Mrs. Q’s Corner: Political Mascot

 

by Frances Quaempts-Miller

Towards the end of British author Douglas Murray’s latest book The Madness of Crowds is a call to find significance beyond politics:

 “One of the ways to distance ourselves from the madness of our times is to retain an interest in politics but not to rely on it as a source of meaning.  The call should be for people to simplify their lives and not mislead themselves by devoting their lives to a theory that answers no questions, makes no predictions and is easily falsifiable.  Meaning can be found in all sorts of places.  For most individuals it is found in the love of the people and places around them: in friends, family and loved ones, in culture, place and wonder.  A sense of purpose is found in working out what is meaningful in our lives and then orienting ourselves over time as closely as possible to those centres of meaning. Using ourselves up on identity politics, social justice and intersectionality is a waste of a life.”

 Murray ends his book arguing, “To assume that sex, sexuality, and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous.  But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal.”

 In the last year and a half my wife and I have lost six loved ones, including two grandmothers last month, only three weeks apart.  Between us we have lost three grandparents, a cousin, an aunt, and my father. Ours has been a house of grieving that has prompted both of us to re-examine what has brought us a sense of purpose and what we need to focus our energies on in the future.  After spending not just years but decades fighting for equality, it has become clear, with so much death, that such supposed noble efforts have only rendered a more broken heart in a more broken world. 

 At the age of fourteen I went to my first protest to express concern for the United States involvement in El Salvador.  At the time, I didn’t really know what our country was doing wrong but I did know that the exhilaration of marching in the middle of the street, after the police told us through their bullhorns not to, while yelling various slogans repeatedly, was intoxicating.  All my frustration with whatever complications life had thrown my way dissolved instantly.  Suddenly I was a part of something bigger than myself while believing my actions and those of the other protesters were on “the right side of history” (see 1B. The Psychic Historian on the list of Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions). For a somewhat shy teenager, I was instantly transformed by that march into a powerful person. 

 Before I could vote, my life of politics began with volunteering for Minnesota Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone’s election campaign.  While stuffing envelopes and making promotional phone calls had some meaning, these efforts paled in comparison to using my own skin color, sex, and eventually sexuality to “make the world a better place.” My brown hands holding a protest sign saying, “Stop killing brown people,” increased visual dramatic impact while projecting a kind of tokenistic authority.  Social justice and civil rights allowed me to make the political personal by leveraging my minority classifications to battle hate, or so I thought. 

 What I didn’t understand at the time was that I turned my flesh and lived experiences into fodder to be used as “a symbol of someone else’s virtue,” as mentioned in Thomas Sowell’s essay Mascot Politics.   I performed brownness or liberated femaleness or queerness like a ritualized political dance for what I thought was freedom, but in reality was for trophy loving grievance hustlers.  I became less of a human and more of a mascot, using myself as a cudgel to “balance the scales” while ignoring my own well-being and forgetting the soul nourishing importance of spending time with family. 

 It didn’t help that the public schools I went to in liberal Minneapolis reinforced the idea that “someone like me” should constantly work for justice.  One smiley faced teacher in grade school explained the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in class, turning her gaze to all the black or part black kids saying something like, “Isn’t it great what he did for your people!”  Memoirist Thomas Chatterton Williams in his new book Self-Portrait in Black and White discusses the realization that “our identities really are a constant negotiation between the story we tell about ourselves and the narrative our societies like to recite.”

 When Oprah Winfrey said on her once popular daytime talk-show that she didn’t ever stop working because slaves didn’t, I took her words as truth, understanding that because some of my ancestors were slaves in America, I must also constantly work – to end racism.  Only later did it occur to me that perhaps my ancestors would actually approve of occasional rest and relaxation, since they didn’t get to. 

 Eventually I would discover that my biological sex and romantic orientation were also to be used for political purposes to mitigate the harms of sexism and homophobia.  I wasn’t just a girl who also liked girls or a person who also was female – I became a Queer Woman of Color – whose job was to constantly “educate” others on oppression because I was apparently oppressed.  From writing for an LGBT focused newspaper, to creating and leading social justice workshops at colleges, to being an advocate at a domestic violence shelter for seven years, to a brief stint with The Lesbian Avengers, my life was entrenched in attempts to dismantle the entire “colonialist hetero-patriarchy.”  For years I even had a website called Queer Woman of Color, where I would discuss everything wrong in the world from my perched place in the hierarchy of subjugation.

 As a bona fide expert in being a triple minority, whose college major and minor ended with the word Studies, I “interrupted” racism, sexism, and homophobia the moment someone made a politically incorrect remark or said something the wrong way.  When someone referred to an Asian as oriental or a black person as a Negro, I felt it was my duty to correct the person immediately based on my status as a POC (person of color).  An off color gay joke was to be cut off and jokes about women received my pinched face disapproval.  I didn’t just wield a sword to slay prejudice based on race or sex, I also had to stand up for immigrants, the disabled, or anyone who fit into a category of “marginalized.”  This was before the term “intersectionality” was in common parlance.   

 My progressive friends called me “brave” when I “put on the whole armor” of fighting isms and phobias by asserting and leveraging my identities to essentially control others.  Nothing shuts the mouth, especially someone of fair-skinned and comfortable means on the Left, like an accusation of xenophobia by a minority. Yet instead of being woke (before woke was a thing) I was increasingly physically tired while leaving those I loved behind for “speaking truth to power,” and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to “lift people out of” poverty, prejudice, and powerlessness. 

 I’m thankful to people like my grandmother (who lived to 102) who reminded me with every one of her hugs, stories, and fiercely played cribbage games, that life was more than being offended and fighting “the man.”  My family, faith, and friends remained constant reminders that there was, in the words of Icelandic singer Björk, “more to life than this.”  In their presence I wasn’t a mascot and didn’t have to represent “a brown voice” or a “queer voice” as Representative Ayanna Pressley conveyed to minorities in a speech earlier this year.  To my loved ones I was, like all people, a kaleidoscope of overlapping moments and attributes, and that was enough.

 Those years I spent campaigning, canvassing, organizing, protesting, letter and email writing, workshopping, and even performance art panhandling for reparations, took time and love away from those I hold dear most.  All those accusations drained my energy.  Although I’ll always be desirous of increased justice and freedom, especially for the vulnerable, I refuse to wear my life as a coat of grievance and victimization anymore.  Today after all those efforts, even I am subject to accusations of white supremacy and every other social justice sin.  No matter how much we try, another generation or person is always ready to say you didn’t do enough, getting their social media legions to believe that the next terrible bigot lurking around the corner is you.

 The recent deaths of multiple loved ones have helped me once again to center what is truly important.  Being a mascot for someone else’s idea of inclusion, diversity, or peace is no longer meaningful. This little life of mine isn’t wasted on the hustle of utopianism any longer.  It is now measured by the remembrance of those who always saw through my costume of constant complaint.  Perfection through politics is an illusion.  Thank goodness those who truly love us can see that.

29 thoughts on “Mrs. Q’s Corner: Political Mascot

  1. There is nothing, NOTHING, like death, or really close brushes with it, for a much more proper and meaningful realignment of priorities. I consider my deaths (by poisoning, overdose, life-threatening/ending injuries, etc) and near-deaths to be the best things that ever happened to me for expediting the process of pulling my head out of my ass.

  2. Game, set and match.

    Sure would be nice if people beyond the intriguing little world of Ethics Alarms would read this superb essay.

  3. This was an especially interesting read for me. I have a wide variety of friends, some who behave now as you’ve described yourself then. I’ve lived in rural Wisconsin all my life. I’m white, straight, and female. We grew up thinking people were people, some you’ll like, some you won’t.
    The last few years have been particularly difficult as more and more of my peers have determined I have any number of isms and phobias based solely on a difference in political leanings. I haven’t felt marginalized for being female, which is apparently “wrong thought”. I was recently informed that by virtue of my gender, my life has always been less because of men. This was news to me.
    When we search for the worst in our fellow man, we’ll always find it. Perhaps if we label people less, and listen more, we’ll learn to be happier with ourselves and others.

    • “I was recently informed that by virtue of my gender, my life has always been less because of men. This was news to me.”

      * high five *

  4. What a great read.

    My wife and I often argue about how much political involvement is necessary, if God is in control of history (to rope a little of the faith aspect in), and I often say at a minimum we need to care enough to discuss with others in a reasonable debate of ideas and do what is right and best; if the debate is sincere, logical, and truthful, right and best can at least be approachable, if never perfect or completely achievable in this world.

    Politics amplifies the less reasonable end of things, especially among those we don’t know, and why my “political activity” tends to be discussions in the realm of friends and acquaintances; among friends more of a “can I get a harumpf out of that guy” since most of my friends are of the same political persuasion, but we take the time to discuss why we believe what we do. And sometimes in these confirmation bias conventions, you discover topics on which you disagree! Among acquaintances or those on the other side of the aisle, it’s more of a “have you considered why” and then framing it in a “if you were the person responsible, what would you do when faced with…?” There may still be disagreement at the end of that process, but there is usually more understanding, and that’s when there’s the opportunity to come to agreement or compromise or changing ones thinking. I think too often in our political landscape, people want to avoid the discussion and jump to “lets meet in the middle” without a proper understanding (assuming one gets past the “you’re a complete moron, how could you be so wrong” phase), but that’s a tangent.

    Anyway, to the extent we understand better, and influence people, maybe we change a vote on a measure, or a candidate, and it flows from individuals up. It follows Jordan Peterson’s idea that terrible governments come about because of individual moral failings (not exactly the way he phrases it, but points the right direction).

    Because of that long held view and tendency, I tend to discount out of hand the kinds of arguments and activities you engaged in during your younger years. They always struck me as somebody using inflammation to jam me up or try get one over on me.

    As much of a fan as I am off watching politics and culture, I couldn’t see selling myself out for “the group”. It always felt like you had to give up to much of yourself for the cause and to the exclusion of all else.

  5. At the age of fourteen I went to my first protest to express concern for the United States involvement in El Salvador. At the time, I didn’t really know what our country was doing wrong but I did know that the exhilaration of marching in the middle of the street, after the police told us through their bullhorns not to, while yelling various slogans repeatedly, was intoxicating. All my frustration with whatever complications life had thrown my way dissolved instantly. Suddenly I was a part of something bigger than myself while believing my actions and those of the other protesters were on “the right side of history” (see 1B. The Psychic Historian on the list of Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions). For a somewhat shy teenager, I was instantly transformed by that march into a powerful person.

    I am uncertain what to take away from your essay. Basically, you are saying that you fell into a current of opposition and activism which — if I read you correctly — was not really ‘heartfelt’. It gave you identity, and you took up its offers in that sense, but now you have come to see that there is and there can be much more to life than being involved in those ‘games of identity’.

    This does not speak though to the very real facts about El Salvador and Guatemala, which if they are taken seriously have — should have — grave implications for any citizen of the US. The equation is relatively simple: to the degree that the US became complicit in the (pretty literal) horrors of destruction there, is the degree that a sane and upstanding US citizen can clearly note the contrast between ‘declared values’ and the actual ‘facts of policy’ of the Nation. If one accepts either ‘karma’ or if one accepts what A. Lincoln said about the ‘offenses’ which God is said to punish with divine retribution, How shall these involvements be looked at?

    You say — that is if I read your meaning correctly — that you became a sort of ‘mascot’ (“Being a mascot for someone else’s idea of inclusion, diversity, or peace is no longer meaningful”).

    I would point out — I will get very little love for this but you know I have gone so far that I cannot turn back now! — that some ‘Conservatives’ will relish your message and — to push forward on your own metaphor — will with some glee make you their mascot. You offer a certain ‘moral relief’ to them.

    Because nearly every conservative that I have ever spoken with, and many who participate in this blog, have no ways or means to engage critically with the history of their own country and especially its doings: and here I mean those kinds of shady involvements such as those in Central America. They seem to regard those who had a genuine sense of moral outrage over the death & destruction brought about in those places as lunatics. They close their eyes and they close their minds to a more acute analysis of what (real) conservatism should mean and must mean.

    • Seems a specious argument to me, Alizia. Yes, your first paragraph does seem to have captured the main point of Mrs. Q’s discussion.

      The rest of your argument, however, is essentially ‘what-about-ism.’ One can be cognizant of other horrors in this world and not let them overwhelm us.

      We each make the world a better place by choosing those few battles we are best equipped to fight. We don’t help a bit if we join them all.

      • spe·cious (spē′shəs)
        adj.
        1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument.
        2. Deceptively appealing.

        [Middle English, attractive, from Latin speciōsus, from speciēs, appearance; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]

        deceptive
        erroneous
        false
        inaccurate
        incorrect
        plausible
        spurious
        untrue
        _____________________

        You really hit hard! 🙂

        It is certainly true that “one can be cognizant of other horrors in this world and not let them overwhelm us”.

        But it is definitely quite another thing when we ally ourselves with a rhetorical, patriotic view of our country as *doing good* in the world and distributing the democratic and Constitutional values of Americanism, while in reality it does the thorough opposite. This is one branch of my critique of American Conservatism (and this does not have to do with Mrs Q really): it conserves nothing or very little because it has issues defining concrete ethical/moral obligation. I see American Conservatism as essentially deceptive (therefore ‘specious’).

        I suggest that if that is the case, and at that point, one is ethically and morally bound to — at least — know the truth and tell the truth. There are certain outstanding historical incidents, such as Vietnam and Central America, that have to be brought out and considered.

        We each make the world a better place by choosing those few battles we are best equipped to fight. We don’t help a bit if we join them all.

        Well, especially if we join any one of them, or all of them, for vain or superficial reasons. My general question — and my general thrust — is in defining moral/ethical responsibility.

    • Your point emphasizes the problem of getting young people who don’t fully understand an issue, in the streets marching. This is why education need to help kids to go past grievance thinking to nuanced thinking.

      • Mrs. Q’s has taken us on a introspective journey of her personal development. My takeaway is we all should embark on a similar journey to help us reevaluate our own sense of what is truly important.

        To be fair to Aliza, my initial reaction was this is spot on and would have been highly complimentary. Then I wondered if my reaction was predicated on the idea that I could repost this as an example of critical thinking by a – then it hit me- someone not like me. Am I guilty of tokenism? The situation is a Catch 22. You are damned to promote it if someone accuses you of making the writer your mascot and dambed as a coward if you don’t stand behind someone who truly speaks truth to power simply because someone might say you are exploiting a person that has left the pack and saying the same things you would say.

        I choose to stand up and promote MrsQ. I will not cower to those who seek to maintain divisions by suggesting my motivations are merely those of an exploitive heteropatriarchal oppressor.

        • In general terms you and numerous others here work from a specific perspective. It is that the Lunatic Progressives have intruded themselves into what would be an otherwise peaceful & prosperous America, and one that had done all the hard work of making it egalitarian and fair for all people. If they would just pack up their devilish bags and go home everything would revert to normal.

          This seems sleepy & even ridiculous to me.

          Instead of seeing clearly and better understanding how these specific grievances have come to be, and how those that have them explain them and structure them, *you* (vosotros) seem to remain willfully ignorant.

          Strangely, and in contrast to this stance, I have made a serious effort to understand Left-Progressive concerns, and they are not — not in any sense! — without merit. So, the Left-Progressive opposition to America’s involvement and support of Nazi-level horrors in Guatemala needs to be brought out, if only because — as *you* all say — you are so opposed to Nazism. Do you not even register the hypocrisy?

          If you are going to assert that you are moral people, with genuine ethical/moral concerns, and a foundation in the same, it seems to me that you have to do more than just ‘talk the talk’.

          I have nothing but respect for Mrs Q’s intimate and sincere story about her upbringing. And I can relate to what she said about the need for genuine education processes that should give kids a solid and intellectually sound critical base from which to assess the doings of their government. But right there is where the problem lies: What is the truth and how can it be told?

          I choose to stand up and promote Mrs Q. I will not cower to those who seek to maintain divisions by suggesting my motivations are merely those of an exploitive hetero-patriarchal oppressor.

          Is this a reaction to something I wrote?

          In fact, we are now working on an aerosol antidote against the entire attack on hetero-patriarchal concerns. 🙂

          • Read my comment fully. Once again you trash before you understand.

            First part. I said we should all do a bit of introspection.

            Second part: I acknowledged your point and applied it to my thinking.

            Then I pointed out the problem of a catch 22 when you stated conservatives will with glee make you their mascot.

            That statement undermines the true goodwill of all those who respond positively to Mrs. Q’s commentary.

            In the final analysis I simply said I choose to not be cowed into silence out of fear that a positive comment be simply be treated as just another means to marginalize another by virtue of my race and gender.

            My comment was not complicated and the only reference to you was that you made me aware that I should questiom my motives if I agree with someone with different desires. I did that, analyzed them, and made my statements.

            First seek to understand

      • ”Your point emphasizes the problem of getting young people who don’t fully understand an issue, in the streets marching.”

        And why reducing the voting age to 16 is quite possibly the stupidest F*****G idea EVAH!

    • I think I understand what you are saying, which is an “either/or” proposition: US policy in Latin America supported dictators and savages (e.g., Samosa, Batista, Pinochet, etc.), so alternatives supported by the Left are morally superior (Sandinista, Cendero Luminiso, Castro, etc.).

      In truth, US policy in the region was wrong-headed, a reaction to blunting Soviet influence supporting Anti-US alternatives to the existing regimes in the region. We ended up supporting goons who were eventually overthrown by equally awful goons, who are just as corrupt, incompetent, repressive, and brutal. Witness Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega and his Merry Band of Thugs wreaking havoc on their citizens – investment is gone, the economy is in shambles, and capital is leaving in droves. ¡Viva La Revolucion! ¡Pa’rriba esa bandera!

      jvb

      • I think I understand what you are saying, which is an “either/or” proposition: US policy in Latin America supported dictators and savages (e.g., Samosa, Batista, Pinochet, etc.), so alternatives supported by the Left are morally superior (Sandinista, Cendero Luminiso, Castro, etc.).

        No, I do not think I could say that, nor is it true.

        What I can say, because I think it is true, is that there are some situations — Guatemala and El Salvador seem to met the criteria — where the truth about how power functions is revealed and cannot be disguised.

        I am relatively sure that in Guatemala and El Salvador there are, or there were, genuine social and democratic movements by citizens who desired to make better their conditions. I am absolutely sure that power-structures have an interest is keeping this from happening. Power desires to keep its control over the general system and then, if it is generous, and if it is safe for power to do so, will then encourage some democratic forms.

        I think that the problem — the US’s problem — is that it (the government and its associates in business enterprises) understand very well, and in the coldest of cold terms, that the US (government and its associates in business) have an empire to administer, and the empire requires strict controls on political democracy.

        It worships the *form* but it does not like the *content*.

        AdImageJim wrote, below:

        This fish will not be biting today. Hope you and Noam had a great weekend.

        My dear friend AdImageJim (his note is below) always takes it upon himself to point out that I have been influenced to notice ‘how power functions’ in ways similar to Chomsky. I encourage him to remain open to the possibility that my description of the ‘machinations of power’ is largely sound. But if it isn’t I welcome refutation.

        Yet though this influence is real at the same time I have been influenced by Walter Lippmann. In fact I have one of his volumes sitting on my desk (The Public Philosophy). Lippmann’s contention in a nutshell is that the great mass of the people are incapable of responsible self-rule and thus — and this seems true to me — they are not really capable of enacting or fulfilling democracy. So, those who can make the *right* choices must make the right decisions for them, and yet seem to involve the mass in the decision-making process.

        These are really the great problems of our modern societies it seems to me. There is the implication that 1) we must entrust decision-making to competent authority, but 2) competent authority will mean and does usually mean by those who have *ownership interest*. And 3) those with ownership interest will, quite naturally and really inevitably, interject their power into so-called ‘democratic’ processes.

        I am virtually certain that the real owners of the US, and the ones who make all the important and consequential decisions, are very certainly not ‘the people’ but rather those with the most to gain and the most to lose. If I am wrong in what I see, I hope that you will set me straight.

        So, here I am — one who wishes to not only see through the lens of conservatism but who desires to actually be a conservative — explaining those corrupting machinations that seem to have done harm to our Republic.

    • How about our belovèd Mark Twain? (1901)

      During the Spanish-American War, Twain became a fervent anti-imperialist, even joining the Anti-Imperialist League. His sentiments about the war and the war in the Phillippines were published nationwide.

      There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free, and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him, and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on; then kills him to get his land. . .

      True, we have crushed a deceived and confiding people; we have turned against the weak and the friendless who trusted us; we have stamped out a just and intelligent and well-ordered republic; we have stabbed an ally in the back and slapped the face of a guest; we have bought a Shadow from an enemy that hadn’t it to sell; we have robbed a trusting friend of his land and his liberty; we have invited clean young men to shoulder a discredited musket and do bandit’s work under a flag which bandits have been accustomed to fear, not to follow; we have debauched America’s honor and blackened her face before the world. . .

      And as for a flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily managed. We can have a special one–our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.

      I hope that — someday, that is if you keep reading me! — you will grasp that there have been genuine Republican movements, of normal concerned persons, that naturally opposed the imperialism projects because they knew that it would corrupt the Republic. Don’t blame me for merely pointing it out! 🙂

      You’ve got to watch Tucker Carlson more often! ::: wink, wink :::

      • You mistake me and others, I suspect, with supporting American foreign policy and adventures as always right and good. I and I suspect others would immediately and strongly disagree.

        Like all human enterprises, the US has made, makes, and will make mistakes to the detriment of others. This does not mean America is bad. We should however always err on the side of non-intervention when possible to let others figure it out for themselves, assuming their interests do not endanger our future as a nation or human race.

        As far as I can determine the left intends us all harm as they seek power and wealth outside the best system available, the US Constitution.

        • You mistake me and others, I suspect, with supporting American foreign policy and adventures as always right and good. I and I suspect others would immediately and strongly disagree.

          On another thread I quoted from an important speech of Abe Lincoln in which he demonstrated how in attitude he expressed the nature of his actions, and the policy of a sector of the nation, as carrying forward God’s will. Similarly, when I critique the American Progressive Left I notice that they have, I think unconsciously, internalized a kind of evangelical religious zeal into a blatant attitude of self-righteousness.

          I am pretty sure that you understand that America — sectors of America in any case — saw America’s advent and expansion as ‘blessed by God’ and even in some ways ‘ordained by God’. Manifest Destiny reveals a metaphysical attitude. If this aspect of ‘the American attitude’ is not clear to you I can refer you to sources where this foundational sense of America’s destiny is explained. And yet if you do not agree with me I assure you I can live with that.

          I do not think that you fully grasp the scope of what I am trying to do. I certainly cannot and do not blame you for that. Over numerous years I have used the Blog as a general focus for my own study and have read dozens of books in an effort to *see* America and the Culture Wars with greater clarity. If in looking at all that one does not have a great deal to say, I suggest one is asleep or not giving the matter proper attention. So, let me say the following because I think — I hope — it will help you to better understand what I am up to:

          The present conflicts in American culture have causal roots, and if one wishes to understand the present conflicts can you imagine any way this could be done that does not examine causation? I can’t. Therefore, each element of the present, each specific incident that we observe, if we wish to understand it, involves an investigation of its causal roots.

          I make the suggestion that with the Philippine War — an aspect of the Spanish-American War — that a basic and consequential mistake was made. There, at that time, with those choices, a fundamental breach occurred. A nation devoted in its expressed declarations as one devoted to ‘human freedom’ and all those magnificent and declared values that it saw as fundamental to itself, which allowed it to come to be and made it great and worthy, entered onto another course. Now, I suggest that we stop and examine this ‘casual incident’ and try to understand — it is not hard — what happened and why. Here I have to go into a glossary mode: a simplified narrative.

          Here is what happened: the seduction of imperialist projects, involving business interests and manufacturing interests and an American expansionist will, inserted itself into policy decisions dealing on external and foreign relations. At this point, right at this point in fact, a paradigm was established. Note that for this to occur the newspapers of the day had to *sell* the project to the American population raised up and infused with honest American values and a belief in the American project as one of rescuing the benighted from poverty, tyranny and oppression. The *selling* of these projects involved overt deception. And right at this time the American ‘public relations industry’ was born. So, 1900 and the next 10-15 years were crucial to a new expression of America. I suggest to you, with no desire to offend you, that if one looks at this time period rationally, fairly and honestly, that one can easily notice that trends were set in motion that established ‘America’ within a kind of bold and elaborate hypocrisy. I do not want to offend you or anyone reading, I want to *state things as they are* because if I can do this, and if I can *see things as they are*, I will then be in a position to understand the difficult question *What happened*.

          Now, I assume that you assume that here I define America as ‘bad’. No. That is not my object. It is true that I think that here, at this point, America deviated from its declared project, and yet even ‘evil’ doings will have consequences normally understood as ‘good’. Now perhaps you do not understand that the events in Cuba and in the Philippines had a whole array of dubious characteristics: the use of yellow journalism to rile up the population in false, manufactured terms. The employment of broadcasting technologies to communicate false information to the population, a gullible and manipulated population, to support enterprises that were said to be ‘American and noble’ which were not in any sense that at all. Maybe, for you, there is no problem here, nothing to see here, keep moving. But I make the case that if you wish to really understand things, these events have to be understood.

          They have direct and relational bearing on what is going on, today, in our present!

          Like all human enterprises, the US has made, makes, and will make mistakes to the detriment of others. This does not mean America is bad. We should however always err on the side of non-intervention when possible to let others figure it out for themselves, assuming their interests do not endanger our future as a nation or human race.

          I have read what you have written here numerous times. What I have to say to you is my impression: you equate ‘the US in its foreign policy decisions’ with yourself as an individual. You explain these policies as if it is a person that you visualize, or perhaps yourself? committing ‘mistakes’. My dear friend: your error is here. Now, I will recite to you the ‘true history’ of both Cuba and the Philippines, and oppose it to the ‘stated history’, for you to be able to see that we are not dealing with the *mistakes* of a bumbling individual! We are dealing with issues having to do with the business sector of the nation inserting itself and corrupting the stated values and objectives — the foundational declarations — of the nation.

          If you see this as something to gloss over as if it is irrelevant, or meaningless, or a silly detail, or a ‘bumbling mistake’, then you and I have no platform from which to communicate. And communication is pointless. You will not understand what I am attempting to communicate, and why.

          As far as I can determine the left intends us all harm as they seek power and wealth outside the best system available, the US Constitution.

          At this point in my *intellectual career* (such as it is) I think that it is a mistake to fall into false categories of Left and Right. They are convenient terms, I admit this, but they lead to analytical errors. If in this instance, and let’s now refer to Mark Twain and the Anti-Imperialist League, you see his alarm and concern as ‘leftist’ and as ‘intending harm’ outside of ‘the best system available’, I will have no luck in convincing you that, no, in fact his concerns are entirely Constitutional-based, genuine, honest, necessary, and also ethical.

          Please note that I think it very possible — indeed I think it absolutely necessary — to define a Conservative, constitution-based, program for Americans and for the citizens of America. What I mean is that this can be done, and must be done, in a way that excludes Marxian praxis (which has nefarious elements). You see? It requires a rediscovery and a re-empowerment of Constitutional principles and the application of the same in order to create the famous bulwark to hold Marxian endeavors at bay: to neutralize them.

          In an examination of causation and the *causal chain* I suggest to you that it is because of the internal failings of corrupt Americans and the policies they crafted that the general corruption has crept in. Marxian praxis is a false-corrective and a bad antidote.

          Do you now understand better where I am coming from?

  6. Nice to see your work again.

    Your entry reminds me of the John Adams quote ,”I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

    All of our predecessors struggled so that we could live a better and more fulfilling life in the manner in which we choose and not feel that we are obligated to anyone else.

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