Thursday, January 19, 2017

Outrage and ethics: We need to exercise both as muscles.

Here are two items from the coming front - a war on ethics that should inspire our outrage.

Ethics: That’s a concept that seems so alien to Trumpsters and the GOP that they want to purge it from our political experience. AZBlueMeanie reviews The GOP war on ethics: ‘Ethics schmethics, IOKIYAR!’.

The head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub Jr., is under fire by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That committee has jurisdiction in the matter of conflicts of interest brought to the fore by Trump’s tangled business interests. That should sound much like the House Unamerican Activities Committee in the era of Joe McCarthy. But it does get worse. Incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus took to the public media to offer his advice to Shaub: “he ought to be careful” - a thinly veiled threat to Shaub’s livelihood.

Persecution and purges are the tools of petty tyrants. Beef up your ethics muscle.

Outrage: Leonard Pitts Jr. writes in the Miami Herald about Trump may be becoming the new normal. I refuse to accept that. (reprinted in the Daily Star this morning as Outrage muscle needs to stay flexed for next four years).

The capacity for outrage is like a physical muscle in the sense that it tires from being overworked. And certainly, Trump has worked our capacity for outrage like a drill sergeant.

Shock upon shock, insult upon insult, falsehood upon falsehood, he has been a daily deluge of the unbelievable and the unthinkable until you don’t even know what to respond to first. Shall we answer the misogyny? But then, what about the bigotry? Shall we decry the incompetence? Will that leave us time to deal with the ignorance? The man is a white noise of badness.

The danger is that it comes to seem normal, that you stop seeing how truly bizarre it is. One of the things that makes us human, after all, is our resilient adaptability. Whether sickened by cancer, swamped by flood, broken by bankruptcy or savaged by war, we always find a way to accommodate ourselves to the new circumstance. With good humor and quiet courage, we accept the new normal.

But I refuse to do that now.

Doing it now would feel less like an act of courage and good humor than one of surrender, of forgetting that there was once a time dignity, intelligence, honesty and statesmanship were traits we desired and demanded in our leaders. But if we forget that, we forget us, and then we are well and truly lost.

Love of country demands better. Martin Luther King once said he was “proud to be maladjusted” to the inequities and inequalities of his time. That works for me.

So I am proud to be maladjusted to Donald Trump.

So am I. So should we all.

No comments:

Post a Comment