Pre-Inauguration Messages of Hope

Image from cnet.com

Apart from my anguish for our nation, I feel a personal sadness for our President-elect. He is by so many accounts one of the most decent, compassionate, honorable individuals in politics today. His experience makes him uniquely qualified to address the nearly overwhelming problems our nation faces.

He has wisely chosen extraordinary individuals to help him in his formidable task. He has reached the pinnacle of an ambition he’s held for his entire adult life.

Similarly, our Vice President-elect. This should be an unvarnished time of personal pride for Kamala Harris. The first woman, African-American, individual of South Asian descent to reach this high office, she has demonstrated her brilliance, strength, accomplishments, and yes–compassion.

Yet when Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr is sworn in as our 46th President tomorrow outside our nation’s Capitol, and Kamala Harris becomes that multiple glass ceiling-breaker Vice President, the area will look like a war zone because of insurrection by extremists goaded by Biden’s predecessor.

And too many shameful/shameless Representatives and some Senators–whose very lives were threatened during that insurrection–will continue to publicly deny that Biden has won this election fairly and is legitimately our President.

What a personal betrayal Biden’s longtime friends across the aisle from his many years in the Senate are demonstrating as they remain silent about the Big Lie. It’s a good thing our Not-A-Moment-Too-Soon President has said he doesn’t hold grudges.

These Republicans are thus continuing to feed the forces of insurrection. I hope they are held accountable for their role–even as they snivel about the impeachment being wrong because this is a time for healing and unity. Good grief!

I suspect I feel as many of you do: the great hopefulness that followed election of the Biden-Harris ticket, bolstered by the Georgia elections that gave the Democrats control of the Senate, has become muddled by fears of what lies ahead due to the growing white supremacy to which Trump lent his imprimatur but is sure to continue once he’s gone from the Oval Office.

I have been striving for optimism about how our country will survive both the immediate threats and the long-term impact of this chaos on our democracy.

While I can’t wait for the Inauguration to be safely completed, I have derived considerable comfort from my strong belief in Biden, Harris, and their team to move our country forward despite the opposition.

With that belief comes the hope that if they are able to achieve solid, visible wins for the American people, at least some of those 74 million Trump voters will decide maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

In addition, I derive comfort from two voices of optimism (with whom I largely, though not entirely, agree) who take the long view of what’s happening in our country.

One is my fellow blogger Infidel753.

In addition to having a creative mind, far-reaching view of events, and an optimistic nature, he is willing–bless his heart—to rummage around the hate-mongers’ sites so that he really knows whereof he speaks. His thought-provoking post is titled “The wingnut mind and its limitations.”

Here’s a sampling.

“A striking feature of the wingnut mind is its lack of imagination. As I’ve noted before, for weeks now far-right blogs and sites (especially their comment threads) have been awash in fantasies of violence and slaughter, of shooting and hanging liberals, showing us who’s boss when we ‘come after’ them and try to take their guns or round them up or whatever they think we’re going to do. The expected circumstances are vague — it’s the thought of using their guns to take us out that they relish, in sharp relief.

“They expect us to come down to their level and engage them in some kind of physical confrontation in which their guns will give them the upper hand, because guns are what they have and what they know. That’s not how it works.”

In another post he cites, he makes the case that

“…we’re already fighting them by focusing on the areas where we have the advantage — propaganda, technology, culture, communications, economic power.” (emphases mine throughout)

Acknowledging that there will be further violence, he states that

“the individual perpetrators of violence will be identified, tracked down, and arrested, while those who support it too heatedly with rhetoric will be fired, ostracized, and rendered unemployable. Such people will be left physically unharmed but financially ruined — crushed by forms of power against which guns are useless.”

I keep calling them ‘the stupid one-third’, and the stupidity matters. It’s not just a matter of two opposing but basically comparable world-views. People whose thinking is so limited operate at several critical disadvantages. For one thing, as I explained in the earlier post, our world-view is mostly consistent because it’s based on reality, and reality is consistent and objectively knowable.

” Theirs is prone to fragmentation because it’s based on delusions, and delusions vary from person to person and can change randomly. (The left is prone to factional splits too, but these are usually over real policy differences, not over whether Satanic lizard people from outer space exist.)

Also, they lack any nuanced sense of history (their constant invocations of the Founders are clichéd, trite, and ignorant), any deep sense of how the world actually works, or any ability to think multiple moves ahead or to accurately anticipate the actions of their opponents.”

Reiterating that he expects some further violence, inevitably leading to “ostracisms, firings, and arrests and prosecutions,” he states:

“It’s the furious lunges of a cornered animal against the practiced and skilled responses of an experienced hunter. The animal may be big and scary, but you know who’s going to win in the end.”

His conclusion:

“Crippled by its delusions, the wingnutosphere exists in a sustained state of tedious rage and pitifully-transparent efforts to sound frightening. It’s a self-created prison of cramped minds unable to conceive of the world beyond the cage of their own imaginations.”

These passages don’t do justice to the depth and nuance of this essay. I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

The other voice of hope is Anand Giridharadas.

In his newsletter The.Ink, which he describes as being “about money and power, politics and culture,” Giridharadas published an essay titled “We Are Falling on Our Faces Because We Are Jumping High.”

Giridharadas acknowledges that these are frightening times, and that “what has been unleashed, what has been revealed, is ugly. It is what makes democracies die.”

But it’s also “potentially, a very bright time,” he says, because when he looks to the horizon, he sees that

“This is not the chaos of the beginning of something. This is the chaos of the end of something.”

That “something” is both the end of 40 years of decision-making by people making up stories to justify their “money matters/people don’t” approach to business and government [my words, not his] and of white supremacy.

“And on matters of race and identity…, the Trump era doesn’t have the crackle of a launch. It has been a mourning. A mourning for white power…for a time when simply to be white and show up was enough…for an era in which simply to be a man, and not necessarily an especially capable one, could get you ahead of other people…for a time when you could be the default idea of an American and not have to share your toys.”

He sees us living through “backlash,” which is “the revolt against the engine of history.”

“Then we might remember — just to pat ourselves on the back for a second — that what we are actually endeavoring to do right now is to become a kind of society that has seldom, if ever, existed in history. Which is become a majority-minority, democratic superpower.”

This is my favorite passage:

“To be a country of all the world, a country made up of all the countries, a country without a center of identity, without a default idea of what a human being is or looks like, without a shared religious belief, without a shared language that is people’s first language at home. And what we’re trying to do is awesome. It is literally awesome in the correct sense of that word.”

Seen in this light, the Capitol insurrection and Trump’s attempts to overturn democracy are

“both terrifying and a completely predictable, inevitable result of people in power exploiting these transitional anxieties for their own pecuniary gain.”

But the task ahead will not be easy and, he believes, includes addressing people that many of us have regarded as unreachable.

“And what we have to do is get smarter than those powerful people. Get more organized than them, and understand that there is a different story to tell those who mistakenly went to the Mall and the 12 percent of Americans who actually supported that terrorist attack, and everybody else — a story to tell them about something great we are trying to do. We will actually create a country that’s better for every single person. But we have to be willing to tell that story forcefully. We have to be willing to fight those people tooth and nail, and we have to fight to win.

“We are living through a revolt against the future. The future will prevail.”

ADDENDUM

This message from the wise lawyer friend I often quote just arrived:

“After eleven days, the lessons of the Capitol Insurrection are that (a) the root causes of our national division are stubborn and complicated, (b) we can overwhelm white supremacist terrorists if we choose to do so, and (c) we should not expect any help from the Republican Party. It is up to us to save ourselves and democracy. The good news is that the 2020 elections proved that we can do so if we put our minds to the task.”

And here’s a brief message from our Vice President:

What are your thoughts and feelings about all the above?

Annie

30 thoughts on “Pre-Inauguration Messages of Hope

  1. I hear that Trump is thinking about starting a third political party called. the Patriot Party., which might be the only good thing he’ll ever do for the country….because it would divide the GOP and keep the Dems in power for years.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hmmm…maybe. As long as they don’t succeed in electing more Lauren Boeberts and Margery Taylor Greenes.

      An additional thought: Maybe—As that story of his third party plans circulates (I just read it too), it will persuade those essential 17 Republicans to vote for conviction—and then the vote barring trump from office and taking away his perks will pass!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. At the moment it’s looking like we will not get those 17 Republican votes for conviction in the Trumpeachment.

        However, recall that Murkowski was talking about leaving the party if it fails to repudiate Trump. She wouldn’t be talking about that publicly if she weren’t prepared to actually do it. Failure to convict would certainly mean failure to repudiate. If she does leave, even if she doesn’t caucus with the Democrats, we’d have a 50-49 Senate majority — and if she did, it would be 51-49.

        Trump is probably going to end up in prison, which would neutralize his 2024 ambitions just as well as a Senate conviction. I’ll take a more secure Senate majority over a Trump conviction any day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m feeling very hopeful today Annie after having watched the inauguration and listening to the powerful speeches. I sense a calm healing time coming….and I esp. like the inspiring words of that young poet.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I share the optimism and hope that was a theme of the inauguration. There was so much said, and such a kind, inclusive, decent message . . . I find myself uplifted and going about my daily tasks smiling. First time in four long years. Let’s see . . . and still, we all have to help in whatever ways we can. That was a message from one of our (Vermont’s) congressman on the preservation of democracy. Good point. It’s not just the Biden team, it’s all of us.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yesterday’s inauguration had me in tears of joy and hope, as opposed to the tears of sadness of the past two weeks. It was a grand, inspiring day! As for the “wing nuts” or “ the stupid one-third” ( the ones with guns)… definitely a troubling combination: armed, angry and stupid. What continues to baffle me are the educated, unarmed people, like one that I just spoke to, who told me they refused to watch one minute of the historic event yesterday. Even more troubling are the crickets I hear when I ask why. That being said, I’m looking forward to our trip back to normalcy.. I’ll choose hope.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, once again you’ve provided a window on one of our seemingly implacable concerns, Fred. How do we reach people like the ones who won’t even tell you why they wouldn’t—if just out of curiosity—watch the events? I would like to think that some hearts would have been reached and minds changed, but not if they refuse to open their eyes.

      But I’m with you: I choose hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for citing me.

    Biden is a man of conciliatory temperament who faces an opposition frothing with rage and rejection. Oddly enough, that may be a fortunate combination. So much fury directed against such an amiable target will strike fair-minded people as bizarre, as will the more ludicrous name-calling (“pedo”, for example). At least the enemy’s venture into violence and physical confrontation seems to be fizzling out already, as shown by the failure of the predicted attacks on state governments to materialize — New York’s state capitol, for example, was besieged by a massive crowd of one Trump supporter.

    I too am encouraged by Harris’s parentage, not because of race (though a leader with a personal connection to the world’s largest democracy is bound to be a good thing), but because her mother was a scientist and her father was a professor of economics. I hope this has given her a respect for science and expertise, in contrast to the leaders of the previous administration, notably her fundie predecessor as VP.

    I continue to read right-wing sites regularly. It’s quite interesting. On one recent comment thread at Gateway Pundit, for example, several commenters were angry at Trump for failing to warn them that QAnon was bullshit. Others were angry at the people who were turning against Trump. The wingnuts do seem to be fragmenting into mutually-hostile factions, which can only be a good thing. It’s also encouraging how many of the QAnon qrackpots are realizing that that, at least, was indeed a scam. If they can recognize one delusion for what it was, perhaps in time they’ll also turn away from other delusions.

    I chose the expression “tedious rage” with considerable deliberation. From the wingnuts to the “woke”, a stance of outrage has become downright fashionable, and endlessly wearisome and boring.

    I did click through to read the post by Giridharadas, who must be possessed of considerable erudition just to be able to spell his own name. His interpretation of Trumpism as the last gasp of a dying old order is one I largely share. However, I question the emphasis on the US evolving toward a “majority-minority” situation, assuming that means a situation where whites become a minority of the population. In the first place, that is not going to happen (I’m planning to write a post about that at some point), and in the second place, such predictions have been shown to have a strong effect of pushing centrist voters to favor the right wing. I wish people would stop making them.

    I do like the formulation that “We are living through a revolt against the future. The future will prevail.” What one deems to be the most salient features of that future which is destined to prevail, of course, is open to interpretation.

    At any rate, Trump has finally left the presidency, an event which feels much like the sudden disappearance of a prolonged migraine. Biden has been in office for more than a day and has begun re-asserting sanity via executive orders, and everything seems to be proceeding normally, though great battles surely lie ahead. The worst is over. We can celebrate that without reservation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for this comment, Infidel. I did hear today that the guy who wrote directives for the QAnons had left in disgust. But according to the researcher interviewed, that particular group has divided like this: 1/3 said since trump didn’t seize the presidency, declare martial law, and throw Biden in jail, it was all a fantasy; 1/3 have joined more radical groups; and 1/3 have simply decided they got the date wrong—it’ll be 2025 or something.

      At the moment, I’m more concerned about how the Democrats will deal with the Grim Reaper, who is threatening to filibuster procedures that will enable the Dems to enact the majority they won and move ahead with committee assignments unless Schumer agrees not to get rid of the filibuster. I saw Sheldon Whitehouse interviewed, and he said Mitch’s move may backfire and persuade Joe Manchin, for example, that ending the filibuster is essential. Whitehouse said (and this goes back to a discussion you and I had previously) that the Dems would have to know Biden was on board before they’d move. If I were Biden, who probably wouldn’t want to do it right away after his calls for unity, I’d call Mitch and say, “C’mon, man; cut this out or you’re gonna force us to do what you don’t want.”

      Re: Giridharadas (I laughed at your comment; I had to double check every time I typed his name): I understand your concern about the emphasis on our majority-minority status, but if the US Census is to be believed, that will happen around 2040. I think people who are frightened by the concept would generally not vote for Dems anyway. We always win with a minority of white voters. Our future success lies with more minority and younger voters.

      Re: Kamala: I have written about her being the child of a cancer researcher mother and an economist father, and she has spoken with pride about her mother’s work. (It was significant.) But I think it’s important to see her impact in its entirety. I got an email yesterday from a black friend, a smart, accomplished woman, expressing her delight about “the sista who looks like me.” We won’t get past identity issues until there aren’t such brutal—as well as subtle—negative reminders of race.

      I join you in celebrating—even though members of the party of sedition are already calling the man who’s deeply committed to unifying this country “divisive.”

      Liked by 3 people

  6. The situation with the QAnon qrackpots seems very fluid. Other far-right groups are circling the dying cult like vultures, trying to pick off a few rank and rotting chunks of membership here and there. Some individuals will wake up a little more to reality, some will seek to burrow deeper into madness rather than face facts.

    Of far greater concern is the future of the Republican party. There’s talk of founding a new party, the way there always is when people get disgusted with an existing one, but that won’t go anywhere. Building the whole infrastructure of a major national party in a country this size from scratch would be an almost hopeless task. The real battle will be to capture the existing party. We’re already seeing signs of a groundswell to purge out those members and leaders who are deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump — a tidal wave of rejection of Lynne Cheney in Wyoming, for example, which will probably lead to a primary challenge in 2022, and similar threats to get rid of any Republican senators who vote to convict during the second Trumpeachment trial.

    On the other hand, there’s Josh Hawley, who has been massively repudiated by the party establishment and the mainstream media, and even lost his book deal. That is to say, he’s probably got the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in the bag, assuming Trump doesn’t run. If he’s expelled from the Senate or something similarly drastic, he might get the nomination even if Trump does run again.

    Or I suppose it’s possible the party establishment might manage to beat down their own rank-and-file and keep control, though that looks pretty unlikely at this point. Can’t see who’d vote for them after that, though.

    I’m sure Moscow Mitch and his gang will keep trying to obstruct. It’s what they do. If he overreaches and provokes the abolition of the filibuster, so much the better. One thing that the new administration has already reminded me of is the huge difference in sheer competence between the parties. Trump packed his cabinet with evil people, but they were mostly blundering, inept evil people who spent a lot of energy fighting him and each other. Biden’s people won’t do that. McConnell is a smart guy, but that’s by Republican standards. He’s not a magician. Pelosi has been remarkably effective since 2018. We may well be surprised how much Biden and the Democrats in Congress will be able to get done, if they’re willing to play hardball, especially if the Republicans stay so divided.

    I understand your concern about the emphasis on our majority-minority status, but if the US Census is to be believed, that will happen around 2040

    I’m aware of the common expectation about this — I’m saying that expectation is wrong because of a fundamental point which people are overlooking. Whites are not going to become a minority in the US, not by 2040 and probably not ever. And the votes lost by talking about this include votes which would otherwise be winnable, not just people who would vote Republican no matter what. As I said, I’ll have a post up about this at some point when I get around to it.

    Look for the wingnuts to keep calling Biden “divisive” and everything else that was legitimately said about Trump. They do that in a playground-fight spirit of “doing it back” and because they aren’t very imaginative. They’re in the position of having to oppose a fundamentally decent man after four years of making excuses for a fundamentally slimy one. The last thing they want to do is talk about reality.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dear Annie and Infidel753,

      I very much enjoy the many conversations that both of you have been conducting in this post and also elsewhere in other posts.

      Annie, I would like to thank you for taking the initiative to contact and inform me of your condition. I would like to inform you that all is not lost, because there are two solutions.

      The first is that I have implemented navigational menus for many of my posts, which can help you to jump to any major sections of the posts instantly so that you can resume reading from your chosen section of the post over multiple sessions in your own time without having to look for the spot or section where you ended your reading in the previous session.

      Please be informed that you might need to use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

      The second solution is to use the WordPress Reader to read my blog, since the Reader tends to ignore or strip away some styling and formatting components, thus creating a very plain vanilla look and feel with mostly monochrome colour or grey tones. The drawback is that since my blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus animations, many of my posts and pages can look very different and even improper or amiss in the WordPress Reader.

      Now, coming back to your posts (this one and others), which I have read, including their comments. You do have a very good knack of putting across very good points. In particular, I really like your judicious use of quotations to illustrate pertinent points and issues. Well done!

      I concur with both of you, Annie and Infidel753. The USA has been plagued by ignorance, dogma, falsity, blind faith, spiritual stagnation and epistemological impasse . . . . .

      We can be justified for being cynical, snide, snarky and facetious in characterizing Trump as the symbolic messiah who is going to lead his misguided supporters to glory on Earth and the promised land!

      It is often futile to reason with such misguided folks. Perhaps only when the country truly becomes autocratic or fascist will they wake up, but then it will be too late.

      Instead of “Flattening the Curve”, the USA is now “Steepening the Curve”, so much so that the MAGA tagline “Make America Great Again” should be changed to MASA: “Make America Sick Again”!

      Regarding the POTUS’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, some would even argue that they should have been suspended or terminated a long time ago for continually unleashing falsehood, misinformation and mass distrust. Fortunately, he has not (yet) been given free access to software or button(s) with which to launch weapon(s) of mass destruction.

      In any case, those who are fair-minded and discerning are not easily swayed by his constant thrashing around and beating in the bush. Speaking of whether “the president really is a very stable genius”, SoundEagle’s adage is that Trump is a fool’s idea of a genius. In addition, the POTUS has long slid from being a “Law and Order” President to a “Flaw and Border” President.

      2020, the Year of the Rat, has brought us not the plague (black death) but Covid-19. And 2020 also brought out the worst of divisive politics and demagogic incitement. I wonder whether it could get even worse in 2021. Needless to say, 2020 had been a difficult year, not to mention having to deal with the pandemic. It was all quite surreal, perhaps in some ways more bizarre than ghosts and the paranormal (not that I believe in such things). One could say that we live in interesting times indeed, but often for the wrong reasons. What a day it was to unfold with sedition, insurrection and coup d’état on the 6th! What a day it was to unfold with sedition, insurrection and coup d’état on the 6th!

      Whilst some of us may take some comfort in our living somewhere else, there is the danger that oppressive politics may spread elsewhere or be mirrored by other corrupt politicians outside their origins.

      Democracy is not a given. It can be quite fragile, can fail rather badly, and often is approximately as good and benevolent (or bad and malevolent) as the members who practise, control and/or legislate it. We all need to do our parts in contributing to the smooth and equitable functioning of a civil country and democratic society. I have done mine in highlighting many of the most fundamental causes through my writings, and I hope that you will find more answers and solutions to these thorny issues in my latest post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity”.

      I would be delighted if you could kindly submit your comment to my said article, as I am very keen and curious to know what you think or make of it.

      I would like to wish you a very happy New Year. May you find 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much. SoundEagle, and I’m pleased to welcome you to annieasksyou. I agree with much of what you’ve written here and appreciate some fine turns of phrase.

        I’ll try to access your post on my computer. If that doesn’t work, I’ll look for it via Reader.

        May 2021 be much better than it began — for all of us.

        Cheers,
        Annie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are very welcome, Annie. Thank you for welcoming me too.

        My post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity” has eleven sections, which can be accessed instantly from the aforementioned navigational menu at the top of the post. The major sections are as follows:

        Introduction : All the World’s a Stage of Misinformation
        Cognitive Biases : A Minefield of Mental Traps for the Unwary
        Infodemic : Media Landscape & Information Ecosystem Pollution
        Hype, Bias, Affect : Appeal to Emotion & Lazy Thinking
        Misquotation & Misinformation : A Gateway to Bad Conduct
        Social Media : Social Amplification & Cultural Tribalism
        Infographic : Escaping Confirmation Bias & Echo Chamber
        Social Fracture : Existential Crisis, Subjectivity & Acculturation
        Post-Truth : Weaponizing Falsity & Normalizing Duplicity
        Authentication : Quotation and Information Checklist
        Denouement : Democracy, Education, Legislation & Sustainablity

        Happy reading and may you have a lovely weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There is another third party that has apparently gotten candidates on the ballot in NY and Conn. It’s called SAM—Serve America Movement, and sounds like it’s trying to be all things to all people. Disturbingly to me, David Jolly, a former Republican in Florida who makes a lot of sense when he talks, seems to have bought into it.

    It would be great if Murkowski leaves the party. I hope if the votes to convict aren’t there, at the very least they’ll censure trump. But fear is a powerful mechanism, and some of these Republicans seem to have learned the wrong lesson from the terrorism.

    I look forward to your demographics post, Infidel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, da-AL.

      We’re very fortunate that some extremely decent people still do—especially now.

      I’m also concerned about why anyone of sane mind and good heart would want to run for Congress now—unless the Republicans do a thorough “Housecleaning” that they don’t seem inclined to carry out at this point.

      Stay well!

      Like

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