540 Comments

The Germans have made more progress in one lifetime than American society seems to have made since the 1880s.

The Civil War went underground, it just became a Cold War. 35-40% of the US adores Trump because he says and does what they can’t. Racist, sexist and homophobic values right out there in public.

The reason they created the myth that they won the election is because four years of Trump is their dream come true, and they want to keep living the dream. They want to live in their racist and sexist and homophobic bubble as long as possible, and the Capitol Riot was their attack on the democratic egalitarian society that is leaving them behind. The Big Lie is wishful thinking: “Can’t we always live openly as racists and sexists? We didn’t lose the election. Racism and sexism forever!!”

White supremacy does not mean loving the KKK. White supremacy is every Republican and every Trump voter who wants males to have it better than females, whites to have it better than everybody else, and straights to have it better than non-straights. Every Trump voter is racist, sexist, anti-gay, or anti-Jew or some combination.

It’s ugly, but that’s the Civil War we are in. A “civil war” is a war in society. The old civil society versus the new civil society. Red versus blue. Trump versus the future. That is a civil war. That is OUR civil war.

A more nuanced statement about Trump voters and Republicans

All my life I’ve wondered what’s the difference between the two parties. Silly me, being an intellectual, I thought that there was some ideological distinction.

Conservatives like the word tradition. When you want to do marketing and commercial outreach to conservatives, you use words like “heritage,“ “tradition,“ and “history.“

Now I understand why.

They prefer to live in the past, in the days of the old social order, maybe not back to slavery, but certainly back to when whites and men and straights had most of the authority.

Nobody is going to agree if you call them a racist or a sexist or a homophobe. Those are dirty words.

However, what draws those people together is what Prince Harry calls their “unconscious bias.“ American conservatives by and large are not very self-aware. They are not aware of their unconscious biases. A person who is unconsciously biased towards whites and males and straights might not even admit it to themselves. So obviously they would be incapable of admitting it to anybody else.

Maybe it sounds harsh when I say “every Trump voter is racist, sexist, anti-gay or anti-Jew or a combination.”

But like it or not, that’s what the January 6 Trump Rioters and Republican senators and Republican congressman and congresswomen and your average country club conservatives have in common: they are all biased in favor of whites, males, straights, and Christians and against the other groups and classes. That includes all those sicko Q people.

And that’s why I said white supremacy does not necessarily mean having a favorable opinion of the KKK. That’s the lame excuse that closet racists and sexists and homophobes use to justify and cover up the fact that they are social lepers. If you have a problem with the team of Stacey Plaskett, Jamie Raskin (a Jew), Nancy Pelosi who is 3rd in line for the presidency behind Kamala who is 2nd in line, et al, it’s because you are racist and sexist even if you can’t see it.

You get uncomfortable with women in their power. You get uncomfortable with non-Christians and non-whites. You don’t have the guts or the integrity to admit it to yourself, so you just go along with the Republican crowd and find words that are (pseudo) politically correct. Using a word like “nasty“ to describe a black or Latina woman in her power telling you to shove your racism and sexism up your ass. Questioning our black President’s heritage. Telling non-white congresswomen to go back where they came from. etc etc

If you vote for the person who says all that, it’s because you agree. You’re too much of a stinking wimp to come right out in public and say those things yourself, but you admire the man who does.

The Christians who are on the wrong side of history, like Mike Pence, are over there because they are attached to the pre-1960s model of one man one woman + children everyone straight man-has-more-power outdated Hallmark Channel family model. He is just as white supremacist and misogynistic as the sewer rats from January 6, he just puts a glossy coat of paint over it.

After reading this long argument, please reflect. Please don’t say Trump is going to go away. Please stop hoping that this problem will disappear. Please don’t put your head in the sand. The Christians who are attached to the old family model are not going to disappear. Racism and sexism and misogyny and homophobia and anti-Semitism are not disappearing, even if they are being slowly replaced. Ignorant people are subject to those illnesses. Stupid people continue to choose to believe them and act on them. Get used to it.

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Roland, I agree that there is a deep seated fear in people about others. Trump magnified that fear. Biden has the key to unlocking this fear - treating each person as an individual to be listen to, empathized with and helped where he can. No screaming, no capital letter tweets, no drama - all of which heighten the fear. Biden's refusal to be drawn into the impeachment drama was prescient. Biden is quietly just plugging away at his job.

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You gotta love what he and Kamala are doing. Brilliant work. My anxiety level has dropped precipitously.

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That said, the good news is this:

THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER

Shining light into all the dark corners is how you clean out the basement and the attic. Now it’s going to sound like I’m contradicting myself, but I’m not. We just had 4 years of the Confederacy and Nazi Germany in the WH, in the Executive, imo the voter backlash to our first African-American President. Jefferson Davis in the Oval Office woke everybody up. Now we have the awareness we need to fight back tooth and nail in every election from here on out.

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His number isn't just 45. It's also 2 -- the Confederacy's second president.

Whatever it is, soon his number is up.

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Clever turn of phrase brought me some insight. As he goes, so go his followers. His demise is a learning opportunity for his followers, since they identify so closely with him. First of all losing the presidency: they are in complete denial of that event, obviously. And then losing the Senate, he is being blamed widely for that. And eventually losing his freedom but gaining an orange jumpsuit. It’s not a good time for Trumpsters.

PS I’ve seen a lot of different labels for followers of Cheeto, but I like “Trumpster” because it rhymes with dumpster.

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Der PussenGropenTrumpenFuhrer

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🤣😂😅

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Last year it was good fun to build fake German sentences around that moniker. The laughing stopped in January.

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That is hysterical!

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Traitor in Chief to me.

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Fake45. Stole the election.

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100%

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I read that word, 'trumpster' and immediately flash to when Madame Tussauds dumped his wax sculpture into their dumpster.

Best memory ever.

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I like the image - orange jumpsuit to match the orange hair.

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If he does go to prison,will he be able to get his skin and hair dye jobs done?

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If only to match the jumpsuit. But do we care?

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Nice!

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Pence has remained as silent as a lamb. We have to wonder why he stayed loyal to a “dude” (said by Sasse) who ordered his murder. He, we know, is a Ken doll with no balls.

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He is cleverly staying out of the news. Heather talked of his silence on her FB chat yesterday (you can find the exceptional chat on her page) by saying he was hailed during the Trial as a patriot and hero for not caving to trump on the 6th. QED, he is someone the "business Republicans" (I've also heard them referred to as "mainstream Republicans") can nominate in 2024.

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It still amazes me that after the mob got so close to Pence and he understood Trump was inciting the mob to go after him and heard the chants to hang Pence, that he then refused to remove Trump from office. What kind of future leader does that?

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A power worshiper. NOT A LEADER does that.

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Power worshiper, that's a good one.

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We can not call such people "leaders". It is prostituting the language and giving meaning were it is not due. We should all teach that Just because someone won an election, does not make them a leader. Just because someone has a position of power, does not make them a leader.

A leader serves for the good, the advancement of followers in a moral, ethical, and legal manner, fulfilling their needs and wants, protecting their lives, ensuring their liberty, with equal advancement and protection to pursue their happiness.

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I know! There are no words to describe my disdain for most cult Republicans.

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Pence puts his dominionist beliefs ahead of politics. Like other 'end times' folks, he believes he had a role to play in carrying out 'God's plan'?, just as tp played a role, during these 'end times'. He's done his part and so he fades. The former president however, denies his part is over.

What baffles me is why the left hasn't picked up on the 'Antichrist' label the dominionists/end times believers use to brand leaders they despise? To declare tp to be the 'Antichrist', would be to sow seeds of doubt and question in the minds of those believers.

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I read somewhere that we per capita we are more armed than Yemen, and more secular than Turkey. Seems like the Christian right is even more radical than the gun lovers, and almost as zealous as the white supremist. Strange that it is only the issue of abortion that binds the white evangelicals and their lobby to the Republicans.

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The "end of times" worldview also validates Pence's fatalism and do nothing approach to the Pandemic as well. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? To acknowledge the pandemic and that we can control it ( as we have had done before since learning lessons from 1918 many times), would mean an acceptance of science. That's a bad road for the Christian fundamentalist like Pence, because he cant sell that in his twisted spirituality. He would have to accept global warming, and you just can't do that when you are on Charles Koch's and the Petroleum industry's payroll.

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You know, that has crossed my mind. That would have been a powerful, and insidious, attack on tp's base of Christian voters. A message that an attack dog like the Lincoln Project could have carried out. If I were a political messaging professional, it would have been tempting. Dangerous, but tempting.

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Especially when they own 666 5th Avenue.

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He had radio show before becoming a Congressman. I'm not sure he is a part of the biz Republicans. But, I do think his silence is way to keep one leg in each camp. Even though he is on his 3rd marriage, he is a member of the Christian Right wing. I think the Republicans are more complex and diverse than just these two camps of biz and white supremist populist. There is the Christian Right, the Libertarian wing, gun freaks, more? Pence uses populism same as Alex Jones and DT, just in a Christian Right wing message/theme.

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Anatomically incorrect former vice president

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It took over an hour to spot the Silence of the Lambs ref. Yay Marlene!

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TJP- I picked it up as soon as I read it-LOL!

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He’ll have to check with mother to see if he can grow them.

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Baaaa ba...

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Looking sharp in that tux, man.

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Thanks, I clean up well, but its a seldom occurrence.

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I shower once a week, whether I need it or not .....

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Trust me, she wants you to shower everyday, maybe twice.

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Marlene Lemer-Bigley I like the phrase "silent as a lamb" Kinda fits, given that the insurrectionists were looking to kill him.

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Roland, you are painting "conservatives" with a very broad (and harsh) brush. No doubt there are plenty of "conservatives" who fit your description, but certainly not all. With all respect, in your self-described rant you are coming across much like the people you vilify, only from the opposite side.

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Yes I’m sure. It’s venting from a lifetime of having this father, a father who is bossy and pushy and who stands for so much of what I deplore. It builds up.

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It has taken me this long to get to the bottom of what makes him and his enormous social circle tick. I can’t even begin to tell you all how grateful I am for your help in understanding conservatives and Republicans and my dad. The therapy benefits have been deep and invaluable. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

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I don't understand many of these people, but I always think it is dangerous to generalize. The following article may provide some insight. It was sent to me by a friend who does not in the least fit your description of "Christians on the wrong side of history." For many, it was a tough choice between Biden and Trump.

https://albertmohler.com/2020/10/26/christians-conscience-and-the-looming-2020-election

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This kind of “Christian” rationalization for voting for Trump is infuriating. If abortion is really your issue you would vote for the party that believes in sex education, free birth control, SNAP, healthcare for all, a living wage. You would vote for the party that actually supports women and families. You would vote for the party that actually reduces abortion by increasing the social safety net and requiring employers to pay a living wage. This new version of Christianity is what drove me out of the church.

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Yep. But Christianity as an institution has always been--and will always be--hypocritical, and many, many Christians (no, I will not tar all of them with the same brush but dang they're persistent) have always been--and will always be--hypocrites. However, all religions as institutions are, in their particular ways, racist, sexist, homophobic: they're just not as well organized as Christianity. The extremism in the Islamicist community is modeled on Christian extremism (albeit from the medieval period), with the historical fantasy of some notional "caliphate" from the past that never did anything that they claim occurred. Judaism has had to be decentralized since 70 CE and the destruction of the Second Temple; Israel does not speak for Jews although a huge number (especially in the USA) seem to be comfortable with Apartheid when it comes to Israeli policies. The religions of India (lumped together as "Hinduism" in the West but that really isn't a thing) are viciously racist and sexist. Even Buddhism had its imperial period and, in certain places (Burma, anyone?!), it behaves like any other organized religion. Organizations have to be self-regulating and self-perpetuating at all costs in order to survive. If Christianity actually operated on the principles of "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick" it would have disappeared a long time ago.

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One, single issue. Never mind climate change, international cooperation, bringing an end to the pandemic. This rationale for Trump from a man who calls childless married couples “godless” and the practice of yoga “evil”. Oh Please ....

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I agree completely Elizabeth. And reversing Roe v. Wade would not end choice anyway. Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and 1960s ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. One analysis, extrapolating from data from North Carolina, concluded that an estimated 829,000 illegal or self-induced abortions occurred in 1967." - Guttmacher Institute. What reversing Roe v. Wade would do is to drive women underground, significantly increasing the likelihood that they will resort to an illegal abortion carried out under unsafe conditions. Studies show that the number of abortions decrease once societies have good sex education and free access to contraception. And when SNAP, healthcare for all, and a living wage are added to the mix, the number of abortions are likely to plummet.

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Thank you for putting what I feel into words....my stepson is a pastor in a small congregation (and also a police officer!) and did struggle a bit with trump...not liking him personally but....insert all rationalizations!

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Perhaps it’s a faux pas to try to mine the multiple scholars here for info and if so I humbly apologize. I’m more of a scientist and very much a novice when it comes to religious history. I’m only aware of Christian missionaries. Do other organized religions send out their flock to “convert” total strangers to their own beliefs.

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Well said.

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Ditto.

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Elizabeth, since this letter is now a couple of days old, I don't know if many people will see this reply. I've had time to reflect on the many comments to my post of Dr. Mohler's article. I shared it because I assume his thinking represents a significant block of voters, and they are not people who blindly followed Trump. They are operating from a different set of presuppositions that we need to try to understand and respect if we are to have any hope of unifying our country. Or at least identifying common ground.

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I collect quotes I like, and one of them is "Let’s say you are adamant about being anti-abortion. Are you adamant about raising the baby when it gets here? Are you adamant about the baby having health care? Are you adamant about the baby having food and education? You can’t be for life inside the womb and not be for life outside the womb."

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They are though! It’s more about controlling a woman’s body than anything to do with affirming life.

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I've heard them called "pro-birth."

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I couldn’t agree more. I once had a private opportunity to ask Flip Benham, of Operation Rescue “fame,” what became of the babies they rescued. “Well, they need fathers in the home.” I didn’t even bother with a follow up. 🤦‍♀️

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I like this thought.

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The best one is the last one you stated.

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How many children become foster kids - because their home is not safe - they are not cared for etc? I agree - time for these anti-abortion people to put their money & time where their mouth is! My daughter-in-law has raised several foster children and adopted several! Parents either abused them or just could not care for them. And there are many many kids in that situation.

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This article is exactly why so-called Christians scare the heck out of me! Now that many of their services are on TV or online, any sermon the Sunday before an election is Exhibit 1 for why their tax-exempt status should be removed!

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Voters should separate their religious beliefs from their political beliefs ... and vote accordingly ... and pray accordingly. This is why so many immigrants came here in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. By the 20th, we were already mingling too much religion with politics.

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And the fact the large footprints of their physical buildings and parking lots, exempt from taxes if I’m not mistaken? Yet they have the $$ to lobby politicians.

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I found this article and this man's rationalizations to be outrageous! I think in general that single issue voters are shallow and self-serving and not well-educated about the complexities of the society we live in. To overlook Trump's moral failings and mendacity in favor of his position on abortion is so much excuse making. So we had Trump for four years and now we have an ultra-conservative Supreme Court. We almost lost our democracy because of this man and we are still in grave danger from white supremacists and domestic terrorists as a result of Trump. Does this make you happy, Albert Mohler? Was it worth it?

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Jesus weeps.

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Indeed if the embodiment of Christ were here with us that person would weep for us.

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Mr Mohler is clearly a one-issue voter, despite his interminable rationalizations. And his lack of consideration for women’s rights is sickening. All backed by his own personal god. Ugh.

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I haven’t read the article, but there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for making women second class. None. Anything else is kaka.

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Yes, that’s absolutely what I took from his article.

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I have the perfect solution to the problem, so lengthily put forth, regarding the Christian one-issue solution in selecting a United States of America president.

When that righteous selection is blind to every other moral & ethical characteristic save anti-abortion advocacy (and, boy-oh-boy, Trump sure has your number) then I’ve the perfect answer to your quest to force WOMEN to bear the burden of an unwanted child. It takes two to tango but usually it’s the woman who bears all the shame and burdens of raising “their” child alone.

All evangelical/anti-abortion advocates can become financial partners in the raising of these “unwanted”children through the age of 21, adulthood.

This would include housing, food, sundries, decent clothing, medical co-pays and of course proper schooling including college.

Unless, of course, there were problems. That being the case, paying would shift for all costs associated with any legal fees and all, humanely enforced, incarceration should circumstances require. This would include any medical situations and, of course, the psychiatric counseling that currently is denied due to costs.

This would take the burden away from all tax paying Americans. We could throw in a clause that all pro-choice advocates should pay into a pool for any costs associated with legally sanctioned abortions.

Problem solved! What do ya say one-issue evangelicals?

Wait... no? Oh, well, there’s that horrid term again. The unconscious racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic wolf in sheep’s clothing metaphor.

Put your money where your mouth is or rethink your hypocrisy.

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Wow. That article is really something. So erudite. And yet...aargh!! My only response is that I do not believe that a loving god, creator of all this...would look down on this specific planet and country, in the condition we are in today...and appreciate that logic and that decision.

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Amazing Judy Mc. I read that very article some time ago and I was appalled by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. need to turn himself inside out to vote for Trump. That kind of twisted logic is why I left religion.

What it came down to, in the end, is his position on abortion. For those of us who live in a country where abortion is legal, with the equally consistent view that the death penalty is outlawed) we see the issue of abortion as one where government (almost always a bunch of old white men) should not force their moral views on women. Each woman is a person, thoughtful, principled and with their own moral standard and each woman deserves respect. They are entitled to make their own moral choice. If a woman opposes abortion, and many do, then they will not get an abortion.

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I live not far from a village called Karlin. When the old Catholic Church was for sale, a group of us considered buying it and renaming it "The United Church of Carlin", our prophet being the wise George. Recliners instead of pews, comedy instead of tomes, and, recently legalized substances instead of wine. One member was a seminary dropout who takes The New Testament very seriously, so he would be our guide. Then a furnace company bought the building for storage. George probably would find the humor, and lesson, in that.

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This idiot is exactly the same as the Obvious Idiots. He just covers up better.

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Well, this has been a fun thread. Thanks for all the comments!

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So the gist is: the idea that every woman should have a decision over her own body AND welfare just doesnt come into this. Quite honestly, I have NO idea if I would ever have had an abortion, BUT its MY decision - not someone elses! The older I get (and I'm 82) the more I feel that way. Voting for trump after stating all the reasons why not? Thats an excuse and not a good one.

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France has suffered greatly over the last 40 years as "68ers" have come to power and have spent that time working out in public their father-related complexes. The pre-68 family relationships were patriarchal, catholic and "conservative". The mess France is in now is a result of these "young poiticians'" incapacity to appreciate that their was some good in the way society, work and education was organized prior and that their upbringing as adolescents may have been fraught with rigidities and conflict at some point but all was not to be thrown out unless you have something pretty solid to replace it. Their focus has been the slogan "it is forbidden to forbid" and on the destruction of what their fathers stood for. Unfortunately the result has been far from brilliant...steadily increasing and massive unemployment, declining relative wealth of the nation, cultural chaos and growing popular anger at being ignored by the highly educated Numbskulls who are ruling them without listening, who are telling them that they are wrong to fear loss of cultural identity and socio-economic slippage, who are ignorant if they feel that the areas outside of Paris are ignored by the ruling elite. Come-uppance time is very close indeed! The yellow vest revolt was but a foretaste of things to come....1789 was not pretty but it is the way French society changes political systems.

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Judy while tolerance is important and the Buddhist sentiment “don’t try to enlighten the unenlightened.” apply here. It is important to see Roland’s final point that ignorance of biases subjects us to our illnesses and stupidity enables us to choose to continue to believe our illnesses are correct. I personally have all of the biases towards straight, white, males, after all I am one, but I can recognize people who are not me as worthy. I can extend them all the courtesies due any one of us because they are human. We are all on this same boat together. If only it were not so hard to work together. Working together requires dropping our blinders. Trumpistas don’t seem to want to work together. Generally speaking those who support his tRumpiness fit Roland’s mold. And generally speaking those of us who support the new President aren’t quite as subject to stupidity. That is the stupidity of unconscious bias.

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Thank you David this is beautiful.

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I agree with Roland, at least on the stance that most people who voted for Trump either represent a gang, openly hostile to all but white men, and privileged business owners protecting their business interests.

My only point of divergence is with Latino Latina Trump voters, especially Floridians. Most of those folks escaped either Cuba or El Salvador and the horrors of their autocrats. They were probably hit the hardest with anti-Democrat propaganda by telling them they would be voting for the kind of country they left.

Reaching that desperation point in people is the current Republican brand. And though many of us are savvy enough to see through them, there are so many people who connect to their fears with those triggering commercials. And Trump championed the art of pressing on those fears.

I bring this up to remind people that we have a long way to go to convince people that they don’t have to fear a Democratic government; that a government that invites everybody to participate is a better government than one which glorifies a single leader - a brand instead of substance.

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Restoring a strengthened Fairness Doctrine will reduce the frequency and impact of fear-mongering campaign ads.

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Agreed, though I think that’ll be a tough nut to crack. I think right now, we should demand that the politicians who serve is not lie to us for political gain. Everybody understands sarcasm and hyperbole, but if push a conspiracy theory or an outright lie that advances your career, you can be open to legal action and censure.

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Heather’s Facebook chat yesterday included a very good explanation of the term “conservative”. It changed my perspective on the word and anyone here who hasn’t seen it would likely benefit from the information she shares.

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Is there any other place to see this besides Facebook? Thanks.

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These usually are uploaded to her YouTube channel, but on a delayed basis. Facebook provides the best immediacy.

Here's the link I have: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1311270322605117&ref=notif&notif_id=1613509309594136&notif_t=live_video_explicit

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Thank you!

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The previous reply that says they are uploaded to her YouTube channel but with a delay is exactly what I came back to say. Hope you are able to find it - the above referenced post included a link, as well.

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Yes, Carol, you can subscribe, for $5 per month, to Heather's Letters From an American newsletter, which will appear in your inbox daily. Just Google it.

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Hi Randy. She's asking about watching Heather's Chats on FB Watch Chats on Tuesdays at 4 and Thursdays at 1. :-)

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oops

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Could u elaborate on this?

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Sorry, I caught up with yesterday's lecture. I think i get it now.

Republicans ARE not "conservative" anymore. The goalposts have moved, or better analogy, they replaced the goal post with flagpoles and call them goalposts.

To conserve, Lincoln meant conserving the Union and the organizing principles of our founders.

Today, pre Fascists are using the term "conservative" falsely. Like all authoritarian regimes, the corrupt the language to corrupt the opinions of the working class masses. I suspect the business class is in on it. But now legally corporations are people, just lacking souls. And just like in 1930's Germany, the conservatives losing power and credibility, bind up with the fascists to maintain power.

The only thing they wish to conserve is their power through voter suppression and since Jan 6th serious insurrection, they are promoting and encouraging mass political violence. To conserve their power they promote all government spending and agency's as wasteful and incompetent ( save for defense). They want to pay as little in taxes as possible. Today's Oligarchy, like those before it, already have plenty of resources to take care of themselves in everyway. The wealthy do not need Government for anything save for defense. This American Oligarchy sees any government as a threat to their continued wealth amassing. They want no government oversight for the environment, no financial regulation, no respect or increased funding for education and Public Health, and thus no respect for human dignity.

But Republicans are not pre Fascists now. They are Fascists. They are a cult to a dear leader. "Fascism is a patriarchal cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by a treacherous and power-hungry global elite, who have encouraged minorities to destabilize the social order as part of their plan to dominate the “true nation,” and fold them into a global world government. The fascist leader is the father of his nation, in a very real sense like the father in a traditional patriarchal family. He mobilizes the masses by reminding them of what they supposedly have lost, and who it is that is responsible for that loss – the figures who control democracy itself, the elite; Nazi ideology is a species of fascism in which this global elite are Jews.

"The future promised by the fascist leader is one in which there are plentiful blue collar jobs, reflecting the manly ideals of hard work and strength. In Nazi propaganda, many white collar jobs, the domain of Jews – running department stores, banking – were for the idle. And the fascist nation’s heart and soul is the military – as Hitler writes, “[w]hat the German people owes to the army can be briefly summed up in a single word, to wit: everything.” The fascist future is a kind of restoration of a glorious past, but a modern version – replete with awesome technology that glorifies the nation to the world. The German V-2 rocket was a characteristic representation of Nazi might. The fascist future is, in the famous description of Jeffrey Herf, a kind of reactionary modernism."

https://www.justsecurity.org/74504/movie-at-the-ellipse-a-study-in-fascist-propaganda/

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Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

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Unconscious bias is a concept to be handled with extreme care. This seemingly irrefutable arguement....as you are not aware of being so biased and don't necessarily express it other than by lifestyle...can easily become the imposition of another's opinion in the place of your own and in the process you are being told you are stupid for not knowing you had it. How long will it take, with a weapon like this in people's hands before it becomes a method of control and limitation of free speech and thought, imposing the "official line" and acceptable wisdom of a segment of the population...elite or otherwise...It must be said that the Chinese State is particularly advanced along this line and quite adept at imposing its will in this way. Through "re-education" camps and citizenship "performance" monitoring and "nudging" in the right direction impenitent backsliders. With such powers, how long will it be before we follow them and start to punish those who don't want the official biases imposed upon their "unconscious ones and thius are pushed to the margins of society.

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I agree with everything you said, Roland, but alas am not enamored of the ending. :) I hope instead of 'getting used to it,' we can proactively disempower it. Your description of the problem being a subconscious need to cling to a glorified past, and implying fear of a progressive future--one where straight white males are no longer dominant, but part of a diverse community--is brilliant. When we understand that, hopefully we can address and allay people's fears. To do so, we need to shine a light on the benefits of a better future. We need new stories. Ones that no longer glorify the rugged solo cowboy, but highlight the camaraderie of the diverse group of people sitting around the campfire together.

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Yes! New Stories!!!

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"Your description of the problem being a subconscious need to cling to a glorified past, and implying fear of a progressive future--one where straight white males are no longer dominant, but part of a diverse community--is brilliant."

Hello Imogene. You are kind, thank you. Please give yourself credit, along with everyone else here on HCR, because this is one of 3 places where I worked this all out. HCR, Greg Olear, and the original progressive teacher and mentor, my wife.

My science-fiction-future-society-story-in-development has no cowboys, no loners, only teams. Well, I take it back, one character was raised in cowboy country, a conservative state, but he is there to prove the point that the future of society is in egalitarian teamwork. He is there to bring along all the people in society he represents.

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Much of what you say, Roland, is true. Sadly, these divisions run deep and provide a rich soil for the growth of authoritarianism. The forty-three Senators who voted for acquittal made an unequivocal endorsement of a dictator who would seize power and negate our votes, in a heartbeat.

For me the key issue is: what is our path to be, to maintain and grow equality and democracy? It is easy to rouse a crowd with hatred and that is what we have witnessed and there will be more.

How do we stand and gain ground. Clearly we need a constant drumbeat of "vote and serve", "vote and serve." Our daily dialogue with our neighbors must reflect this.

But please let's not fall into the same trap as the "Movement Conservatives" and divide our country into what" Saints and Scum? Let's build the awareness and the power of the solid majority and, whenever possible, chip away at the iceberg (90% underwater) of division, racism and hatred.

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At first glance perhaps it looks like I’m being divisive. But actually I love my father very much, even though in some major ways we are definitely not on the same page. I got fortunate with both of my sisters, all three of us *are* on the same page re: politics and society. I work with truck drivers and warehouse guys ((and the occasional gal)). Vast majority are Trumpsters. Oh well. Probably 80% of the people I work with are Trumpsters. We are all cut from the same cloth, are we not? Love thy neighbor as thyself because thy neighbor is thyself. The distinction between self and other is an illusion. We are all facets of one huge gem.

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Roland, you've definitely launched a fire storm here.

First, I'm going to challenge you on the Germans. They too have the problems we do. Right-wing extremist, racist attitudes about select foreign groups, etc. What they have done, is made every high school student visit a concentration camp for a day. They have universal conscription. And, they stammtisch where people can meet in informal meetings talk civilly about the issues of the day. Too bad we don't follow that model in this country.

Second, I'm a Christian in a national prominent denomination that supports equal rights for all people, support women in leadership roles, supports gay rights, supports social justice, etc. They may have a different view on abortion, but they're not against planned parenthood. Nor charity. Nor taking care of their neighbors and members of the congregation. When Covid hit, many of our congregation received the Covid relief checks and donated it to a church fund to help our less fortunate members and when they wasn't needed, helped out those in our community. That's the Christianity I belong too and frankly I am tired of reading people chastising the faith when they apparently know so little about the faith except what they read/hear from media pundits. True, there are those "fundamentalist" who believe what you say. But, they don't set the tone for a majority of Christian congregations in this country, but they do make great stories for the media.

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There's hope for me yet! ❤

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Always!

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So I'm not a clueless dummy bashing Christians. I am a moral person who is opposed to Christians supporting a world-class criminal and serial sex offender. If you are Mike Pence, there is something wrong with your moral code.

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The long message "Ok, challenge away!" is 1st, this "clueless dummy" post is 2nd.

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Thank You for this.

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"First, I'm going to challenge you on the Germans"

Ok, challenge away!

My knowledge of Germans is dated, I lived there in the 70s, my parents were born there in the 1930s. I did phrase that statement carefully, because I can't say I know for sure that Germans made more progress since the 1940s than Americans since the Civil War. It's a conversation starter. But given how right-wing our society is, given that close to 40% of America favors Trump, I have to give the Germans the edge. They are more progressive than we are, or so it seems, again I am not current. Our European-based commenters here, like Stuart and R Dooley and Gailee and our newcomers from the UK, + Daria in Mexico, and our resident scholars, could provide more substantive arguments. I am certainly open to being educated.

"Second, I'm a Christian..."

Well, Larry, you are certainly my kind of Christian!! Unitarian Universalism (UU) goes against the grain of most Christian denominations, many of which are rooted in the past and/or rooted in superstition, old beliefs that have not caught up with current social reality. Obviously I do not include enlightened Christian faith in my generalization about Mike Pence. Joe Biden is Catholic, but so far he is magnificent. Barack and Michelle Obama went to church, naturally I wouldn't include them either in my sweeping generalization. I know the California Catholic church, which has Franciscan and Jesuit roots, is excellent and fascinating in many ways, my wife is linked in to a whole network of Italian-heritage Catholics in the SF Bay Area. They are awesome people.

Let me say that I don't get my opinions about Christianity from the media, nor are my opinions superficial or ill-informed. I like to speak definitely and forcefully only when I have knowledge and experience to back it up. My father was raised Roman Catholic in Bavaria, so that's my whole paternal side. My sisters and me went to Sunday school during my elementary school years at a Lutheran church in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was making a concession to my mom. I have been to family seders and bar mitzvahs in high school in Germany (remember, Joshua was a Jew). I visited many different Christian churches over the years, because I was curious, and searching. At one point, believe it or not, I applied to Yale Divinity School and received a full scholarship offer because of the entrance interview where me and the interviewer discussed M. Scott Peck. I decided not to go that path, turned down the offer, but not before I had to choose a denomination as part of the entrance requirements. UU in Boston. I have studied the roots and history of the LDS church going all the way back to a book report in elementary school. I happen to know that Joseph Smith was inspired by a vision of the emerald tablets. I have an excellent if dated book called Extraordinary Groups by Kephart and Gellner that is fascinating, talks about JW, LDS, Shakerism, Old World Amish, and other religious groups in America. The LDS Church is the fastest growing religion in the world, with intriguing origins. I study the origins, those same Emerald Tablets of Thoth.

It is the origins of religions that interests me, because the founders are inspired individuals, bringing us something special. I have unconventional views on this subject, views that would be controversial even here. I think Joshua really did walk on water and turn water into wine. I don't think those stories were made up after the fact by starry-eyed devotees, because the various original "gospels" agree on certain points like this one. In my mind, there are certain exceptional individuals, men and women both, who have skills-abilities that the rest of us have forgotten. Carlos Castaneda wrote about the Huichol tradition, and his mentors Don Juan and Don Genaro were able to do many of the same magical things Joshua is purported to have done. These exceptional individuals bring with them a light which we could all benefit from, an enlightened view. Unfortunately but predictably, events like the Council of Nicaea tend to dilute and distort the purity of the original message, hence superstition becomes a factor over time.

I have read every historical account of Joshua and his life I could find (but not in the last several decades), from Biblical gospels to Urantia Book. Even The Da Vinci Code. Was Mary from Magdala the wife of Joshua? That is a wide open question, and you wouldn't have to work hard to persuade me that her life was X-ed out because of sexism.

All that investigative work aside, imo Joshua's Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and every great religion drinks from the same well. Mitra. Zoroaster. We are being shown who we are. We are being shown a better way to think and to behave and to live. Francis of Assisi. My patron saint, because I was born in St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. Be kind to others. Help those in need. Treat your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others. I am an Eagle Scout, and what hooked me into Scouting is the ethics, the motto, the moral code. I believe that morality and ethics and basic humanity rules the world of society, and every person, Christian or religious or non-religious, is equal in the eyes of the Goddess and the Divine and deserves utmost care.

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Roland, thanks for sharing this. It helps understand your point of view. Did your parents leave before the war or after? Have read alot about Nazi Germany, am writing my own fiction book/story about German POWs in the US during the war, etc. My effort was to understand how a nation of civilized people could allow what they did to the Jews and others. Then, I see similar leaning in our country and it makes me angry.

As for religion, glad we have a similar view as to what Christian is supposed to be but is more often failed by man than promoted by its believers. But, I've learned that the best way to "spread" the faith isn't by pontificating about the teachings as much as demonstrating them. It's worked for me.

Again, thanks for this conversation.

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btw Larry I have commented extensively here on HCR and also on Greg Olear about the Trump and Hitler connection. Trump has read and studied Hitler, a 1941 book in English that was given to him. Trump's practices imitated Hitler's. That has been a frequent point of discussion here on HCR. Whenever anyone talks Hitler's Germany and mentions Trump, they are speaking my language, and incidentally my first language was German. My paternal side of the family is the most Hitler-friendly of the 2 sides, although I have been told that my paternal grandfather did not like Hitler. However, I think he was in the minority in that society, he was certainly in the minority in my dad's family.

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Yes. Demonstrate. Model.

I live not far from Beale AFB, which used to be “Camp Beale,” I’ve heard some rumored stories about German POWs held there.

My parents were born early 1930s, front row seat for the entire show. They emigrated to the US in the ‘50s. They met in SF, that’s my birthplace.

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CORRECTION. The Germans no longer have conscription. They stopped it in 2011, but Merkel had considered bringing it back when the military wasn't reaching its recruiting goals.

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Much wisdom here. I can imagine certain of Roland's characters expressing some similar views.

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Hmmm, thought provoking reply as usual. I rant here on HCR, and Greg Olear and Lucian Truscott and in my journal. I rant when I am hashing out concepts in the story, just to myself and a few other people. But so far none of my characters have ranted in the book.

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Actually only one of my characters is an American who grew up in a conservative, Republican state. My work here on that subject is helping me be able to write this character intelligently, without sounding like an ignoramus. Although my dad is an arch conservative, my schooling is in California and Germany, progressive training. I really needed to understand this part of society to write this character plausibly and powerfully. I want certain people to identify with him with ease.

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Having been born ad raised in Alabama and a self-described recovering racist, let me help you with understanding that part of society. In your original post, in reference to racists, you wrote: "You don’t have the guts or the integrity to admit it to yourself, . . ." When your very existence, much like the air you breath, is racist, you don't comprehend that YOU are part of the problem so there is nothing to admit. When challenging their world view, a racist will not admit to something they have no foundation to comprehend.

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So true, Kelly! If we're really honest, we are all recovering racists. Ibram X. Kendi was on Brene Brown's podcast last summer. He had this to say about how we are all immersed in racism just by virtue of growing up in the U.S. “If we talk about racist ideas…..to grow up in America is to grow up with racist ideas constantly being rained on your head and you have no umbrella and you don’t even know… that you’re wet with those racist ideas…because those racist ideas cause you to think that you’re dry.”

We don't get let off the hook, though, just because we can't avoid the environment in which we are raised. Once we know better, we must be better.

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Yes! Love Brene Brown. Need to make time to listen to her Podcasts. I'm not sure when, exactly, I started describing myself as a "recovering racist" but it's been awhile. My oldest grandchild is 7 so sometime since then. I was like Debby Irving, who wrote Waking Up White. I thought I wasn't racist and would have denied it but I now recognize that, even today, I have embedded thoughts that I have to reprogram. I feel I have made huge leaps in progress and try to make others aware. Kendi has it right!

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Yeah, a fish swimming in water doesn’t see water.

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Exactly!

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Kelly, as a white Southern male I come from the same kind of background you allude to. I think a LOT of WASP-ish males from here are "recovering _____________" (insert negative behaviour/mindset of choice). I tend to think it takes a certain kind of mind to be able to look at oneself critically. It takes guts to do it because one doesn't always like what one sees. It's always easy to stay in one's present mindset, kind of lazy, actually. Not everybody feels the need to evolve. Now, let me state for the record that am I not at all "tooting my own horn" and somehow saying I'm better...merely that people have to decide this kind of thing for themselves: stay the same, or try and change for the better (whatever we perceive that "better" to be). For me personally, it was necessary, and I try to continue to evolve. I keep trying for that Jung-ian ideal of seeing myself as I really am--Jung says there is a way others see us, a way we see ourselves, and betwixt them is the way we REALLY are. The last one is the one I'm merely trying to see.

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Stay the course. Maybe, just maybe, with all the resources available we'll make some REAL progress!

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Kelly I just have to say I have huge respect from somebody who can use the term “recovering racist.“ I am a recovering racist and sexist too, although I don’t deserve any real credit compared to you. Bravo‼️

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I spent a good deal of my formative years trying to understand religion and racism. I would have steadfastly denied I was a racist while labeling my entire family as such. I intentionally raised my children to be non-rascist. They have taught me much in return. I find that younger Alabamians get it, although they don't want their parents to know. When visiting, they are shocked to see Rachel Maddow on my TV screen. Opens the door for many a thought-provoking conversation. We all live our journey and "arrive" at our own pace. My grandchildren are biracial. You do a much deeper dive into who you really are when your white daughter marries a black man. Best SIL evah!

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Thank you Kelly‼️

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I was in 5th grade when the first black child, a girl, arrived at school. I felt sorry for her having no friends. So, I befriended her. That resulted in the white kids all moving away from me on the bench (tip to Alice's Restaurant).

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There is a strong German tradition of liberal education, dating from the 18C Aufklarung (Kant's term). Among other merits, it positively influenced Americans like Henry Adams and WEB DuBois. But the Germany of Schiller, Goethe, Humboldt and Heine, also e.g. the 1848ers and Eduard Bernstein, tends to get blocked out by all that Prussian militarism, world wars, fascism, Nazis and genocide. Tragedy.

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Many shades of gray. Like every culture. My mother grew up learning about all those luminaries, but unfortunately her American-born children did not. Pity.

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My father voted for Trump. He is the son of a refugee, married to a refugee. He’s a Jew who votes on Israel. He puts down The Squad, and would deny the label of White supremacist and misogynist, although the labels fit well. Christians are not the only MAGA out there.

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There's still time. Stuff yourself with brain food. Thought for food.

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What do you write? Where do we find your books/stories?

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Working on a sci fi novel. I am not a fiction writer, so it's quite the challenge, but I have made a ton of progress in 6 months. When it's available, this will be one of the first places I announce it. My wife and I are doing something of a remake, I use that word very very loosely, of The Fifth Sacred Thing, but without the dystopia. The novel is a story about humanity returning to harmony with the Earth. Right now I am working on the first mission for the team of characters. So far it looks like a team project (a mission impossible) to enact a solution which combines overpopulation and the broken world economic system.

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Sadly, I agree with you Roland. Even the traditional conservatives that once ran the GOP were opposed to everything that empowers the “other”. That said, if the Democrats can demonstrate policies that clearly benefit working Americans we could begin to counter the lies with self interest. Perhaps then we can write a different ending.

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Just a slightly different take on a general agreement with your observations.

Our species calls itself Homo Sapiens, or Thinker. But it is probably more accurate to call our species Story-Teller. We make up stories about the universe and ourselves, and have rules for those stories: things like sequence, causality, parsimony, elegance, plausibility, etc. The stories have very practical consequences: for instance, a story about a wounded deer that went in that direction, based on a few cryptic scratches in the dirt, can predict the location of food for the family-group. Stories also bind us together into a community, and our species is a communal species, not a collection of loners, like jungle cats. Stories are what allow us to pass on multigenerational knowledge about the world.

One problem every species faces is radical and sudden environmental change. When adaptive stories are encoded in DNA, it takes thousands of generations to encode wisdom, and rapid environmental change causes extinction. Stories can be adapted much more quickly, and cultures can evolve (adapt to change) much more rapidly than species.

But even stories take time to change, and propagate, and become "common sense."

Our environment is changing very, very, very rapidly. Our physical environment, our technological environment, our cultural environment. Most of our cultural stories reflect a slower, larger world. The Pony Express riders averaged 7 MPH. The trip from Philadelphia to New York City took three days by fast carriage. In the 1400's, the largest city in Europe was Paris, with a population of about 150,000, which qualifies as a small town today.

Most people can't keep up with the modern rate of change, and cultural stories can't be adapted fast enough to keep up with survival needs. Our principal adaptive advantage as a species is overwhelmed, and is visibly fracturing.

This was not uncommon in the past, but was usually associated with warlike invasions, pandemic plague, or severe local conditions, like drought. Our modern "normal" conditions are what any prior civilization would consider wartime levels of disruption, and they are continuous. Our actual modern wartime conditions are what the ancients would have called the end of the world.

So I don't think it's surprising that conservatives, and particularly religious conservatives who have made a fetish of preserving (conserving) the old stories, can't let go of the old stories and adapt to working women, sex-role ambiguity, multiple faiths, racial equality. When they do try to adapt the old stories without fundamentally changing them, they shatter, and you get unhinged conspiracy theories pasted together from the wreckage. The rest end up clinging to One Thing from the old stories, like a broken spar from a shipwreck at sea -- abortion, homosexuality, low taxes, white supremacy, ....

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Thank you for this!!! Love it!

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Roland, you, my dude, are my spirit animal. This "long argument" is just plain brilliant and concisely summarizes pretty much every single gripe I have about T***pists and every single thing they represent. I want to copy & paste this on my FB page, if that's okay, and will give credit as to your first name and where this was originally posted. I think you speak beautifully to what so many of us believe as an explanation of what is the allure of T***P and what he represents. THANK YOU.

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Thank you so much, Bruce, you are very kind.

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Of course, help yourself. Everything I post here is free for the taking.

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Bruce, give yourself and everyone here and Heather credit for this summary of mine. Also give credit to Greg Olear and to the ultimate teacher, my wife, who was raised with union activist, Communist parents in the days before Russia betrayed all their hopes and dreams with a dictatorship that exploited (I want to say "raped") the ideal of a free and fair society.

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Misogny and racism exist in all of us to varying degrees. No one escapes the dominant cultural education - especially if you've reached your 50's plus. Key is the level of self-awareness. The determinant of whether you act it out. MLK put the devil where he thrives

- racism, militarism, and capitalism. We can talk about racism, but not the other two? How is that? What is the one element or attitude which these three have in common? If you were to pick one as the foundation for the other two, which would you pick? Are we

not facing MLK's observation? You cannot have both democracy and capitalism. What is it about capitalism that is destroying democracy? What is its core motive? Its consequences? Read: today and yesterday going back at least 40plus years.

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Wow Roland! your argument really hits the nail on the head. May I share?

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Absolutely. Anything I post here is fair game, have at it. My sci fi book material is copyrighted.

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My most recent RWNJ jousting match has to do with a Prager U post that one of my friends posted. They all see the man (has a large number of children; 8 birth and 5 adopted who are Black) who presents that he wants his Black kids to be treated the same as his white kids, and tried to contact BLM to see how he could help, but was confounded by their anti law and order stance and their pro communist stance) speaking so sincerely. I see condescending white privilege. The more I engage with these folks, the deeper they dig their heels in. We cannot talk with these folks in the milieu of social media.

Trump and his ilk are not going to go away; we need to disempower them and illustrate their narrative. They are so wedded to their sincerely held beliefs that there is really no hope of changing their minds except with one on one conversations over a great deal of time.

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Absolutely no changing their minds. Once they’ve drink the Kool-Aid, that’s it. Here’s another case for incurable die-hard Trumpitis. I am in complete agreement with Ally House and with Lucian Truscott, see the link.

https://luciantruscott.substack.com/p/stop-being-angry-with-democrats-for?r=7mr17&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

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OMG, if there is one.

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“Unconscious bias”, yes. One of my brothers is a staunch trumpster. He used to post on LinkedIn about leadership. Quotes from all sorts of well known business leaders, historical figures, and among those, he would share something about trump and say “great leader!” Drove me a little batty because imho trump is only a leader of anger and otherism . I don’t know if he still does that as I deleted that account. My brother won’t admit it but he leans strongly toward misogynism.

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It's tough, very tough. For me it's my father.

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Hi Roland, I can so relate to your rant and difficult fathers. One of the aspects of my father that I think was the main hidden problem was his alcoholism. He was a controlled alcoholic, so never missed work etc. but alcohol had a seat at the table in our house. This showed up as first: Anger--anger is the first sign of alcoholism, next: irritability, then: impulsive behavior, then: lack of reasonability, then: extraversion, demanding attention always be on him and finally: a closure of the mind to new or different opinions and ideas. These are all signs of long term brain damage from continued alcohol abuse. And as addiction to drugs or alcohol is a huge unaddressed problem in our society--it also factors into the mix.

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And without hesitancy or a divisive comment, President Biden approved Texas’ emergency declaration. How wonderfully refreshing.

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Common decency is so refreshing! Especially when it’s been absent from the highest office in the land! Folks almost forgot what it looks like and sometimes as important Feels Like!

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And in other news, this is the response to the emerging Ebola outbreak in Africa that I expect from my country:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/16/statement-by-white-house-press-secretary-jen-psaki-on-cases-of-ebola/

Step up to the plate, and do what needs to be done. Refreshing indeed.

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Wonderful! My country is back!

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I do admire Biden's easy move to protect people in a disaster region without spewing rancor or petty verbal BS. I am dismayed however that the Texas state government is willing to jeopardize its own people's safety by "seceding" from the federal regulations that are meant to insure people's safety, but still receive the benefit of the nations tax dollars. If it weren't for people freezing in their homes and without water, you could say that the Texas rejection of federal regulations is a win-win. They can privatize a public utility to avoid federal regulations and eschew intra-state comity, receive tax dollars to help them recover, and STILL blame the disaster on the likes of the "Green New Deal." Astonishing.

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Shivering in Texas ...

I sit here in my frigid home in the Texas Hill Country cursing our stupid politicians from every era. We are now in our third consecutive day of rolling power outages, one hour of power, and, if lucky, one hour without power. The periods without power have frequently stretched to several hours. With temperatures in the single digits still, even when the sun is out nothing is melting ... yet. Texas is the only continental state in the country with its own power grid. This idiocy by Texas is to exclude Texas from any power-sharing agreements with other states while also avoiding federal regulation of its power grid. In the last two days, my Congressional Representative and both of my Senators have been kind enough to send me lying emails about their intention "to get to the bottom of how this happened." Apparently, they have yet to discover their own idiocy is behind this and the root cause. I have also informed my moronic Senator Ted Cruz who had the lack of grace to criticize California for its left-wing, liberal policies only this last summer when it had some rolling power outages that being without power to run air conditioners in the summer is far less disastrous than being without heat in the midst of a very bitter winter cold spell that is actually resulting in deaths.

To make matters even more interesting for us, our local water utility is also experiencing difficulty with both frozen lines and power shortages affecting their ability to pump water into holding tanks to supply water pressure. So no water coming from the tap either. And, then they issued a boil-water alert. Brilliant! So, even with no water from the tap, it would be impossible to boil any, because the electric stove has no power. So we are pretty much up the creek and short on paddles. We have taken to shoveling snow into large buckets and filling the bathtubs with snow to melt indoors to provide water for flushing toilets. Fortunately our supply of wine and scotch is holding up for the moment.

Oh, and roads and streets are impassable and closed due to 1 to 2 inches of ice cover and the word from the Texas Department of Transportation is they are "beyond treatment capabilities until the temperatures rise above freezing."

So we are enduring a special forces winter survival test thanks to our short-sighted politicians and utility infrastructure managers. But we can look on the bright side ... "at least we don't have to comply with those pesky federal power grid regulations," he said while grinding his chattering teeth.

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Don't forget about your pesky governor. Hasn't he ever heard "don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Biden gives his state help, while Abbott trash talks on Faux News with Tucker. Hang in there. My best wishes to you for warmth, electricity and water--soon!

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Governor Abbott wanted to secede from the Union just a few weeks ago. Hypocrisy runs deep in the Texas GQP.

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Let him go, but first count the silverware in the gov's mansion. (BTW it looks like an antebellum slave plantation. Bah.)

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Well perhaps, we ought to let Texas go not its way

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Wishing you the best of luck. It sounds truly awful.

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So sorry for what you are experiencing. May your fortitude and good humor endure until good working order is restored.

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Sending warm thoughts? Really feel for you. May the thaw commence and the powers-that-be who power the power be disempowered at the ballot box.

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Good use of repetition, MP. It brings the point home.

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We feel for you Bruce ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🌎❤️❤️❤️

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Warm greetings from WA state this morning, Bruce. In the low teens here. I'm reading all I can to try to understand the power grid choices of Texas. Just wow. I spend a ton of time outdoors, year round and in all kinds of weather, and so am always appreciative of the niceties and creature comforts of home. But sometimes, it takes disasters for people to wake up. So much of what we enjoy in the USA is taken for granted.

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OMG! Thanks for the detail. Sending warm thoughts! Sincere. Warm. Thoughts.

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The quality of leadership matters. When elected officials merely attack, blame, and badmouth everything rather than thinking ahead and actually working for their constituents to create policies that solve problems, you get Texas. As long as the people there continue to put their heads in the sand and elect people who only pay homage to the republican cult, they are and will remain in trouble.

And, isn’t it good for them that we have returned to a functioning federal government and that the Biden Administration will do what is needed to bail them out of a problem they created for themselves. However, given global climate change and the work that needs to go into solutions, bailouts (across the spectrum) will need to be tied to real change in our behavior towards fossil fuels and the heart of Texas.

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I'm glad you at least have wine and scotch! Be careful they don't make you think you are warmer than you are - no snow angels!

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Thinking of you and hoping you get power and water back soon. It sounds absolutely unbearable.

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I am so sorry for all you are going through, my cousin is in Texas so have heard the same difficulties. Here in GA, if we get weather where our state doesn't have enough resources, other states send their power people and such. This storm has made it impossible with so much of the country getting hit at the same time. Unfortunantly Texas for your above mentioned reasons is facing the worst of it. The only upside down the road is hopefully all those in power will be easily voted out. Hope you get some warmer temperatures very soon.

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I'm so sorry Bruce! Lots of us outraged by this.

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Well. I thought I was done with being an existential cry-baby. Not so much, it turns out.

Reading through all of this letter, I was in my head, absorbing facts and analysis. Scowling about Mega-mess Central, aka Texas. About the crap governing decisions that state has made over time that made it so vulnerable to freaky weather. Ghost of winters yet to come, all y'all!

Saw Bennie Thompson on MSNBC yesterday and cheered him on (in my head) when I read Heather's commentary about the law suit. Yay!

And then this:

"But what stood out was an exchange between the president and the mother of a young man with health issues who cannot get on a list in Wisconsin to get the coronavirus vaccine. Biden told the woman that he could make recommendations to the states, but the order in which they chose to administer the vaccine was up to them. 'But here’s what I’d like to do,' he continued. 'If you’re willing, I’ll stay around after this is over and maybe we can talk a few minutes and see if I can get you some help.”

Pow! Right brain took charge. And yes, Old Weepy One teared up again.

OMG, people. There's a competent, compassionate human being in the White House. "...If you're willing, I'll stay around after this is over..." said POTUS to an anguished woman. He saw her. He heard her. He cared. So, yeah...POW!

That is all.

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I’m still getting used to the change. It’s whiplash. Thank God we have a real human being in the WH. I’ve been saying “thank God“ a lot and I don’t even believe in that particular form of deity

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You’re not a crybaby Barbara, you’re a dear sweet person with a good heart. That’s healthy, not something to criticize.

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Cried, with warmth and joy.

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Tears express a range of emotions beyond sadness or grief.

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I share your weepiness! I have been struck by his stoic refusal to sink back into the morass of the 45 cabal...which is still there, alive and well, and is constantly being discussed on cable networks. He is definitely working on a higher road and existing in an almost parallel universe. Now, if we can just persuade media to get on board with him, perhaps we can all deal more effectively with our PTSD and heal!

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I agree completely! One of the reasons I've limited my newspaper consumption and online broadcast news is that I don't want to hear about the past loser, I want to delight in the fact we have a compassionate, competent team of professionals headed by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. That reminds me. I got too absorbed in the latest trial in the Senate and stopped watching Psaki's press conferences. That's my next stop online today!

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What was it some Texas politician said back in the 1970's when OPEC sent oil prices through the roof causing winter hardship in many northern states while folks in the Texas "awl bidness" got rich?

Oh, yeah, I remember now, "Let 'em freeze in the dark." (If Molly Ivins was still with us she'd be telling us all about it. I so miss her!)

It would be easy to send that sentiment right back to Texas except that the people who are hurting, and dying, probably didn't have much to say about Texas energy infrastructure. Maybe they will now.

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I still miss Molly Ivins!

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A great American opinion-maker, and one of the greatest Texans. MI RIP.

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Same here. She was an absolute gem.

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Texas is turning blue both from the storm and politically. And, as Michelle Obama would remind us -- "When they go low; we go high." Please send warm thoughts rather than a cold shoulder. Ironically, the Texas oil business is already becoming less and less viable since the Chinese are now making sustainable energy like solar panels so cheap.

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With the NAACP lawsuit on behalf of Rep. Bennie Thompson (and others expected to join it), there is also perhaps an unintended consequence/punishment in addition to the prospect of a financial award and paving the way for other lawsuits against the Trumpists. Sure the Republicans have no shame, but it's hard to imagine any "I am not a racist" racist not being a bit nervous about the optics of being accused of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act!

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Think we need to all go review Heather's book on How The South Won the War so we can prevent history repeating itself. It feels like we're at a fork in the road for the country -- one is a U-turn to autocracy to make America Great Again for the old white male and the other is a new movement to make democracy an egalitarian society of We the People, All of Us, This Time!

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We the People, All of Us, This Time! Every Time!

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Yes! That book was my introduction to Heather and I was imprinted. Brilliant and what an awakening. I have sent copies of her March 28th 2020 letter to everyone I know and thank her deeply for ‘shedding light in the dark corners’! With knowledge comes power, and a solid sense of responsibility!

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Thank you, Cynthia, for pointing me to Heather’s March 28, 2020 letter https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/march-28-2020

So important to remember that by making someone our enemy we give them great power over us. And, they become a distraction from the issues at hand in my belief. So tempting in my frustration to succumb to labels (a new favorite is Trumpublican), but I love that President Biden works on track of solving problems. Others have the important work of holding those who have injured us accountable. Now, to go find Eric Hoffer’s book.

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Thanks for reposting that letter, Janet! I am heading over to Audible to find the book!

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Yes! They won’t be able to shake that off.

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Thank you Heather. I can sleep w a smile on my face tonight. Joe Biden lifts my heart. And your report on the legal processes going forward to unfund various perpetrators of Jan 6 is deeply relieving.

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Hello from the North Norfolk coast in England. I am new to your Letters from an American, and I am already hooked. Your letters remind me of the broadcast letters of the Late Alistair Cooke all those years ago. Thank you very much. I am enjoying them immensely (and learning a lot too!)

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Welcome, Richard! I subscribe to several UK publications. LFAA is one of the few of ours I can recommend in return.

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Thank you Jo. I also subscribe to the Atlantic and the New Yorker. I have been trying to make sense of the events of the past few months and LFAA is helping lots.

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Isn’t it amazing, in this era of non-stop media bombardment, how hard one must work to discern and understand the truth? It’s exhausting, but you have many fellow travelers here.

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So thankful for Heather and this learned and generous community.

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Yes, particularly as we are all treated to clever untruths on social media. Teasing out what is real from fake is an endless task but I have seen it said many times (and agree) that we must all make renewed and sustained efforts to be kind to ourselves and each other. That is #1 important at the moment. Nothing to do with preaching or religion. Just common sense!

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If you can make sense of the past few months, we will be grateful.

NB, a highlight of last year's racial-justice protests was the overthrow of Edward Colston by the good people of Bristol (which I visited several times). It produced perhaps THE best sign of 2020. After his statue was defaced, but before being thrown in the harbor from where his slave ships sailed, a sign on it proclaimed "Mass Murderer + Philanthropist = Mass Murderer." Brilliant!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8396511/Moment-Black-Lives-Matter-protesters-tear-statue-17th-century-slave-trader.html

Since there's now an empty pedestal in Bristol City Centre, I suggest placing a monument there to Thomas Clarkson, history's first great political activist.

D Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

A Hochschild, Bury the Chains

M Sinha, The Slave's Cause

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Well I grew up with Thomas Clarkson, so I think you should leave him in his rightful place. My parents lived in a place called Wisbech which has in its centre a huge and impressive statue to Thomas Clarkson (who lived there). I passed it most times I went into the town. Not sure I agree entirely with your views about the Colston statue. Sometimes we should be reminded of our shameful past. And the slave trade was one of the most shameful episodes of Anglo American History. I recommend Black and British by David Olusoga. It is an impressive indictment of the way both our countries behaved at the time. Clarkson obviously features in the book.

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I followed that Colston story with great interest. The colonial expansion and invasion history of Europeans is of course closely aligned with the US, our original states were colonies. Slave tradition of England became slave tradition of America.

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We have English speakers hear from Spain, France, Germany, Merida Yucatán Mexico, U.K., Australia, and those are just the ones I know about, I’m certain many more countries are represented.

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