“Good, Honest and Human”
“And why do you suppose they've invested so much in their massive propaganda campaign? Because: when something is irrefutably good, honest, and human, it's an enormous threat. The longer they can keep us scared and uninformed, the more time they have to seize power. But have hope - this rigid thinking can also be the (swift) downfall of regimes: "by their very nature, autocratic regimes are not equipped with sufficient flexibility or institutional and individual self-awareness to survive by negotiating with people power at the moment of greatest threat...... when it becomes obvious that it poses an existential challenge to the regime” …
For authoritarian regimes, populations embracing goodness and breaking out of the binary is a huge problem.”
– Sara Danner Dukic, Twitter thread
So. Let’s be a huge problem to this authoritarian regime! The path to embracing what’s irrefutably good, honest and human is being laid out for us with negative examples. This past week Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and interim Head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, made it clear in a speech to the American Banking Association that he was all about “pay to play”: “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” It’s irrefutably good to reject bribes and to serve your constituents – let us support those who do.
Scott Pruitt, in his testimony before Congress this past week gave both us dishonesty and slimyness, blaming others for his many ethical lapses and blaming the media for writing the stories that brought those violations to light. Pruitt, of course, will never be the most dishonest person in the Republican Party. Trump will have that dubious honor as long as he remains in office. Still, Scott is certainly trying to do his best Donald impersonation. Let’s choose what’s irrefutably honest instead and throw these folks out.
And Paul Ryan gave us a celebration of the inhumane this past week when he fired the House chaplain, Reverend Patrick Conroy. This marked the first time in American history that a House chaplain was fired. No reason was given, but last December, as the GOP Tax Scam was being rushed through Congress, the Reverend had preached, “May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.” He was told several times then that he was “getting too political”. Ryan is supposedly a practicing Catholic. It would appear he needs to practice a lot harder. Let us stand with the Reverend for what is human and humane – kindness and charity towards our fellow women and men.
Sara Danner Dukic may be right. Republicans may really not see this coming. Though some fear they’ll lose both the House and the Senate in November, Trump seems oblivious and is being fed inflated poll numbers by his campaign manager. It may also be that the paranoid, conspiracy-rich, fact-free Fox News environment isn’t the best for teaching its followers, including Republican politicians, to perceive reality. Alabama Representative Mo Brooks this past week claimed that the reason so many Republicans were choosing to retire was their fear of leftist assassination attempts.
Meanwhile, in the special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional district, Hiral Tipirneni, the Democratic candidate, lost by less than 5% of the vote. The 8th is one of Arizona’s reddest districts. Pollster Nate Cohn tweeted that this was perhaps the worst result for Republicans yet, despite their win. There were no extenuating circumstances, yet a district that had gone big for Trump made a huge swing for Tipirneni. Hiral, a physician, had run on securing healthcare and Social Security and that message apparently resonated not just with Democrats, but with Republicans as well. Again, she ran on caring for people, for goodness. Her opponent, Debbie Lesko, ran on fear – on “building the wall”. And – Hiral will be on the ballot again in November.
We can’t assume that we’ll take back the House and Senate without lots of hard work, from each and every one of us. But we can see clearly what we’re fighting for: what’s irrefutably good, honest and human. Campaigning is all about connecting to others and asking them to join you. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile joining than that.
[My apologies for the late post this week! I’m out of time to post the usual news rundown now, but will do an update with just news midweek, if possible. And – we’re adding a comment section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!]
– Tom Benthin
A reminder: a key resource for tracking all the abnormal events from the past week of the Trump presidency is Amy Siskind’s Weekly List: theweeklylist.org .
Before the disaster of the 2016 election we could follow the events that affected our lives by checking the news or seeing occasional posts on Facebook. Since then, with Trump’s erratic, aggressive and autocratic behavior and the Republicans’ unceasing attacks on our government and their efforts to transfer ever more money from working Americans to the rich, it has become much more difficult – and more important – to find our way through the weekly onslaught of news. To get ourselves grounded in the facts and to prepare for the week of action ahead, we provide this weekly summary of critical events to help us cut through the distractions and stay focused and informed as we fight to preserve our democracy.