Picking-up after an Apocalypse

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). 

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Image by Keyur Nandaniya || CC0

Note: “Picking-up after an Apocalypse” is a new mini-series of posts for a mystical möbius. This piece (part one) is a brief reflection on the 2020 election process (thus far).

Step one

So, the Covid-19 Apocalypse was preceded and accompanied by a juggernaut, a chaos-parade that some have seen as a reality-show knockoff and designated it as The Trump Presidency Show. As we are finding, a parade of elephants leaves lots of manure on it’s pathway.

Dialing up the chaos

The easily predicted poop-storm attending the 2020 election is just beginning to really get ramped-up as I write this week [Thursday 11/5—so, this piece is a snapshot in time and, hopefully, by the time this publishes on Sunday 11/8, the election result will have been peacefully resolved]. Perhaps you are like me, thinking, “Just let them count the votes.” However, apparently, for the one who appears to be losing the election, simply waiting patiently on the process does nothing to help snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Along with filing various (mostly unmerited) lawsuits, the president has been hunkered-down in his social media bunker and has been tossing ALL CAPS chaos-cocktails out at a rapid pace. Here’s a very small sampling:

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The president has been keeping the Twitter administrators and community-standards monitors rather busy writing warning notes on his tweets. Again, a very small sample:

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Commenting on CNN‘s Donie O’Sullivan’s disturbing reporting, Ben Rhodes made a rather salient observation on Thursday morning:

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The president doesn’t seem to realize the power of his words to radicalize Americans to engage violent militancy. As I tried to describe in a post from two weeks ago, (The three hardest words), the arrogance expressed in the extreme cynicism that is part and parcel to this president’s approach, sadly, fits into our election context like a tailored glove. Let’s see what I mean. 

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Image by Nicolás Pinilla || CC0

A quick illustration

The example of “Critical Race Theory [CRT]” makes for a helpful analogy here. I put CRT in quotes because what people mean when they use the phrase is widely variable. In very broad-brush terms, CRT is concerned with White supremacy and White Christian nationalism. For our purposes here I will limit discussion to White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. I have written about the book in this blog on several occasions. This book seems to be a preferred target for anti-CRT grievance. Yes, “anti-CRT grievance” is as bad as it sounds. In many instances of anti-CRT, CRT itself is considered to be racist toward white people. That’s correct, the anti-CRT claim is that it’s racist toward white people to call out White supremacist ideology and systemic White supremacy.

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Whenever I have been in a debate about White supremacist racism with an anti-CRT advocate, along with their denial of systemic White supremacy, the invocation of DiAngelo’s book is almost a given. In many/most cases these impromptu DiAngelo critics have not even bothered to read her book. That oversight never seems to prevent them from reducing DiAngelo’s arguments to a charge of being anti-white racism, and off-handedly discounting the concerns White Fragility raises about bigotry, racism, and many difficulties intrinsic to racial discourse with white people.

My typical response to anti-CRT pushback against the idea of White fragilitye.g., a generalized over-sensitivity to even the notion of White supremacy or a system of White supremacyis to point out that their arguments generally tell me one crucially important thing, e.g., that they have never actually tried to work with white people on the topic of White supremacy and systemic White supremacy. It’s very obvious they have no experience of working with what DiAngelo’s book describes, and, yet, they arrogantly pontificate intellectually in cynical service of their denial of racism. OK, please hold this dynamic in mind as we consider the president’s election “FRAUD” claims. 

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Image by krakenimages || CC0

It’s relational

You’d be hard-pressed to find many souls in the country (e.g., rural areas) who would believe that there was anything inappropriate by way of “FRAUD” going on with respect to voting day administration, canvassing the ballots, and election certification in their locality.

It’s relational.

In the country these “poll workers” are neighbors and friends who are known to be above reproach. Andsomething something about Providence and irony—it just so happens that these are also the very same people known to be sticklers for the rules and making very sure that everyone follows them. Accountability is intrinsic to the people who volunteer their time to work elections. Country people understand election security as a relational matter, at least when it comes to the safety and security of their voting situation. Voter rights and voter suppression might well be legitimate topics for concern in the country, but “election fraud” is very rarely a relevant topic and country people know it.

Simply because of scale, city people operate a bit differently than country people—e.g., necessarily a bit more anonymously relative to the community as a whole. Yet, in my experience, as someone who has lived in both country and city locales, the kinds of people drawn to offer their time to be election workers in the city are the same kinds of people as their counterparts in the country.

The president, and his spokespeople (e.g., Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Lindsay Graham, Kevin McCarthy, Newt Gingrich, Jonathan Turley, Fox News, et al.) who are going along with his election FRAUD gambit, remind me of the anti-CRT advocates I described above, e.g., clearly, they have no experience of the decency and dedication typical of the kinds of people who staff our elections in America (both volunteer and paid). The claims themselves that the president is making would be insulting on their face to those who live in the country as they know by their everyday (relational) experience that their local elections are secure from fraud by the power of ‘friends and neighbors.’ “Would be insulting?” So, why is that?

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Sadly, a big part of the political polarization project has been ongoing effort to politically divide people who are country from people who are city. The president’s very cynical strategy depends on the general lack of trust that has been building in America, specifically a lack of trust within country people for city peopleand vice-versa. So, while “…would be insulting on their face to those who live in the country” is true, country people simply presume that the president is talking about election FRAUD in the city. Of course, they feel it must be those corrupt (evil, other) “city people” that the president is talking about. 

Decency on display

Election workers are by and large an army of America’s dependably-decent human beings who are historically proven (by experience) to be intrinsically built for relational accountability. Country people have a deep, lived sense of this. The kind of fraud the president is trying to imply/apply to this election would require a level of conspiracy that has no chance in a community of election workers as they simply are not the kinds of people who are built for anything of the sort. 

The deeply cynical arrogance of the president’s sue-the-process strategy is disturbing even as it is no surprise. Donald J. Trump has made regular use of this legal-chaos gambit throughout his entire life. I’ve talked in earlier posts about what I’ve coined as ELP [e.g., eighteenth-level perspective], or a selfish, self-locused viewpoint that arrogantly assumes one’s own perspective, and experience, are normative for everyone. So, in the president’s case, his standard “I don’t care” modality presents no restraint on his endless bloviation (that typically serves grave potential consequences, intentional, or not).

It’s a deep sadness that the president, and Republican leaders who join in his un-American “election fraud” chorus, have so little regard (obviously, it’s really contempt) for the many tens of thousands of Americans (volunteer and paid) who actually do the work at the polls—e.g., preparation; administration on ‘voting day;’ and the work of canvassing, authenticating, and certifying the votes. This work has always been somewhat thankless, and, now, it’s dangerous, too. Al Schmidt, Republican member of the Philadelphia Election Commission, describes getting death threats right now:

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I give a tip-o-my-hat to the self-giving patriots who have been administering this election! As the interview makes clear (video added and this text edited on 11/10), some of the courageous souls counting our votes have even been under the threat and intimidation of potentially violent groups and protesters animated by the president’s very dangerous, un-American “election fraud” rhetoric. 

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The view from here (November 5)

Having made the determination that he has been duly elected, the race will soon be called and joebiden (one word) will be declared 46th president (elect) of The United States of America.
 
The problem (for Americans going forward) is the vote margins in this presidential race are razor thin. Far too thin to sustain a peaceful society. The present level of polarization in our society makes us ungovernable, and, so, dangerously unsustainable as a nation.
 
On an all-who-are-able basis, Americans need to come together to heal as priority-one.
 
How?
 
Well, we agree on far more than we disagree, so, we could start by taking inventory and servicing that upon which we already agree.
 
Then we can leverage our agreement to begin praxis together. After all, we do have a pandemic to defeat (as a shovel-ready project)—and one or two other things.

Next week: “Picking-up after an Apocalypse (part 2).” Come and see. 

[this post approx. 1,650 words (7  min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

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).

Bonus Video 

This video is an edit I made yesterday afternoon [11/7]… The soundtrack for Saturday, November 7, 2020:

3 thoughts on “Picking-up after an Apocalypse

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