Sunday, November 13, 2016

"Please give him the respect that comes with that office."



  

   My older son said something once I liked to quote as an aphorism, because it's so true: "People are the worst!" 
     I'm not even sure exactly what it means. Just that emphasis on worst — I really like to get my back into it.  A general summation of how humans fail their lofty potential.
     I could write for hours on the subject. But today I will just focus on one aspect. Raw hypocrisy. How you can say and do one thing, applying a standard to someone else, for years, and then flip around 180 degrees when convenient and embrace something exactly opposite for yourself. How does a person do that?
   Consider this email from Sunday: 
     I got very upset when I read your column on Friday. Again, you were so critical and disrespectful to President Elect Trump.
     Stirring up more hate against him divides our country when we should be healing it and working together to solve our problems.
     Donald Trump was elected by the people and will be the President of the United States.
     Please give him the respect that comes with that office and support him when he does something praiseworthy.
     Thank you.
     Here she signed her name, which I will withhold, so as not to subject her to abuse. Nobody should experience that.
    To be honest, I've stopped answering most people. I think I added more readers to the filter Friday than I've added all year. I'm just so tired of reading their diatribes, their lengthy manifestos, their point-by-point bullshit refutations that are only persuasive if you already believe everything they're saying. I'm tired of answering, of trying to be polite, of doing that thinky-feelly thing I do. 
   But this one, I couldn't resist. This is what I wrote back:
     Question: did you give Barack Obama "the respect that comes with that office"?
     Really?
     Thanks for writing.
     No answer of course. You never get an answer.* They're shocked you wrote them back at all. And they certainly aren't going to jump through this intellectual hoop just because I hold it in front of their nose. They just shrug, I assume, and move on. It's not as if anybody does any self-assessment.  Not that anyone slaps their forehead and thinks, "Ohhhh! He means the way I slagged Barack Obama, a dignified, thoughtful man, as a secret Muslim terrorist, and castigated his elegant, sophisticated wife as Chewbacca, fooling myself that my dimwit racist code somehow went undetected, then spun around and salaamed at the feet of this foul-mouthed yam and his mail order bride wife and demanded they immediately be extended the full pomp and respect of the presidency despite their jaw-dropping 18 months spent appealing to the toilet of American political life. Yeah, I guess there is a double standard at work there."
    Nobody does that. It's naive to expect anyone would. My bad. What I've finally figured out is that honesty and reason can be as deceptive as deceit and folly, if you assume other people are using them, that truth forms some kind of hard bottom to the world. Reason can be the mat of woven rushes over the pit. Rather than assume sense, it is better to assume people are idiotic, mean, tribal, hypocritical.
    People are the worst. 
    There was no mystery here. The great tragedy is, it was all apparent. Anyone deceived has only himself to blame. The Democrats kept pointing out the inconsistencies, the lies, the fraudulence, and the hypocrisy. As if that mattered. It's like going to McDonald's and hectoring people in line about the calories. "Yeah, yeah, shut up, I'm getting a Big Mac and Biggie Fries anyway..."
     In the end, it didn't matter. None of it mattered. This election—maybe every election—was about what voters chose to focus on, what they felt was important. Not experience. Not judgment. Not temperament. Not fairness. Not character. 
       Trump supporters wanted change, and voted for him, end of story. It's like jumping off a cliff to feel the breeze. It's like going to a bar and ordering the strychnine because you like the bottle it comes in. 
   "You know that's poison," the bartender might even say. "It'll kill you."
    "That's okay," you say. "I'm looking for a change, and I really like the bottle and am really thirsty."
    "Okay..." he says, pouring a big slug. "It's your funeral."



* In this case I did, later Sunday:
Dear Mr. Steinberg,In response to your question, "Did you show respect to President Barack Obama?"The answer is Yes! REALLY
Thank you for considering my opinion.

To which I replied:
That's encouraging. Of course I will judge Trump by what he does. He already seems to be backing away from his most extreme beliefs, which is encouraging.

32 comments:

  1. Spot on Neil, except two things. They did NOT vote for change. Had they voted for change the Democrats would now be in control of the House and Senate. So please let's stop giving into that lie. And in an amazing change from typical Democratic behaviour when America takes a sharp turn to the far right, it's not "end of story". In the past progressives have simply bided our time and "made the best of things" as we waited things out. This time things feel very different. People are organizing. The results of this election have galvanized the Dems, as they've never been before. People are signing petitions https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/appoint-garland-now-senate-has-waived-its-rights,
    making plans for the MILLION WOMAN MARCH the day after inauguration day in DC
    http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/11/11/million-women-march-being-planned-for-january-21-2017-in-d-c/?0p19G=c, and donating and/or volunteering at a variety of organizations that could use our support in pushing back against the dark side http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-women-pro-immigrant-pro-earth-anti-big-1788752078.
    We're mad as hell and we're not going to take this lying down. Complacency is for wimps.

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    1. 10s of millions of people didn't vote tuesday , 5.5 voted for various 3rd party candidates. HRC and a host of other dem candidates lost. tuesday was the day to show your support not be complacent or waste your vote foolishly. sign petitions , hold rallies, write comments on FB. we missed are chance to have our say. the next time someone tells you the reason they don't vote is because" my vote doesn't count anyway" remind them that this election was lost by 120 THOUSAND votes over 3 states. complacency lost this election.

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  2. The right is often all about hypocrisy.

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  3. I prefer: We are our own worst enemy.

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    1. Or as a wise possum once put it: "We have seen the enemy and he is us."

      Tom Evans

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  4. I have come to the conclusion that those people are somehow incapable of comprehending the concept of hypocrisy. Over and over again I've seen pols and pundits called out for blatant hypocrisy and watched them sit there blank faced, looking bewildered. Some people lack to brain function to feel empathy. This must be something similar.

    Honestly, I think this forms some of the basis for commentators who describe the current discourse as both sides not listening to each other. It's frustrating because to us, these things are so obvious. I mean all you have to do is play the damn tape! But they just shrug their shoulders and change the subject. The only conclusion is that it is a pointless waste of time to even go there.

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  5. Contrary to your email writer, the people didn't vote for Trump, as Hillary got more votes. Because of that wretched electoral college system, that the slave owners created & insisted on to accept the Constitution & the country, we're stuck with that narcissistic sociopath for the next four years or until the Republicans themselves impeach him!

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    1. The electoral college wasn't so much about slave owners as the Founding fathers not trusting democracy to the common man, many of whom couldn't even read at the time.

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    2. Founding fathers who were slave owners!
      Stop excusing slavery from so much of the problems this country has!
      You blathering like all the useless fucking Southern assholes who continue to say the Civil War was caused by an insistence on state's rights.
      Yeah, the Southern state's rights to own slaves is what caused the Civil War!

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    3. Clark, take some tranquilizers and a deep breath. Why are you reading things into what I said? I'm very anti states rights but non slave holding founding fathers went along with the electoral college as well. No one is excusing slaveholders but the Elec. college wasn't put in just for that purpose!

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    5. The 3/5 compromise is another story as is pushing for the bicameral Congress to please all sizes of states.

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    6. I will no longer check your rants here. So say what you will.

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    7. Clark St. steps over the bounds of comity in a later comment and it was removed. Those who feel inspired to insult other posters in a way that is excessive are reminded not to do so. Not here.

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  6. Regardless of his performance as president, I still cannot get past the idea of this sneering "foul-mouthed yam" in the White House, his portrait on the same wall as Washington, Lincoln, Teddy R., FDR, JFK, Obama. I have maybe a years worth of college credits earned over 50 years ago, worked in pink-collar jobs my entire life and grew up, and still live, on the South side of Chicago. I'm hardly an elite, but I see Trump as nothing but white trash which is an insult to white trash. I find this election just heartbreaking.

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  7. I've been an admirer of yours for many years, and I have a column suggestion: What does the average person do to fight back? I am so angry and frightened I feel sick, and I'm sure I'm not the only reader who feels that way. How do we channel that fear and anger into something constructive?

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    1. That's a good idea, Diane. I'll start working on that.

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  8. A lot of projecting going on here. I've had discussions this election cycle with a cross section of Trump supporters. I pointed out many of Trump's faults as a businessman, and the problems his hair brained schemes may cause. But out in the more rural areas of Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, there is a perception that government in some ways has ceased to function as a force for good. The government more and more, year after year, cycling through the Bushs, Clintons, and President Obama, and their promises for changes that never materialize, our government serves the interest of bureaucrats and large corporations with their crony lobbyist. They and their PACs have bought the Democrats, Clinton Foundation, and most importantly the fricken Republicans who always give them lip service but never deliver. It just makes it more difficult to make a decent living. When Trump says he will drain the swamp in Washington D.C., it resonates with these people. Here is an example that was brought to my attention, a travesty in Traverse City. These archaic rules may have served a purpose back in the Great Depression, but times change the technology for preserving and storing produce has advanced. Repealing them is not undoing FDR's legacy, or desired because their grandfathers hated Franklin Roosevelt. People want the freedom to create new sustainable business models. All to often the these laws are promulgated or co-opted by big business and politically connected people to suppress competition and maximize profits for themselves. Thanksgiving is approaching and I'm reminded of Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want." Jewel is selling a 15 ½ ounce can of mushy stinky Oregon tart cherries for 4 fricken dollars and 49 cents. Perhaps I'm just a selfish libertarian and Want the Freedom to purchase a decent can of tart cherries at a reasonable price. Maybe these Michigan farmers Want the Freedom to provide a product consumers would like, free From government interference. At least with Trump there is a sliver of chance a foodie who is aware of this situation, or a greedy executive in a food distribution company who knows he can ship premium goods at a good margin, may get an appointment in the new administration.

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    1. But I will add that Obama was hamstrung by conservatives in Congress.

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    2. Bernie, try Walmart for those cherries in the can at a better price but fresh is best, less sugary syrup.

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    3. More likely that bigots, haters, and other cretins will get an appointment in this administration. I do wish you the best of luck in finding a reasonably priced can of tart cherries, if your tiny brain thinks that's more important.

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    4. Thanks Private, but the Walmart, and other grocery store's pie filling is pre-made with high fructose corn syrup. It's a hobby of mine baking from scratch bread and pastries, in particular for my contribution to family get togethers. Until about ten years ago Whole Foods carried fresh frozen tart cherries. Now Oregon tart cherries packed in water is all that's available. But good news, for Thanksgiving this morning I bought two cans on sale at Mariano's for $3.99 each. What's more the expiration date is Oct. 2018, the freshest Oregon cherries I've had in years.

      Mr. Creosote, I have a curious mind and like to engage people with a different mindset in discussions about politics, finding points of agreement as a bridge to convincing them my point of view is better. In my opinion, the ones with tiny brains are those who get in people's faces and hurtle mindless insults at their opponents, or beat them to a bloody pulp and steal their car, they are not going to convince Trump supporters the righteousness of your cause. The old adage is true, politics does make strange bedfellows. Here is a case of Wisconsin Trump people utilizing jury nullification to rally to the cause of Dr. Jill Stein Medicine Woman fans over the issue of freedom to buy raw milk. If it comes down to armed raids on the Hispanic and/or Muslim communities, Trump may not have to recruit exclusively from the ranks of his supporters to find thugs. The U.S. Marshals Service already has thugs willing to conduct armed raids on the Amish, of all people. It seems as if you endorse our government's use of force to enforce mandates on its people, bought and paid for by our corporate overlords.

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    5. Bernie,
      You argued that anti-Semitic bigots in the White House were okay as long as it saved you 29 cents on canned fruit. That is stupid. Call it a mindless insult, very Trump-like of you to do so. It's also very Trump-like of you to defend a fascist by accusing your critic of being a thug, even as you espouse thuggery. Please accept my comments as a compliment, an assumption that you are not lying and espousing fascism intentionally, but are just not very bright.

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    7. Mr. Creosote,
      Ha! That shows how much you know, 2 cans X ($4.49-$3.99) equals $1.00 saved, which proves I'm smarter than you. As such I will take on the Smart Man's Burden, and try to educate you. There are two types of regulations, the first promoted by crony corporations, are enacted when politicians are bribed with cash or favors. The crony corporations want laws that funnel money to themselves at the expense of other people and good companies. For example, bad regulations are why dairy farmers are forced to send all their milk to pasteurization plants, where crony corporations can literally skim the fat and cream off for themselves, leaving the pasturized dregs for the rest of us, and billing us for their effort. Ignored for decades, this and other laws have infuriated the farmers, who in desperation turned to Trump. The second type of regulations are the good ones that protect people and the environment. People in rural areas care more about the environment then you may realize. They hunt and fish and respect they land around them, to be passed on intact to their children. They don't want to eat tainted fowl, or sickly venison, or toxic fish. Most importantly, they want clean groundwater for their livestock and irrigation, their very livelihood depends on it. Evil corporations buy politicians to weaken regulations, because there is more profits if you can minimize the cost of treating wastewater and other pollutants. If an evil corporation is caught violating laws there is no jail time, just a fine paid from petty cash, the cost of doing business. This also infuriates Trump supporters, as it should you. Now bad corporations employ a mind control technique called astro-turfing, it tricks people into not acting in their own self interest. This may explain why you seem to have trouble telling the difference between good, crony, and evil corporations. Trump has promised to repeal or alter bad regulations. There are three likely outcomes. First, Trump may ignore his campaign promises and do nothing. Second, he may follow through to the joy of consumers and the farmers, please don't rain on our parade. Third, Trump may act in the interest of evil corporations, the Trump supporters will turn against him, let your voice be heard also.

      Now people like Trump may be able to hide their racism to a greater or lesser extent, until they get senile and have a Mel Gibson or Donald Sterling moment, which makes it obvious for all to see their racist nature. So we must be diligent and call him on it when he lets his inner racist out. Trump may appoint a sleazy Lois Lerner type, lets call him Mr. Beyz Goy, to an IRS position. He will meet with Trump regularly and draw up a lists of Tea Party, sorry I mean Jewish people, charities, and organizations to target with audits and other forms of government abuse. When he does call your congressman and demand an investigation. If Mr. Goy pleads the Lerner, sorry I mean the fifth, don't listen to the media when they say it is his constitutional right. Demand a criminal prosecution and jail time, or come the next election cycle we'll vote the bums out.

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    8. So you want anti-semitic bigots in the White House so you can save a whole dollar on canned fruit? That only proves that you are a moron.

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    9. Um, who is pResident trumps leading appointment for the EPA?

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  9. The Austrian actor Christoph Waltz had a superb response to the idea that we should just give Trump a chance, and see how he does:

    “You mean we consider everything he said so far as unsaid? And say: No hard feelings, he did not call for torture. He didn’t say that you should use nuclear weapons if you have them? He didn’t say that Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers? You know. The list knows no bounds.”

    “We just pretend these things didn’t come up at all? And say: Anyway, he might be a proper jolly good fellow?”

    “Why? You can’t unsay what has been said.”

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  10. I hope those gop alambamians don't send that predator to congress again / senate

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