Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Time to invoke the courage of the civil rights protesters of the sixties


At a Tampa Florida rally last night, the “mob” or “herd” mentality was loud and physical. And there is nothing (other than an aggrieved woman) more dangerous that an unleashed mob, angry, blood near boiling, contemptuous of the network cameras filming their every gesture and utterance. And it is this anger, and this venom and this unbridled hate for everything that smacks of “learning” and research, and empirical evidence, and nuance and collaboration and democracy, including specific individuals whose faces have become symbols of their loathing that is being coached, impelled and energized by the rhetoric of the chief executive of the country.

At the podium, drunk on the adulation and euphoria the herd is spilling over the stage, totally unconscious of the truth that most, if not all, of that “love” is nothing more than projection of both their worst fears and their highest aspirations and unrealized dreams onto HIMSELF, is trump.

“Look at me, I was very successful and then, without an experience I ran for president and I won, beyond my wildest expectations!” poured from his larynx like mother’s milk for his emaciated and over-weening ego. Feeding that narcissism, parading that vacuous ego, trumpeting his ultimate delusions, as if there were accomplishments only ramps up the temperature of the blood of the hord, also apparently starved for attention, any attention, even from one so self-absorbed as HIM.

This mob could care less that they represent a mere 35% of the American population; they have so much volume, and venom and vindictive energy against what they deem to be the establishment, and so much unbridled hope and faith in the “promise” of this messiah that they will continue in their dystopia so misguided they believe it to be a prospect of utopia.

The television cemeteries are littered with tombstones declaring the names of other “messiahs” from other “revival” tents, all of them having promised, in the name of God, things that only God could deliver. Their evangelist campaigns tore through hamlets, villages and stadia like wild-fires of the ‘spirit’ unleashed through their rhetorical “charisma” delivering a menu of hollowness that ranks with last night’s emptiness.

The flamboyant failure to discern how they were being manipulated by this huckster is an indictment of both the education system and the religious institutions. Both critical thought and the capacity to appreciate symbolism, poetry, irony, and the complex menu of literate language are missing from yet another performance of this illusionist….and yet that gives the skilled illusionists a bad name!

When vacuity, vanity and blind ambition combined put on a blue suit and a red tie, to look patriotic, while, off stage children cry for their parents, parents weep for their missing children, lies dominate the news and North Korea mocks Singapore with more missiles, and Putin mocks Helsinki with new disclosures, and Facebook deletes 30+ accounts purporting to disseminate competing crowd-events to plant discord, and coal festers into clouds, fires, droughts and floods ….the list is becoming both boring and endless…we all know “we have a problem”….

And it is the threat of the barely hidden potential for violence from that Tampa mob that holds much of America hostage to their vehement and carcinous venom.
When facing a possibility of violence, especially the kind that could easily take over a street scene, a city or even a wider plain, (recall Charlottesville) there are few options for those opting for non-violent protest. Yet, it is precisely the example of the civil rights movement that shines its light into the dark corners of our fears today. Those humble, determined and courageous men, women and children knew implicitly that they were going to face the violence of the police dogs, clubs tear gas and water canons when they marched into the streets of Selma Alabama. And they nevertheless went out on their protest anyway. And they did face violence protesting for a cause in which they believed, in which they knew they had to participate for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

Today, the situation is different, and also similar. It is a white majority that continues to dominate the trump “base” and the law and order enforcers are still capable of illicit violence against innocents, especially black innocents. Today, the forces of tyranny, deception, lies and disorder, for the sake of empowering a single man and his family, threaten the very foundations of law, tradition, decency and honour in a once honourable nation.

The forces that would be unleashed against any non-violent protest against this administration’s leader include not only law enforcement but also that mob attending last night’s Tampa rally. Likely armed and angry, highly motivated and fed by the rhetoric of their messiah, they would likely stop at nothing to champion their cause, and that of their leader.

And those who refuse to contemplate the spectre of anarchy, not just this debacle of an administration, are either in denial or smoking something still not legal in most states. It is a very small step from where the body politic currently sits to outright civil violence.

And of course, it is not missing by the president  that he is fomenting the unrest, the division and the rising contempt. Unsettling people, for the purpose of gaining the upper hand, is one of the more visible and despicable tricks he uses. Sending his “lawyer” (hawker) Guiliani out to beat the drum against any potential charge of collusion (known as conspiracy in American law) and to defame Mueller, and then direct Attorney General Sessions to shut down the Mueller probe, as well as direct ICE to implement a zero tolerance policy on illegal immigrants and their children (some 700 are still separated from their parents, and many likely do not know where their parents/children are)….these are some of the slippery, devious and unscrupulous approaches the president has deployed from a quiver filled with wo more.
Today Canadians learn that U.S. Border guards have the legal right to inspect cell  phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic devices Canadians may attempt to bring across the border into the U.S. After threequarters of a century of crossing the 49th parallel, and a few years of working in the U.S. prompting additional border crossings, I have never had the insult of being subjected to the kind of search that now prevails at the border. And for what reason? Are Canadian citizens, like Canadian streel and aluminum, a threat to the national security of the United States? Does the impulse for domination and control know no bounds with this president? It is not merely his actions and statements that the world abhors; his manner and style are emboldening those charged with any aspect of law enforcement to act in a manner consistent with the president’s attitudes: distrust of `everyone, enforce the letter of the law ignoring the spirit and the judgement that every law requires in order to preserve respect for the legal framework of the society.

And there is no Canadian politician who will stand up to this “harassment” given the multiple other irritants between our two countries like an unsettled NAFTA, the threat of tariffs on autos made in Canada and shipped to the U.S., trying to design environmental protections and carbon pricing that will not negatively impact industries that operate on both sides of the 49th. Just last week, Canadian shoppers who have been crossing into the States for some unique purchases of food items for years, made the mistake to doing what they had been doing. After purchasing some $80 US of groceries in Watertown N.Y., they were charged a tariff of $80 US upon their return to Canada.

Lest anyone be under any misapprehension, this American administration is a danger to every single person living on the planet. And the range of danger is growing wider every day. So now I have to leave this computer at home if I wish to travel to the U.S. and my inconvenience pales in comparison to the dangers of children becoming foster children of the state, by the state, because of the triumph of the will of a single man. Who will be his Leni Reifenstahl?

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