My Blog Week: December 1 to December 7
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A Word on the Week
It’s been an action-packed week, filled with disseminations of dismal wisdom, from the pit of right-wing nugget mining.
And since we can’t tackle everything, let’s tell the tale of two (fictional) organizations. The first is a pyramid scheme, though presented to its investors as a Real Estate Investment Trust. Some of these investors are feeling a little leery, asking questions about getting their money back. Dave (we’ll call him) knows of a neighbor who has staked all her savings. He would like to point out that her Social Security check is only five hundred a month, an amount she can’t live on, if no dividends show up.
The representative of the trust harangues the faltering members, telling them: “Anyone who pulls out now is screwing everyone else. Nobody gets paid, if some of you Nervous Nellies start bailing. We hang together or we hang separately…”
Et cetera. If he’s aggressive about it, he may even call out an individual: “So, if we stay the course, you’ll see those checks come rolling in. But if Bob over there messes things up for the rest of us…” Dave decides not to mention the neighbor. He decides rather than say anything, he’ll just stop attending meetings…and if anyone asks, he’ll blame it on a health problem. He behaves in the way of a person afraid of being approached, to do what he would much prefer not; equally, he’s afraid of being attacked, fearful the group leader will really make him hated, possibly blackballed.
We’re familiar with the Republican carrot, the PAC money, the friendly foreign billionaires… We don’t know what the stick is. The pattern of retirements when the legislature swings Democratic isn’t new. It seems, at any rate, to have been repeating itself since the Obama years. But being in the minority should be no punishment for someone willing to work to move proposed legislation towards the center. Attitudes also, since the Obama years, coming mostly from right to left, have been more mulish and oppositional…
(It looks like veering to greater extremes in hopes of picking up trollish fringers is not exactly a winning strategy; and a zero sum mentality seems a formula for congressional uselessness.)
Organization two is a small town service club, the Fraternal and Sororal Order of Community Helpers. Nominally, the group has 200 members. Several are habitually missing from gatherings; several are behind on their dues. The FSOCH can count about 100 true brothers and sisters, 60 half-true, and 40 in-name-only. Thus, a cadre of true Helpers want to get tough and kick the worst offenders out, give the rest an ultimatum. Why would this be bad for the group? Because to achieve their goals, they need to look like people to reckon with. Mayoral and City Council candidates need to find courting them worthwhile. Each member has a circle, useful people when tickets need to be sold, donations collected, softball teams rostered. The FSOCH gains political clout and local importance by counting itself a 200 member group. It does best to seek friendly intra-org solutions to participation issues, rather than hound away half its membership.
Never mind that President Trump is continually wrong in his notions about NATO. He isn’t savvy about the importance of organization itself.
Finally, diversity falling out of the Democratic candidate-scape isn’t the full story of what we’re seeing. When Kamala Harris suspended her campaign, not only were Twitter posts by CNN, NBC, the Washington Post, and I assume, other chronic troll targets, filled with activity, but much of it peddled a weird little narrative of Harris “losing” and Tulsi Gabbard “winning”, apparently because they’d criticized each other in the last Democratic debate. This, as though a clue, is the zero sum notion again… Harris was running as a law-and-order candidate, something a black woman can’t do, it seems—represent mainstream interests. Meanwhile, the trolls have turned on Elizabeth Warren. Again, we see the invisible voter syndrome. A million supporters of M4A could march in the streets, and the phenomenon escape notice as the people expressing their will, while the elusive diner voter continues to be sought by the media.
We need to watch and learn from these anti-diversity troll campaigns; also watch and learn when the Senate opens the impeachment trial…who is considered low-value; who are assigned to be the party stooges?
On Monday, a reissue of the first Mr. Boots poem, “I Will Inform You”. Tuesday’s Impresario was part eighteen, Regalus going to the vintner’s house to bring her lover’s plight home to him. Wednesday, a new Battle Stations, “Llewellyn at Home”, in which the host makes the first move in a plan to draw Falco. On Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s “The Garden of the Pirate”, part two, the two schemers witnessing an intrusion. Friday, a poem, “Ask Yourself Expert”. And Saturday, the concluding episode of the novella, “Celebrated”.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: December 1 to December 7
I Will Inform You (poem)
The Impresario (part eighteen)
Llewellyn at Home: Sixth Battle Stations
Poetry Foundation: “Little Known Facts About People”
Frédéric Boutet: The Garden of the Pirate (part two)
Ask Yourself Expert (poem)
Poetry Foundation: John Frederick Nims, “Niagara”