Too much of the time I am bereft about what is happening in America. I seem to suffer bouts of societal moroseness. I lurch uncontrollably between intellectual analysis, emotional pleas, and occasionally the assumption this can’t go on, that it will all turn around soon.
But of course, it worsens. Like people who are colorblind, or incapable of seeing the shape of the lady from two different angles in the picture, obscured by DNA and ingrained perceptual bias, the “other side” thinks Trump is great. They worship him. They worship racism. They worship at the altar of a rigid belief system, a bygone era, unable to recontextualize their lives in a new one. Their insecurities and fright have to blame “others.” Some supporters have self-serving interests. Others are well meaning but know not what they do. Still others know exactly what they are doing.
Too many have a vision of going back to an exclusively white America. It is beyond a conundrum. It is dangerous to America, as dangerous to the fabric of our society as the Russian attack, which they also deny, believing we can only be attacked with a firearm or a tank, as opposed to being manipulated by Facebook, Twitter, and other electronic delivery systems.
The Center Will Not Hold
I have thought 100 times about writing something, to try to wake people up, at least those who might be reachable, at least those who might be able to be led to see the outline of the lady in an alternative way, tracing the outline of liberty as well, so they will finally see. But alas, every time I sit down to write, all compelling thoughts or persuasions have evaporated. How does anyone begin to convince those who will not be convinced? Those who cannot see? So instead I write this: confusion, sorrow, and occasionally, occasionally acceptance that our democracy is dying. At minimum, it is on life support and may need hospice care.
Fast and Loose
Some people think Trump is cleaning the swamp, giving the squad what-for, freeing our country of Mexicans large and small, young and old, for their own fantasy of America, through caged incarcerations, through gutting our institutions and traditions; Acting out their own distorted fantasies of justice, primitive and archaic much like the Old Testament itself. Too many have a kind of societal and political Macular Degeneration, which is to say they cannot see the middle of the visual field much like the eye disease that it is named after. They only see the sides, the periphery, which is to say they only see the extreme.
The other problem besides perceptual, is there is a part of our humanness that is cruel. It resides in all of us. We sophisticates deny it, claiming higher ground. But it can only be overcome by acknowledging and transcending it. But if somebody is truly capable of being honest with themselves, (which mind you, not everybody is,) can see their emotive thought-feeling of “they had it coming”, own their secret delight in someone else’s misfortune, there may be hope for mitigation and a way out of this mess, however slow.
Through The Glass Darkly
Keeping with the macular degeneration analogy, vengefulness at its worst becomes extreme, distorted, which is what has happened to swaths of our society. Because too many people are unwilling or unable to see this characteristic in themselves, they get to release it, to channel it through Donald Trump‘s behavior. Sadly, they need him for their own psychological sustenance and deniability yet it keeps the system stuck in a death spiral.
Some people are just complacent, feeling helpless, and maybe we all are: helpless. Maybe there’s no going back until we crash and burn, hit bottom, or otherwise implode; until the fever gets so high, the body politic expires. I have said to several other upset friends about the state of affairs in America—of course all democracies die. It’s just so very hard to witness it, especially when so many other Americans are delusional about what is going on. And while that might bring me some sense of intellectual comfort, it stops me cold at the waters’ edge of sorrow.
If we are in fact in a death spiral, with our institutions being hollowed out from the inside and without, I pray for one of two things: either it happens quickly so rebuilding can occur, or I find a way to be at peace with the destruction of a nation and its citizens, forgiving ignorance, cowardness and incompatible developmental stages. I know not which will occur, and maybe there is a third alternative after all. Maybe there’s a savior. Or maybe enough of the population will wake up from this collective nightmare to turn some things around.
Whatever lies ahead, I think it’s more than likely the Phoenix resides in the ashes. And while it may take – – and likely will – – more catastrophes, more excesses, I believe Power and Truth which facilities and invigorates life, will overcome the Force that thinks it can destroy it. Because in the end, Force cannot survive. Force is not true Power; Force is consumptive and destructive. Power is creative and always transcends in the end and exists from Divine origination. As such, it is absolute! In that I take comfort. It is the teaching of Buddha, of Jesus, of Nature, forever always.
I don’t know how to write it. I don’t. I don’t know how to write about the dismantling of our democracy anymore. I’ve written essays in the past on this topic but this time seems harder somehow. Why? The ball of destruction rolling down the hill is picking up speed.
Who ever thought the Republicans would hand over the keys to the Kremlin. While Trump ‘burns’, spitting out vitriol with his base’s insatiable anger dripping out of their mouths, juices flowing, he feeds them. He intuitively knows what he’s doing. They don’t but he does.
As does Putin. You think all invasions, all wars are fought with tanks and guns? While some are, although mostly in third world countries, first world countries like us in the West require more sophisticated weapons: weaponized internet systems, weaponized positionalities, weaponized distraction techniques, certainly weaponized money and perceived power, and many more.
There’s Collusion Alright!
Poor Trump. Poor House and Senate leadership, though I hate to use the word since they’re not leaders; they’re sheep. How incredibly easy they are, like the high school prom queen of old who lifts up her skirt after the big game. They’ve got theirs, those senators and representatives; go get your own. How cheaply they’ve sold themselves–for 30 pieces of silver!
Then there’s the propaganda machines; Fox News and Breibart for sure, a few news organizations on the left and the internet is filled with false information sites–on both sides actually, but the right seems to be far ahead of the game. Let’s face it. Hatred sells. Kumbaya is a harder pitch when distortion of money, jobs, decency, morality is at stake.
And the Christian right leaders? Really? Giving Trump a ‘pass’ on morality, decency, integrity, fitness for office, for their pet positionalities? Their 30 pieces of silver have been scrabbled through their followers and congregations, sure, but worse: for pet positions, the means they think justify the ends for all this betrayal that only emboldens Trump to hand over the keys to the Kremlin.
America has been invaded. Buy, Russians. Get it? Did you not see the indictment? Do you not believe it? Are you waiting for the tanks instead? He’s got you there. Putin and Trump’s stealth weapons are hatred, division, money for those who can deliver it big time, and corrupted power for sure.
It has all metastasized and so many everyday people don’t even know it, don’t see it. Not always because they’re stupid either. Naive is more like it. Some are well-intentioned folks believing they’re doing the right thing. Do you think the other party is your enemy? The Democrats? The Republicans? The Progressives? The White Supremacists? They’re just the pawns, groups “weaponized” for a particular outcome.
Gimmie Those Drugs
And the projected outcome is not freedom or democracy. It’s not taking back our country; it’s giving it away. It’s autocracy, a functional co-opted dictatorship. But go ahead. Go back to your ‘real life’ video games or “reality TV” played out on the nightly news, FB, Twitter and other online platforms that are your particular ‘drugs of choice’. We are definitely an addictive species. Throw in a little spiritualized ego-driven arrogance and the cocktail is lethal. For America is being given away bit by bit so we’ll all feel better about our particular belief systems both on the right and the left, for the game board that is Washington, and corruption, and force, and foreigners. Not Mexican foreigners, mind you; Russian oligarch foreigners, and Putin.
It is so very hard for me to write about what is happening with the death of our democracy, to make sense of it in both specific and general terms. It was suggested that I give voice to my anger, that it would be therapeutic and healthy to do so, empowering even. The problem for me is that it’s not just anger I feel. Instead, I have become acutely aware of traversing the five stages of grief, traveling back and forth between each emotional state: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance and back again. Read more →
The heartbreak of what is happening to our democratic institutions is palpable and painful. From Russian interference to the delivery of propagandistic spin by Donald Trump, we are under siege. Denial by far too many citizens is real and becomes harder and harder to walk back as people cling to their vote and individual positionalities. Either Mr. Trump is the ONLY person knowing the truth and EVERYONE ELSE is wrong, or the intelligence communities and parts of the media (which include THOUSANDS of people) have not just valid points but are the vanguards of enough of the truth for people to step away and to at least consider another point of view, another set of facts. Not ‘alternative facts’ as some would have you believe, mind you, but facts as they exist by intelligence collection, sophisticated analysts, and otherwise committed individuals to Truth.
Is Anyone Ready?
Is the Republican Party really ready to delegate ALL information and facts to one man for the sake of their own power and privilege? Or one media outlet against ALL OTHERS? Is the country really ready to allow a subversion of justice and with it, democracy? Can it be that the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing has fooled enough of the nation so completely that we have ALREADY lost America, the country we have inherited through a revolution, the Bill of Rights, The Constitution and a basically sound expression of democratic actions throughout our history?
It is hard to look a fragile situation, or person, squarely and pull back without passion or prejudice and consider another perspective. Both humility and courage is required. Yet, hard as it is, we are required to do just that. For the nation is at a crossroads where all will be lost if some brave citizens, both working people and elected officials alike, must be willing and able to check their egos at the door.
Aiding and Abetting Democracy’s Decline
It may be too late, I don’t know. I pray it’s not. The next generation and the tail end of mine, will likely see which way the degradation of our democratic institutions turns. One thing is for sure, the door is closing and for folks who believe ONLY Trump is the truth-teller, hairs on all heads will be counted. Either we as individuals and as a nation are vanguards of Truth or we are not. Clinging to a vote or a particular privilege without scrutiny or conscience ensures the ongoing rape of the nation. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/14/politics/james-clapper-russia-collusion/index.html
It has been painful and difficult to watch the inauguration of the 45th President. Having written that sentence, the most critical aspect of it is not that I believe we are less safe, not that I believe he is wholly unqualified to be commander-in-chief, not that I believe he suffers from a serious personality disorder which puts our nation in peril, it is something else that arches over all of it. It it this: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand. And Trump is at the apex although hardly the cause. Read more →
It is beyond mortifying, witnessing what is happening socially and politically in our country these days. In Part 1 of this little series, I wrote about the decline of democracy in America, erudite and intellectually bent, to be sure. This follow-up is far more about emotion, psychology, and grief! While many pundits, academics, and editorialists are pretty much describing the train wreck of our culture in graphic terms, with the GOP coming apart at the seams, the inevitable disintegration in front of us as a whole, is palpable and real. It’s like the 60’s and 70’s in reverse. Read more →
I have had seriously waning interest in politics over the last few years focusing on other important issues instead, to my son’s horror. With the advent of this political cycle, there has been a seismic shift, however, with my focus revived although not happily so. The last few years have certainly witnessed the rise of big money brokers behind the scenes pulling all the strings. Sadly, it has become a given although it is just one contributing factor to democracy’s unchecked and spreading cancer; just one of four reasons James Allan sights in his 2014 book, “Democracy in Decline”, with the “undemocratic invisible elites” now controlling critical levers in significant world democracies. Read more →