Reign of error

Watch out.  I am going to opine here. It seems appropriate for Friday the 13th in November.  If this sort of thing makes the hairs on your eyebrows crackle, just tell me what you think of my autumn Valencia pictures. I will not be offended 😀

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I don’t want to be negative or simplistic but we have some big issues to deal with right now. To me the top three are: the precarious environment, global warming and its adverse impact by human activity; the turmoil in the Middle East with its worldwide implications for terrorist threats; and the collapse of the middle class.  These are global events and they are serious. Even so, we are being distracted with some very silly people. It would be comical if it weren’t so dangerous.

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But, I also know that people are hurting and they have been, from what I can tell, for fifty years in a very particular way.  Have some people thrived? Yes. Was there suffering prior to fifty years ago? Of course. This is a specific phenomenon, that I am referring to.  I have to be brief about it because you and I are wildly busy, especially right now. Yet, I simply cannot let it go because merely watching this baffling spectacle unfold is difficult.

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Our political season is not just silly, it is now, literally crazy.  As a human behavior specialist, I try to understand what underlies the workings of social phenomena.  Right now, it seems that the national fervor to reject the reality of life in 2015 has led to making decisions about leadership that are based on anything but sound judgments of competence.

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One of our main contenders is running on a biography that he has been carefully crafting and marketing, for profit, for years.  The fact that he threw his hat into the ring to me clearly demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what it takes to run this country and that he is operating while missing a few key screws.

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This man is not qualified to lead anything.  He may be good with his hands, he may be good with physics and biology, but he is a ticking time bomb.  And, that is understandable.  You don’t have a deeply wounded childhood and then escape to adulthood unscathed.  The fact that 24% of the electorate is willing to slavishly follow him down a path of failure and humiliation, speaks to how poorly we have educated the voters in America.

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Presidential historian Jon Meacham has asked, astutely, since when has establishment (which is being categorically rejected) become exclusively synonymous with issue literacy? I would add in scientific evidence and experience to that concept.  I have to assume that people are so desperately disappointed in their personal lives and looking for anything to grasp onto that allays their fears and tells them things will be OK, that they are casting about recklessly for anything ‘different’.  Katrina van den Heuvel talks about our current time as a ‘post-truth, fact free’ era.  To me that is very disturbing.

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Janelle Ross has explained the Carson phenomenon very well here.  And another article lays this baffling situation out for us. Naheisi Coates contends that white America loves the idea of an impoverished black man bootstrapping himself to fame and fortune without the need for any public (taxpayers’) assistance. And even the auto-promoting Donnie Deutsch, in a rare moment of self-consciousness, warns that there is no longer a siloing of media and politics and entertainment. They are all mixed together. Carson has cleverly blended the three and made millions doing it. I honestly don’t believe he anticipated the level of success he has enjoyed in this Presidential run.  He is just as surprised by it as the rest of us are and is now scrambling to seem prepared and viable.

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What started out as yet another avenue for generating revenue (something he has been incredibly successful at, hawking ‘inspirational’ and semi-fictitious iterations of his true biography to low-information readers, for almost two decades) has now taken on a life of its own, propelling this deeply flawed individual toward the prospect of actually winning the nomination and having to seem prepared to lead the world.  He isn’t.  If you listen to him fish for answers to questions you and I could answer reasonably well, just by reading headlines and ordinary articles on domestic and foreign affairs, it is clear he is over his head.  Can he separate the brains of conjoined twins? Yes.  Can he properly lead this country along the razor’s edge of upcoming challenges? No!

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Neither can Trump.  While we all just have to appreciate what the Donald has accomplished, the minute he starts talking Operation Wetback, we (again, the royal ‘we’ of even minimally intelligent and educated citizens) are brought back to our senses.  No 2016 candidate can win the party nomination or the presidency talking like that!

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Neither can Bernie Sanders. He is too white,  socialist, Brooklyn, and grouchy to win in this vast, rather frightened, largely rural, media-influenced electorate (a lot of people don’t vote, that is why I carefully said, electorate). All of these traits may endear him to some of us incredibly, but he cannot win, no matter how much we may or may not think he represents the futuristic, post-modern aspirations of the Left. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sanders.

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Peggy Noonan, with whom I disagree on almost everything and whose very manner of speaking makes me cringe, has rightly observed that people want change.  Since Nixon, their world has seemed to unravel and they blame it on the people in the government.  I cannot disagree with that entirely — after all, these people are making decisions that infuriate all of us almost all the time.  But, to equate the ills of the modern world with experience, training, mental and emotional stability and health, and goodness or kindness aka weakness in some people’s minds, is to get the situation very wrong.  Electing the wrong person to the White House next year would be catastrophic.

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As a child psychologist, I don’t want a man in that seat who calmly relates hammering his mother over the head.  Forget about all the lies and distortions and ignorant statements he has made.  For every trained behavioral scientist, that one action is enough to preclude this man from holding our lives in his hands.

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As a world citizen, I do not want a man who believes we should round up millions of people in their homes and cart them off to camps in some other country.  Does anyone remember the holocaust? Enough said.

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As an urban, literate, practical person, I do not want a misanthropic,  gun-supporting, idealist to take on the far right evangelical force in America.  He can’t do it. He is just another Ralph Nader spoiler. Vote for Sanders and we will spend another eight years “in the bush”, as they say in  Africa.  None of us can afford to be there.

Images: Chez BeBe – our lake; enlargeable

 

 

 

26 Comments on “Reign of error

        • Oh, thank you Susan! For both the support and the compliment. I think about the topic and the title literally pops into my head. It happens every time. Some are better than others, LOL, but it just happens like that for whatever reason. Too bad I haven’t found a way to solve the world’s problems with this questionable talent! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Love these pictures.

    I can’t bring myself to even listen to the nonsense happening down there, Beth. I just can’t wrap my brain around the reversion to perceived ‘good old days’ that thinly disguises racist, sexist and xenophobic attitudes/opinions. That so many of these things are couched in terms of ‘god-fearing’ makes me so angry I want to bite something.

    I’m personally boycotting SNL (not hard, tbh, it’s been lousy lately) for letting that monstrous idiot ‘host’ last weekend.

    I have no idea what it will take to stop this insanity/pathology (unlike you, I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what to properly call it), but I can say that there IS a way back from the edge.

    I read a wonderful op ed in the NYT this morning, talking about the defeat of cynicism and a return to optimistic promise, as embodied by our new PM. I’m deferring full judgement, of course, but I do have to say that the shift in attitude over just the past few weeks has been astonishing- and really quite wonderful. We went from hate and division and isolationism to hope and promise and ‘Canada’ (as I define that concept) essentially overnight.

    Sometimes we need to be dragged to the very precipice (as we were with our former PM) in order to see that we need positive change. I hope that is what is happening for you folks- otherwise I shudder to think about what the future holds for all of us.

    Great insights, as always. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • I stopped watching SNL some time ago too. I had to DVR it because we go to bed at 10 but we just found it boring and stopped bothering.

      I had thought about Canada this week. First off, Canadians are just nicer. I know that sounds like a sweeping generalisation, but it’s largely true, in the aggregate.

      Secondly, these Hatfield McCoyists are deeply entrenched here. The country has become bumpkinified. Suddenly, anything educated and intelligent, much less sophisticated, is anathema to these people and they are unabashed about stating so, openly. The rest of us are too well raised to fight back in kind. We are usually left flabbergasted and speechless.

      Third, I think we thought that was what Obama was going to usher in and it didn’t happen. The last time this country felt elated and harmonious was toward the end of the Clinton administration at the turn of the century. Not since. Things have devolved, imho, largely as a result of the catastrophe of the Bush years. We still have not recovered from the Reagan-Bush one-two economic and international punch.

      I am not optimistic about the next ten years. We need to undo the gerrymandering, in 2020, if we can. We just handed over more gubernatorial positions to the far right. An outright racist just became the governor of Kentucky. It’s appalling.

      The best I hope for is that Mrs. Clinton wins the White House and continues making small and steady advances toward the kind of society we see in Canada and the Scandinavian countries.

      I hope I am wrong and that the tide will turn, with these outliers being handed a decisive and lasting defeat.

      Thank you Cole, for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Appreciate reading this thoughtful, well-written essay. Isn’t the whole political process with all the obnoxious party hawkers so tiresome?

    In the first few paragraphs I assumed you were talking about Trump and was somewhat stunned when you revealed it is Carson you believe is unqualified for the position. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the current president with his similar rags-to-riches story, and Hillary Clinton with her unbridled, life-long ambition to harness the ultimate Gold Ring that is the Oval Office.

    I don’t yet have a dog in this race so I’m not necessarily defending any of them but on Carson, in spite of any number of criticisms that may or may not be valid, that he is “deeply flawed” begs the question: who isn’t? Unless we are electing (a?) God to lead our nation, aren’t we stuck with a few flaws?

    If I were to defend Carson, and I’m not, really, my defense would be that the same characteristics you find repellent—I find deeply attractive. He is thoughtful. Slow to answer. His razor sharp decisiveness in the operating room suggests to me that he is able to remain focused while life or death hangs in the balance. I’ve come to despise canned responses and bumper-sticker marketing.

    I also wrote an article about the blending of news and entertainment, I Used to be a News Junkie, which you might find entertaining. It’s full of flaws, both grammatically and factually but I’m not running for office so I get a pass maybe.

    Again, I enjoyed your article. The only thing that made my eyebrows bristle was your suggestion that rural voters are somehow uniformed or more media-influenced than the rest of the electorate. Out here in the country, we do actually have high-speed internet and cable television. We also read. We even drive our pickup trucks into town occasionally and visit the library.

    I guess some old stereotypes are easier to use and less offensive because they are mostly about straight, white people who use their hands to make a living. What a bunch of fools, right? I’m often envious of those folks who live in the city and make decisions which are never media-influenced. Those people are so durn smart. 🙂

    All the best-
    bzirk (country-girl extraordinaire)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, first let me thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this piece and comment so thoughtfully.

      Also, let me clear something up. First of all, just so you know. I grew up in both the city and the country, New York and the farm area of New Jersey. I spent four years at school in NY State farm country. If I had my druthers, that is where I would live. The NYS area was deep red, gun country too. I loathe guns but I love New York State and its beautiful farm land and caring people. I am not intending to denigrate the country.

      What I meant to say is that Carson’s appeal is largely to white, rural Americans, Evangelical. I am not for or against them. After all, I am white, straight and lived in the country my entire childhood. What I think is that people are choosing Carson for his professions of faith, not his ability to run this country. Being a gifted surgeon does not qualify one for the difficult task of managing people domestically and internationally.

      So, to be clear, I meant not that all rural people are low information, but that those supporting Carson right now must be, given the fact that they simply ignore his misstatements and dissembling. They take everything he says to be true when he has repeatedly said incorrect and fanciful things that have no basis in reality. Why give him a pass? Unless they simply don’t know he is wrong and possibly dissembling.

      As for sincerity. Carson has lied or shaded the truth repeatedly, simply to sell books. That is not a good sign to me, of character. He says ignorant things about phenomena that can be factually verified or refuted. Everyone knows what the pyramids were built for. Why say something so wrong? That is just one among many examples. And, it isn’t in the Bible, either.

      Obama? I was not an Obama fan. I find some of the things he has done to be objectionable, the TPP being one of them. But, the man has been maligned ridiculously, largely due to the color of his skin. He is intelligent, steady, calm, hard working. From what I can see and I study these things diligently and fairly, he has no scandals of any kind in his history, despite the politically and economically motivated slander that he has endured. I see nothing factual to dissuade me that he was qualified for the job he has and he is carrying it out effectively. He inherited a world on the brink of collapse and steadied our country. He is not perfect, but, what was Bush? The worst, most incompetent President in our history. Obama is Lincoln by comparison.

      Hillary? I don’t see her as having had the lifelong ambition to be President. I see her as having the lifelong ambition to take care of women and children. You are not studying her past properly. 95% of these accusations levied against her are false. Is she perfect? No. But to me she is more akin to Eleanor Roosevelt than any other political figure in our history. E. R. is my ideal as a public servant.

      I am sorry if I phrase things in any way that appears to be unfairly disparaging. As a behavioral scientist, I have been taught to observe, analyze and report. As a human being, I try to be tactful. As a Catholic, I try to be kind.

      Forgive me for being rude, if you think I have been and many thanks for taking time here. ❤

      Like

      • It will come as no big surprise that I disagree with pretty much everything here…except, of course, your personal history. It is nice to better understand some of the reasons people feel and think they way they do and I appreciate the insight.

        Liked by 1 person

        • OK, fair enough.

          I think what this comes down to are two things: personal philosophy and which of the only two party choices we are given most closely represents that philosophy and the sources of our information.

          My philosophy is simply to strengthen the majority and stop funneling money to the top half of the 1 percent. Republicans believe in making very rich people, richer. Democrats believe in giving everyone a living standard so they can have minimal happiness. I fall into the latter category, as an upper middle class progressive.

          As for my sources, I have already stated on your blog that I go to primary sources and I listen carefully to what people themselves say. Before the 2000 election, I read extensively and researched both candidates. I knew Bush would invade Iraq two years before he did.

          Anyway, I appreciate your coming here and taking the time to read and comment. And, I also read blogs with differing philosophies for the same reason you stated here: so I know how others think.

          xo

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth, your beautiful photos of homes with decorations were worthy of framing or a homes and garden magazine. The way you included nature to ease our eyes and calm our spirits was appreciated. Ducks walking together, water reeds, lush green growth by stream and the gorgeous sunset or sunrise helped deflect from what is an important message.
    Some of us can handle the truth, Beth.
    I liked your original thought you proclaimed, along with supportive readers comments.
    I plan on watvhing, listening and hoping for the next year’s presidential election to open closed eyes, ones who have not noticed how far afield some candidates have gone. The path needs to be found, the candidates who are selfish, egocentric need to be ignored and the few “left standing” will hopefully show who needs to lead our country.
    Hope respect will be shown, Beth, for the long, nearly impossible, uphill battle President Obama has faced, too. The Republicans openly admit not supporting our President, in Congress and Senate.
    The Internet evil lies of ignorance, racist slurs, and seething (just bubbling under the surface) hatred must stop. I cannot believe how rampant it has become. Where have all the above average hard workers, professionals, thinking and reading people gone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Robin, for the compliments on the photos. I will give Bridgeport the credit. It is hard to take a bad picture over there!

      The internet and talk radio have done a lot of damage. Also, the fact that people now have the medium for expressing opinion as fact. All of us are now ‘reporters’ but what we do — myself included — is give our own thoughts filtered through our own prejudices and inclinations. I try to go to primary sources for my news but it is harder to push aside all the noise on our path to the facts. It takes discipline and the recognition that we cannot allow ourselves to be persuaded by people with a hidden agenda.

      I want the best person to run the government in Washington, in every seat, whoever that is. We need to get the money out of politics. Our Supreme Court has done a lot of damage. Alito and Thomas are two of the worst offenders. I hope we have a Democrat in the WH next time to appoint fair and balanced people to that bench. From it, come a lot of the current problems.

      Thank you Robin. As usual, you and I do see things alike. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great photos. And don’t worry. Ben Carson has a shelf life of perhaps another couple of weeks. Trump, the front runner also won’t be nominated. It could be Rubio or Ted Cruz. Then you can worry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephen, you are likely right about Carson and Trump. Sanders too, although I don’t dislike the man, other than his stance on guns.

      Do you think it could be Rubio or Cruz? Clinton would easily defeat them. I still think it will be Bush. The man I would worry about would be Kasich, the only qualified one of the group.

      Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The photographs I adore, the politics I’m afraid I can’t comment as I don’t pay attention as to what’s going on over there! I know I’m bad 😉 Then again I don’t pay much attention to my own countries politics either! Hugs darling ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Beth, you did it again. But I don’t even want to talk about it. HOWEVER, your photos are just getting so dang good. Love the first one with pumpkins. And the reeds and water. Let’s just pray the gods of “making sense in the world” wake up soon and lend a hand down here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OK, LOL! That was sufficiently neutral so anyone reading it could take it as either positive or negative. You are not alone in wanting your personal views to remain obscure, that’s for sure. I am not so politically correct, as you can tell.

      As long as tricks, traps, gimmicks and fibs are employed by a certain portion of the decision-makers, this nonsense will continue.

      Thanks about the photos. Digital equipment and software turn us all into credible artists, as WordPress has turned us all into reporters. 😀

      Like

    • Well, you are wise to steer clear of our politics right now. They make little sense to me and I live here! By the way, I have a niece who wants to be an opera singer. I think it is a hard climb even with a good voice. What you do to perfect your craft and get singing assignments is so formidable that I think only someone with all your particular qualities can be successful, but we shall see. She is just beginning. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck to your niece if she ever wants to ask me any questions give her my e-mail 😊. Getting the opportunity to perform is so difficult and so essential. Eight years is a long time to self fund and I’m trying my best to take some of the burden off my parents as they’re also trying to help my two brothers.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Charlotte, thank you. I think it is a very hard road to climb. Her parents have money but that shouldn’t be the reason someone succeeds or fails. It should be based on talent and commitment, both of which you have. My niece has a decent voice but I am not sure it is good enough. It is no better than mine and even though I have a good voice, I think it is too small. She is loud and forceful but I do not yet hear great musicality or beauty in her singing.

          You have all of it. A great voice, beauty, and dedication. Look how hard it is, even so. Musical talent outside of popular culture should get more support. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

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