frank X Walker says are terrorized by white rage. Warning: the video treats graphic material and may well test you for White fragility. Please watch:
Activist White house
Never has the designation *White* House [WH] been more ironic. The WH recently released a two-page memo apparently banning racial sensitivity training by basically declaring that anti-racism training is racist. A Washington Post story (here) offers memo details:
The memo directs agencies to review their diversity trainings to determine whether they teach that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist or that an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.” It suggests agencies search their procurement data for keywords including “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” “systemic racism,” “positionality,” “racial humility” and “unconscious bias.”.
“You’ve had forty-seven years, Joe, I’ve done more than you in forty-seven months.” —DJT to Joe Biden
True, it takes a lot longer to build a house than it does to light the match that burns it down.
Church leader, Brian McLaren, offers a helpful kitchen table breakdown of American values in play in election 2020…
Next week: No commitments on it yet. Come and see. [this post approx. 1,350 words (6 min. read)]
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say? Note: I know, trying to introduce a big-picture idea like Spiral Dynamics (a complex developmental anthropology) in this format is ambitious. So, I’m using a serial-approach. Blog introduction (June 30, 2018). First in series (July 1, 2018).