Out of the Mouth of Babes
I do not believe the world is for the young. I never believed this even when I was young. You are not young forever they tell you but the same can be said for being old. Yet having said this, the Parkland shooting survivors are amazing. They have taken their grief and channeled it to challenge the world of guns the adults have left them. The gun rights advocates have attacked these kids in various ways. Probing to find the weakness of this new thing that challenges them.
The use of conflict to chase others off the field is common. The constant attacks and ridicule are designed to clear the field. But this tactic looks so crude and even evil when it is being used against youth who did not ask to be on the field. But thrust there the youth are speaking with knowledge, elegance, aplomb, and charm. So that is why the rights voices seem so whiny and tired.
Poor ole Tucker Carlson Fox News Host. He is having a fit over the Parkland youth. He is not the cool bright young kid on the block anymore (which of course he never was). So he resorts to the diatribe ‘They are too young to be telling me or others what to do’. So now baby face Carlson is using the argument of age against the Parkland Kids. Which is humorous to watch Carlson is like the beauty queen who has lost her looks. They resent the younger women using their looks to get ahead. Carlson resents anyone else using youth as a charm. And of course these youth are saying informed things. Maybe it is time for a facelift Tucker.
Meanwhile Rush Limbaugh plays his usual coy game (which is really only bullying) of saying we cannot attack these kids that would not be right. And then with a wink wink he proceeds to do just that. He proceeds with his intellectual bullying which it really is not because he is not an intellectual. He is not dumb but he has never worked in a discipline to be an intellectual. He is a street fighter. Dropped out of college and spent a good bit of time doped up on drugs thereafter. Rush is a verbal bully. He knows how to ridicule and claim he never did. Retract statements only to say them later. And you know the routine. Maybe it is time for a new and more sincere act Rush.
Ex-senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is saying they should not be changing laws because they do nothing. Instead he offers the sage advice of learning CPR. This is the proactive action they should take. Strange coming from someone who thinks it is so important to change laws around abortion, homosexuality, and religious freedom. Maybe it is time for Santorum to stick to CPR.
A NRA TV show host, tells the Parkland kids they would not even been known if it were not for the shootings (being the sensitive guy he is). But of course no one knew who he was until he ranted about the Parkland kids. And they are forgetting who he is already.
Some are slinging insults such as you are a commie lesbian which most youth do not necessarily consider an insult. Some have taken to twitter and have been out-twittered by those who grew up with that medium. And then there is the one conservative teenager who is being used to try to mount an offense against these Parkland kids. They know they are in a very small minority especially on the gun right issue. Even conservative teenagers do not want live in fear of gun assaults or be shot. So the ones who are left have to bully to get their opinion heard. Thus they begin to fit the profile of the shooters which leaves them exposed.
The NRA has a thirty something attractive woman as their firecracker spokesman. She even has a television show on NRATV. But thirty seems very old when next to the Parkland kids. And her words are the same old tripe the NRA always uses. Yet when the Parkland kids use some of the old tripes of the left they come off fresh.
Laura Ingraham is close to losing her Fox TV show because she chose to ridicule one of the youth because he was rejected by a few colleges. Not a smart move. Who among us do not find ridicule of what college we get into or not get into fair game. The young man for his part tweeted her sponsors and suggested a boycott and the corporations did and now she is on leave and may not have a show.
It is a new age. Hypocrisy of course is not new and has always been stupefying. Of course in the end the adults do have the power and authority. And they will be the ones making the decisions. But as David Hoag said we may have to outlive you but we will get it done. Hopefully, the adults can find their long lost youth inside and vote the way of the youthful voice of hope and not the cynical voice of old age
The Power of Class
Power is a funny thing. No one claims it but few are totally powerless. It is thought to be bad form to say you have power. But to me this is the first step toward abusing it. The poor and middle class white population in America does not feel as though they have power. Yet they have more than the minorities. In fact they wield their power over minorities to maintain their position in America. The wealthy and elite wield their power over everyone. Currently in this country the middle class, who feel as though they have no power, ceded their power to the rich. This is essentially the story of the election of Trump. We of the middle class do not feel we have power over the changes the minority population is wielding in America. So in a gamble they have elected someone with the worst power characteristics of the wealthy and elite in the hopes that this will allow them to regain some control.
But the problem is Trump sees only green according to his son. And he brings to the table things such as racism, sexism, and classism. And what he also brings to the table is anti-intellectualism especially concerning higher education, science, and the government workers. These are the people who are challenging the poor and middle class workers to make the cultural changes to allow room for the evolving and growing minorities. More rights for women, immigrants, blacks, gays and others have left the white middle class who have more in common economically and in their lifestyles with the lower classes are choosing to vote for the wealthy.
Of course this is ludicrous. Trump and the wealthy elite will only give crumbs off the table to the other classes. They are very attuned to class survival. Yet a recent article said that the group that is most responsible for not allowing changes to immigration, minimum/living wages, issues around poverty, is the middle class. This can be seen in the concepts of school vouchers for private schools, less taxes, voter restriction laws and etc., It turns out the middle class is all about class survival too. They are afraid to expand the benefits to the lower classes this might contribute to their upward mobility and would challenge their class status. So they side with policies that are detrimental to the lower classes but enhance their class.
Recently, we were surprised that a majority of white women voted for Trump in the last presidential election. But in a new book by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae called Mothers of Massive Resistance that tracks white women’s role in maintaining segregation from the 1920s to the Boston school busing riots we see white women have always had a strain of what is being called Trumpism today. They have always voted and advocated for their racial class. This could be further seen in the feminist movement of the sixties and seventies. It was primarily a movement of white women, and a womanist movement of people of color was formed to address the NOW movement’s lack of understanding and care for black women’s needs. So in a sense if we had been paying attention we should not have been surprised that the majority of white women voted for Trump.
So what does all this mean? Until the middle class becomes less concerned about maintaining their class status in policies toward the poor and lower classes, they will be at the mercy of the elite classes. The wealthy will continue to shape policies that benefit them as opposed to all other groups. They will show for the most part a class unity in dealing with the middle classes. That is why Amazon and other corporations thought to be liberal after the passing the Trump tax laws gave their employees raises and bonuses. While these corporations may be liberal they show unity in assisting the wealthy elite to making their policies look good to the general public. After all the green line of the wealthy elite must not be passed.
It is romantic idealism to think the poorer classes or the middle classes can fight the elite wealthy classes without each other. The power of the wealthy elite is too great. Only together can the middle and lower classes exert their one essential power over the wealthy class overwhelming numbers. That is why the elite right spends so much time igniting the lower classes over issues of abortion (while they still have abortions) or gun control (while their children are in gated private schools and communities). These issues become greater than the economic and class issues and allow other agendas that work against them to be ignored. That is why the wealthy elite class pushes the concept of the American Dream: you will not vote against a class of people who you aspire to. Or as often expressed the wealthy, are our elected and betters. The wealthy elite also promotes the middle and lower class struggles. Keep the riff raff fighting amongst themselves and they will leave us alone. The only hope to make America Dream again is for the middle class to move away from class survival and open the doors to unity with the poor and their causes too.
Many times we become so worried about the things we cannot change or influence. We neglect the things we can do at hand. It is said when addressing a huge assignment and we are feeling overwhelmed the best thing to do is take a piece of it that you can do and work on that.
We have two sides of one coin when we look at bigness. There are those that think the bigger the better. They hold to this theory no matter what the topic or thing. Then there are those who believe small is beautiful. They purposely sabotage or oppose any attempt to grow a bigger church or social organization. I have come to believe that neither is necessarily better. To everything there is a season.
The issue is not bigness or smallness but ‘what is the plan?’, ‘what are the motives of going either way?’. The far right promotes small government. They will say the government that rules the least is the government that is the best. Big governments will impinge upon our freedoms. Yet strangely enough corporations have no limits on their growth. We are to allow them to grow totally without hindrance. The economic invisible hand will adjust any problems that big corporations may cause. So they oppose most if not all government regulations on business. They blindly trust corporations they have no voice in over government which they have some voice in.
Now this is the theory. But in practice when the right approaches big government they mean cut social welfare programs. Now they seldom offer solutions to poverty. If you are living in poverty, in order to make themselves not feel guilty of their neglect of the poor, the right will vilify the poor. They are lazy. They are taking advantage of the system. They have no work ethic. They are the dregs on society and cannot achieve anything. With this assuage of their conscience they move to cut social welfare programs. They will offer that the private sector (NGOs) will keep the problem under control. Yet the NGOs for the most part say they do not and will not have the resources to fully address the problem.
The only government program they are comfortable with growing big is the military. And when we say big we mean huge. Strangely enough like corporations they see no problem with letting the military grow big. It is as they say ‘we can join hand in hand with the poor to protect my stuff and nothing else’. Yet the primary ones who in the end could take their guns or threaten their freedom is the military.
Meanwhile, liberals propose that the social welfare programs of the government is the way to address the ills of poverty. They do not believe the private sector could ever completely address the problem. They do not have the ability to tax corporations and the wealthy. Plus how services are delivered is important to the left. The government will not put religious or moral restrictions for receiving help from them. The government will have requirements and standards but they will not determine that there are worthy and unworthy recipients.
The government, to a liberal, is the chief enhancer of the common good. This role is as important as protecting us. They also know that the wealthy as a whole will never give away enough of their wealth to care for the poor. This is always the syndrome of humans. I got mine you get yours. Of course this would be a better philosophy if everyone started from the same place and had the same opportunities. The Year of Jubilee in the Bible addressed this problem. Land is divided up and every seventy years built up debt is dismissed and property returned back to the original family. In Georgia’s early days when property did not go to an heir it returned to the government and was put back in the lottery. This was to keep from having huge landowners and always have land for the new immigrants and those who have fallen on hard times. The government is responsible to create as much as possible a level ground.
So you have two opposite views of government. One relies on the goodness of people and the other protects against the evils of people. The right basically does not have a good view of sin. They honestly believe that corporations and wealthy will do good without any checks and balances. The left meanwhile believes one of the best arbitrators of doing good is one that the people have checks and balances. They vote on the policies and programs of the government. The only check on corporations is their stockholders who are a set breed and whose main interest is making money.
In a few blogs back I proposed that the good works I did kept the poor form rioting and demanding more. The Carnegies and Gates of the world who work at giving their wealth away. Yet in so doing they make it okay for the rest of the wealthy to be greedy and keep their money at the expense of others. The wealthy will use their money wisely and for the betterment of society look at Carnegie and Gates.
So here we are: the far right ask us to believe in invisible hands to make our economy do the right thing. They ask us to believe that people will do the right thing without any checks and balances. The left believes that the economy must be monitored and checked to ensure it does not abuse the public. Nothing Invisible. They believe that people need to be taxed to provide for our common good. They know people will not sacrifice enough on their own to create the best common good possible. They will always offer explanations of why they cannot give or why the other is not worthy of their time.
So I say to the right whatever happen to your belief in sin. A sinful nature will always needs checks and balances. And have you forgotten the concept of corporate sin? Because you are so caught up in the idolatry of ideology, the judgment of others, and greed you have left the common good disappear in your thinking.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
They have more guts than us. Trump would enter a building without a gun to take down a mass shooter. This has been a theme for years now of the far right. They are worried about the demanning that is going on in our culture. They believe the rules in lieu of the new research concerning concussions in football to be an example. They have been worried about this since Hawkeye played by Alan Alda in the television series MASH. And they are right. There has been a slow cultural change from the masculinity of the old. Or better said there have developed other definitions of manliness that have come to the forefront. Used to be as a guy you were not to cry; now tears are expected. You could not have close male relationships unless you were gay. But as homophobia has lessened it is now okay to have bros and even give them hearty hugs.
They are worried that the aggressive attitude of the male who is forever out to get laid is being made obsolete. As proof of this do you think Dirty Harry played by Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson’s character in Death Wish would be held up as examples of rugged men? Nowadays they may have to put on that persona but this is only because of a threat of violence. But eventually in today’s mentality we are to move away from this violent attitude into a more domesticated one of care. Take Agent Gibbs in NCIS: he bops people on the back of the head; he is a marine’s marine, yet he brings Abby humungous sodas and puts up with her eccentricities; he is constantly showing his need to be artistic with the building of his boats. He is often showing his soft underbelly although it is not his main mode of operation. He is our cross between Hawkeye and Dirty Harry. This is the stereotype of the new masculinity: you can be tough as nails but you must also have a soft and approachable side.
But one model is not adequate for expressions of masculinity. The models are as varied as there are men. So you can imagine how they are taking the #metoo movement. The #metoo movement is now challenging men to change their attitudes around sex and their interactions with women.
So why is it necessary for Trump to claim he would have gone in? Republicans like to claim they are the rugged individuals who are ready to defend the rest of us. They are the last bastion of manliness. And maybe this is why the Republicans think they have the right to tell us or legislate for us if we can have rights as gay individuals, whether we can have access to birth control, whether we can speak Spanish, whether we can smoke weed, whether we can have food stamps and so forth. If you are going to be rushing into buildings to save us, then you think you have some rights in how we live. They do not want to put their lives into play for just anyone or anything.
Listen to the words they use for liberals: nanny state, snowflakes, etc., Yet I have never heard so much whining as I have from the right. The far right might have stood up and yelled ‘You lie!’ during Obama’s State of the Union but ‘our feelings are hurt when you guys did not clap for me’, cries Trump. White Conservative Christians complain they may have to make a cake for a gay couple. Black liberals were beaten up at bus stations, their homes were burned, they were shot, lynched and so on and they did not whine as much as this modern group of conservatives. Talk Radio and the number one news channel Fox complain about how the media discriminates against them. They complain as they all day long ridicule CNN and MSNBC. Someone should tell them they are the media now and have as much if not more control over the message the general public receives than anyone else.
The problem is the white right have become so comfortable in their privilege that they become distressed and uneasy whenever they pay any consequence for their antiquated and bigoted actions and words. They do not know about the rugged cross but want to recline in their easy chairs with the rest of us being their Edith Bunker complimenting them and serving them as they tell us what we are doing wrong. Whining, much as my toddler does, is their new tool to get their way.
So I call bunk on their toughness. The pre-war Southerners thought they would be able to defeat a bunch of mamby-pamby abolitionists from the North. Yet as I remember it Sherman said he would show the south war is hell and they are still wailing today. Now this is coming from a Southerner. I know that the Mafia and NYPD thought the drag queens could not and would not put up much of a fight at the Stonewall Inn. They were surprised at the week of resistance and the fact they received a butt kicking from the drag queens.
But for now we are stuck with Trump-like declarations of manliness. Trump is seventy; by the time he got inside the shooter would be through.
I honestly do not know what I would do but I have faced a high drug dealer with a gun and would not let him enter the building to find the homeless man he was looking for. But unarmed or even armed with a pistol what could I do? If I was lucky and the shooter did not see me and I got a good line of site on him maybe I could shoot him. But if it became an OK Corral scene I would be dead (because of the superiority of the shooter’s gun power) and seriously doubt I would have under those conditions hit him with the one shot I might get off.
So enough with “I have to have my phallic guns or my masculinity will melt away.” Believe me the more I hear you opine about guns the more I realized your manliness is contrived and perhaps lost forever. So buck up guys, the times have changed and you are looking more and more like posers.