Jerry’s Adage for Today: If I focus on myself, I can always find someone to compare myself to and feel sorry for myself. If I focus on others, I can always find someone who needs my help and provide it.
Beginnings. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish tradition of New Year, was celebrated this week. To my limited understanding, the holiday is intended as the celebration of the beginning of man and woman. One of the traditions is to eat apples dipped in honey in hopes of evoking a sweet year.
I obviously am not Jewish but I certainly join in the celebration of beginnings. I wish my Jewish friends Happy New Year and hope the year is sweet
The much bigger celebration of beginnings in Alabama was the start of football season. The season begin with Alabama ranked number one; in addition Bama, Auburn and South Alabama all won their opening games (and Clemson lost). The feeling in our community is like it’s Christmas morning complete with Fourth of July fireworks and a flyover by the Blue Angels.
The spike in COVID helped increase vaccinations in our state. The fear of not being able to attend football was probably a big motivator. Unfortunately, I expect we will probably see football attendance fuel a spike in COVID cases in the next few weeks.
AL.Com. Our local newspaper has five commentators, three liberals and two conservatives. Two of the liberal writers are Monday Morning Quarterbacks. They take the easy route and find fault in the other side. What they say is often accurate, but I am waiting for the day they are critical of their own positions.
The other three are much more likely to criticize people and positions that lean toward what they believe. To criticize your own side takes courage. I applaud them.
The point is— I am much more likely to give serious attention to commentators when they critique themselves.
The Scarlet Letter. Shane, our youngest son, sent me a link to an article in The Atlantic, a left-center magazine. The article was written by Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. The article is a criticism from the left of what the right calls “cancel culture.” Since she is criticizing from within, I read it carefully.
She finds many ways to compare modern society to the Puritans found in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter;
“… the modern online public sphere of rapid conclusions, rigid ideological prisms and arguments of 280 characters favors neither nuance nor ambiguity. Yet the values of that online sphere have come to dominate many American institutions. Heeding public demand for rapid retribution, they sometime impose the equivalent of lifetime scarlet letters on people who have not been accused of anything remotely resembling a crime. Instead of hearing evidence and witnesses they make judgements behind closed doors.”
She raises good questions:
“How much intellectual life is now stifled because of fear of what a poorly worded comment would look like if taken out of context and spread on Twitter?”
She has good insights:
“The interaction between the angry mob and the illiberal bureaucracy engenders a thirst for blood, for sacrifices to be offered to the pious and unforgiving gods of outrage.”
In my words she makes a good case for due process and free speech being in peril.
The article is brilliantly written, very lengthy, very insightful— a worthwhile read.
Unexpectant support. Her criticism from the left is joined by no less than Bill Maher, a well known far-left talk show host on cable TV. His rant against the cancel culture can be summarized by the statement— “cancel culture” is McCarthyism in reverse.
The Left is Not Alone. Unfortunately, in my experience, no one side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on the cancel culture. Both sides have the tendency to cancel that which offends them.
I have given warnings from the left about the left in today’s blog. One only needs to look to Missouri to see cancel culture on the right.
Last week, Missouri officials removed an exhibit documenting the LGBT rights movement from the state capitol after complaints from a right-wing legislative staffer and other Republicans.
“Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights” was on display at the Missouri State Museum, which is housed in the first floor of the state capitol. It consisted of banners, curated by UMKC history students, that recount the activism of the local LGBT community, including a focus on 1950s gay rights groups.
Greg Razor, the only openly gay member of the Missouri Senate said, “This display was supposed to be up until Dec. 26 [and] made it all of four days before some members of the legislature threw a fit and DNR apparently acquiesced to them and took it down and literally put my history back in the closet.”
The cancel culture is not limited to one party or political persuasion.
Essay. As I said last time, In the hopes of improving my discipline in writing an essay, I am going to add a segment from that essay after the sign off for each blog. That will help me write, but those who do not want the delve deeply into my essay can skip it.
Those who are interested in the essay, please, I encourage your critiques. One reason for sharing is the hope you can help me improve the essay. Here we go!
Racism is Not Alive and Well in America, at Least Not Down Here in Alabama
If you read the title and assume I am a backward redneck with a closet filled with white robes and pointed white hats, you are wrong. I am not a white supremacist spewing misunderstanding and hate.
I have spent my adult life supporting justice within the realm of my influence. I have actively sought to educate myself, my family, my friends and associates on justice issues. I have sought to treat people fairly. The present essay is a continuation of my desire for social justice.
I will repeat the following comment several times: my essay is about HOW to fight NOT whether to fight. My thoughts are not dismissing the fight for social justice. My thoughts are one man’s honest analysis of the model we are using to struggle for social justice and then taking a look at an alternative model.
My hope is a different model will improve understanding of the struggle. My hope is a different model will be increase prevention. My hope is a different model will reduce social injustice.
If when you complete the essay, if you find fault with my facts, I welcome dialog.
If when you complete the essay, if you find fault with my assumptions, I welcome dialog.
If when you complete the essay, if you find fault with my logic, I welcome dialog.
But, ad hominem arguments or self-righteous diatribe will not be welcome.
Dialog means we both listen before criticizing. I promise to listen to you, all I ask is you read my essay without a knee-jerk response. My comments will sound different from the well-established model for social justice. I hope you will hear them and if you disagree engage in dialog not diatribe.
We have been using one social-justice model for years. The dominant model, or context, or paradigm for understanding social justice in the United States begins with assumptions about race and racism. Next week I will elaborate that model.