And How I Cope With It
Bob, Terrific piece. Like you, I have an impending sense of doom and for the same reasons and I cope with it mostly by burying my head in the sand by working, watching Netflix, seeing friends, and wishing for some leadership from the Republican establishment. (Pence's recent statement is at least a little bit encouraging but then there's the RNC calling the Jan 6 mob peaceful protesters.) In an attempt to get a deeper understanding of what is causing the Trump base to believe in the steal, etc., I have been revisiting the role of myth, religion, irrational belief embedded in the "older" part of our brains along with the all-too-human need to feel loved or respected by their group, and aligned with their "God", their "strong leader," or a set of beliefs that provide some meaning to their lives. May go back to childhood and the need for voices of authority, such as parents, and whatever those voices may be preaching. But I have to admit, all of this is speculative; I certainly don't have any clear answers but I guess it makes me feel better to at least be thinking and searching for answers -- at least in the hours when I can get my head out of the sand! Belle
Splendid as usual, Bob. I offer one -- and maybe two -- other reasons to be hopeful. Looking back over the history of this country -- which includes a number of existential challenges -- it is impossible to deny that the nation has been consistently blessed with remarkable leadership, leadership that often emerged from utterly unlikely places and circumstances, that appeared at just the right moment, and that made all the difference. Leadership matters. In my view, we're witnessing that kind of leadership right now among the members of the January 6th Committee, especially from people like Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Liz Cheney (R-WY). The second reason? Why has the great gift of courageous and inspired leadership been so consistently bestowed, and at just the right moments? I used the word "blessed" above with purpose. May God continue to bless the United States of America.
Hope springs eternal in the human condition
Agree with your points, but continue to hope that some sense of equilibrium will return to the political scene.
Once again, after athletes have spent four/six grueling years preparing for the Olympics, after the Olympic committee voted to hold the Winter Olympics that has long been known for its human rights violations, after decades of engaging in trade China, the United States points its tainted finger at Beijing and
feign disgust. Once again, while the US ignores its own human rights violations in its century old discrimination against African Americans, mass incarceration, police corruption and brutality, separating immigrant and refugee families, purportedly "losing" hundreds of immigrant children within a country that has has failed miserably to stop human trafficking, it asks its athletes to toss their sacrifice to wind and take a political stance politicians and corporate CEOs have failed to take.
As Russia plays with the minds of Ukranian and UK leaders and the media reports on Russia's propaganda, the US continues its own propaganda machine by constantly creating appearances of crisis from snow storms 1/10th of what many of us survived in the 50s and 60s, to Nationalist encroachment, to racial divisions and tensions, while simultaneously participating in the continued effort of White fragility to rewrite history by erasing atrocities it both perpetrated and allowed. Pointing fingers at Russian propaganda is the smoke and mirrors that detracts from the propaganda America conveys as it continues to dangle a handful of Black male icons from the noose for sexual misconduct in a country where it's entire entertainment industry was widely known for its "casting couch". Pointing fingers at Russia gives the appearance that the US is forthright about decades of over-policing, over sentencing, and disproportionately incarcerating African Americans for the same crime it ignores when committed by Whites and for drug use that's created a billion dollar industry in Hollywood that is largely ignored.
Doom and gloom sells TV ads in much the same way as blood and guts. We see growing racial division because the media gave a platform to a man who stoked it from the time he walked onto the presidential campaign trail in 2015. We see more gun violence because America has allowed the fraudulent NRA to exist and use billions of dollars it raised in sales to pay off politicians who allow gun sales even as masses of children are murdered in an ever increasing number of mass shootings.
America complains about violence while allowing the Constitution written when a single shot musket was the most dangerous weapon envisioned, to be interpreted to allow individuals to purchase millions of assault rifles to be used against its fellow human being. It complains about violence but feeds on dozens of TV shows that herald it, pays hundreds of dollars to watch two men bludgeon each other in the ring, and watch teen fights on social media.
The media could just as easily show us more positive stories rather than starting our days with reports of yet another over night murder.
It could choose to show us the many positive things that take place everyday, the hundreds of things people do to help their fellow human beings. They could show us advances being made, students making enormous strides, neighbors helping neighbors across racial lines, and robotics being developed by teens. But instead of encouraging and inspiring us with the positive things going on, they feed on the fears of America and choose to draw our interest to the TV screen with hours-long reports of snowstorms that produce an inch of snow.
There's reason for hope and lots of it.