Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Enter Rajanaka Fire: Repost from Facebook Group January 2024

"My Fellow Americans..." I've Changed the Name of the Group, Again.
Many of you can still hear Richard Nixon's voice here. It sends shivers down my spine. That of course is when we thought the worse thing that could happen to America was Nixon. Oh my, were we wrong. Reagan. Bush. And now this. Because last night some 164,000+ people thought that Trump should be president again. You mean the sheer chaos, menace, and con game wasn't enough the first time?

Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand until I come out to vote in November. Another me wants to sneak into Canada far enough north never to be discovered, simply disappear with polar bears. Suz and I talk about leaving but who wants these old folks? I would like to think he'll get trounced but I was wrong in 2016, which leads me back to these 164THOUSAND people. I feel ashamed, bewildered, angry, maddened, provoked, downright splenetic when I think these are actual voters, real people this corrupt, stupid, beguiled, or actually as vile. To think we have 10 months more before, no matter the result of a free and fair election, he rejects any result that does not confer upon him absolute power. Anyone paying 20 seconds of attention can hear sane people shouting from the rafters, genuinely alarmed, pleading with people to see the danger and the depravity. But no. This is Amur'ka where stupitwhitepeople and even some others are determined to live in an alternative reality as ruinous and deluded as we know them to be.

So what do we do? Hold our breath? Endless pranayama? Resort to the utter bullshit that It's All One and there is nothing to worry about? Say hopeful nonsense that soothes, dismisses, and mitigates? This situation is enough to make me read the Yoga Sutras as if that inane, escapist palaver were possible. You know, sort out your prakrti and enter into realization of purusa that is immune, disinfected, and forever unsusceptible to the real world. The alternative? I dunno, some Tantric claim to grandiosity, unanswerable authority, and personal prepotency that claims nothing can affect me? Good luck with that. And if you need that kinda' guru, I know just where to look. We could sing Hari Krsna all night not just cause we (might) think it's fun (please, go knock yerself out, I'll be waiting in the hall with my headphones locked into Coltrane), but because we think there is a Mystical, Divine, Blissful state that can relieve us or, better yet, save us. I'm not going to rain on your kirtan (at least not more than I just have) but I don't think that's gonna make this mess better once the hari wears off yer krsna. So what next?
Not every Eagles song sucks because we learn that every form of refuge has its price. I'm gonna need to work on my own personal Peaceful Easy Feeling, no doubt. And it's my own fault that I thought it couldn't get worse than Nixon (or maybe Reagan) and that Obama's election really did mean something. Well, what it meant was I underestimated our fellow citizens for whom I have no more f**ks to give except that that is not an option. Should we give up, not care, ignore, deny, or retreat, the villains will ruin not just me and you but people waaaaaay more vulnerable. We cannot abdicate or fail to act somehow.
I have never been on Joe's case 'cause I think he's the most consequential president in my lifetime---in terms of meaningful legislation actually passed, to say nothing of having paused utter catastrophe. But maybe we stop hating the gub'mint and start being citizens.
A student yesterday came to my office hours. He said, "I can't possibily assimilate the amount of information you offer in a lecture. Can you tell me what the important points are?" I replied, "You're not in college for me to tell you what I think is important since clearly I think it's all important. You're in college to figure out what you think is important. Sorting that out is why you are here, the information is just...information. What's important will will require tat you learn how to think." We're going to need to sort things out.
Thanks for Joseph for the suggestion. I think he nailed it. The world is on fire. We'd better sort this out before it really is too late.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Trump's Immunity Tells the Story and Democracy Itself at Stake

It's mid January 2024 and I ask where shall we be one year from now, no matter the clear outcome of the coming election? Let's take a nearer look to offer some future predictions.

I shan't go on about the despicable behavior we witnessed again yesterday in the NY Federal Court. Suffice it to say, Trump proved himself again above the law by acting in ways that would not be tolerated by any other defendant. There are many reasons why this behavior will further bolster his support with the R-MAGA Party, which is now the entire R-Party. (You've likely taken note of endorsements this week from Rubio, Cruz, The rest will fall in line, be assured.)
Why does this fascism appeal? Let us leave aside the religious machinations that form the psychopathy of Christian Evangelicals. (To say that these people are "not real Christians" is, btw, utter nonsense. To suggest that there are other Christians offended by them is merely to repeat the common historical fact that religious identity is itself disputatious. People are who they say they are, always start there. Then sort out who's who and why they think as much. This is critical thinking 101.) The simplest (not the only) explanation is that all of his behavior can be summarized in one word: immunity. Immunity means that whatever he does or says is utterly beyond consequence and that any suggestion otherwise will be met with violent threats and retribution. So again, why is this appealing to so many? For those terrified, insecure, aggrieved, entitled, and convicted of their own victimization, such claims to certainty, impunity, violence, and immunity from consequence is their own greatest aspiration. That Trump does it, means he emulates their own depraved ambition and yearning. That this will result in vindictive cruelties or demand mendacity, conspiracy, denial of fact, rejection of law, civility, or decency is not as important as the power this enjoins. Their aim is to gain such power by any means and sustain it however possible, including violence. None of this is speculation: we have a proven record given their use of the Big Lie, insurrection, etc. None of these behaviors depend on their beliefs. It matters not whether they actually believe Trump's lies or make them their own. They may repeat all of his claims but this has little to do with conviction, belief, or even faith. Rather, saying whatever will provide the emotional satisfaction and fuel their deeper need to experience the "immunity or else" effect is all that is required. To keep asking whether MAGAs believe this or that claim is to misunderstand their agenda. Beliefs are always a cover for deeper needs, hopes, aspirations, and wants. Pull away this cover and the pleasure, the
feeling that MAGAs get from being aggrieved, angry, fearful, certain, and immune is more important than any stated belief or idea.
Once immunity has become the most important feature of one's deeper motivations and actions then virtually anything is possible. There are literally no longer rules except those that can be imposed on others. The mob may turn on itself or any individual, paranoia and loyalty are its most operative functions. Each can claim to be acting, as their God does, with impunity because they have the power and power itself is righteous justification. (This is not an unfair reading of the God of Job's claim over Job.) Fascism is its own religion, Trump is their savior, they want the same power he has to be beyond any reach of accountability, to do as they please, claim any prerogative, impose any behavior, punish any objectors without due process, and above all scapegoat their "others". To compare MAGA with Nazi fascism is no longer a disqualifying exaggeration. To fail to compare MAGA with these precedents of history will prove fatal to democracy. My real concern is not that the majority of Americans agree with this kind of racist, fascist politics. Rather, it is that the majority is either too naive to understand that this is the only matter that must be considered come November or too indifferent to notice. Personal resignation and nihilism are now ordinary features of the American psyche.

"Progressives" may not want to vote for Biden, the young may be too aggrieved and refuse to see the danger their third party vote poses. Many will be too preoccupied, indifferent, or estranged to appreciate how the blessings of a pluralist democracy will vanish and what that means for their lives. Will the Dobbs decision have electoral effects? Will folks care about the facts rather than their feelings and perceptions of the economy, the effect on international relations, the loss of freedom across the world? As America goes so goes the world, only for worse. It can yet be worse as the planet burns and the forces of totalitarianism and religious fanaticism bring more death and devastation. None of this is predictive. I do think Trump can win and I despair that recognition because it tells me who my neighbors and fellow Americans really are. I am not only appalled by the fact that this will be a close election, I cannot even respect those who abdicate our broken politics when faced with this emergency before us. This is duty's arena. Those who can endorse Trump are beyond the pale and persuasion---they have had years to see what it before us, no matter what they chose in the past. Those who sit this out are not friends to decency, neither intellectually or morally fit for citizenship in a democracy. It's going to be a long 11 months and then no matter the outcome of the election, the Immune will not admit defeat. Is violence inevitable even in the face of a crushing defeat? Of course it is. Those who cannot admit to any fact but their own certainty to rule will not hesitate to do anything to regain power. I'm going to change the name of this Group again. We started as Rajanaka Storm and changed to Sky when Trump lost. It's time we raise the alarms again. Suggestions welcome.