The Widdershins

Archive for October 15th, 2013

Good afternoon Widdershinners.  Here’s hoping your Tuesday is a great one.

Last Friday we looked at the causality links between Tea Party adherents and their loss of social prestige — their fear of Palin Cruz Vet Marchlosing the “real America.”  And this past weekend, as if it was an annoyingly persistent STD, it appeared — let’s call it “CLP”, the Cruz, Lee, Palin syndrome. Too bad Rep. Amash was not a part of it so it could have been plain old CLAP.

To recap, Friday was to bring thousands of enraged truckers to D.C. in what was billed as a truckocalypse.  Few showed up.  Sunday was to bring a Million Veterans March.  A few hundred showed up.  Not to worry, where there is the slightest ember of outrage, the usual cast of characters will show up to stoke it.

Sunday’s Hundreds of Veterans March was co-opted by Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Sarah Palin.  So there is no confusion, Cruz and Lee were there to register their outrage at the government shutdown.  The very shutdown they helped engineer.  This fact had the analogy engines working overtime this weekend.  One analogy was:  Ted Cruz wailing about the government shutdown is like O.J. searching for the real killer.

While good, I thought I would try my hand:  Ted Cruz appearing at a rally to protest the shutdown is like Dr. Jekyll leading a support group for multiple personalities and being infuriated when Mr. Hyde shows up and asks, “Did I miss anything?”

A particularly interesting speaker Sunday was Mr. Larry Klayman, founder of FreedomWatch.  For those keeping score, Mr. Klayman’s prior claim to fame was during the Clinton impeachment.  Shortly thereafter, his next claim to fame was being booted from his own organization.  With the same spittle splattered microphone used by Cruz, Lee, and Palin, Klayman dialed up the insurrectionist hatemongering by saying:

I call on all Americans to engage in a non-violent second American  revolution of civil disobedience.  Obama bows down to Allah.  I demand this President leave town and get out.  He should put the Quran down, get off his knees, and figuratively come out with his hands up.

Confederate Flag American Flag White HouseThis raving lunacy is a pitched cry for relevancy.  The shutdown is now a 15-day wail of “pay attention to me” by a 30-40 Tea Party insurgents who have sworn fealty to Cruz and are following him down the swirl of the cesspool.  In the land of the blind a one-eyed man is king.  Given that most Tea Partiers would have difficulty spelling “CR” there is little wonder how Cruz has captured their attention.

The saner precincts of the Republican party are asking, “How did we allow this to happen?”  This is the same establishment that ceded its philosophical direction and soul to radio clowns who are paid tens of millions a year to fulminate this type of outrageous rhetoric.  I would just remind these Republican party elders, “When you climb in a clown car it’s hard to complain about your fellow commuters.”

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who wrote Emotional Intelligence, recently penned an interesting essay entitled, Rich People Just Care Less.  It is an insightful look at the chasm between the One-percenters and everyone else.  For those who lack the time to enjoy the full essay, here are some excerpts:

[M]etaphors for condescending or dismissive behavior are more than just descriptive.  They suggest the social distance between those with greater power and those with less…A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain….Tuning in to the needs and feelings of another person is a prerequisite to empathy, which in turn can lead to understanding, concern and, if the circumstances are right, compassionate action….Social distance makes it all the easier to focus on small differences between groups and to put a negative spin on the ways of others and a positive spin on our own.  Freud called this “the narcissism of minor differences“…This widening gulf between the haves and have-less troubles me, but not for the obvious reasons.  Apart from the financial inequities, I fear the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes.  Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy.

Goleman’s hypothesis was on full display this weekend.  Lee, Palin, and Klayman boarded the “Cruz line” plying the seas of narcissistic differences.  On this cruise there are no lifeboats of empathy — there aren’t even life vests of understanding, concern, or compassionate action.  There is only a burgeoning lack of understanding being stoked by the flames of hate, discord, and indifference.  Those who employ such tactics too often fail to consider:  When you burn white-hot, the light is bright, but the fuel is soon spent.  That time can’t come soon enough for me.

This is an open thread.


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