Image via Job’s Anger.
A city boy will never learn everything a country boy knows by instinct. A country boy will learn everything a city boy knows in six months.–Bennett Cerf
Helen Ubinas has had enough of the Magical Empathy Tour. She notes that, even if one feels “aggrieved,” that does not give one an excuse for evil. A snippet:
Done sitting with Trump supporters as they parrot the lies his victory was built on.
Done standing among the crowds for Trump’s “thank you” tour as they insist theirs is not a campaign of xenophobia and divisiveness, while rabidly chanting, “Build the wall!”
Done fielding the hateful, racist, and misogynistic phone calls and emails and comments, which they argue are absolutely not hateful or racist or misogynistic.
More at the link.
From the Bangor Daily News comes Stephen Carter’s short history of American Christmas. A nugget; follow the link for the rest.
It’s important to understand that Christmas as celebrated in the U.S. did not begin as a religious holiday. It was, in the words of historian Stephen Nissenbaum, an “invented tradition.” In his marvelous book “The Battle for Christmas,” Nissenbaum reminds us that Christmas in the 18th and 19th centuries began as something raucous, an atmosphere of carnival and misrule. People misbehaved, openly and ostentatiously. The churches wanted nothing to do with it, and the Puritans even tried to ban it. But the forces of commerce and domesticity were too great to resist. Children wanted presents, and grownups wanted to relax and celebrate. And so, gradually, the churches gave in.
Our current struggles over the holiday should not be viewed as the inevitable waning of the sacred and the triumph of the secular. It’s more accurate to say that the secularization of Christmas that so many claim to hate represents a return to the old days.
Writing at the Bangor Daily News, Alex Steed, father of a daughter, has a suggestion for Donald Trump’s supporters:
What I do suggest, though, is this exercise. If you voted for Trump, find a woman you love, someone for whom you have hopes and dreams, someone whose safety you want to ensure. Look her in the eyes and say, “I voted for the guy who said it was OK to sexually assault you.”
Follow the link to find out why he said that.
And, in related news . . . .
. . . or, perhaps more precisely, what people want to think.
Badtux, who has been on quite a roll the past week or so, mediates on Americans’ susceptibility to “fake news” (AKA “lies”). Here’s a bit:
We have a truth problem, America. Fake news is retweeted and Facebook-shared as if it were real. And a large percentage of Americans believe shit is true that’s completely not true. Like 67% of Trump voters think the unemployment rate went up under Obama — when it actually improved drastically. Like 39% of Trump voters think the stock market went down under Obama — when it actually improved drastically. Like 40% of Trump voters think that Trump won the popular vote — when he actually lost it by almost 3 million votes. And so on and so forth.
What this points out, I think, is that for a lot of Americans, truth is not something you seek out. Truth is not a hypothesis that is constantly tested against reality to validate that it’s true. Truth is an absolute, handed down by an authority figure.
Do please read the rest.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Douglas G. Kenrick remembers how, when he attended Catholic Schools, the nuns would respond when he wondered how a merciful, loving God could allow misery and pestilence. Now he wonders how persons who loudly claim to worship a merciful, loving God could have supported Donald Trump and, in a larger context, what social function religious beliefs may play in the polity.
Here’s just a bit. Follow the link for the rest.
Trump, if you believe only half of what he has said about himself, is hardly a paragon of Christian values. Kindness, charity, humility, forgiveness, honesty, and non-violence do not seem to be Trump’s central traits. . . .
According to the Pew Institute, 58% of Protestants, 60% of White Catholics, 61% of Mormons, and fully 81% of born again Evangelical Christians voted for Trump. I just checked online, and found a very recent list Donald Trump’s cabinet picks so far. If I were back in St. Joseph’s today, I would ask the nuns how an all loving, all powerful, all merciful, and all powerful God could have allowed Christians to elect a man who has chosen:
- a CIA director who calls those who use torture: “heroes, not pawns in some liberal game played by the ACLU,”
- a treasury secretary nicknamed “the foreclosure king,”
- an attorney general who said he thought the members of the Ku Klux Klan were: “OK, until I found out they smoked pot,”
- a secretary of defense known for his warlike hawkishness (nicknamed “Mad Dog” Mattis),
- a secretary of labor who is a “staunch opponent” of the minimum wage
- a director of the Environmental Protection Agency who actively opposes environmental protections,
- a Secretary of Commerce who has been “dubbed a “vulture” and “king of bankruptcy” because of his knack for extracting a profit from failing businesses,”
- a chief strategist of whom the Guardian says: “His web site was a clearinghouse for hate speech of all kinds including white nationalism, anti-semitism, immigrant-hatred and misogyny.”
I guess the nuns might reassure me that “God works in mysterious ways, and we simply need to have faith in His infinite wisdom.”
As I was waking up, the germ of a blog post started to grow in the back of my mind, one about the fundamental flaw in the reasoning that blames Democrats for not adequately appealing to persons who voted for Donald Trump. I was musing about how to frame an argument that such “analyses” overlook the tactics that Republicans used to attract those votes: venal appeals to selfishness, hatred, and bigotry. I question that persons welcoming such appeals would be receptive to anything the Democrats might offer.
When I got to my RSS feed reader, I found that Badtux had written the post for me. Here’s how he starts:
So the criticism is that the Democratic Party hasn’t done proper outreach to: racists, xenophobes, Christian Dominionists who want to impose Biblical law upon non-Christians, bigots who want to stone gays and trans-people to death, and other such deplorables of that sort. At which point I say: Wha?! Frankly, if the Democratic Party had embraced bigots, I would have voted Green Party because I can’t support a party that embraces bigots.
Not to mention that it would have been futile in the first place. Even if the Democrats had reached out to bigots, the Republican Party appears to have a lock on the bigot vote at present . . . .
Thanks to Badtux for making my day a little easier.
The celebrations continue.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking hate crimes across the United States for decades, reported several incidents locally among the roughly 700 nationally that center officials say have left them stunned.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Maureen Costello, who runs the organization’s Teaching Tolerance program in schools. She noted that the group had coined the term “the Trump effect” earlier this year because it believed that divisive rhetoric concerning immigrants and race in the presidential campaign was getting picked up and mimicked by schoolchildren.
This should surprise no one.
More at the link.