It’s been a light week, so this shouldn’t be too long. In one of my favorite things I’ve written in a while, I discussed Kawhi Leonard and his nearly impenetrable silence and the value and inspiration I find in it.
Sherry Kappel responded:
For far too many, the attention is the end goal of whatever they’re doing. You see people on social who post and post and post, but rarely respond. You have “celebrities” like the Kardashians whose primary talent is simply to draw attention. You see the talkers promoted, while the doers typically languish. And maybe one of the issues with politics is the mastery of the sound bite — something easier for the Republicans’ more simplistic message. For all that technology and mass communications have done for the world, they may also be our undoing. I say, more power to Leonard.
Attention being an end in itself is so odd to me. It’s not necessarily new — gossip pages featuring the activities of socialites go back centuries, and tell-all books certainly aren’t new. The sheer scale of it all and the ease of access to the information is what’s so overwhelming about the newest iteration. In addition, there’s so much money to be made if you can ride the right wave (which the Kardashians are incredibly skilled at doing). That’s part of why Kawhi is so fascinating to me — he’s right up next to it and able to cash in in a way most people never will be, and he’s just said, “Nope. I’ll pass.” How adamant he’s been about it over the course of years isn’t anything I can recall ever having seen before.
All the professional talkers are a huge problem. I’m guessing most of you saw that Van Jones tweeted that Donald Trump was destined to become the “uniter-in-chief”. I genuinely think that’s an unhinged thing to say — absolutely divorced from any reasonable interpretation of reality. But he has a show on CNN, and the activists who need signal boosts are mostly locked out. There are plenty of people who think what Van Jones said was rubbish, but they don’t understand why it’s so harmful — it apologizes for and masks the fascism. The people who explain these matters best aren’t going to be given mainstream platforms. The truth hurts. And the truth is being told about America in ways a lot of people can’t handle. The falsehood of Donald Trump uniting America is a fantasy a lot of Americans want to believe in.
Maybe that’s part of why some people bristle at Kawhi Leonard — he spoils so many narratives by refusing to participate in all of the story.
I agree with you that Democrats at this stage need to fight fascism first and seek common ground with those who sincerely would join them in this fight later. The Republican Party has descended into full-on fascism.
However, there is a difference between tactics and strategy. We are in the lame-duck period before the new Democratic Congressional majority is sworn in, and at a perilous point in the oversight of the Mueller investigation. I want to entertain — entertain — the idea that some of Pelosi’s public statements since the midterms are intended for an audience of one — our orange, mentally damaged *resident. For the next seven weeks, the object is to keep him from doing anything really stupid and destructive, like firing Mueller or starting a war.
I want to believe — want to believe — that even Nancy Pelosi has realized by now that any bipartisanship, any compromise with this incarnation of the Republican Party is a losing proposition, and not what we elected at least 35 new member of Congress to do. Hopefully she is waiting until the new Congress is seated and the long-awaited indictments have come down, and placating the Orange Man-Baby until he can be neutralized.
I don’t think these are subtle times. We’re through the looking glass. I think the three-dimensional chess Democrats like to play (a) usually doesn’t work and (b) lacks moral clarity. This is a time when moral lines need to be drawn clearly and defended ruthlessly. Pelosi’s posture of capitulation worries me. Schumer has already surrendered.
The fear of setting off them off is a powerful form of control abusers use ruthlessly (and Donald Trump is a classic malignantly narcissistic abuser). Nothing short of standing up to them ever works. Their deceptions can’t survive in places where the truth is valued. I’m hoping when the new Congress is sworn in that the Democrats immediately start work on taking down Trump and his cronies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t, if they fall for the “bipartisanship” line again. I think some of them honestly believe civility is a useful weapon in this fight.
I also think that more people need to consider what lengths fascists might go to in order to hold on to power and what force may be required to remove them. Will indictments get the job done? I don’t know. It’s frightening to think about, but a major worry of mine is that people think Donald Trump is the problem. He’s the biggest part of it at the moment, but he’s really just a symptom of a Republican party that has completely gone over to the dark side. There are plenty of other people who will carry out their agenda without all the dramatics and vulgarity. How they all got in line to get Kavanaugh confirmed was quite telling, as was the standing ovation Kavanaugh received at a recent Federalist Society event. There’s a way their agenda is being nailed down that Trump’s hysterics prevent us from seeing. What we’re watching is the culmination of nearly half a century of political maneuvering. That’s strategy. Whatever the Democrats are doing (I can’t quite figure it out) isn’t on the same level, and that’s a problem. I’m worried that they’re more interested in calming things down than stamping out fascism.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy what’s coming up next week!