Snapshots of life amid silent secessions!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2021

Parker gets it right: What is it like to live in a world defined by silent secessions?

To live in a world where various groups have decided that they will live within a tribe, acknowledging nothing but tribal verities, affirming no one but tribal members?

What's it like to live in that world? The answer is all around us. With that in mind, you might consider a news report, and also an opinion column, from this week's editions of the Washington Post.

The news report was really a profile of a region. Beautifully composed by the Post's Lisa Rein, it appeared beneath this headline:

Montanans used to live and let live. Today bitter confrontations dim Big Sky Country.

According to Rein, Montana suffers from a new state of mind—animosity. 

We once Fourth of Julyed high up in Glacier National Park, communing with the mountain goats, but we don't actually know the state. Rein says the state has taken a major turn for the worse. Live and direct from Kalispell, here's her nugget presentation:

REIN (10/25/21): It has been more than a year of discontent in the Flathead Valley, as national passions that erupted during the Trump presidency and its aftermath struck home in this expanse of crystalline lakes and Douglas firs at the base of the Rocky Mountains less than an hour drive from Glacier National Park in northwest Montana.

Hostility over the November election, the coronavirus and social movements have left a trail of bad blood among old-school Republicans, backers of the former president, increasingly vocal Democrats and out-of-state transplants, convulsing everything from the school district and the public library to daily interactions.

This is no longer the place people here felt they knew, with its pride in a civil style of independence, not just from Washington but from animosity. Local businesses, politicians and ordinary people now find themselves navigating angry confrontations, and a nuanced political tradition of splitting tickets on Election Day has given way to partisanship that propelled a Republican sweep of races for governor, president and Congress in November for the first time in two decades.

Even the Independence Day parade shifted this summer from a once-revered slice of Americana to another battle in a culture war...

Rein describes a type of silent civil war. So does Kathleen Parker, in this new column about some ugly reactions to the deadly shooting incident on the set of the movie, Rust.

Parker is no fan of Alec Baldwin, but she's able to feel empathy for him at this horrible time. She notes that certain others can't do so, or possibly won't. Here is her first example:

PARKER (10/28/21): We put ourselves in Baldwin’s shoes and try to imagine what he felt upon realizing what had happened. Seeing him so distraught and plainly grieving in photos snapped after the shooting should move anyone to empathy and pause our nation’s default cynicism. But not in our spiritually hollowed-out world, where meanness is a virtue and hatred is the coin of the realm.

Of all people, J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy” and a Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, tweeted the following to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey: “Dear @jack let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets.” As is well known, Twitter banned Donald Trump from the platform after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

I can’t fathom how someone so apparently intelligent and empathic as Vance could resort to such callousness. This is the same man who wrote a critically acclaimed memoir of his White working-class upbringing that shed needed light on Trump’s rise to power. In so doing, he exposed his own family with a raw realism, coupled with humor. I loved both the book and the movie that was made from it. But Vance has squandered any good will toward him with his desperate grab for Trumpworld approval.

We join Parker in astonishment at the person Vance has chosen to become. As she continues, she cites a second demon:

PARKER: Trump [himself] has been a bystander to this story who, one can always hope, has discovered the interior rewards of the high road. He may well despise Baldwin for his wicked impersonations of him on “Saturday Night Live,” which were hilarious to anyone with a sense of humor. But contrary to Vance’s craven calculation, Trump has stayed silent on the tragedy.

Not so Donald Trump Jr., who has been hawking T-shirts with the slogan: “Guns don’t kill people, Alec Baldwin kills people.” Uncharmingly, he offered an unprintable defense to critics of the shirts that summed up his character.

As investigation into the shooting continues, two things seem true: What Baldwin did was a terrible accident. What Vance and the younger Trump have done were attacks not only on Baldwin but also on every American who values and strives for decency.

We think Parker's aim is true. Our question would be this:

To what extent are those in our own highly self-assured tribe surrendering to types of silent secession? To insistence on Mandated Tribal Storyline? To an insistence on loathing and denunciation aimed at everyone who is an Other?

We see that same sickness pervading our tribe. Such reactions are "human, all too human," despondent top experts all say.


28 comments:

  1. "Parker gets it right: What is it like to live in a world defined by silent secessions?"

    There's no "silent secessions", dear Bob. Just a normal class society. Global capital and educated professionals (your cult) plus the underclass they bribe vs the working class. Simple as that.

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  2. Can anyone remember a time when we haven't been at each other's throats? Civil rights, protests, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran hostage crisis, GOP deficits, Iran-Contra, the Middle East, Iraq wars, economic collapse, and even plague!

    We all started the fire.

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    Replies
    1. We mostly all banded together during WWII and after 9/11. It is striking that most of the events you list belong to the Republicans. I would say that they started those fires.

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  3. Parker says, "Seeing him [Badlwin] so distraught and plainly grieving in photos snapped after the shooting should move anyone to empathy."

    Not me. First of all, my, empathy goes to the victim and his family. They're ones who suffered a loss, not Alec Baldwin.

    Secondly, Baldwin deserves a lot of blame for this accident. He should have checked the gun himself before aiming at someone and firing it. Also, as the director, he is ultimately responsible for safety practices on the set, which were quite defectives, from what I have read.

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    1. It is traumatic to accidentally shoot someone. There is no reason to consider Baldwin a firearms expert -- he is an actor and I doubt that he owns a firearm at home. Further, Baldwin was not the director. The director was shot. And yes, someone besides Baldwin was responsible for telling him that the gun was not armed.

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    2. David, I think you are succumbing to mandated storyline with your version of Baldwin's accident.

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    3. It's Baldwin's fault, because he hired scabs when union workers walked-off the job due to safety issues.
      It's almost like all workers are better off when protected by labor unions. Without the "It's almost like" part, of course.

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    4. He is one of several producers. Unclear who replaced the union workers. Some were upset about having to drive from Albuquerque instead of staying in Santa Fe, so safety wasn’t the only issue. Conservatives are way too eager to blame Baldwin for everything while not even knowing the director’s name, ignoring the armourer, whose job was to look after the guns & inform when loaded. Baldwin was told the gun was cold.

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    5. You don’t aim a gun at anyone whether you think it’s loaded or not. That’s rudimentary.

      Movies that include guns should require thr handlers of guns to have had gun safety classes.

      Maybe the actors could hold their noses while taking that course the way they manage to hold their noses while making movies that feature people being blown away.

      Then they can get back to bemoaning the country’s gun culture off the set.

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    6. Not a cinematographer, for sure.

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    7. That cinematographer was no angel.

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    8. The man who opened fire at a mall in Boise, Idaho, on Monday, killing two people and injuring five others before being fatally wounded by police, was a far-right gun extremist who had expressed an animus towards Latinos and other minorities—and who not only carried a gun into the Idaho governor’s office, but also turned up armed at an April antifascist protest in Boise and menaced demonstrators, Daily Kos has learned.

      Jacob Bergquist, 27, was a convicted felon who had moved to Idaho a few years ago and had apparently developed an obsession with establishing his right to carry a firearm under Idaho law, a review of his social media posts indicates. He died Monday at a Boise hospital after being shot during the culmination of a shooting rampage inside Boise Towne Square, the state’s largest shopping mall.

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    9. Someone should tell Jussie Smollett to stop doing these things. It's getting ridiculous.

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  4. "affirming no one but tribal members"

    It isn't correct to consider Democrats as affirming only tribal members when Dems have been including and "affirming" those Republicans who are sensible, even though they are still clearly Republicans. They are the ones who did not buy into Trump's big lies, who recognize the importance of working together in Congress, who are not spreading disinformation and nonsense. Such people exist and Democrats are not only happy to affirm them but have appointed them to Biden's administration and to committees in Congress, as Liz Cheney was.

    Somerby's assertion is manifestly untrue of everyone who is not a trump supporter. That means that it isn't tribes that are defining today's factions, but the greed and dishonesty of those who answered Trump's call.

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    1. And Vance has always been a right wing asshole, nothing surprising at all about his tribal behavior.

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    2. Is Dick Cheney now sensible too?

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  5. Conflict is at the heart of democracy. Our procedures for debate and voting allow a means of peaceful resolution of differences of opinion and conflicts of interest. When these are dismantled, as Republicans are trying to do, we lose the ability to peacefully govern ourselves in the face of diversity. Somerby should be protecting our democracy. Instead he is abandoning it by blaming a group he disagrees with for holding divergent opinions. That isn't how democracy works.

    I can't believe they let this man teach school children. He doesn't know anything about how our country works. (Or he has given in to the faction busily dismantling our form of government, and that is seditious not secessionist.)

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  6. It seems to me that the Democrats are the ones who should be seceding from Montana, given that the Republicans swept top offices and are not listening to Democratic party concerns. what have conservative Montanans got to complain about?

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  7. "Rein describes a type of silent civil war."

    It doesn't sound silent at all. When Idahoans are talking about throwing out the BLM, that isn't silent. It is definitely civil war in the sense that Idaho seems to be disavowing the right of the federal government to make laws affecting its state. That is just crazy. For one thing, it ignores our nation's Constitution, something Republicans supposedly revere. Is this something they only care about when it is convenient? For another, they elected Gianforte, a Trumpian bully who physically attacked a reporter and got away with it.

    With covid, there is something worth fighting about -- those who refuse vaccine and masks are endangering other people. This is life and death, not just politics. But Somerby chalks it up to "civil war" instead of recognizing that there are real issues at stake involving health.

    Of course, Somerby doesn't know the first thing about Montana or the folks who live there. He just grabs whatever fits his preconceived notions about gloom and doom, and blaming liberals for the demise of civilization. Like a good conservtive disinformation spreader.

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    1. "our nation's Constitution, something Republicans supposedly revere."

      LOL.
      Everything is negotiable to Republicans, except the bigotry

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  8. Republicans wage culture wars, Dems wage class warfare. This is trivial common knowledge. Why do they do it? Because those strategies work in getting out the vote for their adherents.

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    Replies
    1. But now the roles have reversed.

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