My Blog Week: June 6 to June 12
A Word on the Week
It’s getting harder to find societal virtues that Republicans can still be tested by. The test is whether people who don’t practice a virtue still exercise the self-control to uphold it in public. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Republican party’s war on self-control. Many phenomena, the indifference to Trump’s history of sexual assault, the harassments that brought “Karen” into the lexicon, the Poopy Boys at the capitol insurrection, have emerged with the veering of the party from right, to hard right, to wacko right. But the permissiveness that has finally tumored into these excrescences, has been in the culture, growing steadily, for decades.
Before going into origins, a multi-essay project, I’ll expand on why the practice of self-control is a more telling measure than the practice of virtue. Virtue is not equitable. As an example, consider the simplistic idea that bills should be paid before money is spent on fun. Honoring obligations is a fine tenet, but as a societal standard, it overlooks percentages, what expenses cost low-income people relative to what they cost the comfortable; it overlooks the lack of mobility that functional poverty imposes, limiting choice of which obligations to take on; it overlooks discriminatory practices, in housing especially, but also in utility costs and penalties. So, if you’re poor and you skip a medical bill to pay for some non-virtuous pleasures, you should be able to tell hectoring authority: “Life’s not fair; I don’t care”, with all the attitude of you-know-who…
And if you were safely privileged, maybe you would. As an ordinary person, you probably practice the self-control of speaking to this honoring of obligations, and do so when you can. Republicans traditionally have spoken to supporting veterans. Meanwhile, the VA has been exposed in a number of shoddy-care scandals. [Follow this link for a good article from Stars and Stripes, on the atomic veterans.]
Republicans have traditionally supported Social Security, a prop to large numbers of their voters. Social Security needs an overhaul, not so much because it might run out of money, but because inequities are built into the system. Women and minorities, and singles, have never had the chance to earn as much; thus, while the need for a livable retirement is everyone’s, and while the physical and mental health costs of labor impact part-time and low-income workers more, this group of contributors gets less in the monthly check, often not enough to survive on in old age.
That Social Security would be defunded or eliminated was a constant rumor during the Trump administration. That Republicans, as we know them, would oppose a Minimum Basic Retirement Income, seems indisputable. That they would control the impulse to speak publicly against the interests of seniors, used to be a given. And so we see that the break is big, like a portentous ice shelf off the edge of Antarctica. Republicans are trending towards not speaking to virtues, but trying to make bad behavior an alternative virtue.
Recently we’ve seen the strange effort to demonize the 1619 Project. I see no way to take a political stance “against” this, that isn’t racist. And it’s more bizarre than that, to hope your audience is too dumb/inactive to look up the 1619 Project and find out what it really is, a series of articles and photo-essays collected by the New York Times, not a Biden administration initiative.
[Next time, if nothing amazing happens during the week to displace it, we’ll talk about predators and prudes.]
On Monday, a new Totem-Maker, Nur-Elom seeking intelligence on the zhatabe’s nature. Tuesday, a new poem, “Mettle”, Wednesday, The Sword Decides!, Avignon’s verdict arriving. Thursday, Shine!, with Annie choosing escape. Friday, “Bad Counsel”, Andrée getting advice she can’t use from Leo. Saturday, Hammersmith, Aimee’s plans shunted on a new course by Vic’s old friend.
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: June 6 to June 12