One week into the Biden Administration and I’m seeing headlines above excoriations decrying the imminent failure of the administration. I won’t link to the actual pieces, as they are legion, but I will single out Lauren Elizabeth, Shannon Ashley and umair haque as particularly egregious.
What the what?
If the great sin on the American Right is a casually cruel melange of immoral credulity and amoral truthiness the corresponding and opposite sin on the Left is an admixture of seething impatience wedded to a blind hubris. We are polarized on more than ideology. Forget substance for a moment and let us speak of style and tone: Where feckless liars exist on one side and humorless scolds wallowing in dissatisfaction are on the other, there can be no dialogue. There can only be talking past each other in an endlessly frustrating race to a rage filled bottom.
Sure, conservatives simply want to drag us back to 1953. That’s not going to happen. But lefties and socialists hand-wringing at why we can’t all just jump on the utopia hurry-up and get to the workers paradise already is just as fallow and unprofitable, because that’s not gonna happen either…
Don’t get me wrong, in ideology and substance, I stand with the lefties. I might even be to the left of many of them. You want universal basic income? I want to fund it with a 100% tax on inheritance. I don’t want to do anything that resembles wealth re-distribution: I want to do straight-up and out-and-out wealth re-distribution. You want universal health care? If it were up to me I would nationalize every health insurance, AND pharmaceutical, company yesterday. You want racial justice? I want to make Juneteenth a national holiday to celebrate Black emancipation and to spur White emancipation from the absurdity of their bigotry. You want decent jobs with benefits? I want to put the Pope in a full-nelson until he agrees to make ‘Jesus joins a union’ one of the Stations of the Cross.
I’m pretty sure, also, that I’m on the side of the angels in much of this.
But it isn’t up to me. And I’m not going to expect Joe Biden to deliver it all IN ONLY ONE WEEK! nor call him a failure when he doesn’t.
In temperament, I’m much more… erm… conservative. I understand that not everybody shares my notions and ideas. I also understand that however much I might be right, it’s not righteous to expect everybody is going to be converted, in a flash, on the road to Damascus.
To move past our present stalemate those who might be fundamentally honest or decent people on the Right need to first come to the realization that they’ve been taken for a ride. None of that is going to happen if the Left is too busy whining about what’s taking so long…
It is, in principle, a good thing to be opposed to a cabal of satanic paederasts. If I discovered an actual such cabal, I would try to move heaven and earth to end it. It is, in principle, an unalloyed good to be opposed to fake news. Real news is an uncontestably good thing. If I truly thought that my democracy was in peril and the only way I could save it was to storm the Capitol, sign me up.
I just don’t see any evidence for such things. (And, not for nothing, if I acted rashly in combatting things purportedly fell and evil, I would fully expect — indeed welcome — the full force of law descending upon me.)
Good people on the Right have had their decency hijacked by indecent and amoral thugs in service only to power. The Soviets had a word, apparatchik, that describes the spectrum between bootlicking functionary and prison bitch. Such people had their feet on the necks of the citizens and their tongues in… erm… Stalin’s most secret police. They were responsible for enforcing orthodoxy, generating rage and suppressing freedom of thought. Appartchiks like Josh Hawley, the Senator from Mar-A-Lago, and Ted Cruz, lead guitarist for a Kristallnacht cover band, alongside the emcee for the nightly three-minute hate, Sean Hannity, all bear much responsibility, not just for toadying up to Trump but for rallying the troops with falsehood, malignancy and an unholy glee. These are the people who deserve censure far more than Joe Biden.
The Left doesn’t have any corresponding type akin to an apparatchik. But they do have a large cohort adept at taking the wrong things seriously and who serve equally well in roadblocking progress.
Good people on the Left — those with empathy and who want to alleviate suffering — need to face the suffering of those on the Right who’ve been duped, used and manipulated. The Left, and the center, need to address this first, because it is a predicate suffering: Not only are many living in a haze of cognitive dissonance and un-merited rage unwholesome to themselves, such rage is directed at stopping any and all efforts to alleviate suffering for others.
Complaining that Joe Biden is taking longer than a week to usher in an ecstasy wrapped in nirvana encased in a rapture isn’t helpful.
The first question is ‘what to call it?’ The second question is ‘why is the first question so difficult?’
What if cheerleading for Trump is just an effort to stave off a great shame?
The human part of being lied to.
© Petr Swedock 2021