Rendered Fat Content


Heinrich Aldegrever: Temperance. From: The Virtues Production (1552)
" … gritting our teeth in utter embarrassment for them."

The Muse returned deeply upset from her Friday Exceptional Women breakfast. She'd heard stories of incivility at the Democrat's Fair Booth. Apparently, Republican-associated rabble had taken the opportunity to unleash venom at their presumably evil opponents there. The Muse was justifiably worried. If some people felt comfortable verbally assaulting without provocation their presumed opposition, how could we possibly avoid a civil war, or an uncivil one? She brought this question to my Friday Zoom Chat, and we mumbled over it.

It's an old question. If the opposition seems unconstrained, should we mirror their lack of discipline in order to win or must we hold ourselves to higher standards?
If we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards, have we forfeited the contest? The unconstrained seem to hold an advantage because there seems to be nothing they won't resort to. Lying, cheating, blasphemy, threats of violence, all seem on the table and available to them without any justification, ready at the beckon of mere whim. If we hold ourselves to tell the truth and observe the rules, speaking respectfully and responding peacefully, can we only lose? If we choose to follow their lead, have we forfeited any chance for moral or ethical victory? Will we have conceded to their conditions, ceding the outcome to them? Where does a righteous meta opposition stand without playing into unscrupulous hands?

I've been watching Our President and I have to insist that I'm impressed. First, he seems so presidential. He never seems to engage with inconsequential issues. He's there, taking a principled stand, whenever a genuine article gets mentioned, but he
respondeths not to Twitter carping. He seems to insist that the conversation has to be at least yea tall to warrant his attention, and so it must. The grumbling rabble never quite finds a target for their stones. I think of Mr. Biden as exhibiting UnrelentingDecency, a seemingly unflappable presence. Far from arrogance, he seems to assume the best but retain the perspective to discern the worst. He mostly dispatches indecency by not recognizing it, a response that disables its target's intention to dog pile on his presidency. Decency in Unrelenting doses seems to have been taking the cup as well as the roses so far.

Oh, the slander continues unabated, but most of us, we who also count ourselves as decent folks, hardly hear it squawking, it seems like some distant background hum. We're hearing a different tune, one with hopeful lyrics, one more reassuring and far from cynical. Our Republican friends awoke a tiger, they became a dog specializing in chasing cars to appear tough and capable until it caught a car. Always a step too far with those people. They say they want to win, that they will leverage any means to achieve that end, and they'll try without apparent irony, pretending not to notice when they fall into indecency again. A studied ability to go as low as you need to go does not impress those looking upward and toward the horizon. The Republicans have shown, over the prior generation or two, a tenacious inability to demonstrate how to govern anything once they gain power. They rule by crude decree without considering externalities, UnrelentingIndecency.

If the contest stands between UnrelentingIndecency and UnrelentingDecency, the decency side cannot adopt their opponents style without crossing the aisle and joining their campaign. We forfeit our advantage once we lose our discipline. We see their bullying, their strong arm tactics, and wonder how we'll ever successfully compete, perhaps not noticing that this might not be a competition. One Chat participant suggested that we might just focus upon excellence. Maybe it's a demonstration, instead, or a presentation, a show, UnrelentingDecency and its opponents. I mostly smile at their utter ignorance while worrying about their firing discipline. They're nobody's well-regulated anything. They're armed, dangerous, and indecent, to boot. We dare not ever enter their rifle range.

The Cold War was paranoia. MAGA's paranoia, too. Paranoia's more communicable than the flu, more than the Delta mutation of COVID-19. It attacks decency first. It probes to see who might willingly surrender theirs. Those folks are easy. It's probably up to the rest of us to be hard cases, real hard asses, and hold our decency, even under duress. It seems as if those fair booth words were sticks and stones. They weren't. Those words came from those who, when pushed or shoved, agreed to forfeit their decency first. The resulting embarrassment wasn't lost on the rest of us. It was always a false dichotomy, one proposed for the purpose of furthering indecency. It was never them versus us, regardless of how hard anyone tried to convince us. The harder they tried to convince, the more we should have noticed just how indecent their proposal was. They're noisy, this rabble, noisy and inconsequential. We must seem consequentially quiet in comparison, like Our President, gritting our teeth in utter embarrassment for them.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus