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Common Nonsense: a Moderate’s Rant

April 30, 2021

 A few days ago a good friend posed an intriguing question on her Facebook page: “Common sense is no longer so common, is it?” My reply: “There’s too much common nonsense these days.”

America used to be a bastion of common sense: think of Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Will Rogers or Harry Truman. What do these four gentlemen have in common, aside from being dead white males? To begin with, none of them possessed a college degree. Even more to the point, all four were fiercely independent thinkers.

Despite the ongoing transformation of our colleges into woke indoctrination centers, I still like to believe that the quest for knowledge is one of life’s most exhilarating pursuits. But it needs to be pursued rigorously, without absorbing and regurgitating the compulsory intellectual doctrines du jour. At the same time, we need to beware of grassroots ignorance passed along in defiance of fact and reason.

Today’s hyper-polarized Americans lean heavily on social media, slanted news networks, “Grievance Studies” professors and a host of prejudiced pundits. (As a minor pundit myself, I freely confess that my prejudice runs toward moderation.) The majority of Americans have been choosing information sources that affirm their own biases while they reject anything that smacks of heresy.

Heresy? I don’t use that archaic word lightly. For today’s extreme partisans, political beliefs have acquired the status of holy writ: believers recite the same verses, pray to the same idols and (at least on the left) punish the infidels. Their beliefs have grown absurd and alarmingly widespread on both sides: in other words, they amount to common nonsense.

What categories of common nonsense have I detected? Let’s take a look:

Circular logic. I’ve asked Second Amendment diehards why they feel it’s their sacred right to own guns equipped with magazines that can mow down 60 or more humans in as many seconds. Can’t they be content with hunting rifles and six-shooters? After all, their right to bear arms doesn’t extend to bazookas and flame-throwers. If an armed intruder broke into their home, do they really need 60 or 80 or 100 rounds to take him out? Their usual answer: “We need our assault weapons to defend ourselves against the government agents who come for our assault weapons.” But if you didn’t have those assault weapons in the first place… oh, never mind. (And good luck using them against tanks and military drones.)

Cherry-picked evidence. We’ve all become excruciatingly aware of police violence against black people, and it’s true that police too often use lethal force when they could use other methods to subdue a suspect. But here’s the rub: police killings only make national news when the victim is a person of color. If you watch a steady diet of CNN, for example, you’d never know that police kill roughly 2 ½ times as many whites as blacks. (Surprised?) Yes, blacks are still overrepresented among the victims, but it’s hardly racial genocide perpetrated by a white supremacist establishment. Because we only hear about victims of color, blacks begin to believe that America wants them dead. As a result, they’re understandably more inclined to overreact when stopped by police. And there’s the ultimate irony: the woke news media, by presenting only one side of the story, indirectly contribute to more tragic encounters – and more news stories about blacks murdered by police. Cherry-picking leads us to the next form of common nonsense…

Sacred narratives. Both the left and the right cling to them: whites as congenital oppressors, with blacks as eternal victims… Trump’s stolen election… government safety nets leading us down the slippery slope to communism… conspiracy theories about vaccinations and scientists. The fringes spawn their scriptures, and the faithful become true believers. Some black scholars try to convince us that grammar, math, objectivity and nuclear families are symptoms of white supremacy, nefariously designed to keep blacks from advancing in society. And of course, many on the right refused to mask up during the pandemic because they believed the government was intent on robbing them of their freedom. (I’m sure they feel robbed of their freedom when they’re forced to stop at a red light, but they stop anyway; fewer fatal collisions that way.)

Tribalism. Sure, humans are tribal by nature; that’s why we have nations, religions and sports teams. But tribalism has assumed an even greater role in the age of identity politics. In the U.S., allegiance to one’s tribe now supersedes allegiance to country. Members of the Trump tribe stormed the Capitol rather than admit defeat. BLM and its allies have centered all of American history around the nation’s mistreatment of blacks. Gay rights activists have their own flag, as do police supporters, environmentalists, and latter-day Confederates. And of course, Republicans and Democrats have never been farther apart on the issues; they’ve become mutually hostile tribes as well. Remember E Pluribus Unum? The Unum part seems to be history now.

The hierarchy of intersectionality. Identity politics can create strange rivalries among those who consider themselves marginalized. For example, it’s clear that women’s testimonies outweigh men’s accounts in sexual harassment lawsuits. But what happens when a man who believes he’s a woman wants to compete in women’s sports? You’d think the loudest squawks of protest would emanate from the feminist camp. Yet it’s the conservatives and moderates who generally oppose the idea of biological men competing against biological women. It’s unfair to women, they insist. And it’s the woke camp (including, no doubt, legions of left-leaning feminists) that welcomes the transgender athletes – possibly for the pleasure of being able to dub the opposition as “transphobic.” So at least among progressives, the rights of trans-gals trump the rights of biological women. (And of course, straight white males hold the bottom rung on the intersectional ladder.)

Double standards and double binds. Primarily a tool of the woke left. If white people ignore the problems of blacks, they’re racist. If they try to help, they have a “white savior” complex. If they criticize black people for any reason, they’re racist. If they can’t take criticism from black people, they’re exhibiting “white fragility.” Ignore black culture, and you’re racist. Borrow from black culture, and you stand accused of cultural appropriation. You get the picture.

Confirmation bias. Partisans of both camps use it to sustain their narratives. A climate change denialist, for example, will read about a March blizzard sweeping through half the Midwest and think, “Aha! We’re in a cooling phase, just as I suspected.” Meanwhile the glaciers continue to melt and the Earth’s median temperatures have been rising every decade.

You’d think that all these tools for promoting common nonsense would give their adherents a glowing sense of satisfaction… the exhilaration of righteous triumph over the opposition… in short, the certainty that their world-view, though bent to their biases and short on facts, is the world-view that will prevail.

Instead, these distorted beliefs just make everyone angry. The true believers stew in their chronic resentment while they infuriate their enemies and alienate the moderates who might otherwise aid their cause.

What’s to be done? Short of resurrecting Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Harry Truman, we could use a revival of old-fashioned American common sense. Let’s be skeptical of ideologies; they’re the second-hand clothes of the intellectual world. If we can’t find unbiased news sources, let’s listen to both sides of a story, weigh the evidence and draw our own conclusions. 

We need to be intolerant of intolerance, whether it springs from the right or the left. Above all, we have to start regarding those who disagree with us as valid fellow-humans – even as potential friends. Do we like pizza, dogs and children? That’s a start. Do we want everyone to be as happy and fulfilled as possible? Even better. Do we value truth and fairness? Well, let’s see if we can finally agree on what those tricky words mean.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three dark-humored essay collections are available in e-book form on Amazon for only $2.99 each. (Just search under Rick Bayan and order your favorite titles. You won’t regret your investment.)

57 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2021 12:49 am

    Sorry Typos, Thus the creation of the division that has occurred that is now being supported by the political parties.

    By the way, I still could not post this through The New Moderate.com website and had to come here to post it. I think that is why you are losing readers!

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 3, 2021 2:44 pm

      Ron, I’m not sure I understand. Where did you post from? Was it the Facebook New Moderate page? (It links up to The New Moderate website, so you’d have posted here anyway.)

      I’m tired of dealing with WordPress and its Catch-22 conundrum at this point. No live tech support unless I upgrade to a paid account, and I can’t upgrade because I can’t change my account without a password. I’ve never had to use a password, so I don’t have one. And I can’t create one because WordPress still has my defunct e-mail address to confirm it. And I can’t change my e-mail address because… well, you get the picture.

  2. Ron P permalink
    May 1, 2021 1:05 am

    Well as you can see, Word Press is at it again. so I will try again. If the first one shows up, I apologize.

    Excellent article. You state “The majority of Americans have been choosing information sources that affirm their own biases while they reject anything that smacks of heresy.”

    I believe you have identified one of the primary reasons for the division in the country today. While before the 90’s, 25% of the people were far left, 25% were far right and 50% in the middle or slightly left or right, there was not anything on cable where people could find outlets that catered to their thinking. Had any of the major outlets gone to far in either direction, the 50% in the middle would have left and gone to another outlet, so major news sources stayed somewhat neutral. Now with cable news, their are ideoplogies that fit everyones needs. Thus the creation of the division that has occurred that is now being supported by the political parties and furthering the division.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 3, 2021 2:46 pm

      Ron, I think you nailed it. Since the ’90s, the media have split up into ideological amen corners. Even the evening talk shows have become politically aligned (although I don’t think any of them are conservative).

  3. Priscilla permalink
    May 1, 2021 11:50 am

    Excellent rundown of the common nonsense, Rick.. I love that term, and plan to adopt it 😉 .

    An example from this week was the response to Senator Tim Scott’s rebuttal to the President’s address to Congress. Scott, an African-American black man, often describes his rise from humble beginnings to the US Senate, as “My family went from cotton to Congress in one generation,” referring to the fact that his grandfather dropped out of elementary school to pick cotton on his own father’s farm. Scott follows this up by saying that his own upward mobility was facilitated by the fact that he was able to get a good education.

    Like all politicians, Scott packages his family history in a way that is engaging, pithy, and makes a strong point, albeit with few details. It’s a standard part of his stump speech, and it’s true. But Scott’s upward mobility defied an important piece of “common nonsense” ~ the narrative that all black people support the Democrat Party’s agenda, because the GOP is racist. Not only does Scott repeat this story in his speeches, he openly rejects the claim that America is “systemically racist,” a claim that underlies much of the left’s agenda.

    So what does the media do? Well, the day after Scott’s rebuttal, #Uncle Tim trended on Twitter for almost 2 days. And a lot of white and black media types basically called Scott a race traitor and a liar. The common nonsense response to a black Republican is that he is to be condemned for rejecting intersectionality and race politics.

    Of course, as Rick points out, there is a lot of this that comes from the right as well. I honestly beieve that there is still a moderate middle, but that it has been silenced by the louder, more threatening voices on the extremes, who censor and condemn any common sense that runs counter to their narratives. I’m afraid that, unless moderates recognize that their silence in the face of this dangerous common nonsense actually enables it to gain ground, we are in very serious trouble. Are we at the tipping point yet? I think not yet, but we’re very, very close….

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 3, 2021 2:52 pm

      Priscilla, I had to shake my head at the reaction to Tim Scott’s rebuttal. It’s usually not acceptable to criticize black people for any reason, but his failure to be “woke” is a cardinal sin among progressives. They feel entitled to tar-and-feather him for not adhering to the expected black-as-victim narrative. I wonder if white progressives realize how demeaning this is to blacks who don’t subscribe to their agenda.

  4. Ron P permalink
    May 1, 2021 12:19 pm

    Priscilla, to expand on your comment about Scott, one can use a comment by Malcolm X concerning blacks, whites, liberals and conservatives. I don’t agree with many of Malcolm X positions, but in this there is much truth.

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8869214-the-white-liberal-is-the-worst-enemy-to-america-and

    Had Scott been a Democrat, the left would be falling all over themselves showing how their help produced that man, even though there was little help. But given he is a conservative, they use his success against him because a successful black becomes a knowledgeable voter and many times they leave the liberals behind.

    I believe the media is responsible for much of the division in the country. And the lack of interest in the country by the middle as to what is happening is also driven by the extreme positions taken by the media since many in the middle do not want to listen to that drivel.

  5. fran8302 permalink
    May 1, 2021 4:41 pm

    The rise of social media combined with hyper-partisan media agendas is what’s responsible for this. A little under two decades ago, reporters used to gather all the facts of a story before it appeared on the nightly news. Nowadays, the “news” is 24/7. The media will jump on an event as it’s unfolding before all the details are ironed out. That’s because the way that these companies make money now is based on how many clicks they get. These days, the “racist white man” narrative makes good headlines. People are kept in perpetual fear to keep those clicks coming. It’s sick, really. That’s why white people (or any other race for that matter) getting killed by police never makes the National news. People aren’t interested in it. Remember the #StopAsianHate campaign? That was popular for about a day. It also conveniently ignored the fact that a majority of the recent attacks against Asian Americans were perpetrated by black people because we can’t have anyone questioning the “racist white man” narrative, now can we? I do believe that police reform is needed, and I’d like to believe that a majority of Americans feel the same way. The problem is the attitude of don’t you dare go against the “woke” narrative, or you’re automatically racist. I think all that’s going to do in the end is create more actual racists. If we truly want reform, we need to be willing to acknowledge that’s there’s a lot of good officers in law enforcement that would back the cause. Slogans like “defund the police” and demonizing all police as racists alienates the good police officers and creates further division. Nothing gets accomplished. In addition to this, social media is designed to keep people on it as long as possible, because their algorithms are engineered to cater to your interests. The more you’re on social media, the more ad revenue for these companies. This allows people to spread misinformation, which spreads like wildfire and perpetuates more tribalism. Watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, it’s very good at explaining this. No matter who is President or who you vote for, this problem isn’t going away any time soon. So, what’s the solution? Maybe we should start by petitioning for legislation to hold these companies accountable.

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 2, 2021 1:53 pm

      fran8302, I agree. “The Social Dilemma” explains well the ease with which political divisions and actual hysteria can be created with algorithms. Unfortunately, we are well along this path, and so many of those who we somewhat euphemistically call our “leaders” are either personally corrupted by Big Tech or politically hamstrung by the thoroughly corrupted corporate news media. By that, I mean that some who might be willing and able to try and hold Big Tech accountable, understand that their political careers will be sabotaged and/or ended by the power that Big Tech/Corporate Media hold over the flow of information.

      Small example: In the past, many of those who disliked Trump might, nevertheless, been willing to give him credit for creating the mechanism for the development of 3 relatively safe and effective vaccines in under a year, a feat that rivals the moon landing, in the sense that it was considered impossible to do in that time frame. They might still have opposed him, may have detested his policies, yet understood, in a factual way, that credit was due. But, now, somehow Joe Biden has taken credit for the vaccines, and that taking of credit has been amplified accross most all news and social media platforms. So, any modulation and moderation of Trump hatred has been impeded ~many, if not most , have been led to believe that he did nothing to help in the fight against covid, and every death can be laid at his feet, while those saved by vaccines have been saved by Biden. A consequence of this is that fanatical and extreme Trump hatred continues, while Trump supporters seethe and are driven into their own extreme corner. It’s a dangerously unhealthy situation.

      Facts matter. But we have to work to hard to get them, and even then, we are often unable to find them….

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 3, 2021 9:02 pm

        **too** hard, not to hard . (facepalm)

      • fran8302 permalink
        May 5, 2021 12:35 am

        Hi Priscilla- I have never been a fan of Trump. I don’t like him and never will, but I’ll give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that he did lay down the groundwork for the vaccine to be fast-tracked. I’d like to think any President would during a global pandemic. However, most of the distribution has been under Biden’s watch. That doesn’t mean he should get credit for its production and FDA approval, but the focus right now is getting people vaccinated.
        I read one of those interactive NYT pieces recently where you can type in your address to find out whether or not you live in a political bubble or not based on demographics. I tried a few different random addresses aside from mine (of course I’m in a liberal bubble, no surprise living near San Francisco), and have found that the like-minded tend to flock together. For example, I found a neighborhood in Dallas, TX that’s more of a liberal bubble than mine, but is only 11 miles away from a small town that’s 50/50 Dem/Republican. The conclusion is that we are more politically segregated than we have been in decades, which leads to hatred and resentment toward “the other side.” This is why I try to follow sources from across the political spectrum so that I’m exposed to different views, even if I disagree with them. It also helps being married to my political opposite, as trying as it may be sometimes LOL. There’s just a few touchy subjects we can’t discuss, but otherwise we actually find that we agree on a lot more than we realize. I realize this is a rarity though and not possible for every couple. I guess that’s why I’m more of a pragmatic, centrist “liberal.”

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 5, 2021 3:11 pm

        <<<
        Fran, reading your response to Priscilla created a response that I can not keep from replying to you in you comment to Priscilla.

        I have to agree with you that the fast racking of the vaccine was a good thing, and if Trump, and not the government agencies below him, actually created the development plan, I will give him credit. I can not credit Biden for the distribution of the vaccines until just a few week ago, because that was already well planned months before Trump even left office.

        But I can not give anyone credit for a good distribution plan. There may have been isolated cases where it did work, but overall I think it was a disaster and it took weeks for those that should have received a shot finally got one. They should never have put the distribution in the hands of any government agency because most govt agencies were never staffed to distribute 100M shots efficiently. For instance, in North Carolina we had counties that only used computers for registration. Many older individuals did not know how to use the sites and it took weeks for them to get an appointment. Other county health departments only used phones for appointments and people waited hours on the line to finally get "all appts have been filled". I found out that a neighboring county was opening appts for 500 shots at 10:00, I signed into the website 10 minutes early, at 10:01 I got the link, was registered in less than 5 minutes and there were only a handful of times left after I registered. For someone not familiar with computers, they never got an appt until the rush was over. We had one county get over 20,000 doses for a mass vaccination clinic in Jan, while my county had none for weeks. Not until FEMA set up a huge clinic in the middle of North Carolina did the backlog begin to dissipate.

        I think the private sector would have been much more effective, such as West Virginia using drug stores to distribute. Virginia did the same in rural counties. The fed should have used Fed Ex, UPS and others to ship like they did, then asked the AMA, Amer Pharmacist association and other healthcare organizations that were trained in immunization distribution to develop plans for distribution and used them instead of health departments that worked hours of overtime and still could not reach out to everyone. Once they began to catch up, the feds changed the eligibility and the backlog was created again, with backlogs on phones and computers.

        Maybe in CA you did not have these issues. But government controlling something the private sector has been doing for years was not wise. We now have the issue with people refusing to vacs because of distrust of the vaccine. I wonder if they gave doctors the vaccines that they can store, would they be able to gain the trust of patients to get the shot. I do know there are many in NC that are not getting it, there is a major PR campaign by the NCDHHS to show the benefits, but they are a government agency that those that distrust the government say is telling the lies about safety.

        And yes, it is a much different world in a state like NC with a large population that distrust government than in a state like CA that accepts most anything the government proposes and supports.

      • fran8302 permalink
        May 5, 2021 6:35 pm

        Ron- I hear what you’re saying, and I completely agree. Anything the government tries to do themselves ends up being a mess compared to the efficiency of the private sector. All the government had to do is provide the funding and let the private sector handle distribution. That makes perfect sense to me. I got my vaccine through Kaiser and had no problems. California hasn’t been perfect either, but now it seems like almost everyone who’s eligible is able to get one. We are on the right track and overall, I have been happy with my states response to the pandemic and vaccine distribution. I guess I live in a bubble in more ways than one…

  6. May 2, 2021 2:10 pm

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/do-police-kill-more-whites-than-black-people/

    Sorry Rick, but your ‘white’ stat includes Hispanics… whites (as I’m fairly certain you meant) are MUCH less likely to be killed by police.

    Things to do, but I wanted to get this out of the way…

  7. Savannah Jordan permalink
    May 2, 2021 9:04 pm

    I tried to leave a comment but I don’t think it got posted.

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 3, 2021 9:18 am

      I also left a comment yesterday that was never posted. WordPress is getting more and more finicky.

  8. Savannah Jordan permalink
    May 2, 2021 10:17 pm

    I tried 2 more times to leave a reply but system won’t accept. Alas I give up.

  9. Daniel Gosselin permalink
    May 2, 2021 11:20 pm

    Thank you, your commentary is refreshing and much needed.

    Daniel Gosselin

    Get Outlook for iOS
    ________________________________

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 10, 2021 11:44 am

      Thanks, Daniel… I appreciate the appreciation!

  10. Savannah Jordan permalink
    May 3, 2021 5:03 pm

    I am not optimistic about our future. Throughout history successful countries reach a high level of affluence and then collapse. The people’s wealth dissociates them from the consequence of their actions. I think we have reached that point in our history.

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 3, 2021 9:54 pm

      I am often pessimistic these days too, Savannah, and, believe me, I am an optimist by nature.

      It seems to me that the progressive left is pursuing a Cloward-Piven type of strategy, attempting to overload the system with trillions upon trillions of dollars in spending, until the economy collapses, and people clamor for a guaranteed income, which will usher in socialism (or, as progressives call it “democratic” socialism)

      It’s not the first time that this has been tried, but it’s the first time that the establishment of the Democrat Party has actively supported it, and had a president who also supports it.

      And I haven’t seen too many Republicans willing to call this out, and even those that do tend to talk about it in terms of taxes, which too many people just don’t understand .

      They should talk about it in terms of inflation, which is already beginning to eat away at middle class spending power. People should be made to understand that the value of a dollar can be so eroded by inflation that it would be worth less than a nickel. Obviously, this doesn’t happen overnight, but left unchecked, it will happen in a matter of years, and people will lose everything, and be made dependent on a government that will be all but bankrupt and no longer able to provide the goodies that kept the people compliant.

      The frog will be cooked, without realizing it was happening until he was already well-done….

      • May 4, 2021 12:03 am

        Priscilla, I like your frog reference! But I did not know the frogs were cooked alive like crabs.

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 4, 2021 9:46 am

        Hahaha! I guess it’s just us who are going to be cooked!

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        May 4, 2021 9:20 am

        Priscilla, John Kasich has started criticizing Biden’s massive spending.. I think his reasoning is pretty logical, however, I think America maybe too morally weak to discipline itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g_lvlT9Z3w

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 4, 2021 10:30 am

        That was a very interesting interview, Savannah. I have not been a big fan of John Kasich, but he is right on point here. Castro is less impressive, but at least he gave lip service to bipartisan compromise, which is damn near impossible these days. Democrats are determined to ram through as much as they can, before the inevitable backlash begins, and, if it weren’t for Joe Manchin, they’d already have done more damage.

        Problem is, Manchin needs to remain a centrist , in order to get re-elected, but eventually the Party will find a way to bring him into the fold,. Same with Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, who have come out against some of the more extreme proposals coming out of the House. I suppose Manchin could change parties ( he seems to have more in common with senators like Mitt Romney than with, say, Kirsten Gillibrand) but that would actually diminish his power, so it’s unlikely.

        I think that the most importatant thing that Kasich said was in identifying the U.S. as having become an “I” society, instead of a “We” society. The idea of sacrificing, even a little bit, so that the country as a whole is better off, has been kicked into the gutter. As Ron has said a number of times, JFK’s famous quotation has been reversed into: Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you.”

    • Ron P2 permalink
      May 4, 2021 4:06 pm

      Savannah, I consider myself a moderate right political person, although many say I am a right wing nut. My first choice for 2016 was Marco Rubio and 2nd John Kasich. I consider both of these individuals much like I considered Ronald Reagan. All will compromise on legislation for the good of the country, even though it is not playing to the wing nuts of the party. And especially the wing nut of the Trump party. I think the GOP is a dying party and will end up just being the “thorn in the side of the democrats” party if they continue to support Trump in the way the leadership does. As I said, I supported much of Trumps policies, but he was a disaster for the country and it will be years before another GOP president takes office if he is still being considered for the presidency or promoting people for various offices. Biden, then Harris, so that is a minimum of 12 years and could be more.

      But as Kasich said, the $1.9T package will take years to be distributed. Winston Salem, the city close to my community has receive $12M to spend and they are now asking for comments as to how that will be spent. And that will take up to 6 months to decide and then another period of time before anything actually is spent. Then next year, they get the second 1/2 of the money ($12M) and again they will have to decide what to do with it. So in 2023 or 2024 they will be spending money that was meant for stimulating the economy due to a pandemic that hopefully will be just a bad nightmare memory.

      The same holds true with infrastructure. Billions are included that have nothing to do with infrastructure. $590 B is included for job training programs, research and development. Another $400B funds home health programs, What does those have to do with roads, bridges, internet, water systems, flood control and actual things Infrastructure is defined as “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. Examples are Highways, Streets, and Roads, Bridges, Mass Transit, Airports, and Airways,Water Supply and Resources,Waste Management and Waste Water Management,Power Generation and Transmission,Telecommunications,Hazardous Waste Removal and Storage”.

      But we all know that common sense approaches to funding projects is no longer the way it is done and compromise no longer exist. Just through a few trillion against the wall and see what sticks.

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        May 4, 2021 7:19 pm

        Like you, I am moderate. My leftist friends call me a right winger and my conservative friends a raving liberal. I think Biden might become the second Jimmy Carter that is producing an economic collapse . This might force people to turn away from the excesses of the Democratic Party. Hopefully, they will turn to a moderate Republican and not run to the arms of Trump.

  11. Ron P2 permalink
    May 4, 2021 3:30 pm

    I have been trying to comment and nothing post. So I deleted anything on WordPress.com, I created a new email address and user name and trying that. Maybe something will work! I have no idea why I can not post anything through this account now since it says it is “not Secure”. I cant find anything on my computer that prohibits posting to a not secure site. So testing htiis to see if it works and then will try another as about 25% of my comment will posts and 75% say they posted, but never show up.

    • Savannah Jordan permalink
      May 4, 2021 7:05 pm

      I had considered creating a new email address after 4 of my postings did not post. I tried a fifth time and things started to post. I guess I held my mouth correctly.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 5, 2021 12:05 am

        Savannah, glad yours straighten out. Mine gave me problems, then did not for a period, then occasionally, especially when Dave, Roby and Jay were generating 750-1000 comments and now recently would not let anything post. Technology is foreign to me and I have no interest at all in learning anything about it, so I fought for awhile and then just said, “OK, lets see if I can totally mess it up and get locked out for good”. I have multiple emails for different reasons, on being a friend with his own website sending anything to a yahoo email kicks back to him as undeliverable and I have too many others knowing my yahoo address, so i set one up for him to use on Gmail. That one is the one I am now using for posting here and it seems to be working. Deleting everything associated with the old access must unlinked anything in my computer so it works for now (Knock on wood). I prefer the email link to replies since they get to the proper place in line when it works.

  12. Priscilla permalink
    May 4, 2021 8:18 pm

    So, I also consider myself a moderate, perhaps not very centrist, but moderate right, nonetheless. I believe in compromise as a strategy to get things done, and I am open to hearing opinions that differ from my own, as well as being open to changing my opinion, if presented with convincing evidence that I haven’t previous considered.

    I don’t think that the fact that I voted for Trump makes me an extremist, but I understand that there are many who believe that, so I’m also willing to accept that my own opinions may be discounted because of that.

    I think that Trump was very much willing to compromise when he first took office. The First Step prison reform act was opposed by many conservatives and supported by many liberals. It was passed on a bipartisan vote. The first two covid relief bills were overwhelmingly bipartisan, the third was held up in the House until after the election. I don’t bring this up to defend Trump, so much as to dispute the “extremist” label that is slapped on him and most particularly his supporters. Sure, there were extremists who supported him, just as there are extremists who opposed him. I’m just noting that I’m not in either of those camps. For me, he was the lesser, by far, of two evils in 2016, and again in 2020.

    I will note that I opposed Trump in the 2016 primaries, and believe that one of the reasons he won the nomination was because John Kasich stayed in the race, until every other candidate had dropped out, helping to split the anti-Trump vote, despite Kasich’s having zero chance of winning the nomination. So, that is one of the reasons I am not a fan of his. (I kinda feel as if I need to say all of this, not because either of you ~ that is Ron and Savannah, or even Rick~ has ever accused me of being an extremist, but because there are many voters like me, who still see each election as a binary choice between 2 candidates, and make what is sometimes a difficult choice). I hope that Trump will not run in ’24, and I don’t think that he will…I think he wants to play the role of “kingmaker,” but that doesn’t mean that his favored candidate will get my vote. Depends on who it is.

    On the other hand, given Biden’s first 100 days, I’d vote for almost any Republican who runs against Harris. If a true moderate Dem (are there any besides Manchin?) defeats her for the nomination, I would consider voting for that person.

    Off-topic perhaps, but, there are moderates of all stripes.

    • Ron P2 permalink
      May 4, 2021 11:53 pm

      Priscilla, Who one votes for does not make them good or bad. The problem is we have been having a decline in the quality of people running for president since Clinton’s first election. Like Trump, I supported many of Clinton’s policies (except giving his wife the reigns of healthcare reform), but the man himself brought disgrace to the White House. And in my opinion, not nearly the level as Trump. So I have said many times I voted for someone else in the 2016 primaries, I voted for Johnson in the election of 2016 since he was a viable alternative, I voted for someone else in the 2020 primaries, but given the choice between Trump (at the time) and Biden, I did vote for Trump. Had anything like happened subsequent to the election taken place before the election, I would not have voted for anyone because there was not any alternative in a third party worth wasting time on and the other two were just as bad as the other for the country, but for different reasons. And those are for another discussion.

      After Trump came into office,I agree that he was willing to compromise, to do the things he thought was right regardless of the party line and he could have been successful had it not been for his ego and mouth. Had he taken the same behavioral steps that 43 took when he was elected in an election that the opposition thought was stolen just like 2016, that attitude and behavior would not have allowed the media to make poisonous snakes out of garden worm situations. trump knows how to manipulate like thinking, but he is lost in manipulating those with differing views.

      Like you, I would vote for a moderate Democrat. But they do not exist on the national level for president. I prefer a moderate republican, but I suspect that would not happen either. So once again we most likely will be given a choice between awful and terrible and the voting booth will stick of political crap like it has for years.

  13. Priscilla permalink
    May 5, 2021 2:42 pm

    Ron, Savannah, fran, et.al. : Re-reading my comment, I think I may have been a bit too defensive. So much of what was once the personal has become political, and when everything is political, so much of the joy and humor of life is lost. I think that might be why so many are feeling pessimistic these days. At least, I think that’s true of me.

    I’m too often reminded that this country was founded by geniuses, but is being run by idiots. Probably for at least 30 years, maybe more….

    On the other hand, the woke revolutionaries are relatively few in number, although amplified by social and corporate media to seem vastly more numerous and perhaps more powerful than they really are. Perhaps, once there is a general understanding of the fact that a couple of dozen people on Twitter, along with bots, can pressure a multi-national company like Coca-Cola to voice support for policies that are opposed by most Americans, there will be a backlash against this type of social media pressure and censorship, and we’ll start moving in a more positive direction.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 10, 2021 11:57 am

      Priscilla, you’re right that only a small minority of Americans subscribe to the woke ideology, but don’t underestimate them; they wield inordinate power because they’ve implanted themselves in academia, the mainstream media and even corporate America. Too many of us are afraid to challenge them for fear of being tagged as racists; we can lose our jobs, get “doxxed” by the thought police, and find ourselves excommunicated from polite society. Like you, I think there will be a backlash eventually, even among moderates and old-fashioned liberals. I just hope it doesn’t end in more violence.

  14. Vermonta permalink
    May 6, 2021 11:39 am

    Its a fair piece Rick, lots of head nodding on my part as I read it.

    As you know I am very sympathetic to the crap that black people suffer, and there is a lot of it. Many white people simply choose to be oblivious to it, while managing to nurse their own feelings that they are actually the put-upon victim group. I am very sympathetic to the basic impulse behind BLM. As I have said many times, the further to the right one is the more they see racism next to nowhere and the more to the left one is the more they see it everywhere in everything, up to and including Dr.Suess. There is a lot more racism and harm from it than conservatives like to believe and a lot less than the woke left believe. My black friends encounter racist jackasses quite frequently. My friends are not ideologues or radicals. It hurts them, it affects their lives. To that extent I am glad to see BLM signs up all over Vermont. I do not believe that towns and cities should put them up, that is a mistake, government should show not partisan bias. I am also fine with blue lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.

    I think that wokeness is doing (much) more harm than good. Its most likely to me that the over the top fanatics are pushing many white (male, straight) people who were neutral on race adn other culture war issues into a reaction against perpetual black history, woman’s history, trans grievance, etc events. I hear such a lot of woke rhetoric that its coming out of my ears. I makes me cringe, its counter productive at this level.

    I predicted 5 years ago that trump’s behaviors and words and the behaviors and words of his cultists would cause a huge increase in political correctness, a backlash. I was correct. In the same vein that reaction is now producing another reaction in the other direction. Will we ever get it right? I think we might, over the course of decades, find a happy medium as a society. Right now its very messy though.

    I am also coming to the conclusion that the best way to influence the culture wars between left and right is not to be part of them.

    I watch very little political news these days. On the whole I am very satisfied with Biden, and the polls say he goes over well with the country, conservatives and/or trump cultists excepted of course. You never will get better than 55% POTUS approval again as democrat or 45% as a republican, unless there is a huge catastrophe that requires us to pull together. Actually, COVID is that, so really we never will be united again in the age of internet and social media, no matter what a president’s intentions are. Biden’s are good in my universe. Joe Manchin had some excellent comments on Biden and trump last week. Manchin is one of my favorite politicians these days.

    • Ron P2 permalink
      May 6, 2021 2:04 pm

      Roby, nice to see your comments again. I have to agree with your “wokeness is doing (much) more harm than good”, but I dont think this is just a recent occurrence. It just has a new name, but has been with us since the 80’s or maybe a few years previous.

      For every action, there is a reaction. For every police, fire, office or other job that was given to a minority that was less qualified than a white since the 80’s, that created animosity with the person not getting a job and their friends and families that were close to them.

      For every minority admitted to a university with a lessor grade point average or test scores over a white student more qualified, that created animosity among them, their families and maybe friends.

      So what happens is we end up with a large group of individuals that find candidates like Trump very appealing. And as we continue to find ways to make the current generations pay for the sins of their grandfathers, great grandfathers and even fathers, that negative response to those actions will continue to be created among the groups impacted.

      But with people it seems like the pendulum always swings far to the left and far to the right in most social issues.It never seems like people can find a happy medium and solve problems from that perspective. I wonder had employers and universities erased all references to race, sex, age and any other discriminatory information on applications in the 80-‘s and admitted or hired solely on qualifications, would we have the issues today that we have. Would there be as many people migrating to a candidate like Trump and Biden, or would there be more moderate thinking that prevails,

      And last, I find it interesting the number of positive comments about Joe Manchin showing up here now. I remember a couple years ago I would mention Manchin and get no response at all. Guess moderation takes a while to catch on.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 6, 2021 2:22 pm

        Rick, read this again and have one comment about I’ve asked Second Amendment diehards why they feel it’s their sacred right to own guns equipped with magazines that can mow down 60 or more humans in as many seconds. Can’t they be content with hunting rifles and six-shooters?

        They are those that are 180 degrees from the left and their thought about cell phone encryption. I have said many times and been thought a far right nut that once legislation is passed to regulate anything about guns, it opens the door for future legialtion to futher regulate guns. It is my total distrust for government.

        So the ACLU says the following about allowing government to have access to encryption to unlock phones of suspected criminals. “f the FBI wins the struggle against Apple, the implications would extend far beyond your phone. The precedent would allow the government to demand backdoor access to any device it thinks might assist it in an investigation. With the proliferation of smart devices that are constantly connected to the Internet, all those warnings about the end of privacy that may have once sounded hyperbolic will have proved prescient.”

        So those on the left and those on the right are not so different in our trust of government. It is just what we choose to accept governments interference into that is different. but as a right leaning Libertarian, I don’t accept government interfering in either of these. If they want guin control or cell phone control, there is a way to do it so no future congress or administration can go further. That is through a constitutional amendment that clearly defines what can and can not be done.

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 6, 2021 4:06 pm

        Hi Ron, Counter reaction in the racial part of the culture wars goes back to slavery, the original sin, and abolitionists were the first counter reaction to it. The abolitionists were the original woke movement and they had much to be woke about. Needless to say women’s position in society was hardly under discussion then and trans rights would be an unimaginable subject at that time. Those woke movements were far in the future. I am not against some of the basic ideas that are behind wokeness, when they are not taken to extremes, but the woke movement today can’t tell where to stop, where the line is between the real issues and parody. They make fools of themselves and they make it much harder for more sensible people who are trying to change the world for the better.

        Manchin I like because he is not an ideologue and because he has the best interests of the country as a whole as his goal. Whenever I hear him talk he is saying something decent and sensible.

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 6, 2021 10:09 pm

        Ron, I found your comment very interesting because: 1) I think you are right on the money when it comes to the longstanding frustrations of many working class and middle class white people, who feel that, although they are not racist, they have been treated as racists and penalized for being white, and have for many years. These, in many cases were longtime Democrat voters, who had given up on their party, because they believed that their party had turned away from them. Biden was able to get many of these voters back in 2020, by promising to be a president for all Americans. That has not turned out to be true ~ white farmers have been shut out of covid19 debt relief programs for disadvantaged farmers, specifically based on their skin color, for example. 2) This race issue never figured into my Trump support, because I have never personally been shut out of any opportunities because I was white. My vote had more to do with the policy positions of Trump, and my feeling that maybe it was time to bring an outsider into the swamp. Unfortunately for all of us, the swamp was more than he could handle, and his personality was more than many voters could handle. 3) I don’t think that resentment over perceived reverse discrimination is the same thing as racism, but those who did vote for Trump because they wanted all forms of discrimination to stop, ended up being smeared as white supremacists anyway, which led to more resentment.

        I think Rick would agree that the city in which he and I went to school and came of age, was about as diverse as places were in the 60’s. There was a real sense that the ciivl rights movement was changing our lives, and the lives of our black friends, for the better. Blacks and whites socialized together, and some even dated , although that was on the down low, since most of our parents hadn’t quite gotten around to accepting that yet (my parents still wanted me to date Catholic boys). When the summer of ’68 riots began, and New Brunswick saw some rioting, our ~ female ~ mayor came out into the city streets, stood before the mob, called for calm and promised positive change, backed up by her city council, which was interracial. The rioting ended, and, while Newark burned, New Brunswick went back to a semblence of business as usual. Unfortunately, after that summer, and as things became more unstable nationally, white families began to flee the city, fearing the violence that was spreading all over the country.

        It wasn’t because they were racist (well, no doubt some were), it was because they were afraid, Afraid for their safety, afraid for their businesses, afraid that the neighborliness that had been a hallmark of their town had been destroyed by events outside of everyone’s control. It ddn’t help that students and faculty at Rutgers were becoming radicalized, not only racially, but over the Vietnam War..

        So, when you ask “I wonder had employers and universities erased all references to race, sex, age and any other discriminatory information on applications in the 80-‘s and admitted or hired solely on qualifications, would we have the issues today that we have?” I’m going to give a qualified no. But I really think that the problem goes back farther, into the ’60’s and 70’s, when MLK’s vision of a world where the color of a person’s skin would be far less important than the content of their character was abandoned, in favor of racial resentment and radical power politics.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 6, 2021 11:57 pm

        Priscilla, racism toward the blacks has always been different than racism toward most any other groups. It may be that Asians, Hispanics and other groups have encountered the same treatment, but it is not reported as widely except for isolated cases such as Asians and Covid. And in Southern California where I grew up 30 miles east of LA, Hispanics and Asians lived in the same middle class neighborhoods as the whites. That was not the case with blacks in the 50’s and 60’s.

        There is something different with the hatred that occurred with Catholics, Italians, Irish and other immigrants that has not occurred with blacks. All of the above mentioned groups have become part of America without discrimination, but with the blacks, that has not occurred.

        And in researching anything about racism today, one can not get past the political to the root of the social. Whenever anything is written, it is most always written from a political position and critical reviews of legislative actions taken in the past are either blown out of proportion, or they are overlooked.

        There probably is many studies done and those that do not fit a political agenda are most likely left for the sociology PHD’s to review, but nothing gets anywhere where a internet search will result in much.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 10, 2021 12:31 pm

      Priscilla: Nice summation of our hometown in the old days. Some of the most popular kids in our class were black, and I never sensed any racial tension. Of course, we graduated the year before all hell broke loose.

      I think white flight is a touchy issue because of a problem we’re not allowed to discuss in public forums: the disproportionately high crime rate in so many black neighborhoods and surrounding areas. Here in Philly, nearly all serious crime takes place in black inner-city neighborhoods. It’s the result of many endemic problems: school dropout rates, rampant teen pregnancy, drugs, street gangs and street culture, chronic unemployment, and the general breakdown of the traditional black family.

      How to turn it around? That would take a treatise, but I think we should start by investing money in black neighborhoods: the schools, the businesses, the real estate. That’s the kind of “reparations” I could support, because we’d finally be compensating for all the years that America “disadvantaged” black communities through discriminatory practices like redlining. Of course, it could all go up in flames during the next riot — but maybe there would be less cause for rioting.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 10, 2021 1:32 pm

        Rick, your thinking about investing in black districts is smart, but in way too many cities that has already occurred and in many the investment went up in smoke when rioting broke out. There have been many instances where a national firm invested in the area and opened business, only to have it destroyed, either in a riot or constant criminal behavior. One only needs to look at Minneapolis and the distruction of black owned businesses to see that impact.

        It is a vicious circle and until that circle is broken, little will change. So I go back to my comment to Roby. It has to start with education. It has to include the schools, after school programs, after school care for the kids and people who take an interest in the kids and not just babysit until the parent comes home.

        I will use an example of that in Winston Salem. The community centers have after school programs for the kids and city “social” workers (not sure their exact title)who administered those programs. Indoor games in gyms, outdoor games, etc. But there was one man in the program in the 80’s that took care of the center in the worst section of town. When the kids got off the bus, he already knew what the teachers had given the class for homework and every kid had to finish that before they could take part in any other activity. He knew the value of an education. Few do that now.

        That type of community involvement is just the beginning, I disagreed with Hillary Clinton 999 times out of a 1000, but I agree with her that one time when she said it took a village to raise kids. Maybe not middle and upper class kids, but that is mostly true in poor neighborhoods. Just keeping the kids out of gangs takes a lot of work.

        Once the kids are educated and they achieve some self respect, then the other things you list can have a positive impact, but in most cases it is just wasted money until the education part is achieved.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      May 10, 2021 12:47 pm

      Roby: I think your comment about needing a happy medium between wokeness and racism was spot-on. The pendulum never seems to stop swinging in America. Of course, I’m extra-sensitive to the self-righteous crusading by woke extremists because I continually read horror stories about their retaliations against dissenters (even against fair-minded liberals who don’t quite go along with all the tenets of “diversity, equity and inclusion” — i.e., quotas and guaranteed equal outcomes). They seem to keep moving the goal posts when it comes to defining racism, so that nearly everyone except people of color and their “woke” allies fit the category.

  15. Vermonta permalink
    May 6, 2021 4:35 pm

    This is from 2018 but shows that a large majority of Americans hate PC (which is woke to me). I bet more hate it now than in 2018.

    So, its not like this movement has some kind of strong support in the population as a whole.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

    • Ron P2 permalink
      May 7, 2021 12:24 am

      Roby, the majority of Americans may not support it, but the majority of the people that do support it are the same people in control of the media, TV programming and in many instances, political office.

      Just today I read Bidens National Day of Prayer proclamation. After reading it, I looked up Trumps and I looked up Obama’s. In both of their proclamations, God was mentioned at least once. Today he never mentioned God because that is no longer politically correct. The closest he came was quoting Congressman John Lewis who once said, “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.” Now I guess once can define “divine” to fit their purposes.

      I then went to Twitter and did a search on the internet. There were comments about this, but only from the far left media and bloggers.

      And how did the greatest majority of the Americans that don’t like “woke” react. With apathy.
      And that is the problem in this country today. Too many not caring about much of anything except their own inner circle, unlike the 60’s and early 70’s when that generation worked against the actions by a few.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 7, 2021 12:26 am

        Sorry far right media…

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 7, 2021 11:39 am

        I will agree with you Ron that much of the media (as well as much of the education establishment) are the people who are the believers in PC.
        Thus, even though the percentage of people who are gung-ho on this is not that large its concentrated in certain professions. That is a bad thing.

        As to the effect that those PC people are having on society, well take me, someone who is leaning in the direction of liberal causes. Are the PC lectures making me more liberal? No, they irritate and often disgust me. I reject them, they are pushing me towards a sort of compassion weariness, that exposes itself most of all when I think of trans toilet rights or the so called gender wage gap. The fact that after decades of PC our society as a whole hates PC and wokeness (if there is any difference) says that this campaign is if anything backfiring. Which is one reason that people like me wish they would SFU.

        As to prayer day, Biden is a genuine Christian, does someone doubt it? He mentions God fairly often, he did so in his acceptance speech. I am not a Christian and will not mind if prayer day disappears. I don’t need a prayer day or any of the 1000 other special days. If I wanted to pray I would regardless. I did not know it was national prayer day. I also did not know it was National Tourism Day, National Work From Home Day, National Provider Appreciation Day, etc. until I just looked it up. I don’t need these days and they can all disappear. In looking up National… day my search turned up that the right wing media is in a Tizzy today because Biden did not mention God. Good Grief, lets have a mention God contest and see who wins.

        You are being played by the right-wing media on this story Ron.

        Why should the average American care if the POTUS mentions God? Do you seriously think that trump mentioned God because he is a true believer?

        I do not mind decent sincere Christians at all, those who have their beliefs and practice them without trying to force them on me or use them for political purposes. I loath the kind of Christians exemplified by Rep. Kiplingers relatives who have sent him not one but two registered letters kicking him out of their family for not kissing trumps rump because their church authorities got them worked up. There are LOTS of those people. Also those like the baptist minister who gave his sermon on the need of women to aspire to be Melania. The overlap between Christians and right wing politics has the same effect on my opinion of Christians as a group that the overlap between the education system and PC does for conservatives regarding educators. Religion ought to stay out of government and ideology ought to stay out of teaching, otherwise the religious and educational missions are damaged.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 7, 2021 12:38 pm

        Roby, you ask some good questions in your first message. So:
        1) I am of the age that “reverse discrimination” ( as some label it) did not have any impact on me. I went to college, went into the service, got my first job, all before this began. I also worked in a professional field where your race did not play much of a part if your worked for that employer or not. About 60% of the employees were RN’s, in the 80’s and 90’s there was a shortage of nurses and we were bringing RN’s from the Philippines, Moldavia and other countries. The same held true for the shortage for technical staff in the lab, Radiology, etc. So being black made no difference. Those in their 50’s and younger may have seen more of this and been impacted.

        But my comment about that situation was just one to add to the many reasons that people try to define the reasons for racism in America today.

        2), “You are being played by the right-wing media on this story Ron.” In this case I am not. I do not listen to the news anymore, I do not read much about things in the news. I read the sports news, comics and local news in the newspaper. Everything in the national news is a lie by either the left or the right and if it is not a total lie, it has so much parsed out that what is left is a lie because what makes it the truth has been removed. As I said, after seeing a meme on Facebook that this was the national day of prayer that a friend posted, I read the proclamation and found it interesting of no mention of God or Jesus. I understand the omission of Christ since not all religions recognize Christ, but there are not many that do not have their own “God” and that is when I got curious and looked at what others were saying, thus the “only right wing media making comment” .

        3) As for the “woke” impact in this country, I mentioned Obama and trump both including God in their proclamations. I do not understand the need to reach out to atheist and others who do not have God in their lives since they don’t pray anyway. I do not understand why Christmas has become anything but Christ birthday and the celebration of his birth by anyone who is a believer. I respect the Jews for their position concerning Christmas. They don’t complain about “Merry Christmas”, they reach out to Christians during this period of time. Many from the Jewish faith volunteer at the hospitals and fill in for Christian workers in positions that they can help with on Christmas day to allow Christians to celebrate in the way they want. And that holds true to many other services where they can help on that day.

        roby, thanks for the good discussion!

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 8, 2021 9:42 am

        Thank you too Ron, always a pleasure.
        I am quite interested in Astronomy, in my case the interest is the physics of stars, how fusion works. It led me this year to go more than a little bit deep into quantum physics. Quantum physicists often sound pretty mystical. Having really dived into it, I can say that quantum physics in no way removes the possibilities for some kind of, how to put it, spiritual energy, something like the concept of God or soul. At the level where the universe is put together everything is so unthinkably different from the solid world we think we see with our eyes. Nothing is Solid, everything we think is solid is an incredibly small “field” something like the electromagnetic fields. In short, the most advanced science does not contradict the possibility of a spiritual realm and even hints at it.

        I am not an atheist, and I think that rabid angry political atheists make a huge political mistake.

        As a person not raised with organized religion, and instead raised most of all with science I see the ceiling of the Sistine chapel from a very different perspective than a person who believes in the Bible does. I see a myth that is deeply embedded in our culture. It does not mean that I have no spiritual life. It also does not mean that I want to remove from true believers the comfort that they get from believing that they will be reunited with their loved ones when they stop breathing. Organized religion does bring some comfort I am sure.

        I just want people to keep their religion out of politics as much as possible. Well, religion Was the original ideology the original politics, and bloody wars have been fought over, for example, the correct date of Easter, so I am being naive I know.

  16. Vermonta permalink
    May 7, 2021 10:58 am

    I am curious as to whether anyone here has had the quality of their own life harmed by specific acts of anti white discrimination or prejudice, been pulled over for driving or walking while white, etc.?

    Or is the psychological or economic offense and damage not rooted in any actual specific personal damage but in the very idea that someone could suffer discrimination for being white?

    I am also curious as to the opinion of those here as to whether its the black or the white populations that have the most scars and traumas and negative consequences due to America’s racial history. Any thoughts?

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 7, 2021 10:02 pm

      I will take a stab at this, Roby. To work backwards from your last question: “whether its the black or the white populations that have the most scars and traumas and negative consequences due to America’s racial history. Any thoughts?”

      Is there any question about this? No reasonable person can deny that black people bear the scars of slavery, Jim Crow, and all manner of racist thought with which America has been cursed from the 17th century onward. There is simply no question that anti-black discrimination has always been the standard by which racial discrimination is defined in this country.

      But, since the 70’s, remedial reverse discrimination has created a whole new set of racial, ethnic, and gender problems. Anyone of good will would acknowledge that justice demands that groups who have suffered gross discrimination be given a chance at real opportunity and an equal shot at the American Dream. On the other hand, it’s not justice, or equality for that matter, if benefits and opportunities are given out solely based on arbitrary racial characteristics, and completely outweigh merit. That really is reverse discrimination, and it really does do more harm than good to the society at large.

      Affirmative action was always meant to be remedial, never punitive. It’s purpose was to be compensatory, not to simply grant preference to people of a particular race. But, it’s one thing to say that a group needs to be compensated for the sins of our racist past ~ it’s another to say that another group bears the blame for that past.

      If highly qualified white males are shut out of opportunities because they’re white and male, how are they supposed to feel about that? I’m asking a serious question ~ it’s easy to say that whites, as a group, have been privileged in our society. But there are plenty of poor, underprivileged white men, who could also use a hand up.

      What ever happened to judging people as individuals? Has identity politics made that impossible? Are we just members of groups now, based on our immutable characteristics?

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 8, 2021 9:23 am

        Its a good and fair answer Priscilla, thank you.
        It seems to me that the reverse discrimination battle is refighting the 70s. I don’t get it in 2020. Judging people as individuals is a matter of personal choice. Anyone is free to do it. It does not however solve the bigger problem.
        Things are still unjust for blacks, personally I think its economic more than anything. When a large number of blacks are solidly middle class most of the racism will slowly fade. Bringing that about has proven to be very complicated. Blacks as a group have not been able to overcome their starting point at the bottom, even 150 years after the Civil war has been over. Part of that does involve actual racism, but a large part is due to the brutal laws of capitalism. Capitalism is simply a set of natural laws that have benefits and also harsh consequences. Capitalism is not anyone’s fault and cannot be overthrown, it just is, like the weather. Poor people will have lousy credit for example, there is no escape from that other than to order lenders to go bankrupt. That really hits blacks hard.
        Defining racism is impossible and defining institutional racism is even more impossible. It means whatever an individual thinks it means, which often even usually depends on their ideology. Talking abut racism seems fated to be a disaster.
        I don’t belive in reparations, the idea is a disaster, politically and morally. I do not believe in blaming one race as a whole. I Do believe that the white race as a whole, who still have the most influence on our society has some sort of historical responsibility to continue to attempt to find answers to to these injustices. I do believe that places like Baltimore and Detroit, which have dystopian elements are a cancer that festers and wisdom would indicate not just giving up on battling the cancer. Individual black citizens can be very successful, they can pull themselves out of poverty. Pulling tens of millions out of a low economic class is much much harder. I can only say simplistically that the left has a rabid enthusiasm for intervention, while the right has no enthusiasm at all. The most public part of the battle is between those two vocal factions. I don’t think we are moving forward. I am not very hopeful.

        I think that whatever answer there is to the race issue with blacks, the people who have the worst take on it are the left and right. The further one goes left or right the more some simplistic ideological answer is believed. I do not believe that the politics of today are a step forward, I certainly do not think that socialsm proper or insane levels of PC are helping. I think a $15 minimum wage would kill the inner cities, if I were a black leader I would be scared of the idea.

        We go back and forth like a pendulum in perpetual reaction.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 8, 2021 10:23 am

        Roby, one also needs to look at the racism within the race, meaning how black leaders in the republican party are treated by their own race. Many are considered “Uncle Tom’s” because they believe the way to economic freedom is much different than the way progressives view that same journey.

        I do not side with Malcolm X much, but every now and then he said something that I agreed with. In the racism issue he said “The white liberal differs from the white conservative in one way. The liberal is more deceitful and hypocritical than the conservatives. Both want power. But, the white liberal has perfected the art of posing as the negro’s (sic) friend and benefactor.”

        And when looking at the past 50 years, I think there is much to agree with.

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 8, 2021 12:07 pm

        Malcom X had one belief that I agree with, that blacks need to be culturally literate, by which he meant European culture. He was a bitter man, had much to be bitter about too. He was killed at 39 in 1965. The world has changed a lot since then. I don’t believe that in general liberals or progressives are deceitful in wanting to help blacks, they are sincere, very sincere, even much too sincere to think straight. They are not cynically faking it. They are very often incredibly naive and don’t understand the realities of capitalism or mass politics or the cultural realities of the US. I am all for any person who has a pragmatic and realistic idea of what is possible under the realities of capitalism. When black people can see that a strong national economy lifts the black community, that is good. I have said many times that there is more understanding of basic economics among well educated conservatives than among those on the left. If the only national issue was the economy I would probably be a moderate republican. Black people especially need to be well educated about economics. But, most people of any race are not well educated about economics, to make an understatement.

        Since I believe that the republican party at present is toxic, period, and since I believe that it is especially toxic in many of its ideas about race, no, I don’t understand how a black person can embrace the republican party whose soul is expressed by the likes of Tucker Carlson, and in general when they do I think they are being fools. No, its not racist of me to think so, not in my universe. If the majority of blacks hold the same opinion I do about the republican party and the foolishness of black persons to ignore all of its toxic ideology, it means they are awake. They would be fools to embrace the progressive ideology as well. What I say goes not just for blacks, but is especially important for blacks. To be a black republican is to pretend that a whole lot of toxic ideas are not really popular in the GOP. I am nothing but frustrated and in disbelief at the realities that many people of any race ignore.

        The fact that a good economy is good for the black community is beyond doubt. But, the conservative or libertarian takes on economics will never lift tens of millions of poor people out of the inner city or out of white rural poverty either. As a group it will lift some people out of a low economic class but at best will provide a small boost to most poor people. It requires something more pro active to have any chance at making tens of millions of poor people of any race comfortably middle class.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 8, 2021 5:40 pm

        Roby, I don’t is agree with much of what you say here. I too find the current state of the Republican party as toxic and not until it rids itself of Trump will anything change. But unlike you, I think that movement will just create a further movement left in the democrat party as more and more of the primary support will end up in the far left category. One can hope for a miracle where the center GOP and the center Democrats come together and form a strong third party, but that is just wishful thinking on my part.

        As for blacks and economics, there is only one way to the middle class. And that has been the same through most all races. Education.

        Both parties can come up with every vote getting program form head start to free college, but not until everyone learns basic information in elementary school can they succed in moddle school, high school and college.

        If you want to be a plumber, electrician, auto technician, carpenter or any trade, you need some basic education either from a school or apprenticeship. No one is going to work for free for an apprenticeship or minimum wages, so that is basically out.

        There are four categories of parents.
        1) those uneducated and unable to help their kids with the basic elementary education subjects.
        2) those that are educated and can help, but work multiple jobs to make ends meet and dont have time to spend with kids school
        3) those that can help, have time and do help and make sure the kids do the work
        4) those that just dont care one way or the other.

        When talking with teachers. there are way to many in the first two categories. The kids have the potential, but they have no support system at home to help. So they get into remedial programs or they fall behind. Both end up producing a student that loses interest and does just enough to get promoted and maybe graduate, but the motivation ion life they had to begin with has long faded. They end up in the inner city, with little future and long past the time one can help.

        I have no answers on how to change that model, But until we find a way to insure every kid in school achieves their potential in every grade, and stop coming up with every brain fart of a new idea to make learning “easier”( like new math that many parents could not help with) then the future of blacks will change little. And that model needs to include the parents and community in making sure that is achieved.

      • Vermonta permalink
        May 8, 2021 9:53 pm

        I say that the 50-50 Senate with Manchin and other swing state dems will keep things from going to what I, in any case, will consider the far left, but everyone has their own definistion of “far left. ” If the Dems pick any more Senate seats in 2022 they will be swing state state seats presently held by republicans as well. The miracle I would hope for is that disenfranchised moderate GOP voters will vote in the Dem primaries and create more moderate Dem candidates in the Gen election. That would further weaken the progs from Bright blue states.We will see how many such disenfranchised GOP moderates are ready to switch parties.

        One other thing, the US is alone as far as I know in one very important educational innovation. Older people can go to college and often do. I was an example. So, a person ( I was again an example) can be a terrible student in HS but still get an education when they are ready for it, late 20s like me or even later, my wife went back to school at 50 and finished a degree she had started in Ukraine, got the transfer credits. So, its never too late here, and as far as I have read, no other country does this. So don’t give up all hope for students who get nowhere in elementary and HS.

      • Ron P2 permalink
        May 9, 2021 12:23 am

        Roby, you may find this interesting. One reason I have my doubts about anything moving to the center anytime soon and moving further to the extremes, both left and right. When you get to the part where they say Cheri Beasley is an establishment democrat, keep in mind the Voter Guide and a couple other voter references rate her 96% liberal, supporting almost every democrat proposed and current program. That is what I define as “far left”

        So given what we have so far in N.C. as candidates, there is none that I could find myself voting for as none are considered “moderates”

        https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article251060734.html

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