Sunday, January 24, 2021

The impeachment trial can serve as our own Truth and Reconciliation Commission

 At the end of apartheid in South Africa,  a court-like commission was established to bring peace and greater unity to that country. There was no reconciliation without exposing the truth as an inherent part of the process and truth could be told without retribution. We have nothing like that in the US, but the impeachment trial of Donald Trump may serve that purpose, whether or not he is acquitted of inciting the insurrection of January 6 and attempting to force state officials to lie about the presidential vote tally.  Reconciliation would have been useless without both sides of the conflict in South Africa having a chance to air their version of the truth and the truth was aired in a courtroom setting where the public could hear the parties present their cases.   Not all minds were changed or was reconciliation total, but it was still effective enough for the country to heal sufficiently and to move on.  The lesson learned: without the truth being exposed in a trial-like setting where both sides were fairly heard, a critical degree of reconciliation would not have happened.

The impeachment trial in the Senate will give us that same opportunity. Now that the GOP has lost the White House, tied and in effect lost the Senate, and failed to turn the House red, they are the ones calling for unity and saying the impeachment trial will make the country more divisive.    It probably is a good thing the trial is delayed until early February for several reasons: It will give a chance for the Biden administration to get its cabinet in place through the Senate process (avoiding the "acting" appointee practice Trump favored. The Consitution had given the Senate the power of advice and consent in cabinet appointments,). It will give time for more evidence on either side to come forward. The evidence will be presented under oath and in sworn testimony.  It will give a sense of fairness, permitting Trump forces to plan and mount their defense.  If there is no fairness in the proceedings, its value would be virtually useless in shaping public perception of what the truth is. 

 What is at stake in not life and death or financial deprivation or prison for Donald Trump?  It is whether he can be a candidate for federal office again. That is as far as retribution goes.   If he is acquitted on a partisan vote ( 2/3 of the Senate is required for conviction), he would not lose that ability to be a candidate in 2024.  If he is convicted, a simple majority could vote on his eligibility to run again,, but he would have to be convicted in the trial first. He was already voted out of office through electoral college certification by each of the 50 states and the House, so removal is no longer an issue. The balance of power of the three branches would also not be affected.  This is the GOP's only chance to diminish his power over them in the future by reducing his bully pulpit advantage he could get as a candidate. It is a chance for Biden to convince more that he was elected in a free and fair election and to accept the legitimacy of his power to govern.    It is also a chance for all to hear from the Democrats:  how close we came to having a dictatorship, the rule of a person, instead of the rule of law,  and the end of democracy as we have known it.  The impeachment trial will shape the future of both the GOP and the Democratic party,   as well as to provide the truth element necessary for reconciliation.

Why is finding and exposing truth so important? It is because of our bifurcated media,  and social media platforms, that too often see themselves as an advocate, a vehicle to shape opinions, not an impartial reporting of the facts, all of them, good or warts and all. Half of the country hears only half of the news, and the half they want to hear reinforces their beliefs without contradiction. They will now be confronted with evidence to which they had not been exposed before by their preferred media. Both sides of our political divide will be forced to hear the inconvenient truths. about this one issue,  whether Trump tried to overturn an election by inciting an insurrection and threatening state officials to lie on his behalf.

Of course, the coverage of the impeachment trial by Fox and Murdoch media depends upon their followers' version of the truth and hopefully it will be 
fair and balanced...(their old slogan).   If you want to follow the impeachment trial unvarnished by any media pundits, follow it on C-Span.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Good riddance, Mike Pompeo

  • "The outgoing secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Tuesday decried multiculturalism as un-American. 
  • "Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker," he said."
  • Words from me: an old white woman. So now we learn his true self and what an awful representative to the world he was as a secretary of state. Good riddance. America is for all,, not just for old white men...Thank goodness he is a fossil. We are in the midst of a great demographic shift, and white Americans have the choice of accepting it, working with it, or fighting it. Demographics march on and those fighting it will lose to arithmetic and numbers, but those fighting it will only make the transition more difficult for my children and grandchildren. We saw the violent manifestation of that on January 6.
    From my blog posting on Dec. 24 and column in the Winter Park Times: Demography will be the gasoline on the fires of conflict but also it may save democracy. A new generation is ascending into power as the white nationalists and self-serving interests inspired by Trump’s action and words age out of the scene. The younger generations themselves are more multicultural through intermarriage and social integration and they are steeped in the ethics of diversity They are already politically awake. Their vote in 2020 impacted results in several states. Millennials and Gen Xers turned out to vote in 2020 for Joe Biden in greater numbers than for the Democrat candidate in 2016. The youth vote turnout was 53% of those eligible in 2020 compared with 46% in 2016 per a Tuft's University study. I am placing my hope in them for the long term survival of democracy

Monday, January 18, 2021

Is religion a cult?

 The action of the blind believers in whatever Trump says is the truth and what he has done is due to his cult-like control has spread into a debate of whether religion is a cult, too.  False equivalencies at work, here.  Here is my take on that:

I do object to religious philosophy being passed off as a cult. However, more death has been caused in the name of religion in history than we could count. It is not unlike what we see now in right-wing protestant Evangelicals...which is closely related to cultural racism observation having been born and raised in Eastern Oklahoma. There are some academic studies that try to make the same connection. Let us not forget that our Judeo-Christian -called- civilization is fundamentally about the golden rule and has roots back to 3 to 4000 years...and that most religions also share many of the same ethics and idealized rules for behavior. My belief is that people looked for an antidote to humanity's worst anti-social behavior and found it in religion and they most often seek some divine intervention when they feel out of control by horrific events...personally or as a group. It is the application of religious philosophy that gives religion a bad name, but it is the glue that holds civilization together in the face of total anarchism. If anything that still means faith and belief is a cult to you, then at least separate the good from the bad. From their fruits, you shall know them.

Opinion | In God We Divide - The New York Times (

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Polls: 74% of registered Republicans now define what the GOP has become

 This poll says a bunch about the GOP....They are now the party of white power, autocracy, incompetence, blind loyalty, willful ignorance, passive and active approval of mob violence, and the opposite of what the founders of our country envisioned for America. I used to appreciate the GOP for being the loyal opposition and with rational debate and the self-interest of their constituents in mind. I did not always agree, but at least I understood. At times I was part of the loyal opposition, but I never felt the foundations of democracy were in jeopardy. We may have disagreed on public policy issues, but I had never doubted their respect for American democracy and the Constitution. Most of those pledging allegiance to the GOP are no longer the loyal opposition or those that guided the country with respect to our democratic system. Per the NBC poll, " 35 percent of voters — including 74 percent of Republicans but just 30 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats — believe President-elect Joe Biden did not win the election legitimately." That kind of partisan irrationality does not deserve respect. Where's the proof or the evidence of "the steal"? Where's the beef? Even Trump's loyal attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. The Trump supporters had every reason and opportunity to present evidence in those 50 court cases, and they did not. 80 judges of every affiliation demanded evidence, not theories, tossed out their theories, and their attorneys. It is a mind-boggling denial of reality. What I do understand is that this is the ultimate evidence that their fealty is to a person, not to the loyalty of law, facts, or the Constitution.

This large chunk of GOP voters has lost their blithering minds collectively. This 74% who believe that there was a "steal" is more than just a matter of ignorance. It was the entire "rationale" for motivating mob violence at the Capitol. It was their banner. It is what their President told them in inciting them on January 6. It was their justification for public consumption for their actions. Aside from the violent actors who heard their fuhrer told them to do it, the mass of the GOP voters polled still believe what their fuhrer said because only he and the Trump media tell the truth. So long as that number of voters in a primary or in a ruby red state or district believe it, there will never be "unity" in this country because even their representatives know better, they like to be re-elected. Only a few have shown any profiles in courage. Instead, this is mass think of so many who believes "what if.", "it could have happened", "I heard this someplace", 'makes sense to me because it was probable or possible" and "I agree with those with which I agree", "it fits my belief that African Americans will cheat to win", so therefore it is "true"." " It is a fact that Biden is not elected legitimately, so we do not have to respect him". It is that groupthink that will be the barrier Biden must hurdle. Fortunately for US democracy, this group is in the minority, per the polls.

Mass psychology as a subject of studies and for years it will also me a subjject of books and doctoral dissertations for years to come as academics try to explain this Trumpist movement. It certainly played a role in the rise of fascism. The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich

Mob Mentality in the Digital Age Increases Likelihood You Will Do Evil | Observer