Friday, February 03, 2017

The Trials Begin

It looks like we are finally going to see a trial by fire for our democracy, one that we haven't really seen since FDR tried to change things to give the president more power. He didn't manage it then, so hopefully it will be difficult to accomplish now.

Women in political positions are standing up and standing in the face of what could become a great American Tyranny. With judicial orders being filed and a president vowing to fight "so-called-judges" we are about to see how strong the checks are and how great the balance can be. It feels like an ugly fight.

The place I live inside the fight is strange. So many people I care about are tired, just so tired, of having to continually and perpetually fight for change. There is a perception on one side that change happens all the time, and it's easy, and their rights have been infringed upon because they don't like change that allows other people to do things, be things, become people that make them uncomfortable. A lot of the fear of change has to do with making others uncomfortable during their question for normalcy.

I think that is the ultimate fear of many who think of themselves as conservative. In reality, I really think there is a true belief that there is no racism, sexism or phobia at all. They want to have this thing that has been promoted to them as normal. A quite life, a good job, a pension, pretty children who grow up to be pretty adults who marry and provide pretty grandchildren so they can do it all over again. They want smiles and white picket fences, beer on Saturday, football on Sunday, missionary position on Sunday evening and do it all over again. This is normal. They want to be normal and they want this thing they think of as normal to exist and not be challenged. In order for their existence to be valid this thing called normal MUST exist.

The most terrifying thing of all could be the reality that what some so desperately want to hold up as the utopian standard of morality might not exist as they pictured. Can leathermen have pretty children and a white picket fence? Can a trans man with his wife have a job with a pension? Are there people who don't drink beer and don't have missionary position sex on Sunday who have good jobs, great jobs, great lives, take in the arts, understand a culture and appreciate the world outside of normal exist and be happy in their same world? If that is possible does that mean I now have to be gay, or trans, or kinky or something else to be normal!

There is kicking and screaming, like children, they think that in order for their normal to exist everyone must be just like them. Anything else is a violation of normal.

It reminds of Douglas Adams writing in Hitchhiker's Guide about Krikkit.

"At this point Arthur noticed a curious feature to the song that the party were singing. The middle eight bridge, which would have had McCartney firmly consolidated in Winchester and gazing intently over the Test Valley to the rich pickings of the New Forest beyond, had some curious lyrics. The songwriter was referring to meeting with a girl not "under the moon" or "beneath the stars" but "above the grass", which struck Arthur a little prosaic. Then he looked up again at the bewildering black sky, and had the distinct feeling that there was an important point here, if only he could grasp what it was. It gave him a feeling of being alone in the Universe, and he said so.

"No," said Slartibartfast, with a slight quickening of his step, "the people of Krikkit have never thought to themselves `We are alone in the Universe.' They are surrounded by a huge Dust Cloud, you see, their single sun with its single world, and they are right out on the utmost eastern edge of the Galaxy. Because of the Dust Cloud there has never been anything to see in the sky. At night it is totally blank, During the day there is the sun, but you can't look directly at that so they don't. They are hardly aware of the sky. It's as if they had a blind spot which extended 180 degrees from horizon to horizon.

"You see, the reason why they have never thought `We are alone in the Universe' is that until tonight they don't know about the Universe. Until tonight." He moved on, leaving the words ringing in the air behind him. "Imagine," he said, "never even thinking `We are alone' simply because it has never occurred to you to think that there's any other way to be." -Douglas AdamsLife the Universe and Everything

If you know the story, then you know that when the inhabitants of Krikkit discover not only that they are not alone, but what's more that there is a whole universe out there beyond the dust cloud, their reaction is not what you would call even-tempered.

"They flew out of the cloud. They saw the staggering jewels of the night in their infinite dust and their minds sang with fear. 

For a while they flew on, motionless against the starry sweep of the Galaxy, itself motionless against the infinite sweep of the Universe. 

And then they turned round. "It'll have to go," the men of Krikkit said as they headed back for home. 

On the way back they sang a number of tuneful and reflective songs on the subjects of peace, justice, morality, culture, sport, family life and the obliteration of all other life forms." -Douglas Adams, Life the Universe and Everything

Today, I feel as if there is some sort of sympatico between our modern conservitive movement and the people of Krikkit. Where the inhabitants of Krikkit went on to try to destroy the entire universe, I think there are many in the conservative movement who truly believe that with legislation, god and guns they can make normal happen again and they can stop being afraid of any hint of non-normal interest they must have. As if there normal simply cannot exist if there is an alternative.

While it may not end in galactic war, I wonder if we are entering a phase of true and serious escalation of violence as we witness a fight between a desperate desire to maintain something that has never existed and the reality that the universe exists and it is vast, untamed, and abnormal.

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