I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 02, 2017 - 11:18 a.m.
Last night I watched Game 7 of the World Series, the bad guys won. Jane asked me why I refer to them as the bad guys. Simple, they were playing the Dodgers, the team I was rooting for, that makes them bad. In other matchups I'd have rooted for the Astros, my default is rooting for the NL, the league of real baseball, but I've been known to root for the AL. I told Jane it's because George H.W. Bush threw out the first ball in game 3 and the crowd cheered enthusiastically; that was just teasing. Sports is more fun when I have a strong rooting interest, so it is always, Good Guys versus Bad Guys. Sometimes I can't choose but I always find the team to root for while watching.
I could make this philosophical and political. The Manichean idea of good versus equal is seductive, it's pleasurable; that's why people feel that way about politics. The nation, I suspect the world, is becoming more polarized; people view the other party or other candidates as the bad guys. It's not just by party, it's by candidate within the party. People see the world through the lens of my tribe and the others.
It goes down to the level of issues, the so-called litmus tests. You can't be a good Republican and believe in doing something about climate change. It's the bad guys that do that, not us! On the left it's not good enough to be for universal health coverage, if you won't say the words "single payer" you're unworthy. The fact that countries with very successful health care systems that cover everyone and aren't single payer doesn't matter. That's not what the tribe believes in.
Jeff Flake is a hero for speaking against Trump. Jeff Flake is a sham because he votes like a Republican. Why do people have trouble with; "Jeff Flake is a conservative that I would never vote for in a million years, but he did a good thing and deserves credit for it?"
Manicheanism in sports is fun, in politics and religion it's an anathema. That's been on my to-blog list forever and I wrote so little about it. But now it gets fun. I just took a Manichean view, I called it an anathema. Even getting to use Manichean and anathema in the same sentence is not enough justification for that. Just because there are gradations it doesn't make everything the same. While I loathe labeling a person as bad, all people are not of equal virtue. Both Trump and Mitt Romney support terrible policies they are not the same. Romney is intellectually dishonest, Trump lies about everything all the time. Romney's accepts policies that hurt minorities; Trump fans the flames of hatred.
To move on, Trump has no understanding or interest in understanding how constitutional democracy works. He feels that he was elected so he should be able to do what he wants. This is dangerous, this must be challenged at all times, but that doesn't make the US fascist. Simple test; if you call the leader of a country a fascist and call for his removal from office, and you are still alive and free, you don't live in a fascist country. If Trump were like Putin he wouldn't fire Mueller, he'd bring trumped up charges and imprison him, or perhaps poison him. The same would go for the New York Times, NBC, and CNN. That's what Putin, Erdoğan, and Chavez did.
If Romney, Trump, and Putin, are all described as bad guys we lose important distinctions. Hey, you know who likes to call people bad guys or bad hombres? Don't be like him.
Today I have to go to the post office, go shopping, and take something out of the freezer for dinner soon. I finished this before 11! I haven't even started writing this early of late. I'm still sleepy from the meds but it's not as bad. I woke up before my alarm this morning. I'm not depressed and I'm not anxious.
I was just good, I put NERFA on my calendar and checked to see when I have to be there. Good thing I checked, for the first time there are things I want to do on Thursday afternoon. I have to get there much earlier than usual. I also asked about a ride. From here a ride is not that important, Jane said she'd drive me to the Metro North station. The train trip is only 20 minutes more than the one to therapy and there there's a shuttle to the hotel. I have things to look forward to, NERFA, Thanksgiving with Camp Steeple family, hanging with Bri and Dan, a Knick game, and of course concerts. I will accentuate the positive. Now for breakfast, a sausageeggandcheese roll.
Democracy in New York City - November 08, 2017
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