Leadership…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can’t be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation.”  She also said, “Fact-denying populism is being shown its limits.”  She didn’t specify any particular country so…there’s no way to know who she might have been referencing…

American flag
Where stupid reigns supreme!

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I’ve been reading, recently, that the Trump campaign has found it’s voice and is going to run on a “law and order” platform.  THEN, Trump commutes the sentence of Roger Stone, a felon convicted of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and obstructing a House investigation.  So much for THAT angle.  The only message he can offer now is that he supports the law but only when it doesn’t apply to him and his…

…I submit his base won’t care, though…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was this…oh, okay…”person” by the name of Ayn Rand.  She’s mostly known for writing fiction intended to appeal to the 13-year-old-boy mind.  She has this quote, “Reason is not automatic.  Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.”

This seems to be the driving mantra of conservatives, these days.  If you’re unclear as to her intent, let me re-phrase her comment for her.  “If you’re an unreasonable asshole, you can’t lose!”  Now…technically, this is correct – as far as it goes.  The part she failed to mention is that you can’t win, either.  See, if you’re wrong, you’re wrong and your refusal to admit you’re wrong doesn’t make you right.  It just makes you wrong AND an asshole.  Sadly, I have some experience with this.

When I was a young man, a friend of mine and his at-the-time girlfriend once gifted me a knife for a birthday present.  It was a little two-blade pocket knife.  They told me it was a Swiss Army knife.  THEY meant it was made by the Swiss Army Knife company.  (It’s important to note the knife bore the logo of the Swiss Army Knife company…)  Because it wasn’t the 50 blades and a corkscrew variety, I said it wasn’t a Swiss Army knife.  I kind of meant it as a joke because it was so different from what people envision when one thinks of a Swiss Army knife.

My friends were surprised by my response and assured me that it was, in fact, a Swiss Army knife.  For reasons I can’t explain to this very day, I just went into full-on Ayn Rand asshole mode and insisted it was NOT a Swiss Army knife.  That was my position and I dug my heels in.  (No, I’m not describing my proudest moment…)  Bear in mind, I had NO basis for my position.  I had NO information to support my position.  THEY had bought the knife.  They knew who made it.  It bore the Swiss Army Knife company logo.  But they could not – under any circumstances – get me to confess it was a Swiss Army knife.

Short version?  They moved from surprised to confused to irritated to outright angry.  You will not be surprised to learn that my bad attitude ruined the party and they left early and angry.  (For the record, we’re still friends.  I apologized and they graciously accepted…)  The point is, at no time was I correct.  Sure I couldn’t lose the argument because I wouldn’t confess the error.  But I couldn’t WIN the argument, either, because I was just absolutely, completely wrong.  I was just being a contrarian, in the best Ayn Rand asshole tradition.

It’s clear to me that the conservative bubble has tapped into – and plays on – that contrarian model for many, many people.  I think it explains the anti-maskers.  I’ve watched for years as one issue after another comes out and immediately, the conservative bubble goes into overdrive making up “defenses” or just planting the contrarian asshole position in their base.  Covid-19 was such a threat, though, that initially, even the conservative bubble thought it best to use masks and play it safe.  After all, the conservative base is made up of olds and they’re very vulnerable.  But then, someone in the bubble noticed that it had created a kind of unity and the ONE THING the conservative bubble CAN NOT tolerate is unity.

Next thing the world knew, the US started seeing armed old men marching on state capitals and demanding “liberty” (that is, “liberated” from their homes) and the anti-mask movement was born.  Now, many of them are being “liberated” from their lives but the anti-maskers are dug in and will readily declare there’s not anything anyone can do or say that will change their minds.  I believe them.  They’re still wrong, though.

There’s an old saying, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.  We, the people, can never do better than our weakest link and I believe the conservative bubble intentionally creates “weak links.”  Since the absolute weakest link currently occupies the Oval Office, I think the rest of us had better buckle up for the long haul because we’re in for a rough ride unless and until competent leadership can be found…

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