Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fighting Tyranny

I've been reading On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder and it's bothering me. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I suggest that what is happening in the United States is different from what's happened before. We've never seriously considered that a foreign government has interfered in our elections -- either through propaganda or messing with the voting technology. It's important to obey Douglas Adams' advice; DON'T PANIC!!! But it's also imperative to know when we're just letting ourselves be boiled alive, like the frog who doesn't realize that the water is being heated slowly. The frog being boiled a live is a great metaphor, and right now I don't care that Wikipedia tells me it's wrong, because history tells me that people will slowly adapt to changes, and accept things that they would not have found acceptable earlier. Tell us we're under attack and we need to give up our privacy, we'll do it. Some of us will fight back, but a lot of us will obey authority. We're taught to obey authority, and we are NOT taught to question authority at every turn. And perhaps in normal times, that is good advice.

I don't know what normal times look like anymore.

Because the Facebook posts (or chain email messages, for us old folk) that we saw in the long ago, preaching time nostalgia, were bullshit. Yes, John Waters, your childhood was wonderful. You were young when the sex was free and not nearly as dangerous as it is now, and the music was fabulous. But you also know that your generation had to fight for the Civil Rights Movement (you made a musical and a big Broadway Hit about it), and frankly, while the world is a better place than it 60 years ago in many ways, the world still needs work. One big problem is to raise children who know how to fight the good fight without raising children who turn out to be rampant smart alecks without any actual moral framework.

My mother has a pin that I remember her wearing when I was very young. Question Authority it said. She meant it.

But she did mean to question authority in the sense of "why are you an authority?" not "why should I do what you tell me to?" They don't mean the same thing. Questioning the presence of authority, how it gains its power and how it maintains power.

Life is scary right now in the United States. The Ego in the White House knows no bounds, and doesn't understand checks and balances. He also doesn't understand the word "no!" means something he doesn't want it to mean.

We must remember that being patriotic means loving our country and what it stands for. Our country is a democracy and we must fight to protect the weak and the voiceless. Scapegoats are not actually the people responsible for our problems. Scapegoats are what the people in power, the people who are responsible for maintaining a system that denigrates us, want us to keep looking at. Scapegoats are the magic trick politicians use to distract us when the politicians are keeping their masters fed.

Democracy is a fragile flower, and we must feed it regularly with water and nutrition by staying informed and holding our democratically elected leaders accountable. Staying informed means understanding that the American Care Act IS Obamacare, and the magicians who told you they were repealing Obamacare were taking away that health insurance you got to help pay your child's medical bills.

Yes I do sound condescending. People are letting their emotions, or hatred, feed their minds. We have to stop doing that.

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