I hereby vow to straighten out the Comment of the Day backlog over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, especially since the sinister alliance of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, The Great Stupid, the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck and the Axis of Unethical Conduct has kicked Thanksgiving in its metaphorical groin, perhaps crippling it forever. THanksgiving has benn on the Left’s hit list for a long time. You know: religion, Native American genocide, white supremacy, evil Pilgrims. “First they came for Columbus…”
But I digress. Sorry.
I’m hopping Humble Talent’s past other earlier and deserving COTD candidates because, first, it’s a thoughtful and moving piece, but also because it is not about politics—a rare commodity of late—and because it is a pure ethics reflection, at a time of year, especially this year, when such shared reflections are much needed.
Once again I am horribly behind in posting deserving Comments of the Day, or even announcing them. I apologize for this; there are many reasons, but no excuses. This COTD , authored by Null Pointer, is three weeks old, and there are some unposted ones that are older still. Fortunately, the topic is ever-green, at least as long as Shut-Down Hell is upon us: the curse of Zoom.
Steve, this is a grim comment to be sure. I doubt if I can elevate your mood, but I will make a couple of observations:
“There are so many openly anti-Constitutional, anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-civility and anti-rule of law things being done and said by political leaders and common citizens across the USA and it’s been going on for so long now that I really am to the point that I truly and actually believe that all the societal signs are showing us that the United States of America is on its way towards some form of totalitarian styled socialism/communism and it will likely happen in my lifetime.“
I don’t totally agree, but I do agree that this is a danger. I am heartened by the resurgence of the Republicans in the house and the conflagration of so much Democratic money attempting to unseat Republican incumbents. The Democrats burned almost 70 million dollars in the senate race in Kentucky alone (against 30 MUSD for McConnell) only for the pleasure of being curb-stomped. McGrath posters and ads blanketed the media and the streets, outnumbering “Team Mitch” 100-1 even in the most conservative areas of Kentucky, and that money might as well have been dropped in a bottomless hole for all the good it did.
That tells me the signal of freedom is still getting out there, and being heard.
The flood of new subscribers to Parler, MeWe and other alternate social media is heartening. The defenestration of Fox News after its sudden left turn is heartening. The bare margin of the presidential election even after rampant fraud and a non-stop 4-year fully-paid-for media campaign commercial for the Democrats is heartening. There are silver linings to be found, dark as the clouds may be.
There is more than just a little hope, but your point is not unworthy — there is also grave danger.
“Biden’s statement’s about unity, Republicans are not our enemies and working together in peace are a rhetorical smoke screen from an empty suit puppet of the extreme political left.“
Michael West’s latest Comment of the Day was a provocative note relating to the recent post marking the execution of Capt. Henry Wirz, the Confederate commander of the infamous Andersonville prison camp and the defendant in the first American war crimes trial. Apart from the information, his comment also prompted some research and thought on my part. There are ethical conundrums afoot.
And there’s a monument in memory of Henry Wirz smack dab in the middle of the “main” intersection of Andersonville. The town, which literally had NO connection to Wirz outside of circumstance…has a monument to the man. At least when Southerners were given the option to erect monuments and name installations, they generally associated places with Southerners who had geographic connections with the locale.
Like Fort Bennin: with a military career earning no more than a “yeah, he was there” mention, Fort Benning is named after a man who happened to be born near there. But Henry Wirz gets a monument in the town associated with his notoriety. Perhaps it would be fair to let his monument be the last torn down by the history-eaters, if only to remember that lethal scapegoating is wrong, however temporarily useful.
Steve Witherspoon gets a Comment of the Day nod for a frank expression of his current state of mind, which I’m sure mirrors that of many citizens right now. He’s wrong to be so despairing, because despair is always wrong, and more importantly, it has not been the American way, even in times far, far darker and more ominous than these.
“Hope is dead” he writes. Hope is dead? “That way madness lies,” King Lear said, and the crazy old coot was right for once. Sure, there’s a lot to worry about; there always is. But the American spirit is strong. As long as this race—the American race, which comes in all colors—refuses to be pushed around, and it does, Steve’s gloom will be unwarranted.
I have written too many posts perhaps, and I know regular readers notice a few stories I have cited more than once. This one I am sure I have referenced before, if not in a post then in a comment (incidentally, Ethics Alarms passed 300,000 comments this week!), but when I’m feeling like Steve is this morning, it’s one of American moments that reminds me that there is hope, and why.
When Jimmy Carter, a President we elected when America was momentarily sick of Presidents, lectured the nation in a televised address about sacrifice and doing with less, he told everyone to lower their thermostats in the dead of winter (I don’t recall how low, but the idea was “wear a sweater”). This was because the U.S. was running out of oil and at the mercy of the Middle East cabal, or so we were told. (Windmills and solar panels would solve it all, of course.) All of the media talking heads were nodding like those stupid plastic dogs people used to have in rear windows of their cars. Then a local reporter went into the public square to interview a “man in the street,” who was NOT run down by a lorry like the “man in the street” interviewed on a Monty Python episode. This particular man was asked if he was going to lower his thermostat as President Carter asked/begged/commanded.
The answer was vociferous. “Lower it? Hell, I’m going to raise it. Who the hell is the President to tell me what I can do in my own home?” The interviewer was stunned, and my father started applauding and laughing.
“There it is!” he said. “That’s what I was fighting for! How does someone become President who understands so little about his own country?”
Good question, Dad. Donald Trump, for all of his flaws, gets that aspect of the American spirit at least. The Axis of Unethical Conduct’s four-year Operation Get Trump may have succeeded, smashing ethical principles left and right, but the Democrats and progressives got clobbered in this election. If they don’t heed the obvious warning, they will be clobbered worse in the next one. The sane Democrats know it. Yes, the news media is a big, big problem, perhaps most of the problem, but the fact is that the people who run these news organizations just aren’t very smart: the whole profession of journalism has always attracted mediocre minds. Look what Fox News has done to itself in a single year. Don’t worry too much Steve. They are mostly morons.
“Maybe a couple of cups of coffee will lift this morning’s veil of darkness and improve the psyche.,” Steve concludes. That usually works for me—that, a stirring rendition of a Sousa march, Judy singing “Zing Went The Strings of My Heart” in Carnegie Hall, or seeing the Duke tell Lucky New Pepper, “Fill your hand you sonofabitch!” as he jams the reins of his horse in his mouth and charges, guns blazing.
Sarah B. provided the Comment of the Day and it’s featured question.
Mrs. Q applied her now familiar wisdom and perspective, and offered an answer, and at the end, I’ll take a shot at my own.
First, here’s Sarah’s Comment of the Day on today’s Forum:
Here is my question of the day. Sorry, but you need some exposition. I have a family member who has stage four TDS (frankly, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being willing to discuss positions that disagree with your own though you include a great many invectives and 10 being incapacitated by hatred to the degree that you won’t play bridge because of trump cards, her stance requires exponents) who had a post on Facebook today urging everyone to vote. Her claim was “Vote for Life” with pictures of a black guy with someone on is neck, a hospitalized person with COVID, a drowning polar bear, and a person standing with a rainbow flag. She has stated that anyone who disagrees that Floyd was killed by cops is a racist and she will act decisively to remove their racism. She has also said that voting for Trump is the same as committing genocide. She is willing to cut her sister out of her life, just for asking the question of, if a man overdoses in the custody of police, is it really racism that killed him. She then accuses anyone who might think that voting anything other than Democrat for any government position at all as guilty of crimes. Nothing, in her view, is acceptable other than a 100% Democrat government and if even a single Republican keeps a statewide position, much less a federal one, it is a sign that we live in a nation that is too racist to exist and must be eradicated (with totalitarian methods that she claims are the only way to protect our rights). She is already claiming that Trump is harassing voters, and that if he gets more than 20% of the vote, it will be through intense fraud, worthy of throwing him and any who voted for him in prison for life.
I won’t say that the Right doesn’t have some bad folks too, but every one of my former friends on the Left of the political spectrum is acting like she is the most reasonable person available. Aside from her hundreds of Facebook likes, she has received a great many accolades on how she is the perfect example of professionalism and reasonable behavior, and how she is treating those who disagree with her as better than they deserve and how she is almost too kind in her pronouncements.
As a note, she is the wife of a prominent Democrat in her state and he and his cohorts make her seem sane and Trump seem like the most polite, restrained, and gentlemanly man I’ve ever met.
This woman is now claiming that anyone who says MAGA, or wears red, or claims Trump is not a (fill in big lie here) with any amount of data to back it up, or even mentions the Biden laptop issue, is engaging in voter suppression. She has said that we need re-education of the deplorables who would consider Trump. That is, she says, the only way we can avoid being overcome with fascism, totalitarianism, and racism.
How do we deal with people like this moving forward? How do we keep the American experiment alive when people like this, at least in my life, seem very common?
With his Comment of the Day, Humble Talent neatly identifies as a rationalization a disingenuous argument that I have been fighting on social media for four years. This is the dodge, and it is a dodge, of moderate progressives and once reasonable Democrats who refuse to accept that the party and ideology they felt good about supporting has taken a hard-left turn to fanaticism.
“Oh, no,” I have been told. “The Green New Deal”/ confiscate guns/ reparations/ Medicare for all/free college tuition/ cancelling student loan debt/late term abortions/punishing “hate speech”/ open borders/ “defunding the police”…even impeaching the President and so on ad nauseam aren’t really Democratic party agenda items. Just a few over-enthusiastic and well-publicized activists are pushing those, and it’s unfair to say that the entire party wants such things. Yes, yes, it’s true that Democratic leaders don’t clearly oppose these ideas, but….”
Some of them might even believe it. However, the over-all effect has been to lie to the American public, which has a right to know just how estranged from practical government and democratic principles one side of the political spectrum has become.HT will have his rationalization added to the list as soon as he settles on a name.
I am jumping Mrs. Q’s (characteristically concise, wise, eloquent) Comment of the Day past some others on the runway because it’s object will not have a long shelf-life. She has expressed her reaction to the blog’s unofficial resident contrarian’s recent voluntary exit from the commentariat of Ethics Alarms in a manner that beautifully frames what the ethical values of openness, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, respect and kindness look like in practice. (Let me take this opportunity to nudge Mrs. Q into reconsidering her own decision to suspend the column she has here. Her ratio of commenting excellence remains unmatched, and that forum remains open whenever her other priorities allow her the time to access it.)
I just had another run-in with WordPress over its “improved” system that makes me want to get hair plugs so I can tear my hair out, so this Comment of The Day by first time commenter Null Pointer is timely. This time, I was asking why I could no longer embed a CrowdSignal poll with a few clicks, and was forced to use the default WordPress poll feature which prevents a voter from checking the polling results without voting repeatedly. “Oh, it’s easy!” I was told by the cheery customer service agent. First, I have to register on the CrowdSignal site, and set up an account, and..and ..and…
I cut off the chat after writing that apparently WordPress doesn’t comprehend that my time is valuable, and that adding multiple steps, not to mention the need for constant assistance deciphering inadequate instructions and explanations, to accomplish what was once quick and straightforward is neither an improvement nor appreciated.
Usually first-time comments who score Comments of the Day are single issue participants, and are never heard from again. I hope Null Pointer is an exception.
I have been remiss in getting up “Comments of the Day,” another consequence of my frustration adapting to the new WordPress “block” system, damn it. I usually hand le COTD posts from my laptop, and posts requiring my concentration and composition rather than the imported wisdom of others from the Fortress of Ethics Solitude, my office.
I’m posting this follow-up comment from Here’s Johnny regarding the baseball writers’ gratuitous smear on the original commissioner of baseball based on nothing but rumor, a desire to practice “anti-racism,” without actually doing anything, and the smug assumption that History Doesn’t Matter, Gratitude Doesn’t Matter, and Honors Don’t Matter.
And the dog is licking my toes…
UPDATE: Well, that was a failed experiment. When I tried to move the text from Word to WordPress, I couldn’t make the format work from the laptop, so I’m back at my PC. That was 20 more minutes of my increasingly scarce time on Earth robbed by WordPress. I’m thinking of sending them an invoice...