The early rumblings of the 2022 political campaigns call for some serious soul searching including an in depth look at WTF (What the F..) or HTF (How the F..) did this happen. Martha C. Nussbaum presents a philosopher look at our current political crisis and the retributive response to fear that has polarized American for the last twenty years. In the book titled “The Monarchy of Fear”, Nussbaum untangles the web of emotions and fear and articulates the politics of constructive work and hope.
Nussbaum first look at fear begins at the everyone’s beginnings, when we first enter the world and are confronted with unknowns that we can’t understand but only respond with emotional outbursts that apparently always gets someone’s attention. The author draws from historical and contemporary examples of fear-based motivations and traces likes and dislikes and value assignations to emotional responses to fear. It is a fascinating read and may upend the world as you know it and understand it and it will take you out of your engrained comfort zone.
Dr. Nussbaum discusses the book at length at a Politics and Prose event at the Bookstore Coffeehouse. Please watch this short video:
Martha C. Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Philosophy Department and Law School of the University of Chicago.
When the hate mongers speak of separating us with walls and herding many of us like cattle into pens for later disposal. Many aspiring lawmakers shout in support of the slogans of the past and illusions of national greatness and racial and ideological superiority. Compassion and caring even for those that meet nefarious standards for racial and ideological inclusion are cast aside in favor of those that have the wherewithal to spout lofty platitudes of self-determination and self-righteous protection of wealth and gains obtained at the expense of those less capable. Barriers, physical walls and social constructs prohibit interactions and powerful messages are propagated and repetitively shouted over every message channel drowning out any attempts to curtail the insanity.
But let us return to the subject of parties. Political parties? There are parallels to be construed here. And here also we are beginning to see a demise of what used to be and a replacement with that which is yet to be determined. We are still hampered by political party loyalties, but shifts in those norms have shaken the foundations of political, cultural and social structures during 2016 starting with Great Britain and culminating with our own 2016 election. The realignment of national powers is just as unpredictable and contradictory of traditional comfort zones as those of political constructs and associations. Alliances are forged with a singular direction regardless of the ideological, sociological and even political basis from which they arose. A moral compass is not in play and a populous stampede with a singular purpose is leading, like lemmings, blindly to a precipice destined for self-destruction.
It is in the hope of the events of 2018 that I look toward foreign lands and the renewal of the dreams and the celebration of the totality of our common humanity. Recent elections in European countries and worldwide movements of resistance have resulted in turning away the tide of fascism, finding a foothold in the populous movements in a United Europe. However, that less insane political climate is facing strong headwinds whereby the future direction of the European as well as the world political movements are best described as very uncertain.
Our own next elections will be in November 2018. And so, we are here again. At another crossroads and a choice of directions. Or so it seems!
Election victories have come at a price and the choice is a not one for the party of choice, but the candidate of choice. The candidate that matches the electorates’ whims will succeed. However, no single issue will rise from the ashes of burnt out America and result in the progress that we expect from our legislators. The parties will support any issues that may result in a victory at the cost of any party direction because the party will support the direction of the candidate. Republican ideals concerned with a burgeoning budget and a bureaucracy set aside for the dictates of a few super rich power brokers. Democratic ideals are set aside for a few marginal votes by displaying AR-15’s and a disregard for the Rowe vs Wade supreme court ruling.
What happened to the party? And I do mean the party or the celebration of freedom, liberty, justice, and truths that were self-evident. We didn’t feel the need to make this country great again, for we knew how great it was. We reached out to all with empathy and compassion and love. But now we are faced with a change that has altered that celebration of our many accomplishments and replaced that celebration with a fear of impending doom and a longing for conquest and enforcement of dogmatic ideas and values with the point of the sword.
The new-found wealth resulting from the recent tax windfall will not be invested in trickle down anything but will be paid to legislators to assure that the tax windfall will remain intact and that further power swings will turn even corporate America into that of oligarchs. The anticipated blue wave will constitute a sham and will be blue in name only. Senator Sanders may have captured the hearts of our youth, but his ideals have not swayed the minds and the pocket books of voters who are not concerned with the day after tomorrow.
Our own national security apparatus is minimalized and being dismantled at the whims of a few who do not want their affiliations with foreign dictators exposed. Our corporations are increasingly closely affiliated with legislators who dish out policies which do not have middle America interests at heart and are being passed into law by elected officials regardless of party affiliation.
What are we to do? Well not unlike any other kind of problem resolution method, a bit of homework and inquiry will help to send you in the right direction. It is usually easy to ascertain the rights and wrongs of any candidate’s position with three questions. What will you do for me? How will you do it. And when will it be done? Never ask why it will be done. I repeat never ever!! Ok give it a shot and if you are not inundated with a barrage of rhetoric (bullshit in other words) which attempts to circumvent any of the what, when and how questions I will be extremely surprised. Be sure to ask if the candidate will agree to a expedient and efficient method of recording their answer. Video records are the most efficient and expedient in assuring that spoken comments can’t be denied later. Feel free to point out that recordings have not dissuaded Trump or his entourage of clowns from appealing to the crowds that can’t seem to get enough of his theatrics.
Party politics will continue to be played in picking a party candidate during the primaries, but the real game begins after that. Now you are totally confused because what choices do you really have after that? Well none really, unless we can start to wrap our heads around supporting candidates that do not spout the rhetoric of party politics and anything goes ethics (actually – unethical practices) to win an election. Can we really start to demand specific directions and ask specifically what our representatives are to represent and demand a recall if they don’t comply? A simple three step will get you there!
Step 1: Clearly state your demands (what) and get how and when answers
Step 2: Don’t bother to listen to what they are opposed to, because it is a step around or more like a reach around.
Step 3: Keep track of what they do while in the elected position.
Step 3 is where they will get you all the time, because they know that when they do not do what is promised no one remembers. Do not forget that you need to repeat the question before during and after the election cycle and meticulously keep track of their answers. Let them know you are doing exactly just that. Let them know their promises are the sole reason for their representing you in their elected capacity. This is the real work of democracy and it is not at all political, but simply is what it is. That being said, the only recourse after election is a recall, impeachment, or forcing a resignation. A bit like closing the barn door after the bull has left the building.
These are the reasons for lobbyist. These methods are tried and true and with appropriate funding the individuals that have much to gain finance an army around each and every local, state and federal legislator to make sure that they do their bidding.
How can I conclude? With a heavy sigh of despair? Well I can and so can you, but it may be more productive if we demand that your representatives do your bidding. A lobbyist is nothing more than just someone who demands that their representative does what they asked them to do. Remember to ask what, how and when and hold them to that promise. Let the lobbyist in you come out and make demands. Share your hard work with others, by simple letting your friends and neighbors and the world know who stands for what and how and when they intend to bring us a future that we want for ourselves.
Federal and state legislatures have liberalized gun laws and revised current laws pertaining to dangerous weapons. Recently, existing laws which prohibit a person from carrying guns, including assault weapons, without a permit or any restrictions, have been overturned and churches, schools, universities and even bars are no longer gun free zones.
It is almost impossible to buy assault weapons illegally.
Acquisition of these weapons of mass destruction is afforded to all willing to pay the monetary price, because there are no other restrictions of any kind. A singular exception that prohibits the sale of guns to felons is next to impossible to enforce, because a gun registry does not exist. In effect one can traffic in guns without any repercussion simple because a transactional trail is not available and you may not believe this: “it is illegal to register guns and maintain an automated data base of gun trafficking”.
Most Americans are not happy with people walking around heavily armed in their everyday lives and are horrified when hell is unleashed by a gun “lover”. We recoil at the results of such madness when more than 600 of our loved ones are massacred in a little more than 10 minutes. Time heals all wounds and we will very likely go on and accepts the most gruesome of these events and the usually apathy will prevail. The daily occurring gun tragedies have insignificant impact on our daily lives (unless you are a victim). We have also grown callous; our national conscience chooses to be unaware and ignorant of the daily carnage taking a toll of 40,000 per year and many more wounded. Federal and state funded studies of gun deaths are prohibited by laws passed by legislators we elected to provide for safety and security of all Americans.
Legislators are apparently motivated more by NRA and gun manufactures campaign contributions then by the victims of these insane conditions existing among civilized nations only in the US and some primitive countries. Gun violence and gun killings have increased almost everywhere in the US in comparison to recent years by rates in the double digits. Armed police officers are being shot in the streets. Law enforcement officers are outgunned by militia with weaponry and skills that police can not afford. Laws are ignored and openly flaunted by these “criminals” and they are often further encouraged by some of the “faux-news” media and often by our own government officials.
Open carry has been the standard in the western US and it has its roots in the old west and is still deeply engrained in the cowboy culture (the sponsors of gun hell still wear their 10-gallon hats). Concealed carry is the choice of the coward and has its roots in urban warfare and is readily identifiable with the culture of the gangster.
Our nuclear enemies make no attempt to conceal their nuclear capabilities, for they do not intend to use the bomb but present a serious deterrent against anyone else using the nuclear weapons. The terrorist, coward or mentally disturbed will conceal all weapons until they unleash hell upon all that get in their way.
Our police officers respond with gunfire at any attempt of anyone reaching for their pockets or placing their hands anywhere that a firearm may be there concealed. It is a reasonable expectation that a suspect is carrying concealed weapons. Nevada and Las Vegas have more killings by police officers than even larger cities like New York where stronger gun laws actually reduce the likelihood of a concealed carry.
Safety in carrying a firearm is of extreme importance because of deadly consequences to the carrier or others in the vicinity. A motor vehicle is less deadly yet we have regulations for the driver, the vehicle must meet safety standards, the road must meet safety standards and there are laws to enforce the regulations. Our legislators now want to unleash hell and no longer require any safety standards or safety education for any concealed carry.
Why are our legislatures ready to unleash this hell upon the citizens of the US? It is reasonable to state that this is only about some nebulous sentence in our constitution about a regulated militia bearing arms (flintlock rifles not the modern-day equivalent of nuclear weapons – never mind a well-regulated militia)? It is reasonable to unleash hell for the campaign funds coming in from the NRA or the gun manufactures? Is it reasonable to unleash hell for the marginally few voters who will vote in favor of anyone who claims that guns are a God given right. It is reasonable to unleash hell upon Americans and claim it is for the sake of safety and security and in defense of freedom.
So why are our legislatures and judicial officials not afraid to put concealed weapons in the hands of the mentally disturbed, convicted felons and individuals not able to pass a rudimentary class on safety and proper firearm use? Our legislators and all government officials carry out their work in “Gun Safe Zones” and need not fear the unleashing of hell. “Gun Safe Zones” where created shortly after the tragic event of 911 (where, by the way, no guns were involved). The unleashing of hell upon the public which does not have easy access to these “Gun Safe Zones” is demonstrable in the carnage that is carried out and reported everyday.
Our legislatures and judges surround themselves with an army of armed guards in buildings where the carrying of any dangerous weapon is not allowed. Access is granted in many cases only if one passes through metal detection devices and scanning similar to airport boarding procedures. Our legislatures and judges can thereby proclaim some lofty ideals and not really worry about the consequences and like the cowardly kings hiding in their castles while their foot soldiers have to endure the hell that they have unleashed. I do believe that these legislators and judges are not paranoid but simply acting to preserve life and limb. Their daily contact with the public has made them acutely aware that: “Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities”. They are also aware of 50% of all guns are being amassed by a mere 3% of all gun owners.
“Gun Safe Zones” are safe and should not only be a hiding place for the privileged lawmakers but a legislative goal and a reality for all our communities. We feel safe when boarding an aircraft because we know the lunatics on board are not carrying dangerous weapons openly or concealed. “Gun Safe Zones” where even police officers do not carry firearms are a reality in many parts of the civilized world. Even in the Old West the sheriff would often disarm visiting cowboys and declare the town a “Gun Safe Zone”.
Guns are a reality in the places where there is no law, where lives are unimportant and the daily carnage is only answered by more violence and more killings.
It is the voter that will eventually hold irresponsible lawmakers accountable for unleashing this new hell. We must recognize the cowardice of these lawmakers who hide in “Gun Safe Zones” while pontificating about some silly cowboy notions about guns. We have an opportunity in upcoming elections to ask those that would represent us, to provide laws that protect us from the criminal and criminally insane gun worshippers. We have a responsibility to elect those that proclaim that we have a right to life and liberty by stopping the gun insanity in our country.
Ask your legislator to commit to the following:
– Ban all assault weapons.
– Ban high capacity magazines.
– Prohibit gun sales to the mentally ill.
– Create a federal database to track all gun sales.
– Require permits (background checks) and gun registration for all guns.
– Require permits for and registration of ammunition purchases.
– Enable federal and state investigations of large quantity purchases of firearms and/or ammunition.
Tell your elected officials that they need to do more against the hell and constant terrorism that is unleashed upon Americans every day and remind them the second amendment qualifies the right to bear arms as a function of a well-regulated militia and is not intended for anarchists, paranoid fear mongers, the enrichment of weapons manufacturers and an “unregulated” militia.
Readers of the Mesquite Weekly article titled “What is Truth”, requested that we allocate equal time to speak about “What is a Lie”. The fact that a lie, simply put, is not a truth does not resonate well with many who prefer a less offensive word or prefer a term to soften the disturbing reality of the truth. Today’s political rhetoric and political opinions are laced with words that express concepts of “alternative facts” and mask lies as truths which are unashamedly presented as “true lies”. Read more
We may hear the words, but not really grasp their meaning. After pursuing the “ridiculously unreasonable” and traveling down that path as a matter of habit and becoming comfortable or entrenched with such pursuit, the “absurd” as such, may no longer be within our sphere of comprehension and madness ensues. The events of March 2017 may eventually be described as “March Madness” (apologies to the NCAA tournament). Let me begin with one such occurrence of madness by presenting a news commentary by the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano (the title alone speaks volumes of Napolitano’s creditability):