By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger
Well, this isn’t a heartening chapter and I can see how there could be many interpretations of this chapter vis a vis the state of the nation in 2022. I think the least controversial or biased assessment I could give would be that this chapter describes the state of the world that led to the current state of the world. There are many groups that feel oppressed, spied against and as if they are the target of a vast, whichever-wing conspiracy. Aside from the rapid advancements of mass communication, can we also blame decades, if not centuries, of mismanagement to the half-to-wholly deranged state of the populace today?
Certainly, our government’s inability to articulate the voice of the the people is one of the reasons for our current SNAFU situation; polls indicate that most Americans are for abortion access, cannabis legalization and more laws around gun ownership, but the actions of powerful interest groups and particuarly loud and belligerent parts of society have caused the current balkanization of rights that vary depending on which side of a river one lives. The overreliance on the Supreme Court to ensure our rights, instead of Congress, has guaranteed that the composition of the Court(s) is all-important; the tide had firmly turned against liberalism when Mitch McConnell blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination. Now, after watching the Court which has (mostly) defended civil liberties for the first part of my life, I must deal with the entirely predictable cognitive dissonance of watching the Court strip civil liberties from the American people. Perhaps, as other commentators have pointed out, liberalism was truly defeated after the Citizens United ruling which determined that people with vast amounts of money have every right to sway elections and politicians as they see fit. I guess we can take comfort that Antonin Scalia is looking up from hell and smiling at the work he accomplished.
The secret police, if they exist, have an easier job today when half of the country is at the other half’s necks and watches with delight when the “other side” screams and moans in dismay. I’ll admit that I enjoyed the indignant mewling of Evangelicals when Obergefell was decided and can recognize the same smug triumph in convervative/Evangelical writers today as they look forward to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It doesn’t seem like we need a government created atmosphere of paranoia when we loathe our neighbors to such a degree, all we have to do is look at who has what political banner/sign/bumper sticker to feel threatened. To know that there are member of our of families that voted for that asshole, to know that this friend refused to get the vaccine, to know that our coworker is happy that abortion access is being restricted…I don’t need any fancy police to feel persecuted. That seems lazy and unAmerican, I can pull myself up by my own paranoiac bootstraps.
And if I were a person in power, I think I’d be delighted if I weren’t concerned with ruling well. When we can’t agree with what is happening when we see recorded evidence or hear recorded words, imagine what else the people in power can get away with. Better yet, if you believe certain sources, we can see what the people in power are getting away with and have to sit impotently by as those morons still support them. Oh ho! What fun!
It’s my turn to write a second post about this chapter so I’m going to save some of my ideas for then. I’m hoping to have some more positive reports after trying some of the exercizes given at the end of the chapter. Right now, please believe that the SNAFU principle rules the day.