|Image source: WREG.com
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Politics
(noun): the fact or state of departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior.
This commentary is post the firing of Jeff Sessions, and the unconstitutional appointment of the sketchy Aryan bodybuilder Matthew Whitaker as opined by legal experts Neal K. Katyal and George T. Conway III (Kellyanne's husband) in the New York Times. My thoughts and articles I've excerpted follows:
Germany after WWII outlawed the public display of the Nazi flag or veneration of Adolph Hitler and other leaders in statues festooned across Europe because that’s what you do when trying to repent of war crimes, and absolve yourselves from crimes against humanity in the extermination of 6 million Jews as well as artists, gypsies, homosexuals and scientists.
There are obviously right wing extremists still in Germany and Europe as here. As a part of human society - manipulated and scammed by the rich that has always profited from such divisions - we likely always will have a deviant element.
We could minimize it however by agreeing on shared reality and not comfortable fables (“alternative facts”), teaching history In its proper context; the rights and responsibility of citizenship (Civics) and universal healthcare.
This is the only planet humans as far as we know have lived on. Since we’re 99% like ever other human in existence, we’d better start cooperating (an evolutionary survival trait) or expect extinction. It would be arrogance and hubris to expect anything else.
What type of president looks at 14 mail bombs sent to public figures and 11 worshipers killed at a synagogue and gripes that these events disrupted his political momentum? Who would echo history’s worst leaders by calling the press “the true enemy of the people” and call migrants walking toward the U.S. an “invasion?” How does a man entrusted with the world’s highest office make 30 false or misleading claims every day?
As author of the most recent Trump biography, I’m repeatedly asked questions like those. In reply I rely on two old-fashioned terms. When it comes to his character, Trump is a deviant. When it comes to his conduct, he is a delinquent.
Even as a child in the 1950s Donald Trump showed a stubborn tendency to deviate from the very principles that underpin civilization. Trump explained to me in an interview that he felt most people are “not worthy of respect,” and this was the attitude he would carry through life. He never felt that the rules applied to him or that he should take responsibility for any harm he caused.
Trump’s deviant personality naturally led to delinquent behavior, including giving a teacher a black eye and continually refusing to comply with basic rules. “I was a very rebellious kid,” Trump told me. “I loved to fight.” More concerning was Trump’s suggestion that he hasn't changed since first grade. “The temperament,” he revealed, “is not that different.”
Fred Trump, his father, became so worried about his behavior that he sent 13-year-old Donald to military school. In those days New York Military Academy was, for kids like Trump, an alternative to a juvenile detention facility.
At the military academy Trump started out as defiant, especially compared with those he described as “normal kids.” When he conformed, he did it to manipulate. His mentor at the school said that Trump was the most “conniving” kid he ever met. After a baseball game, for example, he demanded a younger schoolmate agree that he had hit a home run that never happened. The boy, feeling the pressure, complied.
“There have been many monsters in the past, but it would be hard to find one who was dedicated to undermining the prospects for organized human society, not in the distant future -- in order to put a few more dollars in overstuffed pockets.
And it doesn’t end there. The same can be said about the major banks that are increasing investments in fossil fuels, knowing very well what they are doing. Or, for that matter, the regular articles in the major media and business press reporting US success in rapidly increasing oil and gas production, with commentary on energy independence, sometimes local environmental effects, but regularly without a phrase on the impact on global warming – a truly existential threat. Same in the election campaign. Not a word about the issue that is merely the most crucial one in human history.
Hardly a day passes without new information about the severity of the threat. As I’m writing, a new study appeared in Nature showing that retention of heat in the oceans has been greatly underestimated, meaning that the total carbon budget is much less than had been assumed in the recent, and sufficiently ominous, IPCC report. The study calculates that maximum emissions would have to be reduced by 25% to avoid warming of 2 degrees (C), well above the danger point. At the same time polls show that -- doubtless influenced by their leaders who they trust more than the evil media -- half of Republicans deny that global warming is even taking place, and of the rest, almost half reject any human responsibility. Words fail.”
“In the 158th year of the American civil war, also known as 2018, the Confederacy continues its recent resurgence. Its victims include black people, of course, but also immigrants, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, trans people, gay people and women who want to exercise jurisdiction over their bodies. The Confederacy battles in favor of uncontrolled guns and poisons, including toxins in streams, mercury from coal plants, carbon emissions into the upper atmosphere, and oil exploitation in previously protected lands and waters.
“Its premise appears to be that protection of others limits the rights of white men, and those rights should be unlimited. The Brazilian philosopher of education Paulo Freire once noted that “the oppressors are afraid of losing the ‘freedom to oppress’”. Of course, not all white men support extending that old domination, but those who do see themselves and their privileges as under threat in a society in which women are gaining powers, and demographic shift is taking us to a US in which white people will be a minority by 2045.
“If you are white, you could consider that the civil war ended in 1865. But the blowback against Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, the myriad forms of segregation and deprivation of rights and freedoms and violence against black people, kept the population subjugated and punished into the present in ways that might as well be called war. It’s worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan also hated Jews and, back then, Catholics; that the ideal of whiteness was anti-immigrant, anti-diversity, anti-inclusion; that Confederate flags went up not in the immediate post-war period of the 1860s but in the 1960s as a riposte to the civil rights movement.”
The American Civil War Didn't End, and Trump is a Confederate Presi..., Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian