What is strength? Weakness? It’s not just aerobic capacity. It’s not just physical. It’s not how much weight we can physically lift but maybe how much reality we can allow ourselves to feel, consider, and act upon.
How would any of us like it if we were mistreated? If our children didn’t respect us and quarreled even with each other? If the schools our children attended were filled with people perpetually angry, constantly looking for revenge, and ready to attack before being attacked? Who held grievances they wouldn’t let go of and wouldn’t listen to anyone that expressed an opinion different from their own?
Or imagine a workplace like that, where no fellow worker would compromise or work on solving any problems or disagreements, and then spent their time and energy blaming someone else for the failure to get anything accomplished or a workplace filled with mistrust. And then they used fear and intimidation to get what they wanted⎼ their agenda or no agenda. These are not places filled with people I’d consider strong.
This is the US GOP led House of Representatives. They quarrel not only with Democrats but each other. Who could forget that, in a historic situation, it took them four days and 15 rounds of voting to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker? The Hard-Right GOP later removed McCarthy for the sin of working with Democrats to keep the government functioning⎼ and took 22 days to replace him. Too many threaten opponents with violence instead of trying to talk or negotiate.
Too many don’t care about governing as much as seizing power, attacking President Biden, and saying no to legislation proposed by Democrats, even if the proposed legislation will help the nation. What have they done besides holding up funding the government? Or starting an impeachment investigation into President Biden with an accusation of fraud, despite the fact that there was no evidence of fraud? Even their own witnesses in their investigation proved nothing except the corruption of the GOP accusers. Or they threaten to remove President Biden from the ballot in GOP states in order to stop or make meaningless Colorado and Maine removing DJT from the ballot for his involvement in the January 6th violent insurrection.
Too many accuse others of fraud to distract from the prosecutions of their own leader(s) for fraud and to make the reality of corruption and its destructiveness meaningless⎼ or to make it seem that all leaders, all of us, do it. I don’t know about anyone else, and I’m not always successful, but I do my best to be sincere and honest, not corrupt.
Too many use hate and violence as tools of manipulation. But hate is a way we distance ourselves from others, blinding us, or anyone, from what we’re doing to ourselves and others. It is moral weakness and pain masquerading as strength. It deprives these GOP of the character, patience, or ethical system required to work on the substantive issues we face as a nation, or to care about the pain and difficulties our fellow Americans face. Such work requires the strength to listen to and respect other people as being important. The ability to self-reflect, be patient, and feel empathy illustrate what I think is true strength.
The world is suffering deeply right now. Many of us in the US have so much compared to others in this country, and world. There is a great concentration of wealth causing immense poverty. Too many people worldwide are suffering from disasters caused by the climate emergency. Too many are suffering in Palestine and Israel, Ukraine, etc. The GOP just try to deny the threat the climate emergency and wars are to us; yet the threats continue. As an article in the Atlantic Monthly put it, we (our environment) can’t afford another DJT Presidency. We, all the people on the earth, can’t afford another DJT presidency. During the DJT administration, they scrubbed data on global warming, undermined the EPA and environmental laws, pulled out of international agreements, etc. etc.
We might cry out in anguish, “What can I do? What effect can I, alone, have?” As if, in a democracy of millions one person should have such an effect. As if each of us was an isolated being, uninfluenced by or incapable of affecting others, and independent of the earth….
*To read the whole piece, please click on this link to The Good Men Project.