Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People
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For a sense of common cause to appear, there has to be a sense of us: a community that is facing a threat and mounting a response. But we have vastly different experiences of the pandemic and vastly different expectations of the government. The anti-mask people in the viral videos are all white, and, it appears, all or most of them live in suburbs or exurbs. They seem to see mask-wearing as a kind of tyrannical virtue-signalling; they expect to be served and assume they are safe, both from the virus and from facing any consequences for flouting the rules or physically harming others. In my neighborhood, in Harlem, which is one of the hardest-hit areas of New York City, common cause is a scarce commodity for starkly different reasons. Here the city’s guidelines are enforced by police officers who started by aggressively arresting people for failing to social-distance, and who now pull up to gaggles of mostly maskless teen-agers to try to get them to disperse. The police cruiser’s flashing-blue display of a social-distancing message taps into a long-familiar experience of over-policing that has little to do with keeping the neighborhood residents safe.
The real threat to freedom in the pandemic is not the threat to individual liberty; it is the threat to positive freedom, the freedom to be a community, a society, a polis. The screaming arguments about masks and lockdowns serve as a distraction from that much more difficult question, and from a sacrifice that is made much too lightly, as when Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York, said earlier this month that demonstrations in the city would be broken up by the police even if protesters are observing social-distancing guidelines. Twice in the weeks leading up to those remarks, police had stopped protests by L.G.B.T.Q. activists against Samaritan’s Purse, an explicitly anti-gay organization that ran a field hospital in Central Park in April.
Two weekends ago, the protesters were back in Central Park, marking the departure of the field hospital. A couple dozen people stood at least six feet apart. Several held a rainbow-flag banner, narrow and very long, to enable holding it while maintaining social distancing. Whenever someone approached the protest, one of the marshals would say, “You are welcome to join. Please wear your mask and maintain at least six feet distance.” One of the people on the lawn, the lawyer and longtime activist Bill Dobbs, regarded the protest with sadness even as he participated. “To have serious resistance, you have to have a meeting of the minds,” he told me. “And, for that, you have to have people in one room.”
In our public space, one person continues to claim the freedom to be in a room with others. The President, as is his talent, succeeds in shifting our attention from that which is truly remarkable—the spectacle of him speaking with others, meeting new people, travelling—to an absurd game of suspense: Will he or won’t he wear a mask? His supporters, meanwhile, succeed in shifting our attention from considering the essential question of freedom during the pandemic—the question of how to forge and maintain common cause—to thinking about the freedom to spit on others.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 28, 2020 at 8:16 PM #319924ravensongParticipant
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the American Right Wing would support them, and would refuse to to join the rest of us in any kind of common cause to resist and stop them, through peaceful means or otherwise.
The American Right Wing has been irrevocably propagandized and brainwashed into becoming an instrument of evil, whose function is to serve, defend, and protect malevolent and oppressive wealthy private interests from the threat of a unified democratic collective of citizens intent upon gaining the power to control their own self determined destiny, and claim their natural birthright to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.
At the end of the day, the greatest threat to human kind that exists on planet earth, right now, is the irrevocable ignorance, and the baseless hate born of this ignorance, of those who have been misinformed by malicious, self-serving wealthy private interests.
February 20, 1939: The American Right Wing holds a Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden
Six and a half months before Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, New York City’s Madison Square Garden hosted a rally to celebrate the rise of Nazism in Germany. Inside, more than 20,000 attendees raised Nazi salutes toward a 30-foot-tall portrait of George Washington flanked by swastikas. Outside, police and some 100,000 protestors gathered.
The organization behind the February 20, 1939 event—advertised on the arena’s marquee as a “Pro American Rally”—was the German American Bund (“Bund” is German for “federation”). The anti-semitic organization held Nazi summer camps for youth and their families during the 1930s. The Bund’s youth members were present that night, as were the Ordnungsdienst, or OD, the group’s vigilante police force who dressed in the style of Hitler’s SS officers.
Banners at the rally had messages like “Stop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans” and “Wake Up America. Smash Jewish Communism.” When the Bund’s national leader, Fritz Kuhn, gave his closing speech, he referred to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “Rosenfield,” and Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey as “Thomas Jewey.”
“A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington
The truth is, there’s no such thing as being “anti-Fascist.” Either you are a decent human being with a conscience, or you are a fascist.
May 28, 2020 at 8:44 PM #319932Hobbit709Participant
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will find himself on the ground unconscious in very short order.
When the police show up, I will claim self-defense.
I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.
May 28, 2020 at 9:33 PM #319943Ohio BarbarianModerator
- Total Posts: 13,776
@hobbit709 A proper Texan spirit, at that. Seriously, I’d do the same thing.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower
May 28, 2020 at 10:35 PM #319960David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,384
It will come to war. The right is simply too far right for anything else. They would likely be supporters, or at the least, sympathizers of the Nazis. Hell, some of them are basically nazis themselves.
I suspect that the next Democrat President will have a number of violent uprisings. Enough to break the system? I dont know. It will depend on two things – the military – and how many regular civilians join in.
May 29, 2020 at 1:34 AM #320011bazukhovParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,621
I’ve always thought that “First Do No Harm” is a good standard to live by.
Going around endangering other people with a virus is not only monumentally stupid but downright psychotic.
Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites
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