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
March 15, 2017 - 11:24 a.m.
I seem to have a new tradition, telling you what I'm listening to when I write. Not listening to anything is unthinkable. Today I'm listening to my complete Enya collection on Amazon Music. Enya seems pretty much perfect to write to. I remember the first time I heard her. Vin Scelsa said you needed to hear more than one song to appreciate her so he played about 20 minutes of her then current album; I think it was Shepherd Moons. I was mesmerized. I'm curious, is she someone you'd think I love? I like to know what people's perceptions of my taste are.
Yesterday was a bad storm but not a blizzard. I did not go out and play in the wintry mix. That was disappointing. My windows were covered in sleet so I couldn't even take pictures. The day was not a loss. I did three loads of laundry. I had Aldi pop-tarts which were quite yummy. Just as I was about to make dinner Jane and Bernie's neighbor came in with cheeseburgers and fries. He's a doctor and when drug companies wine and dine him he brings us food. The burger and fries were exceptional even though the burger was far too well-done for me. I love cooking and had planned on garlic mashed potatoes but having food delivered to your door that you don't pay for is great. The best part is that I followed it with No Chewing Allowed Hot Chocolate. That is the very best. Trisha and Phil sent it to me for Valentine's Day and it's been so warm I still had some left. Happiness is hot chocolate on a cold miserable day.
You should have a hot chocolate ready to drink after or while you're reading the rest of this. You'll need something soothing, I'm going to write about President Trump. I have had this on in my ideas bin since not that long after the Republican convention. This isn't about his policies, ethics, or vulgarity. I'm going to write about the harm he has done to people's minds.
I'm sure you have friends that supported Trump. I do. The scope of what I'm writing about has broadened since I had the idea. It started with the effect it had on my friends. They are good decent people. They did not support Trump in the primaries. His nomination has changed the way they think; the way they see the world.
Research has shown that we don't make decisions the way we think we do. We don't so much support our candidates based on their positions as much as we take our positions from the candidate we support. It doesn't feel that way but it's what people do. It's not the total truth. We are not automata, but it's the biggest factor.
Most Republicans started out loathing Trump but came around to voting for him. In the process, they went from loathing him to accepting him, even liking him. The harm I spoke of is what it takes to accept Trump. To accept Trump, you have to accept the vulgar behavior, the misogyny, the xenophobia, and he egotism. I said accept not support them. People make excuses for him. They hear him talk about sexual molestation and they say, "It's just locker room talk." To accept his cruelty to immigrants, even refugees they have to take the fears he stokes as valid and value other people's lives less. Imagine if someone said, "Me first" instead of "America first!" My friends would think that selfish and immoral.
He has attacked the credibility of institutions that have told the truth and showed up his lies. Mainstream news organizations, the intelligence agencies, the CBO, even science have all been attacked and Trump's supporters have gone along with it. Objective truth has been attacked. Will these institutions ever get the trust that is needed for maintaining a democracy back?
These problems apply not just to his supporters but to his opponents. The threat he poses is so singular that some people feel that normal standards of behavior no longer apply. I see too many people having the same disdain as Trump for he need to verify stories. If it is against Trump they believe it. Some people, good people, fight his vulgarity with vulgarity. Some are even drawn to violence. How do we put Humpty Dumpty back together after the shattering of our standards?
I don't know the answers. All I know is that we can't just accept these things from Trump, his supporters, the opposition, and most importantly ourselves.
OK I have to figure out how I'm getting to my psychiatrist. I might have to rush.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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