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21 December 2016 @ 08:00 am
Untied States  
I think it was in my 12-step program that I heard that we teach people how to treat us.

I grew up bipartisan under Eisenhower, a Republican president in the tradition of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. The image is that he spent eight years on the golf course pulling his putts, but he accepted the New Deal, got us out of one Asian war, and kept us out of another. Under him, it felt good to be part of a loyal opposition.

But he was followed by Nixon, and the devolution continued with Reagan and even past Dubya, and the Republicans purged their more reasonable elements, and now this bipartisan thing doesn’t seem like it used to be,

“Not my president”? Samuel R. Delany pointed out that in English “my slave” and “my master” sound alike, and “my president” has always sounded more like the latter to me. To say the least, I shall live by Roosevelt’s idea that blindly following the man in the White House is “servile and unpatriotic,” and I urge Congress to heed the example set by Mitch McConnell* and take an approach somewhere between extreme skepticism and Don’t Let the Sumbitch Piss a Drop.

I don’t know if I’ll live to see Balkanized America, but it wouldn’t take me by surprise. I feel like a citizen of the Clinton Archipelago or Pantsuit Nation (the idea, not the registered trademark) or Baja Canada. I do not love sharing a nation with millions of people who took Trump seriously when he promised to rid the government of rich pigs like himself but not when he expressed his sincere desire to destroy Obamacare.

*Who doesn’t seem terribly concerned with foreign intervention in the recent vote.
nancylebov: green leavesnancylebov on December 21st, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)
From C.S. Lewis:

"We teach them not to notice the different senses of the possessive pronoun-the finely graded differences that run from “my boots” through “my dog”, “my servant”, “my wife”, “my father”, “my master” and “my country”, to “my God”. They can be taught to reduce all these senses to that of “my boots,” the “my” of ownership.

"Even in the nursery a child can be taught to mean by “my Teddy-bear” not the old imagined recipient of affection to whom it stands in a special relation (for that is what the Enemy will teach them to mean if we are not careful) but “the bear I can pull to pieces if I like.” And at the other end of the scale, we have taught men to say “My God” in a sense not really very different from “My boots”, meaning “The God on whom I have a claim for my distinguished services and whom I exploit from the pulpit-the God I have done a corner in.” And all the time the joke is that the word “Mine” in its fully possessive sense cannot be uttered by a human being about anything. In the long run either Our Father or the Enemy will say “Mine” of each thing that exists, and especially of each man. They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong-certainly not to them, whatever happens."
El Coyote Gordo: actualsupergee on December 21st, 2016 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you for pointing out that Lewis got there first.
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit: Porsupah angled portraitporsupah on December 22nd, 2016 02:53 pm (UTC)
Very nicely put indeed by both Delaney and Roosevelt. I'm similarly very wary of the concept of patriotism, nestled as it inherently is so very tightly up against nationalism, and its best bud, American Exceptionalism.

It's always seemed a bit strange, from my perspective, to see people happily opposing Senators and Congresscritters, yet somehow backing off at the figure of The President. Why so? They're just another politician, not somehow anointed by any deity - if you want or need to criticise them, they're absolutely fair game.