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Hullabaloo


Monday, October 02, 2017

 

A palate cleanser

by Tom Sullivan


Atlanta First Congregational Church. Photo by Ganeshk via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

It is important in the long fights ahead not to turn inward. Not to get seduced by our own "dark side." As the sitting president has shifted from reality-show to talk-radio mode, his M.O. seems to be to throw out daily red meat, not just to his followers, but to the press. And to goad the left into responding. He thrives on sewing chaos and stirring raw emotions. Limbaugh built a business model and his fortune on it, turning Orwell's "Two Minutes Hate" into listeners' daily, three-hour dose of outrage. They became conditioned to it, came to need it. Now with a different demagogue living in the White House, it's best if we not react like Pavlov's dogs to every Tweet. It's the attention on which he thrives.

The sitting president is like that entity in the Star Trek TOS episode, "Wolf in the Fold," a creature "deriving sustenance from emotion." Dr. McCoy's response to its attempts to generate fear among the Enterprise crew was to sedate them, depriving the creature of its food source.

Which is a roundabout way to say it was refreshing to read Sen. Kamala Harris' talk at the storied First Congregational Church of Atlanta. She had her own message, a more American one.

Harris defended NFL players "taking a knee" as protected free speech:

“Let’s speak the truth that when Americans demand recognition that their lives matter, or kneel to call attention to injustice, that that is an expression of free speech, protected by our Constitution, and they should not be threatened or bullied.”
Harris did not shy from saying that racism, sexism, homophobia and antisemitism are real in this country that must be confronted honestly. She added, "Let’s speak the truth that there is a systematic attempt to suppress the right to vote in America."

These are among the "forces of hate and division trying to tear us apart," she said.

Per the Guardian's report, Harris also criticized "the vilification and scapegoating of undocumented migrants, the plight of Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and the move by US attorney general Jeff Sessions to 're-escalate the failed war on drugs'." And did so without mentioning the president or his staff by name. "I believe it is time we replace the divide-and-conquer." Harris continued:

“Americans have so much more in common than what separates us,” she said.

Her kind of patriotism, Harris said, was to believe in the country’s ideals and fight for them. “When we fight for the ideals behind the constitution of the United States,” she said, “that is the very definition of being a patriot.”
All without mentioning the creature by name, depriving it of oxygen. Even considering she was in a church, I do believe she gets it.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.