Two Interviews: Sanders and Moore

On the Chris Hayes show tonight (Hayes is the most palatable of the opinion jockeys on “news channels” these days) he had two guests who, I think, represent two different ways of approaching the cause of progressive politics.  Michael Moore was the first guest and, as always, was his bombastic self, a self appointed voice for the left who spouts prolifically a vision that is but that, his vision and hardly anything resembling a real agenda for making things better.  He promised tonight that “we will win,” basically told the opposition to watch out because now is but a “blip” and when it has ended, watch your asses because we are coming for you!  The democrats are the really smart people and smart will eventually win out because the smart will outsmart the not so smart.  Hayes caught Moore advocating that the good guys adopt the bad guys approach that, according to Moore is not a bad thing at all because it means good wins out.  I am not sure he understand that what is problematic in this day in age is the way people go about getting what they want at least as much as it is about what they want.  In fact, how people go about getting what they want in a democracy is what democracy, a process, is all about.  I kind of like wise-guy comedians, but it is hard to stomach wise-guy politicians and Moore was politicking tonight and not at all funny.

The second guest was Bernie Sanders, as always, straight forward and absolutely reasonable, not at all bragging about how “bad” we are (in the good sense of being bad), nor outrageously optimistic, like Moore, the latter intimating justification for his smugness in the failure of republicans to immediately kill off the ACA.   Sanders is a teacher and not a preacher; he offers up a perspective on reality that he backs up with knowledge and then goes forth to offer up an agenda that he makes make sense–a logic.  He, like Moore, calls for revolution but, unlike Moore, his revolution is to be fought on the democratic plane, with logic rather than sarcasm or braggadocio.  Where Moore smirks, Sanders scratches his head, pausing long enough to get a good beed on what is sensible, then speaks wisely.  He knows that the revolution, a sensible and sustainable revolution will not be won by defeating an enemy but by convincing people who support bad ideas to change their minds.

I think the difference between the two is the difference I see in the messages people send me on Twitter and Facebook.  Some are brash, verging on snarky and usually tinged with arrogance, a sense of superiority unearned because they really do not explain their thinking believing that everyone who reads what they say will agree because, well, they only care to be heard, agreed with by those who already agree with them.  And, too often, instead of posting ideas and reasoning that might win over those who they know would disagree, they post quotes from others with whom they agree and with whom they believe their constituency will agree.

Moore is politics as pop culture.  This is not to take away anything from his achievements as a film maker but, yes, even in these works, he makes points for people who already believe in the points he is making.  He is a reinforcer for his audience of what they already know, think, and believe.

We need considerably more Bernie and not necessarily less Michael, but Bernie for what he is and Michael for what he is.  Fine.  But either pretending to be what he is not, asking for authority were authority should not be granted, is a farce and a dangerous diversion for both are talking about doing what is necessary to bring about meaningful change and between the two, only Bernie offers a good sense process to get at a good sense plan to bring about a good sense revolution in the context of democracy.


Happy for How Long?

A great victory for democrats?  Or republicans split into three factions and fighting amongst themselves without any concern for what the democrats care?  Yes, their nasty health care bill isn’t going to carry but that does not mean that the nastiness has in anyway been neutralized or even diluted.  Yes, some of the no votes were a response to constituent outcry, but not all that many, really.  It was the Freedom Caucus that held sway and the Freedom Caucus people didn’t vote against the harm it would do real people who need access and availability of health care they can afford.  They voted against it because it did not deprive people of even more.  The republican “moderates” helped but they were not the ones who won the day (ten moderates, fifteen “hardliners” and eight others by NYT’s count).  That this “win” in anyway is indicative of what is to come is hope beyond sensible hope and the possibility of real moderates and progressives advancing a humane agenda with the presidency and two houses under republican control nil.  Yes, calls to Senators and Representatives did give those moderate republicans something to think about but while this bill was the focus of attention, republicans were doing other things that real moderates and true liberals should be screaming bloody murder about.  Despite Pelosi’s gloating today, the democrats did nothing but do nothing because they really couldn’t do anything.  And their inability to do anything but nothing is bound to be devastating—republicans have only just begun to do what they are going to do with the power they have accrued.  Celebrate if you think there is reason to celebrate (indeed, good numbers of people will not—for now—lose their health care and Trump is eating crow) but watch your backs because the new order is only just beginning to find its way to smashing much of what is good in this nation.


Trump and Liberty

I posted this article on Facebook the other day and it seemed to not concern the people who receive my posts.  Crazy to think that this is a really big deal?

The post: Liberty University! This is what Trump thinks American education should be and he continues to make it clear that he believes that institutions that are about controlling how people think are what he has in mind. Ms. DeVos, remember, appointed the head of this “school” to chair a group that will investigate American higher education, a guy by the name of Falwell. This administration is a fucking disaster for the educational system and the democracy it is supposed to serve.

The article



Off again and on again again.

Off again, on again…

A day ago I detached myself from Facebook and today I reattach myself to Facebook.  I explain the behavior here, just to explain.

This Facebook thing has become ever so interesting a part of my life, when I am active and when I decide to detach myself from it and the community to which it allows me to be a part.  I hate Facebook a lot of the time and really do not want to because I do not think I should.  What is wrong, after all, with hearing what others have to say and having them hear what it is I have and care to say?  And when I get down to what is really, really wrong, it is always more about me than “them.”  I guess it is about my not wanting to hear what others have to say, per se, but wanting to hear what they are thinking.  I get criticized once in a while for the long form; I find too little in the shorthand, in phrases or just a little bit more standing in the place of meaningful ideas made meaningful to me via a thinker’s explanation of the thoughts.  I don’t know what like really means in terms of what another thinks of an idea posted or even what kind of feelings a like conveys and I certainly do not know if a whole lot of likes versus hardly any means in terms of whether or not others are reading posts or reading posts and not liking them.  I do notice some postings, not mine, are liked wildly and translate too quickly, maybe, to dislike for the posts that receive none or one or two.  My bad, of course.

I write a lot and post a lot of writing.  I might be misusing Facebook but I do not know what the rules might be regarding length but I write at length because I trust that my ideas have no value unless they can be understood and understanding cannot be achieved, I believe, without proper amounts of explanation; I think the ideas are complex enough to need explanation and support through presentation of evidence and logic.  And I, against what I have come to understand as violation of Facebook ethos, do not find a whole lot of value in posting about what is going on in my life—I may be leading too boring a life—but about what my experiences in life are causing me to think, these thoughts, I think, want to believe, being somehow of some value to others who, like me, I want to assume, are trying to figure out what the experiences mean and how that meaning should figure into the decisions I make including the suggestions I decide to make to others regarding how they should think and decide.

I guess I am looking for conversation with a degree of depth and I probably have turned, when I turn to Facebook, to the wrong place for such.  And, when I feel as I do now, frustrated with poster board comments, borrowed and without attribution, by people who are posting about truly important issues about which people are making decisions and trying, by their postings, to influence other people’s decisions.  To me this is really important business, beyond hobby or time passing, activity with a visceral aspect that has everything to do with the quality of life I live and the quality of live others can experience.  Poster boards and reposted articles do convey meaning but what they mean to those reposting is not often discussed and hearing why the reposter thinks the reposting valuable to some meaningful conversation on a topic is what I need to hear but most often do not.

I do wonder what Facebook and the kind of “conversation” it seems to provoke/evoke means in terms of the discourse of democracy.  I wonder because, despite the fact that the means for critical discussion are available on Facebook, critical discussion is a rarity rather than a regularity.  Every now and then a post will generate a long string of reaction posts and reactions to the reactions, subsequent posts building upon previous ones as participants engage in what is indeed critical conversation.  Sometimes the piling on is all about agreement but sometimes a post that follows is critique of the post that preceded and there is a rich referential element to the strand, posters make clear that they are reading and taking seriously the meanings offered by the posters to whom they are responding.

But this does not happen very often and critique, too often, comes in the form of very short responses that do not very well make reference to the meanings conveyed in the posts to which are being responded.  “Bullshit,” or “absurd,” or “I agree,” or God agrees,” or “Bernie agrees,” or “did you read so and so,” etc., fail to offer real insight into what meanings are being taken from the previous posts and little insight into the effect ideas conveyed have had on the thinking of the poster.  When I find myself in a café or a meeting room or a bar with other people—events that do not any longer take place often enough in my life (maybe the reason why I am asking too much now of Facebook?), since we involved in conversations of the face-to-face variety do not like silence gaps, perhaps, find ways to extend the conversation, often by commenting on comments and, though the motive may not be a desire to evoke intellectual rigor, conversations of this kind with thoughtful people does push minds involved to become intellectually involved at relatively high levels of involvement.

Facebook, then, the conversations it sponsors/inspire because one can so easily duck out from them, force little of what might be called dedication to the truth.  Something is said and maybe something else and at any point along the way things come to an end, not because things have been settled or a conclusion has been reached that nothing will or can be settled, but for no real reason at all other than there are no players left to play and, really, there is no reason ever, really to continue play.  Face to face there always is, if not a reason to stop playing, a reason offered for why a player wants to or needs to quit.  And, sometimes, the quitter actually is scolded for quitting—“you are losing the argument so you’re quitting”—and, even without such being said, most players in meaningful face to face conversation know not to too early our without good reason given withdraw.

The long and short of it is this; I do not like Facebook but I am going to continue to post because I need to feel that someone else is hearing what I am saying if I am going to think well enough to fulfill my criterion for good thinking.  I need to believe that there is someone hearing what I am thinking and thinking that the thinking I am offering is not good enough, nowhere near perfect, of course, but not nearly even adequate.  And when I think of the possible critiques that might be offered by thoughtful people, it provokes me to think some more and to further explain my thinking, to adjust my thinking based on my thoughts about the valid meanings of the critique offered.

I have no business, absolutely no business, even suggesting that others change their Facebook behavior to accommodate me.  Of course!  I am clicked back on because I do not like being clicked off and I can continue to link up my Word Press site with Facebook and with Twitter.  So, here I am, back and no big deal.