A core characteristic of evil is the belief that what one person desires is more important than what others want. Putin and his followers in Russia believe that what they want matters more than what the people of Ukraine want. Ukrainian refugees who abuse persons of color also attempting to escape war are guilty of exhibiting the same characteristic. I am not saying the evil acts are the same. I want to point out and clarify that evil can easily exist in any human being. The way that we can fight evil is to be clear about what it is. Rabbi Hillel described the Old Testament as telling us to ‘treat others as we would wish to be treated’; but modern life is full of examples and prompts that lead us to diminish others to maximize ourselves. Prompts for evil can be subtle or overt; a real estate commercial with testimonials from customers who all happen to NOT be Black or Asian people (are they too different or not transact real estate?), A presidential candidate telling police to handle suspects roughly, a political party denying accountability for criminal behavior while constantly lying and then saying “both sides do it”, state legislatures reducing the rights of women to control their bodies. Jesus told us “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. Liars attack decency and reality because they want to set up a world that puts them at the top of a hierarchy with EVERYONE else diminished. Do not buy the fascist idea that your group or tribe will be elevated over others, ultimately liars play everyone else for pawns in their delusional pursuit of power. Real power comes from controlling ourselves, not stealing it from others. Demand the truth and hold liars who damage reality to undermine others and aggrandize themselves accountable. Having a decent world depends on us being warriors against evil in all of it’s forms.
A lot of people are shifting to streaming services to save money which suggests that cable television prices are too high. The other possibility is that streaming services (both free and paid) are increasing in value and quality. Most people do not watch a lot of TV because doing so can cause you to sit more which is bad for your health. We are creatures of habit who create bubbles that reinforce our preconceptions about the world; TV is a part of that bubble. Part of growing is having the resources and security to take risks. If you can reduce your cable bill and seize control of both your finances and what is being presented to you about the world; do it. People who are active in their lives are happier. Look at your budget and determine if your resource allocation for television is worthy of the cost. The small step of taking control of a piece of your life could become a habit, leading to greater peace, balance, happiness, and success.
Donald Trump won the 2016 election with a minority of the vote and a majority of the electoral college. Republicans are looking to 2022 to win a majority of gerrymandered districts to take over the House of Representatives (and state legislatures) despite not investigating or holding accountable any Trump followers for insurrection, criminality, or corruption. Elections have not taken place yet, but many political experts believe the Republican Party that has displayed no morality or accountability, will be placed in a position of power in America. Rewarding criminality, corruption, lies, and threats are evidence of evil and/or immorality. The questions for citizens of America is why are you allowing Republicans to continue on their path of inequity? What do supporters of Republicans believe they will get out of their bargain with the devil? For a person who is mentally capable to say they are unaware of the threat to decency or the constitution posed by Republicans is absurd. The truth would have to be in Evolutionary biology which is on the other side of morality; I want more for me and mine. Evolutionary biologists say that when things don’t make sense from a moral standpoint look to evolutionary biology; I seek an advantage is the short version. World War II and the Holocaust was the result of the last period of nations becoming amoral or immoral in their politics. Research, act, and vote your values to build a better world.
Is the American way of life based on fear of poverty and failure? For many people born into the right families poverty is not a possibility, but for others it is a daily threat. America is rated low for social mobility because the rich get richer and the rest remain anxious. No healthcare, universal pre-school, family leave for essential workers (or people in the gig economy) in our country. Many Americans live with the threat of missing a few checks leading to homelessness and poverty. Most school-aged children before the Biden tax plan lived in poverty. America is reputedly the richest country in the world but desperation is everywhere. Untreated mental illness leads the headlines on a daily basis. Are we going to do anything about the death and mayhem that are regular features of American life? Research, vote, and act to build a better future.
Tribalism seems to be on the rise in America. Threats and assaults against Jewish people, Asian people, and other identifiable groups like African Americans have increased. Many people cite the election of Trump as a marker in the rise of hate. Hopefully the election of 2020 will mark the beginning of a decline in tribalism, but hope is not a strategy. We must all act to fight the evils of racism, tribalism, selfishness, greed, and envy. To paraphrase John Lewis ‘if you see something, say something. Stand up against what is wrong.’ All of our futures and lives are at stake.
White American Inferiority/Insecurity Complex (WAIC) is a problem for everyone because it keeps all people from reaching their potential. Fearful people whether they are Black or White are not able to reach their potential. People who externalize their negative emotions create victims and tragic headlines in random ways. Fear builds and spreads like a virus that weakens trust between people, but also in institutions. Building a more perfect union in our country will require confronting difficult truths like the systemic abuses of civil and human rights that the Woke movement addresses. America will either move to increase freedom or decrease it depending on the wisdom and knowledge of our citizens. Fear and hatred (for the self first and then others) pushes people toward foolish and destructive outcomes. It is frightening that the majority of whites voted for Trump, but more of this group moved away from this malevolent political force than any other group. There is hope in America. If Americans can identify and confront liars and lies consistently we will honor all of the sacrifices made for this republic.
Woke is defined as an active awareness of systematic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights. Many people claim to be woke these days with Trump followers claiming it is a scam. The radical right wing says there is no injustice in our society beyond that done to white people. WAIC persons are one description of the large subculture in our country that consists of White Americans with Inferiority or Insecurity Complex (WAIC). These Americans are fortunately a minority of White Americans, but there are more than anyone should be comfortable with. WAIC persons spread and believe lies that make them feel better about themselves. They blame others for their misfortune rather than taking responsibility, and those others are usually minorities to avoid a confrontation with self-deception. WAIC persons would rather support a conman and ridiculous conspiracies than risk confronting their insecurities or self-loathing. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that ‘we will learn to live together as brothers, or we will die as fools.’ WAIC people are fine with foolishness, death, and destruction as long as they can keep pretending they are better than someone else. Ignorance, lies, death, and destruction for these wretched souls beats truth, equal treatment, or a society based on high moral ideals.
We live in a time where one of our two major parties (the Republicans) lie with astonishing regularity and are not called on it. Why is this happening? Lies are a play for power and when we don’t call people on obvious lies that involve our lives; we are either complicit or cowering. As you observe news and events notice who is saying what, and whether liars are held accountable. In our society we have people called journalists, but they usually do not look at trends or past events (which should be in their journals); they just ask questions and accept answers. Every astute observer of news knows that when a “Fox News journalist” asks questions it is a lot different than most other networks. We are used to observing complicit persons and organizations participate in a propaganda campaigns in what we often call our culture wars. Academics and observers of our society say that we are in a cold civil war that can turn hot at any time. America is better than our politics, but we do get the government that we deserve. Pay attention and act so that what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” are more powerful than the demons.
American racism and social dysfunction are on trial again this week. Police departments are thrown into the breach to solve problems that we refuse to commit resources to solve as a society, or act as a source of repression. The police have a range of tools to coerce people, but they will be the first to tell you that those tools don’t work well with hopeless, traumatized, or mentally unstable persons. We must all support public safety by re-thinking how we achieve it. Police officers should not have high suicide rates, or a constant drumbeat of killing unarmed Black men or others because they feel threatened. Police have a dangerous job that is made worse by our society’s cruelty and heartlessness using them to clean up the mess or maintain a broken status quo. Support all levels of government in planning and implementing improved public safety measures that reduce negative or coercive police interaction with the public.
After four years of Trump we are deep in the sewer as a country, but trying to climb out. Numerous Trump officials likely committed multiple acts of corruption or criminality and have yet to face official accountability. We have numerous Republicans in the US Congress who will not say that an American election was free and fair; even though they cannot prove cheating that would have made a difference. State legislatures want to make it harder to vote, but have no evidence of a need for fewer voters beyond protecting their party. Asian Americans feel targeted by their countrymen as do many other ethnic groups after Trump’s assault on truth and decency. I have heard several people in media and elsewhere speak of being ready to fight to protect themselves. America is at a crossroads. If our leaders and representatives do not act decisively; the degeneration Trump and his followers started will metastasize into civil war. The rising insanity and evil that is perpetrated by those who feel entitled to act with impunity must be met with truth, compassion, and justice. Putin wanted Trump for president because he felt he was a tool for American decline and self-destruction in all areas. Putin has won all of the early rounds but the fight is not over. Research our history and current reality from verified sources. Be ready to make the important decisions made by citizens in a republic.