The Truth

I try to write coherently. I can’t corral my thoughts. This topic is too large, all encompassing. My brain is scattered, agitated. It keeps jumping around.

— — —

Remember the shithole countries? Oops, content warning, foul language. On Facebook today, a friend posted a meme, a quote by Bruce Springsteen: “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.” I responded: “Not likely.”

Nothing funny about the news cycle these days. I could say the American news cycle, because the neo-conservative shift in America is primarily what I’m writing about, but the Canadian truckers and Vladimir Putin have lost their minds as well. It’s all wrapped up in a big package. Three sides of the same coin.

Eight years with Obama surfaced a lot of buried racism in America, as did fifteen years of war in Islamic nations. Granted, racism was buried in a shallow grave to begin with, but the simmering tension set the stage for the Donald Trump show. Many writers (me for instance) began warning about the lasting impact of Trump’s rhetoric starting in 2015. Where we are today was predictable, predicted.

Schools around the country are inundated with complaints about the books available to children. Parents say they worry that certain topics will make their children feel uncomfortable or ashamed. Instead of teaching history (or current events) truthfully, they want the ugly parts omitted. They don’t want their kids, perhaps, to know that slave owners raped their slaves.  

With a smartphone in every hand, kids have unlimited access to all the evils in the world. Nothing learned in a history or English class will rival what an hour alone with Google can offer. Banning books and censoring school subjects isn’t about protecting children, it’s about silencing voices.

No More Bullshit. That’s the sign I always pass as I drive towards the state forest to ride my mountain bike. It makes me ask “which bullshit is that?”

The Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 pissed off the neo-conservative crowd. Huge swaths of white Americans agreed with the protestors, and became protestors themselves. The conservatives saw a groundswell against their core belief that America is by right, a white, Christian nation. Their narrow-minded point of view is that when somebody gains something, someone else must lose something. The Trump crowd, their racism boiling over, believe that equal rights for Blacks and other minorities equals fewer ‘rights’ for them.

The discontent spread to the ballot-box. First Trump, then the long line of impersonators after him. Equality, civil rights, democracy, diversity, inclusion. It’s under assault at all levels of government—from school boards to the Supreme Court. The discourse is vicious. Death threats within the House of Representatives are becoming commonplace.

No one will look back on these years and laugh, Bruce. We’ll look back and realized we squandered our last chance to right a sinking ship. In Stephen King’s book the Dead Zone, King eerily paints a portrait of Trump-like politician Greg Stillson. Upon meeting Stillson, a man who sees into the future (literally, he has a vision of the scorched-earth future that Stillson will bring), attempts to assassinate him. He misses the shot, but Stillson reveals his true nature by using a child as a shield. Stillson’s assent stalls, the world is saved.

Trump has shown us—time and again—his true nature. Shithole countries, grab ‘em by the pussy, she had blood coming out of her wherever. To our discredit, we ignored these, or worse, we chalked Trump up as a straight talker, someone to emulate. The direct result is calls to ban To Kill a Mocking Bird—a book that’s been read in high school English since I was in high school English forty years ago. The direct result is a murder plot against a state governor. The direct result is January sixth.

The scorched-earth is coming, if it isn’t already here. In the future, no one will look at the past seven years with humor. Only regret. Regret that we sat dumbly on the sidelines as our country regressed a century in race relations and descended into an ideological civil war. Regret that telling the truth is now regarded as a sin.

26 thoughts on “The Truth

  1. Yep! Makes looking back on the fear we had in the 80s about Ronnie and Gorbachev playing “chicken” with nukes seem funny🤦🏼‍♀️ This is so much more personal and vicious. It’s like a form or rabies or something.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I still have hope. I’m not laughing, but I’m not in total despair yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep, you’ve nailed it. The push to remove important books from shelves disturbs me endlessly. Whatever happened to teaching children to think for themselves and become critical thinkers? I haven’t given up on the future, but these are dire times precipitated by ignorance and hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a little hard to ‘like’ this one, seeing as it is so depressingly true.

    I would say, that I feel that efforts to combat the growing racism (or revealed racism) seem ineffectual at best, laughable at worst. The hardest part as an individual (read: white person) is to know what to do about most of the big scale issues. Sometimes it feels like there should be something we could do, but the knowing of that thing is desperately hard to pin down. I don’t particularly want to sit on the sidelines, playing a fiddle, while I watch the whole of ‘Rome’ burn, but taking action from my tiny speck of human space seems daunting and futile.

    What would you recommend people like me do to make a difference other than decry the outrageous falsehoods and promote the truth as we see it?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, I’m as entrenched as the next person, so guilty. But how do you compromise on banning books and burying topics of great importance to our nation. But you’re right, this goes both ways. It’s exactly what Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are trying to do to Joe Rogan. There needs to be space for all perspectives. People need to make their own decisions about what they believe regardless of how bad those decisions are. Of course, there needs to be a filter for scientific accuracy, etc…

      Like

  4. Jeff, you do such a wonderful job expressing the same thoughts I have about the current state of our country/ As you note, the underlying problems were always there, but I think Obama’s election triggered enough anger and hatred in some people so that they began to fight back.

    maybe these lyrics from Springsteen will ring true:

    Oh, someday, girl, I don’t know when
    We’re gonna get to that place
    Where we really wanna go and we’ll walk in the sun
    But ’til then, tramps like us
    Baby, we were born to run

    I just hope we get to that place sooner, rather than later…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jim. Maybe we will get to ‘that place’–a Star Trek-like earthly utopia, but I seriously doubt it will happen in my lifetime. Incidentally, Born to Run is my favorite song by Springsteen (not very original, I know). I absolutely love the Phil Spectorish wall of sound in the opening bars. It reminds me of another favorite, Da Doo Ron Ron (actually produced by Spector). These songs hit you over the head right from the start.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been considering a reply. There is so much here I agree with. When I am at the most hopeless I remember that this was always there below the surface and now it’s out in public so on some level we have to deal with it. Things will get dark and hopefully we can come out of it stronger. You can only deal with things once they are in the open. The depravity of the lies will I hope cause a response from the reasonable. You are correct though this battle is being fought in our school boards and county commissions as much as those higher profile positions. I am going to like the truth in your post not the reason for the need to post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My son doesn’t read my blog yet, but he asks about it now and then. We were discussing this post and he told me his English teach recently railed against this conservative backlash. The kids wrote essays about whether it was appropriate to ban To Kill a Mockingbird. Not bad for rural Pennsylvania. I know the racism was always here, but when it was safely buried, no one felt empowered to ban books. It’s gonna take a really long time to get back to 2008. And that’s just a starting point.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. About a half a mile from my house there is a house with broken windows and torn screens, pick up truck in the driveway with a confederate flag sticker on the back window, and on top of the house, on the pitch of the roof is a flag that reads “Fuck your feelings, Trump 2024” (I figured since you cursed I didn’t have to censor that). The divide is so deep. Ignorance was given a platform and celebrated. I agree with you – I can’t say how many times I have lamented and said that I would take Bush back. I can’t believe I complained. Who knew what was in store?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate this, Jeff. And agree.

    What makes it all more frustrating and upsetting for me is that we’re being distracted from what impacts ALL of us, regardless of one’s side of the aisle: climate change, and doing something to mitigate it. Like, now. Apparently banning Critical Race Theory (a legal theory, taught only in law schools for the most part, and some colleges) from K-12 schools that never taught it to begin with. It’s hard to avoid concluding we’re doomed, and deservedly so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. We will *always* have a crisis to solve instead of climate change. I guess until the climate crisis does something less subtle than burn half of the west. 🔥 And then we’ll still choose sides.

      Like

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