Dignity For Donald
I was spawned in the 1950’s in Washington, D.C. What a simpler, innocent, and seemingly bump-free time that was. The war was over, we were on top of the world, literally, and all engines were revved up and firing in a way they had never been before and have not been since. To be Middle Class in the America of the 50’s was an aspirational career choice. The country abounded with optimism, opportunities and a seemingly endless pit of to-be-made money. I know I simplify but go with me here.
I was raised as a scion of the 60’s and 70’s in solidly Blue Maryland but was forced by age and circumstance to reside with shockingly Red parents. Politically Red and Blue you understand, certainly not the communistically tinted hues spouted by foul mouthed and feckless Joe Mccarthy. (hmm maybe the 50’s weren’t all that after all but I digress). I was always an early adopter and I took to sex, drugs, and rock and roll like a pro. In truth, as many notables of our culture have recently been espousing, psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, and their ilk really did open our minds and our eyes to the world not just within us, but to that of the much greater part we all played in conjunction with each other in the wider lens of the world as earth; a community.
Holding these two disparate worlds inside of one body was an ongoing battle that threatened to erupt in an explosion of young adult angst of epic proportions. It’s no small wonder as soon as I was able I grew wings, flew myself willingly west and in my tumultuous twenties went to grab all the counter-culture I could possible pile onto my already LSD-soaked psyche.
I left behind me the stark black and white images of blood and death that television flung into my head after the assassinations of the 60’s, the riotously full color vividization that was literally walking the streets of D.C. during the riots of 1968, the national shame that was Nixon as well as the well-intentioned humility of Carter.
There have been countless political massages since those assassinations of my childhood and the heady heights to which our culture aspired since then, not all of them with happy endings.
Alighting in San Francisco deepened my base of liberal entitlement and absolute joy in life. The California siren-songs of the previous decade were all true in warm, blazingly bright, eucalyptus-scented air. Heaven really was a place on earth….and I lived there.
And then politics, as is its wont, intruded once more. He shot Harvey Milk and George Moscone, in City Hall, in their office. He was a disgraced former city supervisor and police officer. He was, for my life, one of the original “active shooter” scenarios; an armed, deranged, angry white guy. He even carried the name of Dan White in an almost shockingly foretelling nod to the future yet to come. More riots, more hate, more guns, more dysfunctional politics. We did not see yet that the scale was growing, the threat increasing, the dissatisfaction fomenting into a toxic stew that, along with global warming, would be our undoing as a country and as individuals who like to call ourselves human (beings).
Add Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schlaffley, Iran-Contra, Reagan, and the likes of the Keating Five and the 1980’s were once more turning into something even more spite-fueled and sinister than the eras that had just preceded them.
The hate and the rhetoric and the politics that feed them have only grown, exploded really, in the 30 years since. CNN, FOX, MSNBC, the lot have become not what they say they are, dispensers of the news albeit to a sound-bite sensitized nation of screen junkies, but influence peddlers and auction house items available for “purchase” by the bigot who bellows the loudest.
They hire schlock.
Not their for-the-most-part well intentioned news readers and personalities, hired often as much for the cache they bring to the small screen as for their reporting abilities. None of that is essential bad, or evil, or anything really than good business for the brand.
The schlock I resent and am continually abraded by consist of the true “talking heads” of our new-millennium world of news dissemination. The KellyAnne Conways, the Jeffrey Lords and yes, even their left side of the aisle counterparts like Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. They all make my teeth ache.
Yet their larger purpose is more subtly direct than even the strangest conspiracy theorist could conjure. They focus our attentions away from the issues of import and rage up our angst against whatever sound mouthing has the attention of the internet, the networks, and the moguls who own them. They feed us the pablum they wish us to digest only it is not bland and easy to swallow, as “pablum” would imply. It is cyanide laced, contagious, and in the end lethal.
What they peddle is a carefully contrived cauldron of crap. They know it. They intend it to inflame and incite, that’s their job; it’s what they are paid extremely well for. Their paychecks come from not only from the party with which they affiliate and the vested interests that control them, but from the networks who promulgate their shouted insults as news every hour on the hour. They invectisize us with intent and are made wealthy and worldly in the doing.
Leaving the Russians out of our story for this narrative, this is essentially a homegrown tale of greed, corruption, and money-grabbing hegemony that is perpetrated, as all political aspirations really are, to control the masses. The issue is our masses have become benumbed to too much. Our brains and our emotions and our very essences have degenerated to emojiland. We really require those who we deem “experts” to tell us what and even how to think. For the most part we don’t read (think our president elect), we only consume information in tidbits and in increasingly hostile sound bites slanted to move our thoughts and opinions along whatever path of choice the speaker has in mind, or really the person who pays the person.
The more frightening scenario is just now starting to play out. Not only are we being thought-policed into moods and opinions but there are those among us, a growing self-perceived aggrieved mass, that are turning their newly found “opinion-facts” into apocalyptic atrocities. They are threatening, bully-pushing, self-aggrandizing masses whose entitlement ethics are now moving to actions.
Now they kill.
Shame on us.
We have lost almost all of our human qualities that are worthy and aspirational. We are sheep being led to our own pride-less slaughter.
Looking back at the title of this piece it is not about affording Donald anything akin to respect or even grudging tolerance. He is the embodiment of the shit we have been sold as a nation because of our own lack of personal pride and ethics.
I would trade Donald Trump for my dignity in a New York minute.