Empathetically Weak. Empathy is Weakness

Nevada Sagebrush article

This shouldn’t have to be a topic of discussion on campus but it must be because there are terrible people running around doing terrible things to others. It is terribly sad that we live in a country where violence is a regular part of life and that young people have to find ways to cope with their legitimate fears of being harmed. Those who do harm to others, those who make others live in fear are, simply put, bad people, bad because they lack something of critical importance to a civil society, empathy.

How can some people be so numb to the pain they cause others? Perhaps it has something to do with the not so hidden ethos that is accompanies capitalism, the underlying theme that is actually appreciated more than we are willing to speak of that makes winning more important than compassion, that causes many who wish to “succeed” to ignore the cost of their success for others.

There exists in our society a tension between practicality and compassion and a notion of practicality that inures people to empathy for empathy prevents a person from acting boldly and decisively. Empathy undermines a “winning spirit.” He or she who would not hurt a flea is a fool!

The answer to violence in our society is empathy. The answer to violence in the world is empathy. But empathy threatens threatens the empire because the empire thrives on division, on the one against the other, one winning and losers and winning and losing. It is an empire and it is ruled by those with the least compassion, the least amount of empathy. Such people “get things done.” They get what they want. They get their way. And to get there, they have to push others out of their way even if it means killing them.

Nevada Sage Brush: “Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice, ADA accessibility and sexual assault on campus were the primary agenda items. Attendees were broken into smaller groups to create a more intimate setting for a conversation.

Anti-semitism was focused on during the town hall due to a swastika that was carved into the wall of Peavine Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Due to the vandalism, a hate crime investigation was opened.”

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H.W. BUSH

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND FOR VERY GOOD REASON.

When George H.W. Bush was president, I thought him to be, for many a good reason, a bad person and not a good one. So did many of those now praising him. Okay, he got older and maybe he became a better person. But that is not what he is being praised for; he is being called a great man and a great leader FOR what he did as a public servant.

Are we so stupid as to forget the past, to revise history for the sake of some weird sense of propriety? To praise those whose beliefs and deeds do great harm is symptomatic of something far worse than bad ideas, an inability to understand where they come from and the real beliefs of those who propagate them.

“In a 2009 speech, George H.W. Bush said that Bill Clinton was not his enemy, but his friend.” (From CNN). What I get from this is that there is a class of people in this country who view politics as a game amongst friends. What is difficult to like about this is the cost to others of their playing at this game. To gain election, they accentuate important differences in world view so as to give hope that alternatives to the status quo are possible. In reality, within meaningful contexts of how the world is and will be, they only are different enough that little that is truly important will be affected no matter who wins at the game; things will remain pretty much as they are because as they are, things are pretty good for THEM.

Political opponents in a truly democratic system offer alternatives, representing different ways of going about–it should be–making life better for those who participate in the electoral process. What is most important IS their differences and the debate over how to go about doing things that ensues.

In the case of our modern day “democracy,” the differences are so insubstantial that those with what seem to be critically different political views, who possess different perspectives on how the lives of others should be considered, can reconcile so quickly. That the “opponents” can not only come to respect one another–even if the actions of one or the other is not respectable, even outright inhumane– but also come to see greatness in that other, is a sign that the game is but spectacle, of no gravity.

The truth of the matter is that other people, hardly ever the players themselves, are hurt by those so made respectable and great. Lives are destroyed and people killed. The electoral process, because it has little to do with meaningful differences between the “choices” offered is, to, spectacle, a hollow gesture to a democratic process that really does not exist.

Not what you learn in your government classes.

What government course never taught

Consider the classes you had in school, the textbooks that were used, to teach you about American government.  What you learned couldn’t have been much further from the truth. The illusion created by those who have taught us, the illusion that most of those who have taught us take to be the truth, has had the effect of destroying democracy.  We do not vote ever on what is true and real.  We hold in our minds versions of truth that have been created for us by those who have something, often much, to gain from our being deceived and accepting the deception as the best we can get to shape our understanding.

The American government, the illusion of government by and of and for the people that is the common and constant notion of government most Americans possess, keeps the people in line, keeps the people from doing what a well informed people who believe in the value of legitimate democracy would do, rebel.

The architects of our modern government did not build what they built for the good of the people.  They built what they built out of greed for money and power and a profound kind of cynicism that has come to be understood as the proper state of consciousness for those who wish to be truly successful.

These cynical, greedy, deceivers of public and owners of our politicians and our politics are now being exposed.  That their exposure will in anyway have an effect on the game they created to insure themselves to be the winners in our politics, the owners of our government, the only players with any real chance of winning, is another illusion that will allow them to win even in their losing.  Their people, their family and friends will fill the positions in the scheme they leave vacant while serving their terms, if they serve terms, and the money and power will continue to flow where it has been directed to flow for so very long a time now that few know of any other direction to consider.  “It is what it is.”

So, Roger and Paul and Charlie (he really is no angel) and the prodigy of Mr. Atwater and Mr. Ails and, yes, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Peolosi and all the others who have succeeded at politics has also succeeded in making people think that what they have put in motion is irreversible and it is irreversible unless people being to reject so much of what they have learned and use their minds to learn for once what is true.

Then there would be hope for something better.  Unlearning what one has come to be convinced is true is at least as hard as learning something new.

 

 

Cozying up with evil is not to be respected

I published this on FB and I am going to re-publish it because I think the issue I posted to acknowledge is one that is critical to understand even if by understanding it confidence in the integrity of our democracy is diminished.  That confidence should be diminished severely if confidence is built on illusion and here, the illusion upon which people base their trust in the American system needs to be acknowledged as such, an illusion that causes people to believe that despite its flaws, it actually does work.  That is wrong and most of us know it but do not want to acknowledge the truth because of urgency for radical change that the truth would reveal.  When there is a system in which only two parties are viable and neither really advocates for what is needed, what is truly good and right and, worse, when the only two viable options are so much like one another that choice is but an illusion, then that system is not at all a functional democratic one.  The truth is, because only the democratic party and the republican party are viable political parties in our system, there is no democracy because, if they are too much alike and offer too little in the way of meaningful options, then the people’s voice is so limited as to mean virtually nothing.  Our political parties serve but one cause, really, and that is an “American way” that works to serve but a few well, some adequately enough to keep them rooting for the system, and many now well enough, these without enough to really have a voice in the system.

So, when I read of how well the powerful of the parties get along and how they respect one another well even after the one or the other has acted in atrocious ways, has hurt, even killed hundreds and thousands needlessly, has worked to corrupt the system in consequential ways, I have to think of the kind of meaningful and consequential collusion in which they are truly involved.  Thus, I see the Obama’s wonderful friendship with the Bushes and the Clintons show of respect for Henry Kissinger and their attendance at Trump’s wedding party to be something more than letting bygones be bygones because I have to believe that they know of evil pasts and can embrace those who have done evil and are evil in a sincere and compassionate manner.  This, in my mind, says that they have no compassion for those harmed by the doers of evil deeds.

So, this FB posting:

Does anyone remember the use Mr. Bush made of the military? Does anyone care about what transpired during the war Bush made with Iraq? Does anyone remember the lies that led to the support that allowed Mr. Bush to put American troops in harms way and forced them, by order, to kill thousands and thousands of people in a foreign country far, far away from our borders. This is pure political bullshit. Bush did more to harm than he ever could to help those who would become veterans of his pathetically illicit war. So all is healed now and G. W. Bush receives a medal from Joe Biden for his contribution to liberty. Everything is not just a little bit upside down. It is absurd.

CNN: LIVE: Biden presents Bushs with Liberty Medal

The 2018 Liberty Medal Ceremony

The National Constitution Center announced it will award the annual Liberty Medal to President George W. Bush and former first lady Mrs. Laura Bush for their commitment to veterans. The award will be presented by former Vice President Joe Biden, Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, at the 30th Annual Liberty Medal Ceremony on November 11, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Nationalism

Nationalism puts nation above the human being and that is inhumane. This speaks to a critically important problem with our dominant notions of patriotism because they have so much to do with borders which make those on the other side something different than the WE our songs and pledges celebrate. Our patriotism is very much about US and them, the capitalization of the one and not he other here of significance. As human beings who care about human beings, as humane beings, we would not discriminate between them and US because all who are they would be understood to be constituents of US. A just god, if there were such a thing as a god, would never prefer a nation and it would teach people that borders are, by their very purpose, inhumanely discriminatory.
 
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Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.

Is this American society capable of reasoned decision making?

We have been catapulted out of the realm of the reasonable and into very sick civic space where many believe that guns should be available to all who have not been proven to be mentally incapable of using a gun in a reasonable manner. Anyone who believes this to be sane policy should be on the list of those who need to be examined before being allowed to possess a deadly weapon. Those who are mentally ill often are not certified as such and they do not tell those who serve them that they are mentally ill, particularly when attempting to purchasing items that should not be in the hands of those who are not rational in their thinking and actions. Our society shows serious signs of suffering from collective mental debility each time one of these frequent events occurs and nothing is done to prevent them happening into the future. We have a long way to go to get close to sane.

Vote again next time or demand…

A decent political party would raise taxes so that all could share the nation’s wealth. It would be laser focused on eliminating poverty and advocate for a living wage, good health care for all whatever the cost. It would force the creation of an excellent educational system that would offer all the opportunity to grow to their intellectual potential and it would do this by attracting the best and brightest to teach by offering excellent pay, great benefits, and superb working conditions (how the fuck can it be that this isn’t the way things are now and how could it be that this is not a top list priority of some political party?), teachers who would not teach capitalism and a phony form of democracy that serves a few and screws over the rest. it would force the development of decent infrastructure that would eliminate the problems that the current creates: high speed train lines (no matter how hard the airline industry would fight against it) that make it affordable and convenient for people to move from place to place, everyone the opportunity to be where things are happening and where nothing but birds and bees doing their things are happening. Consider the absurdity of the fact that most would take such suggestions to be absurd, not because they are unreasonable but because we live in a society in which the absurd has devastated our ability to think reasonably.