My Turn: Au secour, to the rescue


Published: 3/7/2021 3:28:12 PM

Au Secours! Congress’s Civil War continues. So much for the president’s olive branches. I’m sorry but you must recognize that Congress’s efforts to sabotage anything resembling aid to the American economy and population in need leaves me gob smacked but not surprised. Observable facts, decency, compassion, critical thinking, generosity of spirit, bipartisanship — does even the word exist? The future is being pirated by those who are determined to scuttle the two-party state in favor of, basically, White supremacy. Yes, alarming, but a necessary statement to make. Out of power, yes, but in a neighborhood near you. Trumpism is a plague because it infects and obliterates the very mechanisms of constitutional democracy.

But the problems facing us are large. Biden has moved in and chosen the studied, deliberate way of changing the conversation. No vitriol, no blasphemy, no variance from the urgency of the pandemic facing us, no scapegoating, no insults, no prevarications every sentence or so. Basic competence with a staff that actually knows what it can do without being overlaid with slavish subservience..

We know how absolutely fragile the system has really become. The fascism of Trump affords a panacea to its followers who feel themselves teetering, diminished in their self-esteem, needing the image of force that will deliver salvation. But it’s all illusion. The real work and commitment needed is hard. Common cause is a casualty in a world susceptible to eroding beliefs framed by self-serving social media environments coupled with ever increasing technological changes. TicTok now provides an illusion of daily life overlaid with a patina of attitude that we might just be slightly more creative than the world around us. Bravo.

What are we supposed to be doing together to address our greatest challenges — self-manufactured and/or generally ignored. We can no longer discern our common connections, perceive the higher goals that would elevate us, provide vision for our long and sustained Earth voyage. We emerge from the Trump era into what might be seen as a lull, with Biden and the return of constructive government. COVID is teaching us of the necessity to believe in observable science. Govs. Abbot and DeSantis go maskless.

COVID is the great leveler. Deniers refuse to believe in equality. It’s not the reality that spooks them — it’s the equality problem. Equality is inconvenient; it can’t really exist. The Dems are a motley crew and look what they do. It’s pretty much what they said they would do, help people; how weird is that?

Our sacred rights of personal politics and choice allows us to ignore common good at our own peril. It happens with the vaccine, at the ballot box, all the myriad opinions we hold to sanctify the rights of the individual. The past taught some, but the jury’s forever out, no matter the suffering, degradation, self-abdications and the rubric of “personal rights.” Over at John and Mary Farquhar’s, the neighbor bellowed, “It’s my opinion, dammit! You have yours and I have mine.”

Since Reagan, money, position and power have overstepped the restraint of common cause. This age of accelerations brought us neo-liberalism and now we’re struggling for our rights, fighting to simply get done what the world and universe is asking us to do — that has pursued us from the beginning. The epic battle of all times. Survival, survival as enterprise, a fundamental necessity, then of course religion. It has unbridled our creativity then shown us the Devil’s bargains.

We just landed the Perseverance rover on Mars, demonstrating what scientific cooperation can achieve. This, next to a deadlocked Congress and a pandemic that is testing the limits of our abilities to knuckle down, control the suffering yet to come. The horizon is lit, dawn will come, but faith in miracles will not arrive if we’re not following, believing in the means of salvation we’ve been given. God doesn’t have time for mask agnostics.

Watch Republican governors and secretaries of state change the rules of voting to secure minority rule. There’re are fewer Trumpists registered than Democrats so “we’ll” get the Supreme Court to roll over in our favor. Chief Justice Roberts thinks there’s too much time to cast ballots. We’re not obligated to insure fairness at the ballot box, and for whom? Watch this space.

Rising above our indolence requires courage, moderation, listening, not making false witness to the facts. We must always be looking for the paths that lead us to discovery, the wider view, compassion, love in its broadest senses. The ship without sails will inevitably flounder.

(For those who needed clarification — like me — on this title selection: “Au Secours!” is a 1924 short French silent comedy film directed by Abel Gance and starring Max Linder. The French title translates into English as “Help!”)

Alan Harris is now vaxed, more relaxed, and working toward his novel publication, “The Preposterous Tale of Dan and Lee,” and the arrival of spring.


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