Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What We Have Wrought


Right up front, I need to acknowledge that some reading this will take exception, or even offense, by what I have to say. But really, I am okay with that, because I trust that anyone reading this (as if anyone would give a damn what I think) will understand the difference between having (or starting) an argument, and making (or constructing) an argument. Any idiot—including me—can do the former. The latter though, requires the marshaling of facts and evidence, thinking through the logic and reasoning, and identifying the weaknesses of their position—hopefully before the other party does, and modifying the whole package as necessary to correct those weaknesses.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s roll.

Well, it happened. The nation that had the audacity to attempt to leave human footprints in the lunar regolith—“ peace for all mankind.”—and eventually left 12 such sets; that valiantly stood with Great Britain, France, and Stalin's Russia (proof of the brute fact that sometimes we actually do have to choose between the lesser of two evils) to free Europe and the rest of the world from the tyranny of fascist Nazi Germany and its allies; that almost single-handedly saw to it that a devastated and starving Europe and Japan rebuilt once the threat of the Axis powers was utterly broken; that stood as a bulwark against Communist Russia and a beacon of hope to the world; whose founding documents, like no others before or since, called to the highest and noblest aspirations of our shared human natures, has elected the amoral patsy of some of the darkest, most vile elements and channelers of humanity's innermost demons, Donald J. Drumpf.

My opening salvo in this was, to be honest, subtle and mild. I had been sporting a closely trimmed beard for the last year or two, so when getting ready for work this morning, I turned my beard into a goatee. The small number of my co-workers that are intelligent and sufficiently enlightened to get the Star Trek reference are probably no less catatonic than I am as the die Götterdämmerung of the United States unfolds before our eyes. The rest of them lack the intellectual and moral wit to get the message.

To this already overflowing cup of bitterness, there is the additional bit of trivia that I am a 20-year veteran of the United States’ military and my day job is that of a Veterans Employment Specialist, and tomorrow, I have to go to a homeless veterans “stand-down” sponsored by the Veterans Administration (VA). Throughout the day, I am certain of hearing the hackneyed phrase “thank you for your service,” and I am not sure how I will react. And I sure as hell will not be thanking any other veterans for their service, because what the 59,611,678 of our fellow citizens that voted for Donald Drumpf have done, for just one example, is to have collectively pissed on the graves of every single service member that fought for the United States and our allies and gave their lives to break the grip of fascist Nazi Germany on Europe, and are now buried in cemeteries from Normandy to Berlin.

This is where the gloves come off. Part of Drumpf’s sales pitch to his clueless acolytes was that he shared their disdain for “political correctness,” and they are brave enough to speak what they think is “their own mind,” and even stoop to violence, at least when in groups. However, as isolated individuals, many lack the courage of their basest, most pathetic, most xenophobic convictions—but they will go into a voting booth and cast a ballot for a candidate that would kick a member of their own family to the curb, deny them needed medical care, or the resources to provide their children with adequate nutrition—but utterly lack the guts to say as much to the affected person’s face.
I do not propose that anyone be deprived of their rights or civil liberties as I have no desire to become what I loathe. What I do propose, nay, what I will do, until my dying day, is to personally hold those around me to the absolutely highest moral and ethical standards. The thing is, every day of our lives, we all (with some exceptions) have to rely on the goodwill of those around us, and we all derive an absolutely indispensable social utility from others thinking us to be, as trite as it may sound, generally decent human beings, unlikely to stab others in the back. I do not wish to interrogate anyone regarding their voting habits or ideological dispositions, but when such dispositions are discernible through everyday interactions with them, I assert, and will exercise, my absolute, unassailable right to treat that as a data point in what is, self-evidentially, the legitimate need to make a determination of the content of the character of those around me.

In a future post/essay, I will explain what I mean by "the highest moral and ethical standards" and just how my personal moral compass was calibrated and how it is relevant.

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