I haven’t watched or read most news since a few months before the election and now it’s even more viscerally painful. So right now it’s either the holiday music channel or the weather channel. I’ve never been as up to the minute on weather across the nation as I am these days. Oh, the DVR is also getting a workout with Hallmark Holiday Movies and so is Netflix. It’s news that I can’t watch.
We’ve cancelled our subscription to the meagre daily newspaper here and we now get the New York Times on weekends. I carefully scan to avoid reading the political news, which means that I page through the meaty front section rather rapidly and focus on Arts and Entertainment. This is especially ironic since I majored in journalism and do some reporting, still, on a freelance basis. These days, there’s political news in practically every section. It’s hard to avoid and it upsets me so much.
“I don’t know how I’m going to spend four entire years without news,” I said to M.
“Honey,” he said, “we’ve got a president elected by people who have gone their whole lives without news.”
He paused a beat.
“Ignorance is bliss,” he concluded.
“Right,” I said. “It’s no longer find your bliss. It’s ignorance is bliss,
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“Sessions has said “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” my husband said, in an unmistakably incredulous tone.
“Stop it!” I admonished. “How can I avoid the news if you’re telling it to me?”
It didn’t pass unnoticed that the medical marijuana dispensaries in my area seemed to be doing a booming business on the Saturday after the election: post-election stress syndrome, I’m sure.
California has passed a recreational use law that begins January 2018. That horrible man who lost the popular vote has said he’s a states’ rightist and ok with medical marijuana, so don’t know what Sessions is talking about. But then, that horrible man has said a lot of things that aren’t true.
And his fascists are losing no time pushing their agenda.
In a time when so much that’s said lacks credibility, one thing always stands out as ridiculously not true: the idea that there is hate-filled activity on both sides of the political spectrum. It’s a false comparison. The hateful, vulgar and vile acting out that’s done is primarily–and that is VASTLY primarily–done by right wing xenophobes who scream insults to strangers and even threaten them for their ethnicity or political beliefs. This behavior is just not a hallmark of the progressive agenda. To claim there is equivalent behavior on both sides is 1) completely false; 2) a weak intellectual argument and 3) is usually proposed by ignorant people trying to justify hateful behavior.
Am I saying that no one on the left has ever made a slur? I’m not. Naturally, individuals can be flawed. But as a group? Not a progressive response or tactic. Not at all. This is a technique of the right and that argument is reflective of the kind of ignorance that characterizes its candidates, too. You can say that the earth is flat all you want, but it won’t change the fact that it’s round. So please, don’t insult our intelligence with that fake argument. We’re not buying it.
Of course, they don’t care that we don’t buy it. They justify away, anyway.
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In yet another display of Christian hypocrisy, the number of so-called God-fearing, “Christians” who act exactly opposite everything Christ stood for continues to astound me. Their definition of “Christianity” bears absolutely no resemblance to reality. But they sure can quote the Bible and they wave the book around as if they knew what it meant. Their attitudes and behavior, however, show how ignorant they are of Christ’s teachings. I can’t think of another religious group that is so openly hypocritical and/or completely clueless about the origin of their faith.
Let me quote Matthew 23:28, who calls a spade a spade: “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Take that, evangelicals. Right from your Good Book.
And I”ll call a spade a spade, too: Jesus was a liberal, folks. Yep. Peace-loving. Non-violent. A lib, kids. A lib.
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It’s pretty clear that progressives have both the moral and intellectual high ground. But that works to our disadvantage. Because appeals to fear and the basest human impulses don’t work with us, we assume others see through them, too. But, as this election demonstrated, there are a HUGE (Yuuuuuge!) number of people in our country who fall for these appeals and who have bought the idea that THEY are superior to certain groups, even as their attitudes and behavior show us they aren’t.
There haven’t been a whole lot of conservative intellectuals. William Buckley and George Will come to mind, but intellectuals don’t gravitate to that point of view. I feel certain Buckley would have denounced the acts of hate and this candidate. Here’s a quote from something Will wrote a while ago that struck me:
Trump is a marvelously efficient acid bath, stripping away his supporters’ surfaces, exposing their skeletal essences. Consider Mike Pence, a favorite of what Republicans devoutly praise as America’s “faith community.” Some of its representatives, their crucifixes glittering in the television lights, are still earnestly explaining the urgency of giving to Trump, who agreed that his daughter is “a piece of ass,” the task of improving America’s coarsened culture.
But here’s the point: Bottom line: we progressives are too kind and too smart for our own good.
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I’ve done a pretty good purge of my social media friends list to be sure that I don’t have to listen to the ignorance spouted by supporters of that awful man. But every once in a while I see that one got past me. I feel no obligation to listen to the other side as I know more than enough about it. It’s a hateful and bigoted agenda and it has more than a few fascist undertones. Some may feel that’s an exaggeration, but I’m here to say that a reading of history tells me it isn’t. It’s painful to read or hear that kind of hatred and I’m just not going to do it.
Dark times ahead.
So tell me how you’re coping in this new world order.