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Sat May 9, 2020, 02:00 PM

An Odd End

Two of the three friends who called me yesterday spoke about the frustrations they had experienced earlier in the day, in conversations with otherwise good people who support Donald Trump. I attempted to explain why I generally do not share that level of frustration, although I certainly do understand it and appreciate the difficulties in communicating with members of the Trump cult. I suspect that when I spoke about some National Geographic specials on ABC in the mid-1960s, they wondered what the heck I was babbling about.

Now, this may sound like the long arm of coincidence, wrenching itself out of socket, but if you stick with me, it may not be that much of a stretch. In the 1960s, there were documentaries on Louis and Mary Leakey's discoveries at Olduvai Gorge in Africa. They found what were then recognized as the oldest stone tools produced by our early ancestors, dating back 1.85 to 1.77 million years ago. One of my late friends worked with them at the site, and I now ave his 50-piece collection of artifacts. I also have artifacts from Neanderthals in France, and the El-Adam culture in what is now part of the African desert. They are kept in my “home-museum” with the Native American artifacts that I have found spanning 10,000 years of local history.

(My interest in local Indian history was sparked in the first grade, when principal Howard Dunbar spoke to our class about Mohawk leader Joseph Brant's camp in Sidney during the Revolutionary War. Brant's warriors stole the clothing local settlers had on their clotheslines, and Mr. Dunbar told us of about some of the warriors donning women's bloomers. I now have over 100 artifacts from Brant's camp in my collection. But I'm rambling.)

What I find most fascinating about all of this is the evolution of the human brain. Certainly, the growth in our brain size and structure has made resulted in the evolution of our consciousness. And this has resulted in our social evolution. Yet, at the same time, those older portions of our brain, from the bulb we call the brain's stem up to the prefrontal cortex, still operates 24/7, primarily at unconscious a subconscious levels. And I think that is important for us to keep in mind.

We are all familiar with the concept of the “fight or flight response” that humans share with many other animals on earth. It surely helped us survive as a species, going back to our most ancient ancestors. However, I think it's possible to say that its value can be distinct when we think of the context of scavengers at Olduvai Gorge and scavengers carrying weapons of warfare while protesting for their “rights” at a state capital.

“Fight or flight” originates in the sympathetic nervous system, a component of the autonomic nervous system which involves our spinal cord. When stimulated, it activates the release of chemicals in our brains that allow for the individual to increase the odds for survival. And those chemicals in our brains play an important role in our emotions, including anxiety and anger.

Clearly, emotions are also tied to the operations of other parts of our brain, from the middle regions to those prefrontal lobes. That is the region where things such as memory and attention – necessary for our species to anticipate and thus plan for the future – are found. This was among the primary reasons that modern humans survived, while our close relatives the Neanderthal and Denisovan did not. (However, modern humans from Europe usually have a small trace of Neanderthal in their DNA, and Asians end to have traces of Denisovan in their DNA.Fascinating!) More, scientists are making advances in locating parts of the prefrontal lobes that do not operate particularly well in the psychopaths and sociopaths among us.

Hence, I think it is likely that the difficulties that normal people find in communicating with Trump supporters is rooted in how and where incoming information is processed in the brain. In my mind, it explains why, for example, that many of my friends who hunt and fish recognize that changes in the land, water, and air quality have brought about changes in the nature of their hunting and fishing experiences, yet at the same time are convinced that “climate change” is a hoax. I do not believe that they are stupid or bad – I know that they are not.

Now, upon the slender chance that anyone is so bored by social isolation that they have read this far, I am curious if this makes sense?

38 replies, 1109 views

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Odd End (Original post)
H2O Man May 9 OP
Kitchari May 9 #1
H2O Man May 9 #11
Me. May 9 #2
H2O Man May 9 #12
Me. May 9 #16
kentuck May 9 #3
H2O Man May 9 #13
Me. May 9 #18
kentuck May 9 #29
H2O Man May 10 #38
Mosby May 9 #4
H2O Man May 9 #14
MartyTheGreek May 9 #5
H2O Man May 9 #15
ananda May 9 #6
H2O Man May 9 #17
malaise May 9 #7
H2O Man May 9 #19
malaise May 9 #20
H2O Man May 9 #23
malaise May 9 #24
H2O Man May 9 #31
kentuck May 9 #35
malaise May 9 #36
ismnotwasm May 9 #8
H2O Man May 9 #21
malaise May 9 #26
Steelrolled May 9 #9
H2O Man May 9 #22
Steelrolled May 9 #25
H2O Man May 9 #28
mopinko May 9 #10
H2O Man May 9 #27
Kitchari May 9 #30
H2O Man May 9 #33
Martin Eden May 9 #32
H2O Man May 9 #34
blogslut May 9 #37

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:40 PM

1. "I do not believe they are stupid or bad" is a good stance

While we can disagree with them, and know their views are erroneous, at the same time I search for ways to circumvent their brainwashing, and I do think they are thoroughly brainwashed.

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Response to Kitchari (Reply #1)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:19 PM

11. I agree.

I think that they are brainwashed in the exact sense that members of various cults are.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:40 PM

2. A Very Interesting Read

It's been way too long.

How do they know that some of the men donned the women's bloomers? Did they take them off a clothes line?

As to whether or not your piece makes sense..yes...but I wonder about the influence of society and the wrong type of leader. Grievance politics started before the Menace ascended the WH steps. The Tea party was a big part of it but what exactly was/is the grievance that sparked such fury. That the population was heading towards a mixed color society, that the Con party was not evolving beyond being the party of teeny tiny government of the few and was thereby losing votes. And, sorry, a measure of not being able to think rationally or being stupid does apply, at least to me. These people are protesting their right to demand others put their lives on the line so they can have a haircut, manicure or frozen Margarita.

I also think stupid (though do not know if this is the right word) applies to the people in charge. If they were really smart they wouldn't allow their incompetence and wilful mismanagement to be so obvious. They could steal lots more if their terrible and negligent behavior didn't keep our eyes peeled upon them.

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Response to Me. (Reply #2)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:22 PM

12. Yes, most of

my essays are way too long!

I would agree fully that Trump & his administration are stupid. One of the basic errors in thinking that defines them is the mistaken belief that they are able to control everything. When that serves as the starting point, events such as the current health crisis cannot be dealt with in a meaningful manner.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:54 PM

16. We Disagree

about length

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:45 PM

3. I think the opponents of the cult may be reaching the point of no return.

And they feel that the only choice left is to "fight"?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #3)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:29 PM

13. I've been

reading and re-reading one of my favorite Malcolm X speeches in recent days. It's titled "The Ballot or The Bullet," and there are actually two slightly different versions, given about a week apart.

In the speech, Malcolm said, "Don't strike at the puppet, strike at the puppeteer." He also noted that while there was the potential for violence in America, there was the superior option of putting small differences behind us, and working together. This included his reaching out to the "establishment" civil rights organizations, and his recommendations for increased voter registration, education, and participation. Malcolm recognized this was an important way for thinking people to avoid the potential of mindless violence.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:59 PM

18. So What Do You Think Is The MOst Effective Way To Strike At The Puppeteer?

Something like the Lincoln Project or go around him to the people who are now being hurt and why his approval numbers 'seem' to be slipping?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:58 PM

29. I wonder what Malcolm would think of today's circumstances?

Would he still believe that we could work together?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #29)

Sun May 10, 2020, 03:40 PM

38. Great question.

I won't even speculate on what exact positions Malcolm X would hold today. There is a tendency for some groups to have claimed him over the years, that in my opinion are on shaky ground at very best. But we do have the lessons from his amazing life.

In the general time period that Malcolm made that speech -- ranked 7th among the top 100 American speeches of the 20th century by 137 leading scholars (Top 100 American Speeches of the 20th Century; University of Wisconsin-Madison; 1999) -- he made numerous points that are important today. He did not think that voting alone would solve America's racial problems, but he was in favor of putting minor differences behind and creating a voting block capable of deciding any election. Malcolm was becoming open to working with any group or individual that was sincere about delivering social justice.

He did, of course, recognize that there were groups and individuals in American society that would always be opposed to him. He knew that some of these would engage in efforts to deny voting rights to black people, and seek to keep racist whites in positions of power. I can't remember ever hearing Malcolm speak positively about the Constitution until 1964, when he displayed an uncanny understanding of how that document provided the necessary position for his people to take the racists into federal court to achieve victories.

Malcolm also knew that there were groups and individuals who would use violence to oppose such efforts. He believed in the human right to protect one's self from violent attackers.

In my opinion, Malcolm understood that democracy involves constant struggle.It's not a status a nation reaches, and then everything is good. It's a mindset and a way of life.

Malcolm would be my first choice if somehow I could pick a person to debate Trump on stage. (My second would be my 90 year old Aunt, who would make Trump mess his trousers and cry.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:49 PM

4. The typical rw approach to climate change

Is that it may be happening, but it's not man made.

Clever, huh.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #4)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:31 PM

14. Right!

It fascinates me that some friends can understand that, for example, toxic industrial wastes sites have long-term consequences for all forms of life exposed to these poisons, they have difficulty taking the next step.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:56 PM

5. MAGA's live in the Rear Fear Lobe Brain Period! Or, maybe not all...

They know no other way. I've had a few heated arguments with my former .mil magas on my Fake Book page and other group pages. They talk loud smack when defending their Big Daddy (BD: Theory of no Fatherhood) but when I call them out to meet me at the gym on base to give them a pink set of 16 oz boxing gloves they clam up, or make diversions. One former diver, who would not meet me at the gym, told me to "come over" and see what he has. I'm willing to bet, all he had was a 9 mil pea shooter with the quiet dildo thingy that you screw on the end to make the phallic symbol a little longer. Imagine that, a child-man supposed to be a hoo yah, won't defend his manhood at the gym but want's me to come over to meet his AR-15 friend.

A fascinating thing has happened over the past few years... Several of my former magas have unfriended me, but some of the most vocal for one reason or another, keep me as a friend only to see what I'm posting contrary to their belief because they just can't help it I think?

For the most part, the older magas all suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and fear that their Archie Bunker class is fading into the dust bin of history.

This is Old-Dog-New-Tricks Fear. It's easier for them to run with a soundbite that they heard in their hate media than it is to grasp a concept like various testing methods needed to control COVID-19.

I did see one recent maga conversion. Former maga retired co-worker has Type II diabetes, overweight, and wife has multiple conditions. He's suddenly and seriously concerned by Big Daddy want's people top return back to work so soon! Maybe he finally realizes that BD, is not really looking out for him after all. That takes frontal lobe logical thinking. So I think there's hope!

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Response to MartyTheGreek (Reply #5)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:44 PM

15. I hear you!

Well said, Marty. Very well said!

My normal brother called me yesterday. He said that he does not anticipate our species surviving as long as Neanderthals did. He thinks we are a "failed species." I think that he may be right. While our brain structure provides for a greater ability to anticipate consequences, some of the unconscious things such as "fight or flight" seem to be preventing otherwise good people's ability to understand that we are rapidly approaching a tipping point.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 03:01 PM

6. In that view, nobody is stupid or bad.

... I guess the Death Culters have used
their bulb brain so long that they are fully
reptile now and not really human in any
empathetic or humane sense.

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Response to ananda (Reply #6)

Sat May 9, 2020, 04:55 PM

17. Respectfully disagree.

I'm not sure how one could interprete what I wrote in that way. I certainly didn't say anything as foolish as "nobody is stupid or bad." Indeed, before retiring, my job responsibilities including providing the county judge and prosecutor of my opinion on if a person facing trial was "bad," if they were ignorant versus stupid, and if they had the capacity to change their behaviors with certain court-ordered structure other than incarceration.

I would agree that an individual such as Trump is a reptile, incapable of doing "good." I would have hoped that any thinking person who read the two interviews that I did with Dr. Bandy Lee that I posted here would grasp that. In the first, we discussed Erich Fromm's works on human destructiveness, which includes descriptions of the exact types such a person will surround themselves with if they are able to achieve political-social power. In the second, we discussed those people who are prone to joining the cult of such a "leader," and the very real dangers they pose to society.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 03:03 PM

7. WaterMan how do we communicate with these people?

Last edited Sat May 9, 2020, 05:07 PM - Edit history (1)

Where do they process what?

I understand your point but their disconnect is way beyond my understanding

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Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:04 PM

19. One of the things

I've noticed while talking to pro-Trump people is that their level of hostility rises rapidly, actually as soon as I offer a differing view point. (I can only think of one exception.) Over the decades, I've noticed that most people do not process incoming information well when they are experiencing anger .....much less, rage. And so I attempt to lower those levels of hostility. I do that by patiently listening to them, rather than immediately pointing out where they are wrong. When things have calmed down a bit, and they are relaxed enough to recognize that I'm not their enemy -- I'm merely a friend who thinks differently -- I get started. That includes taking various things they have said that are important to them, agreeing at least in part, and then simply re-arranging them in a manner that may reach a different conclusion.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #19)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:09 PM

20. You are way more patient than me

I have patience for children and young people in general but not adults. Our planet needs more folks like you.

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Response to malaise (Reply #20)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:21 PM

23. Well, I don't know

if I'd go THAT far! Ha! But thank you, my Wonderful Sister.

As a curious side note: I've noticed that since the head injury that landed me in the ICU 25 months ago, I have not been angry or in a bad mood. While I believe that is distinct from the blows my head endured when my father used to try to "knock some sense into" me, and I do NOT recommend head injuries for others, I find it interesting. Perhaps it merely gave me more time for both conscious thought, and listening patiently to confused Trump supporters -- not that I have any interest in talking with the vast majority of them.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #23)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:30 PM

24. Very interesting

I've been helping out family with English classes for an eight year old several days a week. Don't teach kids if you don't have patience. Why your head injury story reminded me of that lovely children's book The Hoghedge I don't know, but Max was hit in the head and started saying everything backwards until he was hit again. This all happened while he was trying to find a safe road crossing for the other hedgehogs. :

That said you always exhibit a sense of calm.

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Response to malaise (Reply #24)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:04 PM

31. Right.

Little children are the tadpoles of human-kind. By age eight, they devoloped, not totally unlike when those pollywogs start growing their hind legs. They are delightful, though they can take a lot of energy to teach.

Human brains are curious things. In another response here, someone mentioned "eugenics." My essay isn't about eugenics, of course, and it is a tortured interpretation to suggest otherwise. (I neither encourage or discourage Trump supporters to have children. I have less than zero interest in their sex lives.) The make-up on the chemical connections change constantly, and are related to things such as our moods, our diets, substances we use and abuse for medicine and/or recreation, aging, and injuries. Hence, courts generally treat youthful offenders differently than mature adults. It's not until around the age of 25 that even intelligent, good young people are able to think of the consequences of some of their behaviors.

A diet of Fox News etc certainly results in thinking that is distinct from a diet of serious news, for example. That's not a value judgement.

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Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:14 PM

35. Bookmarked!

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Response to kentuck (Reply #35)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:29 PM

36. I bookmarked that one

I do plan to link it to my signature line

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 03:04 PM

8. "They are not stupid or bad" depends on a particular point of view I suppose

My racist BIL runs a small museum, his wife works for the food bank. The both run their business. They are both bikers, and do honor guard for slain police officers. She can sew ANYTHING, and makes a lot of different things for charity. They are Interesting people with a lot of love for family. Generous. Warm. Funny as hell. Not religious. Loves Trump.


Did you see the operative word? They are both racists, although they might deny it at this point.

To me, that Makes them both stupid AND bad in one area of their lives that can overpower all the good they do. I actually quit any interaction with them for years, until we reached a slightly uneasy detente. We don’t talk politics. Gentle gibbing is it.

They think I am a “liberal” when it’s closer to describe me as an anti-racist first, liberal second. They literally have no idea, because they can’t comprehend how I think.

My SIL is an conservative who is NOT a racist. He has many good qualities, and we also do not talk politics. He is an avid hunter and fisherman. Adores his family, adore my daughter He knows climate change is real, he believes in good stewardship of the land. He issue is government waste and what he considers poorly thought out regulations. He works for the prison industry and was telling me about the problem with white supremacists way before Trump. He is neither stupid, nor bad, but holds widely different political views. Is certainly not fond of Trump, but I just can’t bring myself to ask if he voted for him. I know my daughter didn’t

Both these men despise Jay Inslee, our governor. For similar reasons, having to do with regulations, and gun ownership

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #8)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:13 PM

21. Great point.

My cousin often notes that the vast majority of Trump supporters he knows share two traits: they are racists, and they find a sense of safety in their gun collections. What a terrible way to experience life.

It's funny: one of the larger internet boxing web sites recently published my two interviews with Dr. Bandy Lee. I think that she was happily surprised at the overwhelming positive response they got, the best of any site I posted them on by far. So I think that is connected to if a person has an internal or external locus of control, when compared to racist gun nuts.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #8)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:38 PM

26. I am fascinated with the way humans can compartmentalize areas of their lives

and I agree that there are some what we call good qualities associated with most of our species.
Don the Con may be an exception.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 03:18 PM

9. Eugenics is not a good look

American culture has changed a lot over the last 50 years, and political polarization, and especially politics becoming very personal and part of ones identify, is just one of those changes. It is a like the problem of obesity, it is hard to give a definitive cause.

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Response to Steelrolled (Reply #9)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:16 PM

22. Eugene, Oregon is nice.

However, like eugenics, it has nothing to do with the OP.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #22)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:37 PM

25. I've never been to Eugene Oregon

But it sounds nice. I know them mainly for the Olympic trials.

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Response to Steelrolled (Reply #25)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:49 PM

28. I haven't, either.

I do have a long-standing invitation, as I have family and friends there.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 03:37 PM

10. blather on old friend.

 

subject of great interest to me.
i have posited a few times that the reason this plague will take hitler down is that this is about numbers, and they go through totally different channels in the brain.
the trumpkin in my life is apoplectic since he bet me the body count would be 8k.

like they say-number dont lie.
and liars may try to figure, but these numbers are already too big too spin.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #10)

Sat May 9, 2020, 05:48 PM

27. Thank you!

I love it!

Recently, I've been talking to a relative that I haven't been in close communication with for years. I guess it goes in cycles -- talk a lot at times, with long breaks in between. He said that things are tense enough around him, that he was thinking of buying a gun for home protection. Though he is to the left of the Democratic Party, I said that I am convinced the most important "home safety" thing we can do is to get as many people as possible to vote for Biden in November. He told me that he is definitely voting for Biden, as there is far too much at stake in our nation's future.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:03 PM

30. There is another kind of Trump supporter: religious zealots

And they long for a theocracy--Dominionists Pence, Barr, and Pompeo work towards that end, in utter opposition to the Constitution. Racism and firearms are useful tools, in their view, for the spread of these ideas.

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Response to Kitchari (Reply #30)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:10 PM

33. Absolutely.

Very important point! I agree 100%. They are repressed, superstitious individuals, and pose great dangers when they form crowds. I had several of them as clients seeking to justify their domestic violence. Without exception, my opinion was that they were very poor candidates for changing their behaviors outside of jail. I do not care what a person's religious beliefs are, but am concerned with the behaviors related to them.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:09 PM

32. They are not stupid or bad; they just believe alternative facts

With the caveat that one size does not fit all:

They've been indoctrinated by decades of Fox News, rightwing talk radio, and religious charlatans. It's all wrapped up in a "conservative" ideological belief system that borders on dogma. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #32)

Sat May 9, 2020, 06:11 PM

34. Very well said!

Thank you for this! I really appreciate it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 07:40 PM

37. Well, you know those wacky Buddhists say there's no such things as good or bad.

I'm no student but I think they state that life is a duality of constructive and destructive - both are vital because without death, there is no life.

Humans normalize a lot of abnormal stuff in order to feel normal. As for what is normal? That's relative to each person, but, I think most people give permanence to things like their faith, their community and their position in the hierarchy. When those basic norms start to feel shaky, folks turn primal.

I said on here, years ago, that electing Barack Obama was going to rip the bandage off a deeply infected American wound. For some people, being white was the one norm they could rely on so firmly, they had no idea they were doing it.

Most all Americans have been sliding down the class scale for the past 40 years and here we are today, with a wealth disparity as great or greater than the Gilded Age. I think everybody knows what's going on. They know shit is messed up and, in fear, they turn to communities and ideals that are comfortable and familiar because quiet desperation is fucking terrifying.

As for president twitter, well...

His complete failure to contain or manage this pandemic is going to kill so many more people. Anybody who isn't scared as hell right now will be scared soon enough. They are turning on him and it is our duty to ensure they find constructive communities and ideals, as opposed to destructive ones.

"...the best way out is always through." - Robert Frost

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