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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #20)

Fri May 29, 2020, 09:51 PM

22. The generalizations are no reflection on particular individuals, but let me say this:

If I simply ask you to close your eyes and tell me who you see when I mutter the words, "Germany, 1942" who do you see?

I think most people would say - perhaps not you, but most people - would say, "Adolf Hitler."

Of course, it was the last full year in the life of Sophie Scholl. But if we think of Germany in 1942, almost no one will see her, a young woman of moral courage that few of us can even imagine. She was guillotined.

Over nearly 20 years here, I have changed my signature line multiple times, but I suspect that the one there now, which may have lasted the longest, the quote from Abraham Lincoln, which I have taken completely out of context, best summarizes how I feel about our times. It reads in part...

We... ...will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.

Lincoln, perhaps the most significant person of his time, at least in the judgement of history, saw his personal responsibility to carry the weight of history not just for himself, but also for the "insignificant." He was concerned that the insignificant would be remembered poorly if he, and the other powerful politicians of his time, failed. He felt responsibility.

Who feels responsibility on the national stage now?

In the future, it is unlikely that anyone will know that you personally did noble things - and I'm not denying that they were noble - but still, in history what you did will not be noticed, except possibly in some obscure Ph.D. thesis in some history department somewhere on "the resistance." People who did what you did will still be painted with the broader brush of our times.

This buffoon in the White House may have successfully destroyed all that our country represents, and history will surely ask, how did this happen? How did a great nation commit suicide? If they examine the demographics of voters, what will they see? The Millennials on whom so many people of our generation heave supercilious contempt, or will they be looking at us, collectively?

People elected by us fought two brutal wars so we could have oil to drive our cars to Walmart. Now, led by support from baby boomers, we have Trump.

What can we take credit for? I really had to think about that. Maybe we can take credit - if due - for launching the information age - although, to be perfectly clear, it is also the (instantaneous) disinformation age.

Now, I have personally benefited professionally from the free flow of information, and so have many other scientists. However, as Shakespeare had it, "The good will be interred with our bones." The evil we've done will live after us.

You know, when we were kids, they started showing that (then) groundbreaking sci fi movie Forbidden Planet on television. Perhaps you've seen it; perhaps not.

Here's the plot: Some space travelers come across a planet that was once inhabited by a race of super technological geniuses that mysteriously went extinct just after their greatest achievement, the ability to manipulate the world through a kind of telekinesis. The punch line to the movie is that that superior race, the Krell, are destroyed by their own subconscious, the violent urges they suppressed. A character in the movie lay dying on having discovered the historical truth of what happened to the Krell, and as he dies he mutters, "Monsters! Monsters from the Id." They ripped each other to pieces because their subconscious took over their telekinetic powers and started to murder their fellow beings.

We have a vile, exceedingly stupid and evil person living in the White House, his path to it, laid out in twittering tweets consisting entirely of lies and dog whistles. He is clearly a monster from the id.

Today, in discussing that horror in Minneapolis, the murder of that fine man by the police, my wife and I told our sons, now young men in their twenties, how we marched in San Diego to protest the attack on Rodney King and the acquittal of the police officers who beat him mercilessly on video. On video!!! The cops were acquitted by a jury of white people of our generation. It's almost 30 years later. We have cops on video committing murder. And two days go by before the murderers are arrested, and only then because a city is burning. We marched, we chanted. We expressed our outrage. I myself gave a little speech downtown San Diego.

What did my marching, my chanting, do? We are a more racist country today than we were in 1965 and certainly more racist than we were in 1992.

Will history record me and my outrage when they review America's suicide? No, history will see Trump. For sure, history will revile him and all those who assisted him in the destruction of this country, ironically flag waving ersatz patriots. But as regrettable as it is, he will be the summation of all of us. I'm sure of it, because I read a lot of history.

Perhaps it isn't fair to you personally, perhaps not even me, but this is reality: One has to dig real deep into history to dig up, to discover, Sophie Scholl but everyone knows Hitler.

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Soph0571 May 2020 OP
cayugafalls May 2020 #1
NNadir May 2020 #3
cayugafalls May 2020 #8
rickyhall May 2020 #12
NNadir May 2020 #19
cayugafalls May 2020 #20
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NNadir May 2020 #22
cayugafalls May 2020 #23
Alliepoo May 2020 #2
Aristus May 2020 #4
MaryMagdaline May 2020 #5
11 Bravo May 2020 #6
Lars39 May 2020 #7
cayugafalls May 2020 #9
Bernardo de La Paz May 2020 #11
Soph0571 May 2020 #14
Bernardo de La Paz May 2020 #17
LanternWaste May 2020 #15
Bernardo de La Paz May 2020 #16
WhiskeyGrinder May 2020 #10
Lars39 May 2020 #13
dixiechiken1 May 2020 #18
murielm99 May 2020 #21
dixiechiken1 May 2020 #24
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