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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Searching For Hope

Although presidential inaugurations are more pomp and circumstance than I can usually stomach, this one felt different for me. It's possible all the turmoil in my personal life helped shape my reaction to today's events; I desperately need some hope. 

I'm not naive. The challenges facing our new President are daunting. The unhinged mob that attacked the capitol two weeks ago may represent the angriest of the misinformed people who rely on rogue websites and social media for their alternative facts, but those websites and the social media echo chambers trumpeting paranoid conspiracy theories are not going away. We are all - regardless of political belief - living in scary times.

Reflections From The Bell Curve: Listening For Dangerous Words

As 2017 drew to a close, in the post above, I felt compelled to evangelize on behalf of Timothy Snyder's trenchant treatise On Tyranny. After reading his most recent NY Times essay - The American Abyss - I found myself briefly wishing there was a mechanism to get Snyder's words to every American. Would it change anyone's mind? Probably not. But as I said, I desperately need some hope.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html

    

6 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks Pat. I read the essay by Timothy Snyder and it is a brilliant condensation of this particular moment. Today's really hopeful and peaceful inauguration spectacle notwithstanding, I wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Godspeed in beginning the restoration of sanity and unity in our country.

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    1. Steve; You are SO welcome. I'm truly thrilled that at least one more person read the words of this brilliant writer and incisive thinker. I highly recommend you now go back and read his 2017 book - On Tyranny - which is actually more of very long essay than a book. It's scary how prescient Snyder was about the danger we were facing four years ago. You truly made my day by reading the Times piece.

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  2. Hi Pat: I too read the NY Times piece once I was finally able to get in. It is very insightful. I am glad he laid blame not only on Trump but McConnell, Hawley and Cruz as well. McConnell according to my conversation with my husband at lunch is already up to his obstructionist tricks. We have a rough road ahead in the Senate. I also remember reading a long time ago that Trump had studied "Mein Kampf." I am not sure if that is true but it certainly is plausible. Luckily he really screwed up on January 6th. He might have gotten away with his lies for much longer if he hadn't incited an insurrection on the capitol. Hopefully a fatal mistake. Yet, his followers aren't going away and the systemic problems still need resolving. But first the pandemic which will then help with the economy. And finally it isn't just about social media, also Fox. I will never give them the honor of "news." I refuse to watch but my husband tells me they are already not reporting accurately and truthfully about the Democrats and the Biden administration. A sad state of affairs. I am glad you feel hopefully. Yesterday was a great day and I too am choosing optimism...most of the time!
    P.S. I ordered On Tyranny through inter-library loan.

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  3. One more thing. If you want some real time commentary from an historian who has studied the Republican party for many years, read Heather Cox Richardson's daily posts and listen to her bi-weekly talks on Facebook. She is excellent!

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    1. Ines; Thanks for both comments. Thanks to an earlier recommendation from you I am now reading Richardson whenever I catch a minute to do so. You and I will likely continue to differ re the "legitimacy" of Fox because, as we've discussed previously, although I don't agree with them much (and sometimes their accuracy IS questionable), I sometimes see similar distortions and "bubble-feeding" on the MSNBC side of the ledger as well. I maintain it is important for ALL of us - right and left and center - to consistently and vigorously be on the lookout for how we all confirm our biases, regularly. If you and I don't regularly challenge ourselves to do so from "our" side of the aisle, we can't very well challenge people on the "other" side to do so either. That old expression about "preaching to the choir" has never had as much relevance as it does in these fractious times, and I sincerely believe it is part of social media's job to help us mitigate that better BUT it all starts with us being more critical thinkers. Appreciate, as always, your support of my blog AND I'm glad to have you as a political ally.

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  4. Hi again. I mention Fox because they have distorted the inauguration and Biden/Harris already according to David. What I have seen on other channels is the actual event and then some commentary about the event so there is context. Sure, some of the networks may distort, but that wasn't my point. It was outright lies (again according to David since I didn't watch it but he has great recall) and specific to the topic of your blog.

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