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 real-time sketch of history (i.e., a rough first-draft).
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse’ is a brief mini-series of themed posts. Part six.
Last week I wrote: “A nation of good neighbors forms the requisite grassroots basis for a functioning democratic form of self-governance, it’s intrinsic to our constitutional design.” Being a ‘good neighbor’ requires humility, empathy and compassion.
Most of the professional politicians who represent us in Washington D.C. come from, and live in, “privilege”-bubbles that make them totally unexperienced and insensitive to the pain that so many ordinary Americans are feeling right now. Most of our leaders simply do not have the requisite life experience that would afford them the empathy needed to be compassionate and actually serve their constituents with grace and compassion. “Winning,” and being on-top-of-the-world all of ones life, does not create the humility needed for empathetic compassionate leadership and governance.
So, no surprise, at the time I’m writing (Friday) there’s been no new (now long-overdue) pandemic relief package legislated for millions of Americans who are in a serious world of hurt in what is now the tenth month of the Covid-19 context. The compassionate measures and stops on suffering that relief legislation from last spring provided will expire the end of this month.
It seems that only their complete lack of empathy and human compassion allow legislators to make excuses in the face of such enormous pain and need. The difficulty of the political climate right now seems to pale in comparison in relation to the ground-level gravity of a pandemic context. Remember, even though human dignity and survival itself are the main issues, the chief deal-breaking concern of the Republicans in the relief bill negotiations is not the real-time well being of people and families. No, rather, it’s in getting liability protection for business. Frankly, with the pandemic the Republican’s tendency to libertarian thinking adds a very unhelpful perspective to a problem organically needing communitarian approaches. Three hundred thirty million people all pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps (never mind that in the present context many folks are barefoot) won’t help America solve the Covid-19 problem.
My article last week (Common ground found) explains why (besides the ‘no experience/empathy‘ reason given above) the legislators are unable to do what they were sent to Washington D.C. to do, e.g., serve their constituents by helping get relief when it is so desperately needed. In the same breath, last week’s article also explains why the vast majority of voters from both tribes agree that the governance process is broken. The good news is that the Covid-19 Apocalypse and Easter Apocalypse have exposed the mechanics of our present brokenness and offer a way forward. Of course, as ever, there are forces working to sabotage any meliorist hopes.
So, is MAGA a “death cult?”
For some it is, yes.
Those with ears to hear had better listen. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers for reconciliation are few. Life conditions have presently led to some contributing factors that are working against reconciliation. Simply stated, the president’s rhetoric and initiatives are less than helpful.
First, the narrative-energy that drives the MAGA masses was evidenced last week by what has been referred to by some as “The Lone-Star Clown Coup.” See; Trump’s election fight puts embattled Texas AG in spotlight. Texas A.G. Paxton’s personal need of a federal pardon may or may not be a motivating factor in his behavior. However, with little to no legal basis for the complaint filed with the highest court in the land, whatever has motivated this stunt, it is not legally justified. Nearly all legal commentators agree the complaint will correctly be denied a hearing by the SCOTUS. This is an example of litigation used as political technology that then trickles-down to uncritical and emotional people who make-up groups such as MAGA, and animating memes like the “Blair Grier” cover image above.
It will be interesting to see precisely how the high court will design its messaging around denying the case a hearing. Will they dismiss it with explanation or with a plain word. It is an opportunity for the SCOTUS to call it what it is: frivolous and clown-like, yet seditious and dangerous. An opportunity for the SCOTUS to make very plain the extremely dangerous nature of such seditious litigation and to strongly discourage it at any time going forward. We’ll see what they do on it rather soon.
[Saturday edit: late Friday a few brief words came down from SCOTUS, as I think most people generally believed, Texas has no standing to bring this complaint. Now, over time we’ll see if the rank-fear and base-hypocrisy of the 17 state A.G.s and 126 House Republicans who signed-on to this dark fiasco will have any negative consequences for them going forward.]
To DJT it’s all simply a grift
Second, what I’m calling the trickle-down fallout of political technologies that are bombarding Americans day in and day out. Let’s look at what is admittedly a rather casual grouping of communications. This “thread” only appears in this curated form here. Still, I hope it does offer some illustration of what I’m trying to get at, e.g., the principle that political technology runs downhill, just like $#1+ does—hence the old plumber’s adage: “Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty, $#1+ runs downhill, and payday’s on Friday.” ….
Mix in some talk radio, and people can get pretty seriously misinformed. This week Rush Limbaugh suggested that red states are trending toward secession from the United States—cf. Rush Limbaugh: US ‘trending toward secession‘. One wonders about what might drive the economic prosperity in the red states who secede, but, apparently, Rush doesn’t say.
[Saturday image edits]: a few tweets from DJT after the SCOTUS rejection of the seditious Texas suit.
This WaPO article is helpful in sorting out some of the problematic dynamics of trickle-down political technologies leveraged for an agenda like an election fraud narrative: A decade of wringing money and power out of conservative victimhood nears its apex. The president has used election fraud grievance as fuel for his ongoing fund-raising. Make no mistake, it is a grift. The #StopTheSteal initiative is a grift created by Roger Stone for the 2016 election and now DJT and Co. have taken it up and are using it to the hilt in order to raise millions of dollars [well over 200 million, so far, with no end in sight].
Third, and finally, but certainly not least, it is difficult to think of the way the president and his supporters have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in any way but in terms of death. We are on the threshold of three hundred thousand souls lost to the coronavirus. The president basically demonized mask wearing right out of the gate. Recently, the organizing of super-spreader events as part of the Trump Campaign and encouraging the MAGA crowd to come and drink the Kool-Aid [i.e., get exposed to the coronavirus for the sake of the team] is beyond irresponsible.
Granted, Scott Atlas and the president were fairly transparent (even if not explicitly forthcoming about it—or perhaps not even actually conscious of it) when it comes to grounding their policies in their underlying belief in social Darwinism. Even with the vaccines on their way soon, the president’s social Darwinist ‘let-it-rip’ policies, and the resulting mixed/failed response to mitigation, leave us a reality of three to four thousand deaths per day for the next sixty to ninety days (says Dr. Redfield). This is already baked-in now. This is so far beyond grotesque and yet many people appear to be completely numb to it, completely uncaring (12/21 edit: story, “Why Americans are numb to the staggering coronavirus death toll“).
The many questions that the president’s ‘eat-or-be-eaten’ approach raises do deserve to be included in a robust national conversation regarding the contours and boundaries of human care. How do ‘thee (you) and me’ become a righteous we? The contours of human care must be considered as we discern how our governance is best structured and administered.
[Saturday edit: Pfizer receives an Emergency Use Authorization [EUA] from the FDA for their new SARS-Cov-2 vaccine. Moderna and other pharmaceutical companies are also awaiting EUAs for theirSARS-Cov-2 vaccines. Help is on the way. Prayers for these vaccines being a major piece of a safe and effective means to get a handle on managing the Covid-19 pandemic.]
Next week: We’ll continue in our “Picking-up after an Apocalypse” mini-series. Come and see.
[this post approx. 1,625 words (7 min. read + Bonus Video]
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 ~ Zimmy
Archive of posts related to this mini-series:
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse (part 1),’ ~ Election debrief
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse (part 2),’ ~ “Racial anxiety”
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse (part 3),’ ~ This is really messed-up
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse (part 4)’ ~ Cancelling Christmas?
‘Picking-up after an Apocalypse‘ (part 5) ~ Common ground found
Other Covid-19 related posts (listed from oldest to most recent):
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, hush || Show me the money || Covid-19 Apocalypse? || Oxymoron || Grief revisited || Easter Apocalypse || Grief revisited (part 2) || Science and predictability || Mary’s Magnificat and UBI || Masks: a shibboleth? || TL;DR on coping with Covid-19 || Covid-19 — Eucharist online? || Teachers in the center ring