Monday, August 20, 2018

The World Didn't Start When You Began Paying Attention

The difference between Trump and many past presidents and their advisors isn't that he's racist and misogynist and arrogant.  It's that he says what's on his mind and many past presidents knew how to conceal what they were thinking.

In a Patheos piece called "White Supremacist Roots of Evangelicalism,"  the author (can't find an author name) starts with another article written by an Evangelical who is leaving the group because of Trump's arrogant bullying of everybody.  But the Patheos author says she doesn't disagree with most of what the ex-Evangelical says until she gets to
"In fact, [Trump] somehow, mysteriously to me, gained momentum and endorsements."
The Patheos writer then gives some historical context.
"As historian Randall Balmer writes, white evangelicals were largely apolitical until the Supreme Court upheld an IRS decision to deny tax exemptions to segregated private schools. The outrage over that ruling was the spark for religious-right powerhouses like Jerry Falwell to launch a massive political movement. It’s only after overt racism became unacceptable that abortion was chosen – basically, picked out of a hat – as the new cause for religious conservatives to focus their ire on (you may have seen Samantha Bee’s ferociously funny segment about this).
Evangelicalism has always been the tool of choice for propping up racial hierarchies. For instance, Christianity Today was founded by a segregationist and promoted segregation. It’s plausible that the “otherworldly” emphasis on heaven and salvation was invented as a means to justify slavery and other earthly evils."

We all become politically conscious at some point.  And most of us don't know too much about what happened before we started paying attention.  That's natural.  And when one had to search book after book in the library to find out about history, it took effort to get past the narratives of the main media outlets.

But today, google offers lots of ways to find out what went on before.  Sure, there's lots of crap out there designed to confuse and confound.  But good stuff should make sense and have references you can follow.  And you can easily find ten articles from sources in various camps and compare.

Every politician has a history.  Every group, every organization has a history.

Our Supreme Court helped maintain segregation and inequality nearly a century after the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Courts supported the rich over the poor more often than not.  None of this is new.  What's depressing is that now that the people of the United States have moved ahead, the courts are poised to keep pulling us back to a world dominated by the wealthy.

10 comments:

  1. ooops... "...there advisors.... should be "their" -- You can delete this post, just thought you'd like to correct it?

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  2. As Hitches said, "Religion poisons everything." Jesus said -- and this is all one need in life as a guide -- "Be kind."

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  3. There and they're and their - it's helpful to get them right, but as long as people understand it, I'm ok. English spelling was designed to make the anal feel superior. But I appreciate your help with this constant battle between my fingers and my brain.

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    1. When progressives mock ignorant regressives, it's ironic to get "there" and "their" wrong, IMHO.

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  4. Steve, with the court news hitting the world press (22 Aug 2018) I can say the USA electorate raised leadership much like the 'sh_thole countries' its sitting President disparaged.

    Nixon, Clinton, now coming for Trump. Can the American presidency work in the 'United' States?

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    1. No regime is forever. Does the US crash now or does it learn and survive another century? But the US was never the perfect country its people assume. Many people live good lives under 'bad' forms of government. And many people live bad lives under 'good' ones.

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    2. Well, I can't waffle about the good-and-bad consequences in public policy that has hit with brutal force in our little home: we can't afford to move back to the USA (ever, and I really mean that) because of universal health care here in the UK. We can’t age there and live well.

      We would become ‘those bad Americans’ who would have to choose between paying for insurance or food. It's quite amazing, but after decades of building non-profit organisations in Alaska, we never had health coverage except for about the last 6 years at Out North. And further, we were never applying our industry to making a personal profit. Very un-American.

      Regards health care, we just made do and stayed healthy (except for one hospitalisation where due to a work-related injury, workers’ compensation picked up the tab). Workers’ comp won’t save us from ageing. And the secondary insurance(s) we must have in the states to cover non-hospital costs would make us downwardly, extremely mobile.

      No, really. I've done the research on costings for the two of us and it's not pretty. You and a number of folk we knew did the smart thing and worked for organisations that provide health care into oblivion -- we were like too many others, going to work and not getting coverage.

      There are many Americas, but the one that is way beyond stingy on affordable, accessible health care is the one we knew and loathed. And now, we can never return unless we won the lottery (which we don’t play).

      Funny. We held a party before we left Alaska. It was all tongue-in-cheek poke at our detractors over the years: ‘Jay and Gene, go away’. That phrase has come to be fact. We won’t have our American dream. Go figure. Maybe America has both a bad civics and a bad government?

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    3. Need to correct this: It was 'Gene and Jay, Go Away!' (all better)

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    4. I agree things will be dicey here. I was too brief. I was really thinking about the people I knew in Thailand in the 60s who had (then) few of the physical consumer items US citizens took for granted, and their political freedoms were much more restricted. Yet they managed find a way to eat well, drink well, and generally be decent to each other and be happy.
      But it's all about expectations. Their lives were marginally better than they had been. But for many, if not most, US folk, life will be worse. But a lot of what we have we don't need, and we trade that for things we need - like decent health care for all.

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