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December 27, 2017


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One of the dubious pleasures of this holy season was watching TV ads for ancestry.com where "real people like you and me" could have revelations delivered to them via their DNA: "I found out I was 24% Native American!". Such is the crucible of identity that it can now come in precise percentages. I don't begrudge people their need for specialness but why not simply go back 130,000 years when we all had the same African ancestor? I'm not sure Trump's America would be receptive to the idea but it's one way of bridging the social divisions arising from minute genetic variations that show up in our appearance. Maybe some of us took slightly different byways on this epic human migration but here we are all, members reunited in the same human family. As Paul Simon once sang: "we've all come to look for America".

So, just who is an American? Well, most of us speak English. We watch a lot of TV. We live comfortably except for the homeless. We know who the Kardashians are, who won the NBA title, and - however badly - the basic outlines of the political system we live under. But what is it that really bridges that gap between I and Thou?

I'll guess it's consciousness itself. That's the miracle that finds the wonder in others rather than the threat. It's seeing yourself in the eyes of a small black child or an ancient Navajo. Or possibly someone you could never possibly respect, like a Klansman. Yet here we are: Americans.

Identity is ultimately a trap. It reduces you to various arbitrary factoids and extrapolates a kind of tribal value based on the least interesting thing about you. What you are is infinite and amazing, but it has nothing to do with your appearance.

Culture is a wonderful thing but I've misspent a life searching for a chimera of "knowledge". I apologize now for my doltishness.

Old, young, male, female, rude, low, rejected by
the rest, whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are
provided, nothing is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance,
ennui, what you are picks its way.

Good heavens. Your journalist friend has exemplified Lakoff's observation about how conservatives are better at framing than progressives are - Tax Dowry!!! Might have worked in Boston in the 19th century, although that is doubtful, but today most people would just be confused. A number of alternatives could be suggested starting with The billionaire's best ever Christmas present. Think progressives need to think hard about framing - if only to be better at it.

I’m in agreement about Dem’s stupefying ignorance about framing positions to only be seen from a specific vantage point-yours. This means keep the message simple, frame it with images people can relate to (Bible images if you will) and reflect your message while serving them up with as much sauce as you can (religion works well as a delivery vehicle).

If you balkanize an audience by addressing them through social ills such as identity issues or victim-hood you are putting them outside the narrative instead of within it. How is it possible to build a large audience that responds to your messaging if your interest is in leaving them out of the myths we embody in creating community; our special ‘other’ which bonds us together with a common background and common enterprise? In social systems the community is God. It’s the ghost that overrides everything else and ties it all together. If a political party is going to have widespread appeal it must have stories that are inclusive of all members of the community; even the aggrieved members who feel it’s the community that is punishing them (and don’t make the best bedfellows).

Democratic ideas were once delivered through labor unions and even mainstream religions back when mainstream religions bothered to address social ills. Many of the issues they campaigned against were corrected and the persisting issues like inequality and corporate amorality were left unchallenged. By the early 80s the two parties were nearly indistinguishable, favoring market based solutions to everything. The only major difference between the two was Republicans came up with the meme that has served them well ever since: ‘It’s government that is the problem’. This has been their Rosetta Stone, used successfully to roll back regulations, cut taxes, privatize social services.

Perhaps taking a stand against rooted interests can serve Democrats again. Pointing out a 5% reduction in military spending would result in $25 billion that could be used in civic improvements. How about eliminating the carried interest deduction that allows Wall St moguls to pay less in taxes than cancer scientists--that would solve the funding gap for higher education. It would also mean standing in front of the issues and establishing a vision wherein government is community and is the ultimate force for good.

I fully believe there are many in the GOP who are driven by malice. This, in my humble opinion, is the end-stage of Lord Acton's quote< "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

Modern Republicanism has devolved into a (poor) excuse for keeping the resources and power in the hands of the select or chosen few. Democrats are hardly blameless because many of then feast a the rich's teat. But Democrats, while not giving back what they should, do give back a bit more--and that, short of a complete political revolution that would catapult socialism to the for, may be the best we can hope for.

I do think part of the malice ascendant in today's toadying Republican party is completely indifferent to patriotism and defense of America's freedom. Part of this revolves around the thought of "with liberty and justice for those who take it, steal it, and subvert the laws to get it." A thought process of, "Those who aren't as 'ambitious' as us aren't entitled to liberty and justice."

Then there is the word "entitlement," as opposed to "earned benefit." Entitlement has been cast, by 30+ years of conservative castigation, as a "hand-out." What the conservative conveniently--and self-servingly--ignore is that every American worker has "contributed," and thus "earned," the "benefits" of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. But, in an indifferent, "you're on your own" social philosophy, compassion and empathy are seen as "weaknesses."

Finally, in the Republican religion of commerce and capitalism where money and power are the true gods worthy of worship, the lessons Jesus Christ taught us are simply used as a smokescreen to obscure the ongoing heathenistic worldly pleasure chasing.


As the first proclamation of the new year, I now declare this blog dead.

Welcome to the soleri echo chamber.

I'd rather "echo" someone with a conscience than someone who deals in snarkasm.

Proclaim this.

I don't own this space. I can't tell anyone what to think or write. If you're too sensitive to deal with pushback, you need a new hobby.

"Anti acid" what kinda cowardly bullshit handle is that. Maybe a robot gone whacko?
Hi I am Cal Lash a real person .

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