Friday, September 7, 2018

Liberally privileged enough to remain ignorant. REBLOG

   This is a FB post from the thoughtful Tangerine Bolen. I think this is important enough to re-blog because I agree that the ends do not justify the means in the case of undermining Trump. Similar to past shortcuts in use of power towards "justice" we see these distorted means will eventually be abused by more brutal and power-hungry actors.

"How is it so many liberals fail to understand that this radical means justifying – this willingness to be completely unmoored from any guiding principles or ethics—this willingness to abandon democratic principles, in an alleged pursuit to recover them, all that guarantees an even more dystopian future?
Accepting monstrousness in your zeal to get rid of a monster isn’t merely a devils bargain – it all but ensures a greater devil in our collective future.
I understand that you hate Trump and are terrified of him. He is a deeply disturbed and sick individual, yes, he is causing tremendous harm.
But the enemy of your enemy is not your friend. In this case, far right Republicans hell-bent on enacting policy that utterly guts this country, insures people in vulnerable populations literally die, keeps kids in cages, provides tax cuts for billionaires, and otherwise works hard to engender every single thing you claim to hate – actively – as we speak – and yet you want to imagine that that anonymous person is somehow your ally? How does this compute? How do you actually say out-loud worse, think, that a person, or people, who are actively and doggedly pursuing literally horrifying policies—every single day—because they write a juvenile op-ed, about things we already suspected, that they are suddenly good?
How do you not understand that embracing unethical, amoral, even criminal means (while there are viable, legal means) to out, expose, and get rid of this person, actually leads us all down the very path of which you are so terrified?
Are you so shortsighted that you think your desperate expediency won’t backfire? Will be contained in a Trump bubble? That you’ll get away with it “just this time“ and what you are doing isn’t in fact simply furthering the very seachange in which Trump is engaging?
You think your willingness to abandon the rule of law “temporarily“ is somehow in a vacuum? Is somehow miraculously contained to this exact moment in time and has no effect upon our shared future?
Do you imagine you are doing damage control by abandoning ethics and principles like this? That we will miraculously bounce back from this terrible time, despite the fact that the last 35 years are essentially what paved the way for Trump? That Trump himself didn’t happen in a vacuum? That his election actually wasn’t a surprise to many people on the left who have been involved in activism for a long time? Who have long bemoaned the systematic, multifrontal assaults upon all of our institutions, to deaf ears on our own side of the aisle? Who have long shouted from the rooftops that integrity matters and when your own party is losing it, we will all be in serious trouble?
We’ve been telling you the sky is falling for 20 years. You have laughed and sneered at us. You have reflexively dismissed us, just like you did during the Clinton campaign. Just like you did me and others, like Noam Chomsky for example, who predicted a possible Trump win—given our exact milieu.
You have sneered, laughed, and dismissed us for years as hyperbolic, irrelevant, losers. Even during an election in which a good minority of us could clearly see the writing on the wall you try to tell us again and again that we were wrong. And in the aftermath, when the obvious monster triumphed, you try to blame us for his win.
No matter how long or how desperately we had asked you to hear us. To listen. To take heed. To see these myriad, subtle things that matter, and matter critically.
The far right constantly denigrating government and bureaucracy in not just accurate but in wildly inaccurate and unethical ways. The deregulation of media by the FCC under Bill Clinton paving the way for Fox news and its chronic, pathological lying, and stoking the basest instincts of under-educated people in this nation. People being uneducated because both the right and liberals have gutted public education funding for two decades.
The criminal student loan syndicate, given hall passes repeatedly to rape our children financially, in one of the greatest schemes ever played out in this country, and on young people no less. Those hall passes provided by both parties.
The failure to prosecute the Wall Street bankers and financiers who orchestrated a global recession and near depression, and Obama’s failure not only to prosecute them but to pass regulations that would prevent them from doing this again in the future. Democrats and Republicans alike siding with corporations over the people again and again and again and making life unbearably hard for millions whilst fox news blames all of that on liberals, to the point that they want to kill us.
We’ve been begging you to pay attention for years. Some of us since NAFTA under Bill Clinton. But I remember being a clueless liberal back then. I voted for him twice. I was absolutely caught up when they played Fleetwood Mac at their inauguration. I remember some hippie guy in Sonoma County warning me in whispered tones about how devastating NAFTA would be and yes, unfortunately, I scoffed at him. I was a middle-class liberal and I thought I knew better.
No, I was just privileged enough to remain ignorant, insulated, in my comfortable little bubble. To be entrenched in unconscious class warfare against those who had suffered longer and thus studied these things, and who yes, knew better than I did about what was happening. Because they were more on the margins, not in the main stream, I assumed all kinds of stupid things about them. Yes, I dismissed them.
But you know what? At some point I decided to genuinely start paying attention. To not get my news and views from mainstream media. I decided to start reading smart, marginalized media platforms, many of those recently denigrated in fact by the propaganda-driven, no-end-of-snark, dismissive Friedman-worshipping Washington Post. I began perusing magazines and online journals with far better writers and reporters than the WaPo has ever employed. Like the late Fred Branfman. Greenwald when he was with Salon. Chomsky, Hedges, Taibbi, and others.
The more I read, and the more I traveled, particularly in Western Europe, the less I could deny how unbelievably pathetic is our main stream media. Not just pathetic, but rather criminally bad, because they are not only completely failing to do their jobs, they have played a singular role in helping to dumb down America.
Much like when I scoffed at that young man back in the 90s as he warned me about NAFTA, after I had cried the whole night when this nation was busy electing Obama the first time, and when my PhD advisor, an expert on executive orders who was responsible for outing President George Bush and his use of them, mentioned dispiritedly that Obama was just more of the same, I got angry. I felt really defensive about this man over him I was so excited. So hopeful, given his soaring rhetoric!
I thought my professor was being a grumpy old curmudgeon. But I remember that even then I was tempered by my foolishness from the first time around – when I had dismissed that man and the knowledge and comprehension he possessed that I didn’t have. I had a niggling feeling that I might be wrong, even as I bristled at Dr. Cooper’s suggestion. I wasn’t so arrogant this time around. I began to listen.
My professor was dismayed by 2/3 of Obama’s appointed cabinet being the architects of the global recession – which was completely contrary to everything on which he had campaigned. He had the majority then, and for a while after that, and he went back on countless promises during that time that he absolutely had the power to do otherwise. He continued and went beyond Bush-era war on terror policies, including those that are unconstitutional and deadly gray areas – both of which have given Trump enormous, unbounded powers to harm us. He set horrifying precedents such as using drone bombings in an extra legal fashion so he didn’t have to go to Congress to start wars. Drone bombings that have killed thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians. Again, powers that Trump now possesses. And uses. As indiscriminately as possible.
But you, multiple of my real life friends, and countless of those I know on social media, have been repeatedly defending means justifying. Often with the same kind of total certitude I had when I was still in my comfy bubble in the mainstream. You are so terrified of this man that I and others absolutely predicted would win – because we knew the lay of the land – and you are still so certain that you are justified and right in your impulse to jettison principles, ethics, and morals, in order to get rid of him. Despite the fact that legal means have not yet been deployed. Including actual whistleblowing.
What does it take for middle-class and upper middle-class liberals to finally start listening to those who have suffered far longer than you have done? For you to listen to those who have known the kind of fear, discomfort and uncertainty you are just feeling now in your lives? For you to understand that your fear, discomfort, and uncertainty is neither new, nor unique to you?
That yes, while Trump is a particularly noxious entity, to those of us who have long been paying attention, he was sadly also a predicted one?
What is it going to take for you to hear us now? Telling you that abandoning principles and ethics in order to get rid of this man will invite the next iteration of Trump to come roaring through the darkened doorway you have absolutely helped open?
What, I wonder, is it going to take to see some actual adults in the room?
Yes, times are scary, and hard. Yes, we need Trump, and his entire nefarious administration, gone. But how we do that matters.
Integrity matters now, more than ever. It IS what will ensure we *actually* get out of this nightmare, and to the next stage of profound, collective work, and soul searching this nation must do, in order to both recover and move forward, into anything healthy and sane, and hopeful, for us all, and not merely for a shrinking, privileged few." - Tangerine Bolen

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