Musing 2: Liar’s Club

The victim, after all, was Joy Reid.  Joy was being criticized for having made homophobic remarks in the early years of the century, those so long ago as be not relevant any more to who she is or what she believes.  What she said, her friends and fierce defenders said was that she was noble in the way she came on her show today and apologized for what she said she didn’t remember having said.  So, obviously, she had done some soul searching to try to get a deeper understanding of who she was when she said such things and how she had come to know later that her thinking then was not good thinking.

That she had said over the course of the last few days that the statements in question were not hers and that hackers had inserted the comments into the archives–archivists said this was not possible– and that even those hired by her to investigate, after saying they had proof of tampering, admitted that they had no evidence to support such a claim, Joy received from a good many important liberals nothing short of gushing praise.

At one point, the not very liberal at all in my mind Joan Welch, actually threatened Glen Greenwald for his having commented in a not positive enough way about the Joy Reid homophobia bad way of thinking part of her life.  If I were to show a sensible and liberal minded person the series of tweets between Glen and Joan, he or she would have to say that Joan was over the top outraged for Greenwald’s telling of the obvious truth.

So who gives a fuck or, should anyone give a fuck?  They should if they are concerned about honest conversation that is not first partisan and then logical by using a logic that suits their partisanship, a contrived logic that is only logical if certain illogical premises are accepted as valid.  In this case, the basis for so much that come to us from commentators such as Joy Reid and Joan Walsh and so many others who are really not very liberal but wish to be seen as such, is that the Democratic party, in and of itself, because it is the Democratic party, is good and the other party is not.  I, personally, agree in part with the second part of the construct, that, on most issues and because of the way most of its members think and act–I can point to a very large and robust collection of details to validate this claim–that Republicans are bad, not necessarily to a person, but almost to show bad.

On the other hand, I find there to be considerable information that, by good reason, shows the Democratic party and many of its members, elite and not so elite, to be less than good in regard to thought and action.  I can find a good amount of pretty clean evidence that shows that the party and those who manage it have used the power of party to manipulate the rank and file to do its bidding and, I can find a good amount of information–yes, some of it illicitly obtained–that proves near beyond a doubt that those in power made it so that one candidate would be the nominee even if she might not, if people really had the information they needed to make a clear and good decision on the matter, be understood to not be a truly good candidate.

So, why do I give a fuck?  Because, as some responding on Twitter to the Joy Reid bad immediately ignored the information before them and felt compelled to give her support and comfort because, because she was Joy Reid, the Joy Reid they wanted her to be even if the evidence clearly showed that she was not wholly the person she had been claiming to be, the person they loved to like.

I am going to conflate two strands of reality here to make a point that I think is extremely important to make.  That point is that the democratic process in the United States of America is close to being completely destroyed.  It may already have been because it is difficult to find in the deliberations by which the policies of state are made or in the thought processes by which individuals decide what is good and bad, should and should not be, is right and wrong–reasoning untainted by partisanship that substitutes for informed and well reasoned honest deliberation.  As some in the discussion concerning Joy Reid explained it, loyalty to clan or tribe overcoming, blocking thoughtfulness, this leading to conclusions popular with fellow travelers without grounding in reality.

Trump supporters do not have to or want to know what their leader is really about.  They do not care about how he thinks or, necessarily how what he does actually affects them.  They are for the brand; they are loyal to the brand and that loyalty blinds them to what is there before their eyes.  Most who see themselves as democrats, most who see themselves as liberals will without much doubt agree with this assessment.  Many of these same people, Hillary loyalists, Bernie loyalists, because they are loyalists, will excuse away elements of reality that are not kind to their favored brand.  I remember how horrible it tasted, for instance, when I had to deal with Sander’s stance on gun control and how terrible it was to learn that he and his wife were being investigated for financial transactions that might have been illegal.

The problem with loyalty and buying into a brand is that doing so too often causes a person to ignore certain particulars and some of these particulars just may be so critical to understanding the true nature of the person or party that what one is standing with, standing by is, in reality something much different that what that person, entity really is, is really about, what is ignored at least important as what is allowed to be known.

I know why Joan Walsh came after Glen Greenwald with a threat to hurt him if he did not behave and stop saying what he understood to be true about Joy Reid.  There was a truth, and obvious truth that Greenwald was insisting be reported.  He reported it and the truth of what he reported could not possibly be refuted because, well, it was true.  Walsh knew this.  She could not contend with the validity of the information and she could not go after Greenwald’s credibility as a reporter.  All she thought she had left to counter his reporting, deflect a hurtful truth, was to threaten to hurt him and that is what she did.

Joan Walsh and Joy Reid are people I once respected.  They were both commentators on a news channel I liked because I thought it brought to its stage some very intelligent people who, better than others who talked news, did work to get at the truth of issues.  I truly hated when their reporting and discussions began to become more and more partisan and less and less objective.  This is not to say that there ever was a point where MSNBC personalities did not carry obvious bias.  What they did, by what they reported news, by the guests they invited to discuss the news, and by the way they supported the goodness of their biases with information and good reasoning, was make the case with a degree of intellectual integrity that made their perspectives worthy of my consideration, worthy of contemplation, worthy of trusting as legitimate opinion, of the type that carries credence because it is arrived at thoughtfully and honestly.  Intellectual integrity, I thought, was a hallmark of the MSNBC brand and I bought into it for a long while.

Then the 2016 election came along.  I do not know if, because maybe they thought there was so much at stake, commentators like Walsh and Reid changed their approach from thoughtful and honest to partisan and blindly biased or if I had been delusional in my trust of their integrity, bought the brand not because it was truly good but because it was somewhat better than the rest.  What I do know is that on an increasing number of occasions I became livid because the commentary I was hearing was lacking the connection to the reality before me and offering a tainted hack’s-eyed-view of the world. Worse, as I would see in the Twitter and Facebook posts I was receiving, a good many people who I thought to hold the kind of intellectual integrity I thought I had held myself to were buying into the deceptions being offered because they were being comfortably deceived into believing a reality they wanted to be true by people whose brand the were so loyalty to as to be unable to give them proper scrutiny.

The election cycle and its aftermath have near destroyed my hope for a better future.  That is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to say.  I say it because I think now that deception is the best term to describe the state of the state in which we live.  No longer is deception understood to be an agreed upon evil.  Instead, it has been normalized as the way we do things, the present day business as usual.  We are all too willing to accept as necessary, even good, deception that we see to be working in our favor, a means to getting done what we believe we need to get done.  Truth telling that gets in the way of achieving the ends we want to achieve is what weak and stupid people do, even when those people are strong in their adherence to truthfulness and unwilling to engage in deceptive means to get things done.

I continue to hear it said by people I have respected that in the course of the election, certain things that were true should not have been exposed, made public, talked about because their airing would be harmful to the cause of good.  I understood the logic in this, the pragmatism and I loathed the formulation because it was ever so fucking destructive of anything resembling truly good ends.  A society built on and of deceptions cannot be a decent society.  Democracy cannot exist without trust and trust cannot, should not be built on anything other than truth and truth cannot exist unless there also exist a profound respect for honesty.

We have become a liars club and lying and lying about our lying, arguing for the truths that support the lie–that only by lying will we get done what we understood must get done–we destroy all that is good about humanity, the ability of human beings to get things right and do right one the basis of what we have worked hard to come to understand as the truth.

Advertising is a legitimate field of work.  Universities have departments that teach students how to become versed in its methods.  Most everyone knows that many of advertising’s tools are tools of deception and the ones that work best and those who know how to use them well are understood to be respectable members of our society and our communities.  We know they lie.  There is ever so much proof of this.  It is often understood by citizens of this democracy, students educated in our school system to be clever, the work of very clever people who deserve and receive respect for their cleverness.

It, and religion, have shaped our communal consciousness.  Truth is manipulated and/or it is written and to understand how it is done is not for the most of us to learn for then we might object and if we object we would probably demand something different.  We would probably be terribly angered by the deception and its perpetrators.

We would be unified in our hatred of Hannity, uniformly repulsed by Rush, and never buy a thing from those we know to be lying about the goodness and the value of what they sell that of little goodness or value.  We would not so easily disregard the truth tellers or be so willing to believe those who, when they cannot show that what truth tellers are telling is not true take them down by means that have nothing to do with what is true or meaningful.  We would not be so angry when those in whom we believe are placed under investigation for we would know that they would have nothing to hide.  We would not believe anyone simply because he or she was a democrat or a republican, a teacher or the head of the FBI.

We would demand honesty and never trust in those who sway by force of personality, group affiliation, good looks.  We would have a chance at democracy.

I am not at all hopeful that democracy will prevail and the Joy thing is debacle so goodbye Joy and goodbye Joan and goodbye Lawrence, and goodbye Rachael.  May your ratings reflect your unwillingness to do what is right by doing what is necessary to get at the truth.







By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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