Political Silly Season

Outside of the "25 things that you didn't know about Taylor Swift", "5 foods that you must not eat", "18 celebrities that are awful people, # 9 will shock you"--an everyday assault on sensibilities-- the political silly season, whether local or national, is too much to bear.

I'm not sure whether to be amused or afraid (but not surprised) by the fact that Donald Trump is the Republican front runner. I guess if the Republicans desire a caricature as their representative, then they have found the penultimate in Donald Trump, and to look further would be futile.

We can never underestimate "mass man" as characterized by  Jose Ortega y Gasset in Revolt of the Masses.  Galvanized by a message that seeks to create hard-drawn lines between the 'us' and the 'them' and propagating feeling fact of our superiority in values, motives, intellect and success we create a falsehood of 'righteousness'.  Politics and religion fall from the same tree in such a vein when adherents believe in the singularity of one set of ideals  v. a plurality of other ideals.

The controversy regarding Kim Davis, the Rowan County, KY clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because it offends her beliefs.  If we are asked to do things in our job that offends our sensibilities, then we simply quit our jobs.  It is that easy. The argument that KY law is to accommodate religious conscience is a selective argument.  That Kim Davis has a religious conscience that can be shared by other conservatives makes the argument hold water.  But what if Kim Davis were Muslim, a Wiccan,  or a radical Jew?  Of course, if she were any of those things, she would not have been elected, which gets us back to the mass man dilemma.

Our DNA for the most part prevents us from being free of bias. For most social animals, survival depends on having clear boundaries of 'us' v. 'them'.  And when we encounter people like Kim Davis and Donald Trump making judgments about others based on 'right looks', 'right belief', 'right sexual orientation', then we should be reminded that our evolutionary curve is still on the upswing.
 There is a dangerous conclusion that is held by many conservatives that I stumble upon, that the right to hold a particular opinion/belief grants one the right to foist that belief on others.  Our nation's history has been replete with  an adjudication of contending beliefs in our democratic society with slavery and women's suffrage being two such examples. It is a nation of moral conscience (not religious conscience) that examines its beliefs when those beliefs disenfranchise groups of other people based on our conferring upon them inferiority due to their race, age, belief, sexual orientation, etc.

The process of adjudication is not a simple one, and at the end of the process there are winners and losers. But better that those who are incapable of freeing themselves from their closely held,  unexamined biases to lose than basic civil rights for "others" to be violated.  To me it is a question of basic humanity.  Nevertheless, history is a harsh guide that humanity over fundamentally held beliefs does not always prevail.

I hope that we are not in the pendulum swinging the other way era that is a necessity to find the rational middle ground. The beauty of freedom of speech and belief is that the expression of all points of view provides a basis for finding common ground.

P. S. 

The Telegraph has a nice collection of Donaldisms which you can find here.  I see a market for  "don't be a dick Donald" t-shirts and bumper sticker or perhaps a "free the badger" because that is what looks like is on Donald Trump's head.


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