USEFUL VOLUNTEER VS. NIHILISTIC PROTESTER
The first presidential debate of 2020. Hoo boy. Where to start?
I made a Facebook mention that it was like a prize fight that allowed rabbit punches, head butts, punches below the belt and a few knees to the groin. I stated that no one’s mind would be changed, but that I believed one thing: we are all screwed. I read a few hours later that the Wall Street Journal compared it to MME, which makes me feel smart.
Now I think Facebook is a lot of fun, but it can become a cesspool, and fast. Friends chimed in, and most people, whether left or right, hummed agreement. One of my ultra-right friends (is anyone ever really a friend on Facebook?) started in on me in a private message because I wouldn’t lick Trump’s boots with enough drool. Well, I won’t, not now or ever. Trump has done many great and noble things (pun intended for his hat trick nominations) as far as people and policy, but wow he irritates me when he ad libs. I am still gonna vote for him.
The reason we are screwed is because Biden held his own. No meltdown. Trump went for a knockout, early and often, and Biden stayed on his feet. The needle has not moved, which favors Biden and democrats down ticket. And voting has already started. I wonder if anyone is still undecided?
Neither was presidential, if that will ever be a thing again, and only Trump spoke at length on substance. He was almost eloquent when he spoke on law and order, and was sensitive when he talked on the effects of a lockdown on the lonely and vulnerable and addicted. He was most sincere when he said one death from COVID was too many.
It is unfortunate he couldn’t stay on issues, which is where he is the strongest.
Trump’s best line: “I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years.” He just didn’t stay in that vein long enough.
Biden will be memorable for calling Trump not presidential, a racist, and a clown. And Biden disavowed the public platform of the democrat party, which on close inspection should give everyone pause… but the media will give ol’ Joe a pass, unfortunately.
Chris Wallace tried, but he was getting slapped around pretty good by both Trump and Biden, and he deserved it. Long preambles to questions beg an agreement on an unagreed premise, and Wallace gave a long paragraph lead-in for each question, which is not unique to the profession, but completely unnecessary. The questions should be: Please explain why you only paid $750 in taxes. Or please tell us how your son received $13.5 million from a Russian.
The next debate, and it will be a doozie, should have tighter questions. Let the two old guys slug it out and trip over their own words without moderators tipping the scale either way.
THIS ELECTION COMES DOWN TO HAVES AND HAVE NOTS, CIVILITY VS. INCIVILITY.
Useful volunteers VS The nihilist protester. I identify with the former, and the latter supports Biden.
There are many exceptions, of course. One man of substance who I disagree with politically, let’s call him Mike, is devoted to constitutional history and gives a great deal of his time and treasure to giving talks and tours surrounding our nation’s legacy.
I think he is an exceptional man and I trust his judgment. Sadly, he probably doesn’t trust mine because I support Trump’s mission. Some people can’t separate their distaste for a candidate from the person who sees the good. Sad.
We, the useful volunteers, see a need to work, not fight, for a better world.
Nihilist protesters strut toward goals bringing fear, or they harangue those who don’t see their way.
We give in small ways, with time and treasure, we do not not block traffic, inconvenience people, or worse.
We are disappointed when the object of our generosity is ungrateful, or, worse, uncooperative. (chronic homeless)
We don’t rail against the machine; we are the fuel that keeps the machinery of society from grinding to a halt.
We try to live honorably, taking care of family and friends, paying taxes from honest labor, and living in mutual cooperation. The protester accuses all the time, even if we agree.
The volunteer just wants to do the right thing. The protester is just so sure he’s right.
The volunteer cooperates, the protester threatens. The volunteer always tries to learn, to educate himself. The protester has little practical experience and is half educated, the half that lacks disciplined reasoning.
The volunteer values opinion based on fact. The protester sees only a quasi-righteous slogan and mean phrasing.
The volunteer wants to do his own thing. The protester wants all decisions centralized. One power. One office, like the mask mandate. The mask is a metaphor. The centralized plan, the mandate that everyone complies, not the reasonable request based on common good. And the mandate cannot be enforced.
The volunteer wants to make themselves better for all. Protester wants everyone to be better to accommodate him.
The volunteer lives by an ethical code, one of the Judeo-Christian tradition, to live and let live, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The protester has a code of nihilism and changes his values with the moment that is convenient.
John Dos Passos, American novelist, wrote in @1956: “No man is broken by overwork. It is frustration, disillusionment and despair that shatters a man’s will to live.”
I suspect that frustration is at the root of nihilism, of rioting, of inconveniencing everyone and using good causes as cover. There is a cure for despair, too… but it takes work and is not necessarily easy to accept.
Our cultural foundation as Americans begins with faith. Faith is what gives us freedom over a totalitarian state that seeks to control us all. But freedom is a responsibility and it must be protected. We have the freedom to do what is right, not what is easy or convenient.
It is a moral responsibility.
With that preamble, as we enter October of 2020, I see things getting much much worse. Economically, politically, medically. The only thing that will be constant this winter is the weather. Generally cold and nasty and often dangerous.
There is a silver lining… Amy Coney Barrett will be the next Associate Justice to the US Supreme Court.