Stupider and Stupider


I believe that George Floyd was murdered, which means that I was onboard with the protestors. Then came huge demonstrations in which policemen were assaulted, Molotov cocktails were thrown, businesses were looted or burned, and social distancing was ignored; and I began to wonder if the demonstrators reserve arson, looting, vandalism, and violence, for themselves alone, or if they would allow the same rights to everyone who feels strongly about an issue.

Next came calls for defunding or abolishing the police followed by outrage over the Atlanta killing of a black man who forcibly stole a cop's stun gun and fired it at him. After that came the toppling of statues of Spanish explorers, Confederate soldiers, Union generals, George Washington, U.S. Grant, Thomas Jefferson, the creator of America's national anthem, and unknown others. Among Eugene's statuary casualties was a University of Oregon work called Pioneer Mother and another entitled simply The Pioneer (some emotionally fragile students explained that the statues so offended them that they had been forced to walk out of their way to classes to avoid seeing them). There are three oddities about the attack on these statues: (1) Although the vandals clearly feel superior to the people who came here over the Oregon Trail, they showed no remorse for the fact that they too live on land stolen from the Indians. (2) The U of O was already considering the statues removal. (3) Pioneer Mother was meant to correct the gender inequity of previous statues, suggesting that the effort of yesterday's liberal intellectuals to create a better world are only worthy of destruction in the eyes of today's liberal demonstrators. 

The University of Oregon's Pioneer Mother statue

When I reflect upon the demonstrators' words and actions, the following seems evident: their contempt for the law; their embrace of mob rule; their belief in easy fixes; their refusal to compromise or dialogue; their unwillingness to consider that they might be in the wrong; their labeling as racist those who disagree with them; their confidence that had they lived 50-250 years ago, they would have held the same values they hold today; their failure to consider that their descendants might judge them as harshly as they judge their ancestors; their refusal to accept responsibility for taking the law into their own hands; their belief that there is only one way to be moral, and that they alone have virtue to follow it; and their blind faith in the belief that the police are criminals, the criminals are victims, and the gateway to a better world lies in firing the police and emptying the prisons. 

In my view, these people are petty, childish, shallow, vicious, vindictive, hypocritical, cowardly, intolerant, unintelligent, unimaginative, and puritanical. Rather than interpreting the overwhelming bi-racial outrage following George Floyd's death as a hopeful sign that the nation is ready for change, they instead assume that the masses are irredeemable bigots who must be forced into change through violence and intimidation on the part of such enlightened beings as themselves. As occurred during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, these youth seem bent upon sweeping the countryside like locusts for the purpose of devouring the old in the certainty that whatever values that they, in their twenty-year-old wisdom, can't understand and appreciate aren't worth understanding and appreciating. If their energy holds, I can but assume that when the demonstrators run out of public statuary to destroy, they will turn their purification efforts to street signs, libraries, art museums, churches, and graveyards, and whatever else offends their readily offended imaginations. 

God help those of us who live in liberal areas that are ruled over by gutless local governments that refuse to act in the face of mob rule, and god help the entire nation for having a swaggering president whose remedy for every bad situation only ends in making it worse.


Tom said...

I think you're pretty much on target. The only thing I can add is that I'd hope that the rioters and troublemakers were a small portion of the protesters -- and that however ineffectual a bunch of white people marching in a white city against white cops may be, at least it does show some moral and political support. Also, I'd say that a lot of the response is not meant to be childish, shallow, vindictive, hypocritical; but that is is simply an emotional response that doesn't involve a lot of thinking -- and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Or to put it another way, a lot of these young people are reacting just the same way you reacted when you were young -- romanticizing the victims and feeling superior to those who stayed home and were not out on the streets.

angela said...

Mob mentality is always over the top
Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and dialogue will continue and a peaceful solution is found that helps everyone to move forward

Emma Springfield said...

I too was hurt and outraged at the death of George Floyd. Others who have been unjustly killed add to that. The problem I feel is that the power of the demonstrators has gone to their heads. Some of their demands make sense and are justified. Others are simply to exert the power they are feeling. There must be a middle ground somewhere in there.

Andrew said...

I am not sure why there aren't comments on your post like yes, yes and yes. I completely agree with you but I do remember what it was like to be young and idealistic, so perhaps we forgive them for what they don't know. Complicated matter for sure.

Snowbrush said...

"...a lot of these young people are reacting just the same way you reacted when you were young -- romanticizing the victims and feeling superior to those who stayed home and were not out on the streets."

Yes I thought differently when I was twenty, but would I have committed felonies, trashed democracy in favor of anarchism, or made a martyr of a drunk who was killed while firing a stun gun at a cop? No. You made the point that not everyone at these demonstrations commits felonies, but thousands do, and in the case of statue destruction, the number who do is limited by logistics rather than desire.

"Mob mentality is always over the top."

Mob behavior allows people to evade personal responsibility and legal recompense.

"Some of their demands make sense and are justified. Others are simply to exert the power they are feeling."

I heard an interview of Newt Gingrich in which he was downright gleeful over the excesses that we're seeing--like a hog wallowing in mud was the image that came to mind--because they will harden independent voters against Democratic politicians and solidify conservative determination to keep Trump in office.

"I am not sure why there aren't comments on your post like yes, yes and yes. I completely agree with you but I do remember what it was like to be young and idealistic, so perhaps we forgive them for what they don't know."

You wouldn't have seen the comments that preceded yours because the spam comments that myself and a lot of other people were being hit with caused me to start moderating comments. Because of your comment today, I lifted the moderation and will see how things go... Given what youthful idealists are capable of, I'm feeling too threatened to be sympathetic. Like a rudderless ship, America is so adrift that ,according to a June 8 poll, 80% of Americans say that the country is out of control ( The country now lacks any semblance of intelligent leadership, and the only candidate who will be running against Trump in this year's election is 77 years old and his mentation is clearly on the decline. Covid was bad enough, but now it is worse than ever, AND is growing worse daily, AND we're having riots, AND Trump might actually be re-elected. As bad as the demonstrations are now, I worry about what will happen if he wins--or steals--four more years in office, and I'm not even sure that things won't go to hell if he loses because the far right has coalesced into a frightening force that is arguably better armed than the armies of many nations. I came to manhood during the Civil Rights Movement and the protests against the War in Vietnam, and as traumatic as those events were, I don't believe that the country's division then was as profound as it now is, plus it's happening against the background of Covid (as of today, we're up to 123,000 deaths). Do I really think that America is facing an existential threat? I think it might be.

Marion said...
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Snowbrush said...

"My question is: where are our elected local officials whose job it is to keep law and order."
Either the demonstrations are so massive that local governments fear making the problem worse if they attempt to intervene, or else they support the destruction that the demonstrators are causing. I suspect that it's more the former than the latter, and that local officials are hoping that if they keep a low profile, the demonstrators will simply move on to other things.
"Here’s hoping the anarchists stay out of Oregon"
Marion, for Trump to blame hundreds of demonstrations--many of them massive--including one in Eugene that drew 10,000 people--on Antifa is simply asinine given the size of the demonstrations and the smallest of Antifa. It's also true that Antifa is not only anti-Fascist, it's pro-anarchism, and I see no reason whatsoever to believe that a significant number of the demonstrators are anarchists. Either Trump is deluded, or he's simply looking for a scapegoat on which to focus the hatred of his followers. That said...

Eugene is known as "the Berkley of the North," and the Pacific Northwest in general (meaning Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) has long been attractive to fringe groups (I don't use the word "fringe" as necessarily being a bad thing) of all stipes, including Antifa, nudists, neo-Nazis, religious cults, and communes. The Hemlock Society had its headquarters in Eugene, and the Eugene draft board's files were destroyed in the '60s (if memory serves, Father Daniel Berrigan played a part in the raid). Before the FBI broke it up, a group of Eugene anarchists were setting off bombs in and around town in the '90s), and also in the '90s, two '60s era Weatherman were busted in Eugene (Peggy and I sometimes ate at a restaurant that was co-owned by one, and here's the story of the other, whom I find the saddest and the more interesting: In fact, the reason that Peggy and I moved to Eugene was that we wanted to live in an area that had numerous alternative lifestyles. In our case, Eugene's major attraction was that it was headquarters for a national group that was supportive of group marriage (you might recall that we were in a group marriage for two years), and we eventually started our own local group.
"Historians of the future will have a hard time figuring out how so many organized groups of strident jackasses succeeded in leading us around by the nose and morally intimidating the majority into silence.”

So, Marion, you're finally turning against FOX, Breitbart, the NRA, the John Burchers, evangelical Christianity, and the Republican Party! I just wish I could hug you to my bosiasm with enthusiasm. I liked the Wiesel quotation.

Marion said...
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Snowbrush said...

"Snow, you DO believe in parallel universes, right?"

You tell me what you're talking about, and I'll tell you if they exist. For now, I'll just say that all discrete living beings live in universes that run parallel to those inhabited by all other discrete living beings, the question then being whether or not all beings are alive.

"I know things you’ll never know because I am a female."

Like what, for instance? Seriously, you simply must enlighten because Peggy has no idea what you're talking about, and I wouldn't know who else to ask. As all women know, on the day that they were created, women went through the boob line on their way to the Special Insight line, and, not being good with maps and directions, Peggy thinks that maybe she went through the boob line twice and bypassed the Special Insight line altogether. This would explain why she's an atheist. It would also explain why she's forever tipping over and landing on her face.

"I am a shining portal through which all life travels."

Something's falling out of your shining portal alright, but it sure doesn't smell like light. Now...according to the Scriptures from which you get your religion, God Almighty took stardust, and HE (note God's gender) used it to create me, the apogee of all earthly creation, in HIS image, which is to say balls and all--just ask any Mormon elder, and he'll tell you about God's anatomy. Upon looking me over, Daddy (that is what I called HIM before we had our falling out) couldn't have been more pleased, and HE and I were exceedingly happy together for 37 years. Later on, when singing the Hallelujah Chorus 24/7 grew a little tiresome, so I asked DADDY if I could have a dog, and HE said, "Oh no, my boy, dogs shed," so I asked HIM if I could have a cat, and HE said, "Oh no, my son, cats are only good for little girls to play dress-up with, and what with that 37 inch whanger (it grew an inch a year back then, and I was 37 years old) I gave you, you're certainly no little girl." Then I petulantly stamped my little foot, and I said, "If I can't have a goddamn dog, and I can't have a goddamn cat, can't I at least have a woman, Daddy-O?" and HE said, "Fine, have your woman, but just remember that it's not for nothing that your Daddy is divorced," after which HE gave me an Ambien and made you out of a superfluous rib. When I woke up, I looked at you, and I said to DADDY, "DADDY, wouldn't this thing look a whole lot better if she wasn't butt-naked, because as things stands, she's only a millionth as pretty as a dog and only a ten-millionth as pretty as a cat, and what am I supposed to do with her anyway," and HE said he hadn't thought that far ahead, so I would have to experiment. The first thing I did was to throw a stick for you to chase, but you just sat there looking dense. The second thing I did was to grow you some catnip, but instead of wallowing in it, you just say there looking looking a whole lot dense. The third thing I did was to lock you in the closet, and that's where you stayed.


Snowbrush said...

Then one day when I was hungry, a good odor came from the closet, and when I opened the door, you were standing there--still butt-naked except for my dirty socks (your feet stayed cold, and I didn't want you messing up my clean socks) holding a two-quart casserole filled with banana pudding (the kind that has vanilla wafers), and I asked you why you had baked the one food in all the universe that God said I wasn't allowed to eat, and you mysteriously said that it had fallen from your shining portal, and you were sorry the meringue wasn't white, or off-white, or light brown, or even dark brown, it was black. So it is that according to the book from which your MALE God gives you your religion, woman is an inferior being that was made as an afterthought from a rib in order to entertain a bored man, and that said woman immediately set about tempting a perfectly delightful little boy to eat the one dessert in all the freaking universe that God told him he couldn't eat, and that this made God very, very angry from then until this very day. Such is woman, and that's why the Apostle Paul said that the only way you could get into heaven was to obey man and to keep silent in church (even so, given that the high point of your gender's achievements came on the day when one of your grannys drove a tent stake through the head of a lovely man named Sisera, the prospect of any of you becoming a heavenly harpist isn't looking none too good).

Strayer said...

I heard the Floyd rioters burned part of Portland last night, destroying minority owned businesses. I um don't get how this is in any way beneficial to creating sympathy for their cause, whatever that is, because I think Floyd has quickly been forgotten and now its something else entirely. Entertainment maybe, for the chronically entitled. I don't know. I also don't get the anemic step back response from cities to these valueless looters and destroyers. They just let it happen. Why?

Snowbrush said...

"I also don't get the anemic step back response from cities to these valueless looters and destroyers. They just let it happen. Why"

I can only think of three possibilities: they either support what the criminals are doing; or they fear making the situation worse if they intervene; or they don't think their police are physically able to intervene against such massive numbers of criminals. As for the criminals, it seems to me that their actions have more to do with their desire to install an anarchistically based non-government rather than a concern for civil rights. I see them as examples of the cure being as bad as the disease in that they no more care about the rights of others than do the people they're demonstrating against--the few that I've heard interviewed describe the destruction of businesses as inconsequential when viewed against the wrongs committed by the dominant society. A couple of other readers seemed to view their behavior as the somewhat endearing excesses of youthful idealists, yet it seems to me that such idealism too often ends in its victims standing before firing squads, kneeling upon guillotines, or being imprisoned in re-education camps.

Marion said...
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Kerry said...

Well said. It is a mad world out there.

Snowbrush said...

Marion, pot is legal here--with billboards, attention grabbing storefronts, and TV commercials to prove it. Years ago, I had a marijuana card, and could get all the bud I wanted for free (I turned it into butter and baked the butter into cookies). I don't know that it helped my pain, but others have certainly benefited. What turned me off to it was that it got to where it would leave me in a pit of very dark despair for a full day. The second time that happened, I was done, the despair being THAT bad. More recently, I tried CBD oil, but found no benefit to it, plus it gave me a sore throat, plus it is spendy. Again, though, many do benefit. The company I bought from was CBDMD, and I can recommend them in that when I told them of my experience, they completely refunded my money. OTC pain relievers are useless to me, as was acupuncture, prescription NSAIDS and everything else I ever tried aside from surgery, blue ice packs, and, most especially, narcotics.

About your unwillingness to discuss your views about Trump. You've often done just that if name-calling and chants of "fake news" count, so why is it that outright attacks work for you but rational discussion does not? I proposed it because I really do want to understand how you can endorse high-minded values while supporting a low-minded politician. What am I missing here?

Kerry, long time, no hear. Thanks for coming round.

Marion said...
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Snowbrush said...

"Snow, what you’re missing is that I’m an individual with my own opinions."

I assume that you base your views on data from trusted sources, but I've never had the least idea what those sources are. I had assumed Fox until you denied any knowledge of whom Sean Hannity was. I then surmised that you draw your information from Alt Right websites.

Now, I'm going to ask you three brief questions

"I’m 100% against Socialism in any form."

(1) I often hear Republicans express strong opposition to socialism, but I don't know how they define socialism, so, Marion, would you be so kind as to tell me how YOU define socialism

"I support Trump...The majority of Americans also support Trump."

2) From what sources from did you learn this?

"I could cite you dozens of examples of the MSM reporting outright lies about Conservatives."

If you brought this up because you think I watch MSNBC, I should make it clear that I don't. Most of my news comes over the radio from PBS and, to a far lesser extent, from Fox), but I also watch TV news from Germany, the BBC, and NBC. Not a day goes by but what I Google current events and browse the various sources.

(3) I understand that you regard many--perhaps all--news reports which are critical of Trump--and his policies--as "fake news," but I don't know how you (a) define "fake news," or (b) how you distinguish factual reporting from slander.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. to Marion

"I could cite you dozens of examples of the MSM reporting outright lies about Conservatives."

Then why didn't you? That aside, the reason for this P.S. was that I responded to your reference in the assumption that you meant MSNBC because I had never heard of MSM, nor did a web search turn up a news source that uses those initials. If you meant MSM, please tell me how I can locate it because all I could find for those initials was methylsulfonylmethane.

rhymeswithplague said...

I don't want to participate in the ongoing discussion you and Marion are having, but I may be able to shed some light. I believe the term MSM is shorthand for the term "mainstream media" (you can read more what is meant by that phrase in Wikipedia), which has been around for at least a decade. In fact, if you remember, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was using her own variation, a rhyming parody, "lame stream media," as far back as 2008 or 2009.

Rhymes out.

Snowbrush said...

"I don't want to participate in the ongoing discussion you and Marion are having..."

Marion eagerly offers opinions, but because she resolutely refuses to address questions that might enable me to understand those opinions, I don't see our "discussion" going anywhere. So, Bob, since YOU know what MSM is, perhaps YOU can at least tell me what it means to oppose "socialism in any form." Police? Fire departments? Public schools? Highways? Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Animal shelters? Children's services? Sewage treatment plants? Municipal water systems? The CDC? The EPA? Involuntary taxation in any form? I suppose that there are Americans who would go full-tilt into Ayn Randism (who held that taxation for any reason is immoral, and therefore any government service that is paid for through taxation is immoral), but I would imagine that most people who say they oppose "socialism in any form" do so out of ignorance.

Thank you for defining MSM for me--by the way, Fox supports Trump, so does this mean that, size be damned, Fox isn't mainstream? As for "lamestream media," the fact that, rather than being embarrassed by such childish cutisms (as lamestream media), Republicans, AS A GROUP, embrace them leaves me in despair. It seems to me that Newt Gingrich started the meanness trend that has come to define the Republican Party, but in any event, everytime I heard Sarah Palin speak to wildly enthusiastic Republican audiences, I lost all faith that the Republican Party IN THE MAIN consists by mature, intelligent, and well-meaning people with a capacity for being swayed by logic and evidence. I've even wondered if the Republican states that put us back into a Covid hell by opening up too soon did so because their leaders were simply too childish--and too scornful of science--to wait.

Snowbrush said...

Maybe you know this, but the eastern two-thirds of Oregon is Trump country. Still, the urban population centers of the Coast and the Willamette Valley are Democratic, which means that they control most of what happens in Oregon. In response to this, Republican legislators have simply refused to come to the capitol when a vote is on the table that they know they will lose. The governor has the legal authority to send the highway patrol to force them to come, but they avoid this by hiding out, many of them in Washington state. This has been going on for at least two years now, and it is just another example of the kind of bad faith that has led most Oregonians to despise the Republican Party with all their hearts and souls. To my horror, Covid is on the increase in Oregon, thanks largely to these Republican led areas. For example, when a four hundred member church in Trump country chose to violate the lockdown, 275 of them came down with Covid. I know that not all Republicans are possessed of such childish stupidity, but enough of them are that they control the Party, which leaves me to feel sorry for the old school Republicans (the kind who supported the likes of John McCain) because they get tarnished along with those who agree with Trump's assessment of himself as a "stable genuis."

Here's what the Urban Dictionary has to say about "lame steam media:"

"Large media organizations such as NBC/MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and NPR Radio that are actually very legitimate news organizations but are often accused of bias because they embarrass and point out the hypocrisy and idiocy of many Tea Baggers and fake Conservatives.

"Former half-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin is a perfect example of someone who uses the phrase all the time even though she is on the payroll of an actual lame stream media outlet, Faux News.

"Interviewer: 'Mrs. Palin, when asked by Katie Couric what newspapers you read regularly, you could not cite a single example.'

"Sarah Palin: 'Ya know, what Katie asked was nothing more than gotcha journalism by the lame stream media, and I resent it!'"

I suppose that Palin was conceding here that she doesn't read anything more weighty than Danielle Steele, but I also noted that she loves the vulgarism "gotcha" when she imagines that she has an excuse to use it. I don't mean to say that I'm enthusiastic about the big commercial networks either because being advertisement-driven means that they're focused upon entertainment rather than reporting.

Snowbrush said...

"Snow, what you’re missing is that I’m an individual with my own opinions. I don’t do ‘groupthink’ nor am I a sheep."

Marion, I was deleting emails when I re-read this. The reason that I made a good faith effort to engage you was that I wanted to understand how it is that a person who presents herself as ethical and rational can justify, in her own mind, supporting a politician who consistently behaves in an unethical and irrational manner, a manner that was evidenced repeatedly in yesterday's Chris Wallace interview: (if you regard CNN as "fake news," I'm sure you can find the interview on Fox and other outlets).

Within the same comment in which you said that you were "done with politics," you made several politically based statements, suggesting that while you're happy to state your beliefs--usually in the form of insults--you're unhappy when asked to back them up. For example, "The majority of Americans also support Trump," is a remarkable statement given that every single poll that I have been able to find suggests that Trump's approval rating, while never above 45%, has fallen dramatically (it is now at 38%, which is 3% above his low) due to his mishandling of Covid, yet you refuse to provide even one source. Why is this? You throw statements like bullets in a drive-by shooting, and then you're gone.

Joe Todd said...

Well said. Just a very sad state of affairs. Wife and I haven't been doing much. Trying to stay safe. We had 5 major trips planned for this year and have had to cancel them all.