Not Just a “Difference of Opinion” or “Politics” #Values #Deplorables

Jan 5, 2020 | Op-Ed

The first actual Monday of 2020 – I’m not counting the pseudo-Monday of last Tuesday, for those of us who returned to the grind for the longest two-day work week on record – was a chance to catch up and wish everyone a happy year ahead.

After easing into the new year with a short week, 2020 is off and running. I see lots of positivity and kindness resolutions already challenged by social media, especially as government-by-Twitter and the Tweet War of 2020 heat up.

I’d just like to say this, and I hope you’ll read the whole thread:

 

 

International Blog Delurking Week 2020

International Blog Delurking Week? What’s that about? I haven’t been lurking…

Wait! No! You’ve been lurking! Yes, you, Dear Reader. At least I think there are more of you than the few loyal friends and family members who’ve subscribed (ahem, nine of you) and commented (all twenty of you). Anyway, it’s the first full week of January, and it’s your turn to take center stage. During the first full week of January, it’s open mic – leave a comment, please, and let me know that you’re here. Blogging is more fun when it’s a conversation, so don’t be shy – join in. I’d like to get to know you better, and to know what kinds of things you like to read.

It appears that International Blog Delurking Week was started by Melissa on the blog Stirrup Queens, in either 2010 or 2011.  I learned about it from Parul Thakur at Happiness and Food.

Commit to Vote Informed

For me, the issue is not about one Party or another, nor is it about tolerating mere “differences of opinion.” I’ve never voted straight ticket in my life, and the world is big enough to allow you to like green while I prefer purple. Choosing a representative government is about core values; it’s about which candidates have a proven track record of acting and voting in accordance with our most important core values, prioritized. None are perfectly aligned with mine, but some are completely misaligned and some are clearly “all hat, no cattle” and will say whatever nonsense gets them votes.

In a discussion, earlier today, I provided the following links, which mostly date back to 2016 and were, I thought, credible and pretty well publicized at the time, but that seem like surprising news to some people, even today:

We’re not uninformed; we’re just choosing to be misinformed and disinformed by other voices when it’s convenient and seems to fit with our world view. Of course we know this is true of other people, but meanwhile, we refuse to look ourselves in the mirror under such harsh light.

It’s intellectually lazy, to some degree, but to be fair, there are people who are very good at propaganda, very determined to divide and demoralize, or to divide and conquer. Whether their end goal is to conquer the nation or to simply divide the people in it for their own amusement is up for debate, but we should all be wary of falling into that trap.

What Does It Mean to Be “Deplorable”?

Clinton made the original remark at a fundraiser Friday evening, saying: ‘To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.’

By Saturday, she expressed regret that she’d said as many as “half” of Trump’s backers fell into that category,  but she didn’t completely back away from the broader sentiment.

USA Today

People don’t like to be called “deplorables.” I get that. It’s hard enough to swallow, being called out for deplorable behavior, but quite another to be made to own it and wear it like a scarlet letter. To make “deplorable” a noun feels defining. It chafes like rough wool.

I’m pretty sure that many of us, even if we supported Trump, would have immediately shrugged and said, “I’m in the other half, I get what she’s saying, but here’s why I’m voting for him…” But the thing is, I askedrepeatedly – in 2016, “Why are you voting for Trump?” The only answer I ever got was, “He’s not Hillary.” Or, “He’s not a libtard.” Or, “Democrats suck.” I heard a lot of, “He tells it like it is,” especially right after he bragged about how he felt entitled to grab women by the pussy. I guarantee you, if Barack Obama had said that, or if Hillary Clinton had bragged that she could walk down 5th Avenue, shoot someone dead, and still get elected, they’d have been un-electable then and there.

“If you don’t like it, go back where you came from!” Much as I’d love to go hang out on Daytona Beach, that’s not going to solve anything. To suggest that anyone who feels our current administration is unqualified or corrupt and unfit to govern is “unpatriotic” is ridiculous. It’s not unpatriotic to question and criticize our government, especially when we do so with evidence and not mere snark and vitriol; in fact, it’s a right enshrined in our Constitution. It’s one of the main reasons we do pledge allegiance to the flag – not to a piece of cloth on a pole, but to the ideals that formed a nation.

Today it is more important than ever to protect our freedom of speech. Too many people have come to believe that discussion and debate are inadequate; they seek a society that squelches dissent with force. In law, government regulations are censoring speech that is “disparaging,” “immoral,” and “offensive.”

In culture, people attack the speaker rather than engaging their ideas. Opponents vilify speakers as “misogynists,” or “racists,” and then attempt to drive them from the public square, or deprive them of their livelihood. In worst-case scenarios, disagreeable speech is met with violence. These attacks on the tradition of free speech are damaging to a free society and suppress uninhibited, robust, and wide open debate.

Remembering why free speech is important, by Wencong Fa.

So let’s look at the definition of that word, “deplorable.” 

WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. S.v.

First, I’d argue that it didn’t “squelch” free speech at all, nor was it meant to – it was deploring specific, enumerated sorts of attitudes and behaviors. While no one should fear jail time or the wrath of the Internet horde, they should not imagine they’re immune from having their ideas judged and found lacking.

Second, I think that the word applies. The very same people who make crude jokes or bandy about ethnic slurs aimed at minorities, who have no trouble slinging around profanity, calling women “bitch” or “cunt,” or who casually threaten others with bodily harm – these people suddenly get offended at being called “deplorable”? They unironically lash out at liberal “snowflakes”? Joke about drinking “liberal tears” in their morning coffee? Don’t make me laugh. They are deplorable. They have “undesirable” and “negative” qualities, deserving of rebuke and censure. That is, by definition, deplorable. The only questionable part of what Clinton said was “half.” She later expressed regret for making it sound like so many, but hindsight suggests her estimation of 50%  was low.

It’s also possible that even these “deplorables” have some good qualities. Maybe they make some tasty scones, or drive their kids’ carpool and never run a red light. Maybe they mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn when needed, or host a blood drive for a coworker in need of a rare blood type. Does that mean they can’t be criticized? 

Criticism shouldn’t mean wiping out all the good things a person is or does. That’s why using “deplorables” as a noun is so hurtful, so wrong, but so tempting because some of the particular things we find deplorable seem to so readily overshadow all the good things – some of which we may never learn about some people, because we want nothing to do with them now. It’s also convenient shorthand when the alternative is a laundry list of things like, “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic…” 

If you can accept general criticism of men or police officers or white people, recognizing that those dishing it are well aware of the many exceptions – the fact that #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter and #NotAllMen are mansplainers and sexual harassers – if you can  understand that when black people say, “Black Lives Matter” or when LGBTQ folk say things like, “Trans Lives Matter” there’s an unspoken “too” at the end, because that “too” is the part too many people don’t seem to understand and respect, then you can accept that many Trump supporters are, in fact, deplorable, and that if you are truly an exception you can count yourself in the other half. Look in the mirror now and then to be sure you’re not being “triggered” by the truth.

Just realize that who you vote for and how they manifest what you stand for is a choice. Your skin color, birthplace, culture, sexual orientation, disabilities – those are not choices. But you are responsible for your choices and the beliefs and values on which you base them.

What’s “deplorable” is when people reveal their deplorable thoughts, their deplorable attitudes towards their fellow humans, then  elect officials who will translate those thoughts and attitudes into action, without first listening and seeking to understand why others consider the thoughts and attitudes so deeply, morally wrong.

What’s “deplorable” is when people put their basest fears on display and prove their quick willingness to ignore the standards by which they judge others – when they readily act exactly like the people and behaviors they claim to despise. Such stunning hypocrisy!

A friend of mine once said that “politics is religion, manifest.” What’s “deplorable” is watching people you once looked up to and respected twist themselves into pretzels trying to rationalize and justify putting their own professed religious doctrines, their own self-touted morals, the ethical standards and behaviors, laws, and supposed principles of functioning civilization aside to lash out, to bully, and to hurt people who’ve done nothing at all to them, in support of demonstrably poor leaders who act only in furtherance of their own profit. It’s very hard to see that in family and friends. Sometimes, anger is really just grief and sorrow, manifest.

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

21 Comments

  1. Mahathi Ramya

    I think, voters don’t think much about candidates but focus on the party leaders while deciding their vote. Problem starts there. I don’t know much about current politics to talk more though.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I think they hear what they want to hear. In the U.S., elections cost millions per candidate. Rather than look at their resumes and records of public service, their actual record of voting on legislation, what their potential conflicts of interest are (this is why tax records and background checks matter) people listen to ads, memes, their equally uninformed friends, and measure all against what they think they know and what they believe.

      They really should be singing, “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”

      Reply
  2. VJ

    Thank you for this. It put into words much of what I’ve been feeling. I had a conversation recently with an acquaintance who voted for Trump, but admitted he though the President was an idiot. He then went on to tell me, given his options, he had to pick and continues to support the candidate who does the most for him. As in, him personally. It really hit me. Is this the root of so much of this disparity in our politics? That half of us are only worried about ourselves and the other half is trying to see the bigger picture and do what is right for our country? Some of us what better right now, and some of us want improvement for a better future?

    I agree with you that we are living in a time of chosen ignorance and laziness. I’d almost go so far as to say that if you’re not questioning the decision being made in Washington is the most unpatriotic thing you could do. We’ve got to get smarter about these things or it’s only going to get worse.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      There are some interesting psychological studies out there theorizing why some people have a tendency towards authoritarianism and others a more liberal bent. Conservatives tend to be more “tribal” in their thinking – that is, dividing the world into “me and mine” and “them.” It may have an instinctive, survival component. Liberals tend to see the big picture and think of “humanity” as “us.” And I’m not saying that in a “this is right” vs. “this is wrong” way. I think the liberal view may be more evolved to suit civilization and larger cities and nations as a whole, while conservatism suits protecting the self, the family unit, and one’s own neighborhood (which too often translates into weird racist things like segregated neighborhoods and schools, because anything “other” is not “me and mine”). If we’re to make larger communities and global cooperation work, we have to at least start seeing folks on the other side of the planet as cousins – extended family – at least. We have to find ways to work together, to overcome fear of EACH OTHER, and to act as a team to tackle challenges that face us all, like the environment. Anything that divides does not serve us well at all, in the long run.

      Reply
  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    I start from the belief that each human is born with the same rights as every other human. No superiority comes automatically with any of the things society values, such as skin color, family wealth, or parents’ religion.

    I want my government to protect this. To give each child the opportunity to make the best of life.

    Instead, this government wishes to proclaim that the 1% are somehow better, automatically, than the rest of us – and find it baffling that enough people buy into this who are NEVER going to be in the 1%.

    The best schools should be in the neighborhoods where the most disadvantaged kids live. Ditto hospitals and other government-provided health care. To my mind, THAT would be ‘the American Way.’

    I hoped we were at least aiming in that direction. ‘Tain’t so.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted…with liberty and justice for ALLMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I believe we WERE headed in that direction, but that there is always that backlash when the pendulum swings too far or too fast. I just hope I live long enough to see it swing back towards the way we think things ought to be. It would be nice if we could all walk forward, arm-in-arm, and not have this push-and-pull, tug-of-war, when it comes to doing the right thing for one another. I don’t mean that everyone deserves a Lamborghini, but is someone has to go without clean water or food or shelter for one person to have one, then that’s unjust. I don’t believe we have these real shortages that make it impossible to cover basic needs. We have a lot of greed, though.

      Reply
  4. Mitch Mitchell

    Owwww… ouch! My head hurts! I’m also kind of numb because you “went there” and I couldn’t be more proud. 🙂

    Truth be told, I don’t have the stomach for it anymore and I find it hard not to get mad. It’s pitiful sitting in a room by oneself being mad at the world; pathetic. Yet, every time I try to see the other side of things these days, that’s exactly what happens. I want to scream or get away from the world; that’s a horrible way to live if you ask me.

    Here’s the thing, and I’m serious about this. In 2020, when all is said and done, no matter who the Democrats decide to throw at the orange man, that’s who I’m voting for. I’m not bothered by primaries because I’m not affiliated with any party. Overall, every person I might possibly end up voting for (other than Tulsi, whoever she is) will be a much better choice that New York’s worst nightmare. It’s incredible that people who think he’s being tough and presidential would have lost their ever-loving minds had it been Obama in that position. That he still brings up Obama’s name shows that the only thing he cares about is trying to top Obama. But as long as the children know which man is nicer, I still hold out for the possibility that society may still have a chance to be decent when I’m gone… because it ain’t happening any time soon… 🙁
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Ending The Ability To Leave Comments When You’re Shutting Down A BlogMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thank you, Mitch! That means a lot to me. I hope you’re not really surprised that I “went there.” I said I wasn’t going to talk about politics on this blog, but I never said I wouldn’t talk about values and acting in accordance with them, now, did I? 😉 It is wearying, isn’t it? It helps to take turns being mad at the world and finding the beauty in it. It isn’t all one or the other.

      I’ve started, then lost, my reply to you twice, Mitch – I’m not ignoring you, just having technical difficulties over here! I hoped you didn’t mean me, when you made that comment about people calling people “overly sensitive,” the other day. I do tend to play Devil’s Advocate, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought you were being overly sensitive about anything, and nothing I’ve ever said was meant to minimize or invalidate your feelings and experiences. I can really only talk about “the devils I know,” and I think sometimes there is a clueless mortal among them who just happens to serve as the last straw, without meaning to.

      I agree (mostly) with the “Vote Blue No Matter Who” idea, BUT – remember Lyndon LaRouche? I’m reserving judgement, but RIGHT NOW, I’m comfortable saying that any of our candidates would be better than the incumbent Republican or his VP. Tulsi’s a poor choice (and I think Marianne’s still hanging in there, but I’m not sure how or why). Yang’s improving his odds of being elected eight years from now. The rest – I just want to vote my values and I don’t want to hear anyone running them down from our side, unless they show up at a cannibal orgy or something. Let the Republicans waste their money on mud.

      Reply
      • Mitch Mitchell

        I’ve waited 2 days to respond to this trying to remember our conversation about being overly sensitive… and it’s escaping me. It most certainly wouldn’t have been directed at you, but I’ll admit that when it comes to a lot of conversation about politics or religion I can get overly sensitive about it. I wasn’t always like this, but since 2008 I’ve gotten really touchy about it. I saw the vote for the orange guy as a mandate for racism since I took it as a personal vendetta against Obama from both the right and a big part of the left. It’s hard to imagine that Obama only took 54% of the vote in both elections when one looks at who he ran against; that’s disheartening… and I hope I’m not going to bury myself come November of this year.

        Truthfully, I never knew anything about Lyndon LaRouche; I didn’t even remember his name until you mentioned it. I did go check him out and, based on his record and the fact that he wasn’t a true Democrat I wouldn’t have ever had to worry about whether or not I had to vote for him. Same with Tulsi, and I think Marianne just dropped out of the race… or maybe it was another candidate whose name begins with M. lol Either way, I figure I agree with you that as long as no one goes for broke and cannibalizes a potential winner in the primaries there should be a good shot at ending this terrorist and criminal regime we have now.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…3 Leadership Tips To Working With Almost AnyoneMy Profile

        Reply
        • Holly Jahangiri

          I don’t blame you for being sensitive about politics these days at all. It’s the old frog-boiling metaphor – if things are going “okay for the most part” we can ignore the ever-present slights, the little, what they call “micro-aggressions” from day to day. Rise above all that nonsense. Life’s too short, in my book, to get too spun up over micro-anything. But then you start to connect the dots, you start to notice, you start to see patterns, and some things really aren’t so “micro” anymore. They add up. I think you tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I do it even more than you do. “Hey, it’s just a joke, where’s your sense of humor?” isn’t all that funny, really, is it? For a long, long time I bought into the idea that there was something broken about my sense of humor. I didn’t understand “gaslighting.” I understand it better, now. I don’t know that it’s always intentional, even, on the part of the one doing it – as you mentioned about Paula Deen, people are a product of their upbringing, their environment, their culture. That’s just the way things are, for many, and they really don’t stop to THINK critically about those things. I would rather assume people are basically good until proven otherwise, and I think I’m a fairly good judge of whether someone “really means something by it” when they say or do certain things, but we all have our blind spots there (and we all have our blind spots when it comes to what we say and do, which is why I always invite friends to – gently, I hope! – call me out and offer other perspectives).

          Beware the idea that someone’s “not a real [fill-in-the-blank]” – Trump’s not a “real Republican” in that the Republican Party as we knew it was co-opted and sold out to the “Tea Party” years ago. They want to talk about the “radical” and “far” left, but they are now the “radical” and “alt” right. A LOT of traditional “conservatives” (the “fiscal conservatives” mostly) LEFT the Republican Party in 2008, and the exodus continues. Also, realize that you can register and vote in EITHER party’s primary, if you really want to screw things up. So much gamesmanship and manipulation going on. And the parties themselves, well, it’s power and money and the organizations, themselves, don’t want to lose their hold on either. It’s all well and good when the organizations serve public interest, not just business interests. When they play within the rules and don’t INVITE or WELCOME foreign interference, hacking, etc. I get why they’d “favor” one candidate over others – I mean, to be frank, many of the current candidates have figured out that running as an Independent, you cannot get the financial backing and publicity to WIN. Cynical as it is, they’ve decided to play the game and try to be the Republican or Democratic nominee. That’s how we got Trump, so it clearly WORKS. That’s how we could end up with a Sanders, Gabbard, or Yang. And it’s better for all, right now, if they try it that way – but then, if their supporters go off and SULK, and refuse to vote for the official nominee if it’s not “their guy,” well, they might as well have run as an independent. We saw that with Sanders and Clinton. SANDERS threw his support behind Clinton and urged his supporters to vote for her, but they were a bitter bunch and they either abdicated or defected and voted AGAINST Clinton rather than for their own values. Not cool – but that’s how we got here, along with the racist backlash from having voted in Obama (not once, but TWICE!!). When the pendulum swings, it always swings back just as hard. I just hope we live to see it swing back. I’d love to see a Warren-Castro ticket. Warren-Harris would work for me, too.

          Reply
  5. Kevin-Neil Klop

    There are some things that I take exception to regarding the above. It’s true, Holly, that calling someone deplorable does not rob them of free speech. However (and this is true of both “sides”) there are many, many instances of conservatives who are shouted down or who are denied a chance to speak on campuses or other venues. I don’t like what they are saying, but if we are to claim the right of free speech, then we need allow them the right to it as well. However, we also need to hold their toes to the fire (and they should hold ours too!) regarding inaccurate statements of fact. That some of the speeches and opinions are harmful, I’ll not debate, but that’s the price of free speech. We need have faith that the general population will do the right thing. If you don’t beleive that, then how can you uphold democracy at all?

    I’d also caution against phrases such as “liberals tend to see the big picture”. Many conservatives see a big picture too – but it’s made up of colours that are different than liberals see it. I don’t agree with it and I’ll argue them from now until a week of Sundays, but I am not going to (or at least I’m going to try not to) think of them as narrow-minded or similar terms. I’m going to engage with them, talk with them, try to understand their points because, sadly, they do have some very valid concerns, though “their” manner of addressing those concerns is very much at odds with the way that I with them addressed.

    I also might caution against too broad a stroke – such as claiming that the estimate of 50% of them was too low an estimate. There are many reasons. Some might be deplorable ones, others might be ignorance (whether willful or not). A third might be misunderstanding. A fourth might be such bitter disillusionment with prior politicians (a variant of learned helplessness perhaps?). Another might have been a belief (and I honestly think this accounts for most of the Trump votes) that bad as he is, Ms. Clinton would have been worse. I don’t agree with them, but it’s pretty impossible to prove one way or the other at this point. We see Trump’s excesses and bad points, they say Clinton’s (and Obama’s).

    Having made those cautions, I agree with most of what you said. I see a lot of hypocrisy in the government. You’ve seen some of my admonishments towards Trump on Facebook, and you’ve not seen the ones I’ve withheld on him and much of the rest of the government due to, well, exhaustion. On the other hand, by speaking with “conservatives”, I’ve had my eyes opened to excesses of the government under Obama (a person I greatly admire, ditto to Michelle Obama as well) that, upon research, turned out to be true. Was I wilfully ignorant? The information was out there.

    As for seeing things in familty and friends… well… yeah. I’ve already been cut out of part of my family for my views so… yeah.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      There are a lot of things we all take exception to, every day, Kevin. That said, ask yourself why? Is there a grain of truth in it that rubs like a stone in your shoe on a ten-mile hike? Or do you just bristle at being lumped in together with people who behave a particular way? Like I said, it’s galling to be stereotyped. So why do we do it to others? It galls me that we’re all still doing it at all, but there we are. I grew up having it beat into me that we shouldn’t label or stereotype others, yet people I respect – people who tell ME not to do it – do it first. I’m not going to play this game where it’s okay for one “side” to be nasty, but the minute the other jumps right into the ring with them, they look on disdainfully and call for civility. In law, we have the “clean hands doctrine.” You don’t get to come crying to the court if you’re guilty of the same crime.

      We can’t do the #bothsides and #notall nonsense. It’s a given. It should be obvious. There are no saints here. We are not amorphous “sides”. BUT, your political party – unlike skin color or gender – is a CHOICE. So if you don’t like being lumped in with it, you can leave it or work to change it or own up to it and deal with the consequences. Like I said, I’ll vote my values and criticize politicians’ flaws. I can criticize Trump supporters because they are willing to overlook, or even applaud, some very fundamental character flaws that they would never overlook in others, and that is blatant hypocrisy. I will try very hard not to be sucked into the whole #bothsides and #notall business, because it’s irrelevant and obvious and inappropriate as a defensive argument. #bothsides can be wrong; rarely are both equally wrong. And a stopped clock is right twice a day. So where are your priorities? Mine are people’s well-being and justice. Economy can’t thrive if PEOPLE can’t thrive. You can disagree, but when it comes to human rights, to me, there’s no “both sides” to debate. When we talk about equality and dignity, no one is more worthy than anyone else. Where I disagree is when some people say “No one is BETTER than anyone else.” It may seem nitpicky, but to me, my “betters” are the people who treat others better, more kindly, and who have done more with their natural abilities to benefit humanity than I have. Those who I think I’m “better” than are those who’ve wasted their abilities, abused others, or held others back from opportunities out of envy.

      Free speech is an interesting beast. It is, naturally, my favorite amendment to our Constitution. Free speech ONLY protects us from our own government labeling us “enemies of the state” and prosecuting us for thoughtcrime. Other laws protect us from having the shit beat out of us for what we say, and other laws carefully limiting free speech in the name of public safety (e.g., can’t yell fire as a prank in a crowded theater) put reasonable parameters on this awesome right, reminding us that it is a responsibility to use our rights thoughtfully, and not as mere pranks.

      Free speech is NOT a right to exercise it without restraint in every venue. So here’s the problem: I don’t think you’d argue that I have no right to kick someone out of my house for using bigoted language. Where would you draw the line? Certainly, you can’t exercise your free speech in the workplace without concern for reprisals. Do you think it’s okay to be fired for exercising it on your own time, on social media? What if you’re criticizing or embarrassing your employer? What if your employer is the governmment? What about Twitter? Facebook? Are they not quasi-public spaces where access to US government officials cannot be denied by said government officials? But what about by Jack? What about by Mark? Do they get to exercise near-governmental authority and violate freedom of speech by proxy? What if Trump says to Jack and Mark, “I don’t like that troll – destroy their business. Shut down their personal and professional pages”?

      I have nothing against “conservatives.” Those who’ve been denied access to a platform, are generally (a) not shut out because they’re “conservatives” but because they advocate discrimination and harm to others; and (b) because they’re being denied access to a private venue that doesn’t want to deal with the conflict that they attract like magnets. Universities are a GREAT place to discuss and debate ideas, but not necessarily to invite and give publicity to certain “celebrities” whose BRAND is to provoke and stir up hostilities and violence. That’s not educational. That’s PR for the celebrities and dangerous/distracting for students. The only thing I would argue against is these “free speech zones” imposed by the government in public spaces. I get that there has to be reasonable security for public officials, but if they can’t SEE a protest, it’s not an effective exercise of free speech. And political speech is the real reason we have “free speech” at all. (We don’t have the right to lie in commercial speech, and we shouldn’t be allowed to willfully LIE in political speech, either, but I understand why libel is very cautiously balanced against free political speech and deemed secondary.)

      I don’t have faith in the “general population” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I question their right to vote.

      During the campaign and even after it, I would have said 50% was an unfair estimate. We’ve had 3+ years and plenty of examples to judge by. I stand by what I wrote, and I’m tempted to say 99% now. (Not of those who voted for him, but of those who continue to support him.) At this point, non-willful ignorance (actual intellectual deficit) is about the only excuse I see. Believing Clinton would be WORSE? On what possible grounds? Sexism. Not just unproven – DISPROVEN – allegations. Her husband’s infidelities and her willingness to side with him? There’s a reason for spousal privilege in court. Nope, I’m pretty okay with my broad stroke; it’s deplorable. It’s deplorable that the GOP allowed him to BE their candidate at all. That whole slate of them, in 2016, were AWFUL. I know some Republicans who would have been much better (look up Ed Emmett, here in Houston – I have no idea why he’s a Republican, but he’s a conservative, he’s smart, he cares about his constituents, he’s a GOOD man). They scraped the bottom of the damned barrel, instead.

      “Excesses”? What. Be specific. Trump is the definition of EXCESS. He’s also amoral. Excesses AND immorality are inexcusable. As far as you saying “the information was out there,” there is “information” out there to prove darned near anything – as long as you don’t care about accuracy. What excesses, and what are your sources? We can’t all know everything, or try, or care, but if we’re going to base our decisions on something, like “Oh, Trump’s a good businessman” then facts matter. Accuracy of facts and credibility of sources MATTERS. And he’s not even THAT.

      BTW, it’s generally worth clicking the links I leave in posts on this blog. 😉

      And on a personal note, I am SO sorry I did not see this comment before now, Kevin. Everyone gets their first one held by the Bouncer. I’ve instructed him you’re to be allowed through without fail, next time, but sometimes he’s a bit surly, so no promises. 😉 Thank you for reading and writing such a long and thoughtful reply.

      Reply
  6. Linda Branam

    Oh, wow! That’s an excellent piece. It touched on so many salient points regarding the election. As one of the commenters said, I seldom vote in primaries because I’m an independent and want to compare the two final candidates before I vote. But this year I plan to do as you advise and research the primary candidates and vote
    for the one closest to my own values. That’s something you changed my mind on. After all, if there’s anything 2016 taught us, trying to prognosticate who’s a winning candidate (I.e., able to beat Trump) is an exercise in futility. So why not “vote your conscience” instead. In the event your candidate wins, you’ll have a President you can be proud of, for a change, as opposed to someone you voted for simply on the basis of their potential to beat Trump.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thank you so much, Linda! (I won’t say “You have no idea how much your reading and saying that means to me,” because I’m pretty sure you do!)

      You brought up a really good point, here, and one I had not thought through as fully as you did – that is, vote in the primaries even if you think of yourself as an Independent. VOTE YOUR VALUES. Get the BEST candidate FOR YOU on that final ballot, first, and don’t assume the Party will naturally put them there. In the END, vote your values and vote to defeat the one who does NOT represent them.

      I was aware that people vote in “the other side’s” primaries, just to screw with them. I think that’s cheating and I think it’s one of the things we should look at when it comes to election reforms. Maybe say IF you register and vote in the primaries, you MUST vote for that party’s candidate in the general election or abstain in the general. I’m not sure, but the gamesmanship is abhorrent when people’s lives are literally at stake.

      Reply
  7. Mary J. Melange

    I’m not going to say much other than I hope to God that Trump is not re-elected in November, if he survives the impeachment process. I don’t know that I can survive another four years of his deplorable behavior. Some of his Republican guard need to go as well.

    How we change some people’s mindset into one of thoughtfulness, respect and inclusion is going to be a hard row to hoe, especially if they are determined to be right. How do you undo brainwashing and the “me and mine” syndrome?

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I don’t know. I keep wondering “How did they do it in Germany, after the war?” I seriously do not know. It’s easier to create and spread dangerous lies than it is to undo them, apparently. As for the “me and mine” thing, I think we have to recognize that it’s human nature and build systems that work with it. This is why I think a mixed economy: capitalist with legislative limits and safeguards, and a “social safety net” for those who don’t start out on or can’t compete on a level playing field is so needed. Unfettered capitalism doesn’t work – some folks are just amoral and money begets money. Communism only works on a small and very voluntary basis (e.g., a family, or a kibbutz). You cannot force people to care enough about EVERYONE that it works for a whole nation the size of ours. It’s too bad people conflate Communism, Marxism, Social Democracy, and Democratic Socialism. We need a new name for a new thing that we can all (mostly) get on board with. There’s too much WWII era baggage, still, and it doesn’t help that Nazi literally has the word socialist in it even though it’s a fascist, authoritarian regime. We need better education for all, not just some. I’m with you, Mary, and I hope we live long enough to see the pendulum swing back towards peace and sanity.

      Reply
  8. Parul Thakur

    I don’t know much of US politics or even India’s for that matter but I do agree that people should vote for values. That would solve so many things. A very well quoted and referenced post, Holly!
    Parul Thakur recently posted…#ThursdayTreeLove – 79My Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thank you, Parul! The world’s a powder keg these days; I don’t think any of us can afford NOT to get better informed and active in politics. I’d love to go back to pre-9/11 days when I could basically ignore politics, but it’s occurred to me that, for many people, marginalized people, minorities, it’s been this way all along – and it’s exhausting.

      Reply
  9. Reema D'souza

    It is really important to vote for someone who stands for what you stand for. I’ve seen this happen in India too. People vote for someone just because they belong to a certain political party or just because the person is from their caste or religion. And right now, we are seeing the effects of such voting. It is time that people understand vote as duty and act responsibly.

    Reply

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