22 November 2016

Another Day, Another Insult

He says I will experience the trauma of the election viscerally and emotionally for a month—for 30 days. In Jewish custom that is the period of mourning known as sh’loshim. This follows immediately from the intense experience of shiva, the seven days immediately following the burial. Sh’loshim serves as a means to ease back into the regularity of a normal life as the mourner resumes many of the activities that shiva has forbidden  
     But this body will not stay buried and continues to haunt my days and my nights. Why I can’t cease mourning is because I feel that with this election horror I have failed my children and I recognize no relief in my lifetime to this tragedy. David Brooks writes in The New York Times (damn, I swore I’d stop reading the newspapers!) “Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.” I’m not certain to what Brooks refers: as if the school system exists as an isolated entity outside the entire culture. And that culture has been dominated by behavior and language from first a candidate for President and now from a President-elect that any school would forbid. The front pages of any newspaper in the country speaks of crime not committed by those who Trump accused during the campaign as rapists and drug-dealers, but by greedy white collar business people. Why didn’t Trump speak against the CEO of Wells Fargo under whose watch millions of dollars were taken illegally from unsuspecting average people. Trump is not the first to use obscenity and denigration when speaking of others, but even today our President-elect accused The New York Times of being “nasty.” I read from the BBC news-feed that Trump called reporters “liars” and referred to journalists as the “lowest form of humanity.” I am talking about the language of a head of the government (and a President of the United States in our global condition is also a leader of the world) who demands that the exercise of free speech by the cast of Hamilton requires an apology but whose use of language insults the ears of too many and whose conflicts of interest endanger the very welfare of the United States. We seem to have elected a man who does not give evidence of understanding the Constitution that he will have to swear to uphold. And David Brooks turns the blame on the schools? And to the experts who created a flawed Affordable Care Act? As I recall, it was the Republicans who demanded that the original plan be altered almost completely out of shape, and have vowed over the years to repeal the act. “Out, out, damned spot,” they have screamed.
     The experts did not create a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates; Brooks doesn’t name names!! I know not a few experts whose work to which the government might have better attended. I am not clear to which experts Brooks refers, but for the most part they do not appear on my list. The failure of the economy can not be attributed to the failure of the schools: that is an absurd charge any more than the economic upturn during Bill Clinton’s administration could be the result of superior schooling. If Brooks needs to fix blame, then perhaps he might look to the greedy CEOs whose incomes have risen to obscene levels while the jobs and salaries of actual workers has dramatically fallen; look to the Republican majority in Congress that denies funding for projects that might employ the unemployed; look to the years of No Child Left Behind, sponsored and supported by the Bush Administration; look to the Congress that will not do its job of governing! Oh, the list goes on and on and on. To lay the blame on the school system is to continue to protect those most culpable: those in the government who actually have the power to effect real change and to hold culpable those who indeed are so.
     Let Brooks hold the President-elect and his henchmen to the fires: the anti-Semitic, racist and misogynist Steve Bannon, the racist Jeff Sessions, newly appointed candidate for Attorney General; the Islamophobe William Flynn as candidate for National Security Advisor. The President-elect  who will not denounce the Nazis who thrill at his election and offer the Nazi salute in their joy. Nor has Trump rejected the approval of him by the KKK. I think the press needs to be more vigilant and accurate in its reporting of this on-coming storm and be very careful whom they intend to blame. To David Brooks and the press corps, I say, “Et tu Brute?”


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