Tuesday, June 2, 2020



Toxic Ideas

Here are two views of the word that are loose in this country:

The way the world works is (or is supposed to be) that you get what you deserve. Make bad choices? You get bad consequences. Your success or failure is completely up to you-- it's the result of the choices that you make. 

And this:

It's not about high ideals or honor or empathy or care for your fellow human. It's about power, and the people who do (or don't) have the balls to take it and use it. 

The first is more familiar, because the myth of the strong, rugged individual who makes it on his own and pulls himself up by his own bootstraps (which he carved out of a tree trunk with his bare hands) is an American favorite. It is every person who clutched their pearls when Obama dared to suggest that they "didn't build that" by themselves. It is every opponent of the social safety net believing that people who are poor are poor because it's their own damn fault. (Heck, I know people who believe that if someone is sick--any kind of sick--has only themselves to blame.) "Cut all welfare," they say, "and Those People will go get jobs and support themselves. They're just taking advantage."

Even the working poor are their own fault. If that job doesn't pay enough to live on, then get a different job. Never mind what the pandemic has made clear-- that there are certain jobs that we absolutely need and expect someone to do, but we expect those people to be poor.

The second is less familiar to us as a society, though plenty of our high level officials certainly get it. It has certainly been a guiding principle of Donald Trump's life. It doesn't matter what the norms CONTINUE READING: