Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Politics - So much more than a word

From the Oxford English Dictionary


Pronunciation /ˈpɒlɪtɪks/ 


  • 1treated as singular or plural The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.

    1. The activities of governments concerning the political relations between states.
    2. A particular set of political beliefs or principles.
    3. often the politics of the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.
      ‘the politics of gender’
  • 2Activities aimed at improving someone's status or increasing power within an organization.

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Makes it all sound so simple.  So cut and dried.  

We all know it is anything but.

And never, in my lifetime, has it been more evident.

There's a meme which states:   ‘I haven’t lost friends over politics, I’ve lost friends over morals’ 

When I first read this meme I did a mental fist pump, thinking, "Yes!  Exactly!"

Since we have our OED handy, let's see what it says about the word "morality."

1. a. Of or pertaining to character or disposition, considered as good or bad, virtuous or vicious; of or pertaining to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, volitions, or character of responsible beings; ethical. 


Let's talk.

Starting with basics.

The Republican party of 2020 is not the same as the Republican party of years past.  
Example:  In domestic affairs, Eisenhower supported a policy of "modern Republicanism" that occupied a middle ground between liberal Democrats and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Eisenhower continued New Deal programs, expanded Social Security, and prioritized a balanced budget over tax cuts.
President: Dwight D. Eisenhower,  Election: 19521956

Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower - Wikipedia

IF you're interested, a further breakdown on changes (albeit "possibly" a bit biased) can be found in this article -

The above is, to many, pretty dry stuff and is of interest, quite probably, to me more so than to you.

And I do find it interesting.

It also may mean you're not really voting for who or what you might think you're voting for if you're relying on the old saw "My family has ALWAYS voted Republican."

Believe me, I am not trying to change anyone's mind.  I know better, but I couldn't resist pointing out that interesting bit of Republican history.  

The fact is - The Republican Party has changed.

I've been a bit of a political junkie from a very early age.
And I remember the exact moment life events opened my eyes and I started my own personal political journey.

My hometown of Cambridge, Maryland was one of the first places the Freedom Riders visited.

Here's what I remember.

My dad and I stood at the beautiful big bay windows in our apartment in the Arcade.  We watched young, well dressed blacks get off a bus and attempt to walk into the drugstore in our apartment lobby.  I remember asking my dad what was going on, and he explained a little by saying the people we were watching get off the bus wanted things to change.  And that people were scared of change.  And that it would get ugly.

That is the only memory I have of that day, but I knew something was wrong.  It was 1962.  I was 14 years old.

The memories following this day are a jumble, but they're vivid.

For the next few years all I remember clearly is that we seemed to  fluctuate between things being normal and things being violent.

I don't have a clear time-line of it all in my mind.

I remember National Guardsmen lining our downtown streets.  They were armed with rifles and bayonets.  They slept in tents in our school yards.

Then they were gone.

Then they were back.

The drugstore in the lobby of our apartment building closed down.  This rather than serve blacks.

The public swimming pool closed down.  The chief of police said he would rather pour dirt into the pool and plant flowers than allow blacks to swim in it.

We were on TV.  People all over the country watched a white man who owned a local restaurant smash a raw egg over the head of a young black man who was part of a sit-in in front of the restaurant.

I knew this man.   I was friends with one of his daughters.  I was embarrassed for her that this happened.

And I'll never forget the sick feeling in my stomach.

We were written up in Life Magazine.

Robert Kennedy came to town.

H. Rap Brown came to town.  

Ironically, another memory is of my dad and I standing together at the window again.  But this time it was a window in our house on Bucktown Road, outside of town.  We had moved away from the Arcade Apartments by now.  We would no longer have a front row seat to the violence being played out on Race Street. 

  We saw flames in the distance and my dad said, "Oh, my God, they're burning down the town."  And as dumb as it might have been, because by this time the violence had gotten really bad, mother and dad and I got in the car and drove into town to see if it was, in fact, burning down. 

What was burning was the black section of town.  This act has since been attributed to words spoken by Mr. Brown while standing atop a car shouting "If this town don't come around, this town should be burned down."

Peter B. Levy wrote about all this in a book named CIVIL WAR ON RACE STREET.  (ISBN 0813026385).
I have to say this - he did not get all of it right.  But enough.  It is, at least, a record of a place in a time.  Lessons could be learned.

I remember.

And I remember a more recent incident.

We were at a class reunion.  Donald and I walked down to the water.  A classmate, someone I considered a close friend, walked down to join us and we chatted about how much we loved Cambridge.  And how much we loved the Class of '66.  He looked at me and smiled and said, "Know what I love best about it?"  What, I asked.  "That we were the last class to graduate without any niggers."

Something inside me shattered.

And, I will never, never forget the smile on his face.

I have seen this person since, but I have not spoken to him.

I can't.  I just can't.

I got, literally, sick when I saw him the next time at the next reunion and stayed far away.

And there you have it.

My backstory.

What has made me be the political person I am.  And what started me on my lifelong road to being a progressive liberal minded person.

And here we are.  Seeing these scenes of violence in our streets.  Again.

If you're okay with Donald J. Trump and all he stands for - we're never going to be close friends.  Even if we once were.

You may live your life which, on the surface, looks lovely and innocent but which, to me, covers a lot of evil.

If you share Donald J. Trump values, I can't respect you.

And I want friends I can respect.  Not just friends to laugh with - I want to respect you.

So there I am.

Laid bare.

women being denigrated by the "President" of this country - 

people of color being murdered by police, 

Statistic: Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2020, by race | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

our government being used to line political pockets when school children are going hungry, small businesses going out of business and American citizens losing their jobs and their homes while they wait for stimulus money from a group of corrupt individuals who follow a leader who doesn't believe in science who are supposed to be representing our best interests, then no - I will never respect you.

And whatever you "say," you say with your vote. 

 So don't tell me you're not a racist, or that you believe in human rights but then cast your vote for Donald J. Trump.  

You give me the right to tell you you're a liar.

You can't say you care about people and issues and then vote for a man who will hurt or destroy them.

It ain't just "politics."

Not to me.

Not this year.

1 comment:

Gram said...

So sad and so true. I just do not understand people who vote for the GOP this year. They certainly do no, can not, use their brains, or their hearts.