American identity, spirit led living

I think Glenn Stanton is a little off here.

Before I get into my brief reaction to this piece he recently wrote for The Federalist,  a story from a recent discussion with our 11-year-old daughter.

As we were tidying the classroom before leaving school, she noticed that one of the youth teachers at the church where we meet had left the middle school girl’s Sunday School attendance sheet out. She read it, noticed that several of her school friends’ names were on it, and immediately asked if we could switch churches so that she could go to church with her school friends.

She has friends at our church, but our church’s youth program is not as active as at the church where they attend school. This is because our church is driving hard the message that fathers need to be teaching their children the principles of the Faith.

I told her the people at our church are spiritual family, and we don’t change churches -particularly after decades of fellowship- simply because there is another church where our kids would be happier, where there are more homeschool families or there is more [insert amenable quality here]. Which brings me to Glenn Stanton’s assertion that Christianity in America is doing just fine.

New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”

Leaving aside that a Harvard researcher’s perception of religious practice might be slightly different from that of a devout orthodox Christian, I agree that compared to the rest of the Western world, the USA has far greater numbers of practicing Christians. Does that mean Christianity is “alive and well” here?

Mainline churches are tanking as if they have super-sized millstones around their necks. Yes, these churches are hemorrhaging members in startling numbers, but many of those folks are not leaving Christianity. They are simply going elsewhere. Because of this shifting, other very different kinds of churches are holding strong in crowds and have been for as long as such data has been collected. In some ways, they are even growing. This is what this new research has found.

The percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more, right up to today. These authors describe this continuity as “patently persistent.”

I would suggest that large numbers of parishioners walking away from churches with ease is a sign that American Faith is not in the best health. Churches are supposed to be places where hearts of like faith are knit together. You fight for your church before you just up and leave it. The million dollar question is:

What kind of churches are they hopping over to attend?

In out metro area (which I heartily stipulate may be highly atypical and not representative of what you find in other parts of the country), a lot of the busiest churches hold service that look a lot like this:

 

Okay, that video was a snarky (but funny!). Seriously, the belief that Faith is as strong now, in the current culture, as it was 50 years ago or more, just doesn’t stand up to what almost any person of any faith tradition witnesses on the ground.

I hope Stanton is correct, and suppose it’s possible, but I doubt it.

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American identity, cultural absurdity, Uncategorized

On “Sexual Misconduct”

Am I the only one who sees the irony in liberal media types running around accusing any and every human with penis and a modicum of power of “sexual misconduct”? I didn’t think so. There has been a lot written and said about this, but I finally ran across a piece of honest writing from a woman on the subject, via Rod Dreher, so I’ll post a few sinppets of it here. Go there to read the whole thing.

Berlinski then goes on to talk about how in real life — the place where human beings, not automatons or ideologues, live — relations between men and women are complicated and fraught with a sexual tension that can be delicious:

Courtship is not a phenomenon so minor to our behavioral repertoire that we can readily expunge it from the workplace. It is central to human life. Men and women are attracted to each other; the human race could not perpetuate itself otherwise; and anyone who imagines they will cease to be attracted to each other—or act as if they were not—in the workplace, or any other place, is delusional. Anyone who imagines it is easy for a man to figure out whether a woman might like to be kissed is insane. The difficulty of ascertaining whether one’s passions are reciprocated is the theme of 90 percent of human literature and every romantic comedy or pop song ever written.

Romance involves the most complex of human emotions, desire the most powerful of human drives. It is so easy to read the signals wrong. Every honest man will tell you that at times he has misread these signals, and so will every honest woman. The insistence that an unwanted kiss is always about power, not courtship, simply isn’t a serious theory of the case—not when the punishment for this crime is so grave. Men, too, are entitled to the benefit of the doubt, and even to a presumption of innocence.

Berlinski is scandalized by the way accused men are accepting blame. It reminds her of Communist show trials:

They are all confessing in the same dazed, rote, mechanical way. It’s always the same statement: “I have come to realize that it does not matter that, at the time, I may have perceived my words as playful. It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt that we were flirting. It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt what I said was okay. The only thing that matters is how I made these three women feel,” said Representative Steve Lebsock. Now that is a remarkable thing to say. Why doesn’t it matter what he thought what was happening? Why would we accept as remotely rational the idea that the only thing that matters is how the women felt? The confession continues in the same vein: “It is hard for me to express how shocked I am to realize the depth of the pain I have caused and my journey now is to come to terms with my demons and I’ve brought on a team of therapists and I will be entering counselling and reflecting carefully on issues of gender inequality, power, and privilege in our society and—”

For God’s sake, why are these men all humiliating themselves? It’s not like confessing will bring forgiveness. They must all know, like Bukharin, that no matter what they say, the ritual of confession will be followed by the ritual of liquidation. If they said, “You’ve all lost your f*cking minds, stop sniffing my underwear and leave me the f*ck alone,” they’d meet exactly the same fate. Why didn’t Bukharin say, “To hell with you. You may kill me, but you will not make me grovel?” I used to wonder, but now I see. Am I the only one who finds these canned, rote, mechanical, brainwashed apologies deeply creepy? Isn’t anyone else put in mind of the Cultural Revolution’s Struggle Sessions, where the accused were dragged before crowds to condemn themselves and plead for forgiveness? This very form of ritual public humiliation, aimed at eliminating all traces of reactionary thinking, now awaits anyone accused of providing an unwanted backrub.

This Berlinski essay really brings home what readers and friends who grew up under Communism have been trying to tell me about the way Western culture is changing for the worst.

Here’s the world we have created for ourselves, says Berlinski:

Given the events of recent weeks, we can be certain of this: From now on, men with any instinct for self-preservation will cease to speak of anything personal, anything sexual, in our presence. They will make no bawdy jokes when we are listening. They will adopt in our presence great deference to our exquisite sensitivity and frailty. Many women seem positively joyful at this prospect. The Revolution has at last been achieved! But how could this be the world we want? Isn’t this the world we escaped?

Like I said, you can go read the whole thing at Dreher’s. It is pretty easy to see Claire Berlinski’s piece through a negative lens at first glance, but she’s just telling a truth that western culture has worked hard to bury. Namely this: women love attention from men until it’s somehow in their interest to pretend that they don’t.

American identity, cultural absurdity, Uncategorized

Exaggerations

One of the wonderful things about interacting with lots of different people -alongside the juxtaposition of virtual interactions- is that you get a sense of reality that is refreshingly distant from the narratives of media and online memes. Our daughter shared something with me last night that she heard somewhere else. Namely this:

‘The Internet is an exaggeration.”

I would add to this that the media is also a bastion of exaggeration. I often say this, and it’s true: There is no money to be made from happy, anxiety-free people.

That occurred to me this morning as I scanned the articles in my reader. It’s not as if I didn’t already know this, but there is clearly an antagonism and earnestness online over minutiae that one rarely encounters in the flesh. That is of course, unless the minutiae at hand is in important to someone.  In which case, it isn’t really minutiae, but you get my meaning.

This is where the media gets in on it, by finding the one child in 10,000 who died from some rare disorder and producing a 10-minute feature segment on it which tugs at the heart strings. To raise awareness. And anxiety, based on an exaggerated fear.

Another daughter noted that Richard Spencer will be in our neck of the woods very soon and that the governor has declared a state of emergency in the city where he will be speaking. This news gave me a sense of how easy it is for the self-proclaimed awake among us to usher the exaggerations from the airwaves and digital superhighway into stark reality.

Thankfully, for all the consternation from those on both the left and the right about the ignorant masses (I’ve been guilty of this myself), I couldn’t help but be somewhat thankful that the majority of Americans are too occupied with Facebook, Game of Thrones and daily life to really care much about these things. The reason American news is so filled with fluff and infotainment is precisely because most Americans have pretty much tuned them out.  They are trying desperately and unsuccessfully to draw the people back in but the people are occupied with other amusements and their own daily existence.

This is not without its drawbacks, but it’s not without its virtues either. Not being consumed with or even attentive to all of this fear baiting means taking the people that they encounter from day to day at face value, embracing or dismissing them on the merits of their interactions, and individual knowledge of their characters. It isn’t so much that we don’t know we’re divided, what divides us, or that trust levels are at an all-time low.

It’s just that the extroversion which characterizes the majority of human personalities -making Facebook, It, and the latest NFL kerfuffle more worthy of attention- also inherently appreciates the commonality of the human experience.

They’re leaving the debates, paranoia and arguing over minutiae to us introverts in the minority, who fancy ourselves awake, standing guard on the walls of Western Civilization as if we can save it from its just desserts, so that it escapes the fate of every other decadent and perverse empire in history. The 50 or so people who read here are pretty sharp, but for those who don’t know it: God is not mocked.

So be aware, but also look for, enjoy, and embrace the beauty in life; in all the ways and people through whom God expresses it.

 

American identity, Beauty, cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world, spirit led living

Happiness is boring to postmoderns.

‘Tis a statement of fact that postmodern people -including Christians- have been effectively de-normed. We do not know how to appreciate simplicity, to be content, to be happy,  to rejoice with those who rejoice, or to mourn with those who mourn, or even define bedrock terms from a Biblical framework.

All most of us know how to do today is gawk, gossip, and gripe. It’s a sad truth, but it is a truth nonetheless. This was a hard pill for me to swallow a few years ago when I first committed a more positive thought and conversational life. That’s not to say that I fully achieved this. It was hard then, and it sometimes still is, but it’s easier now that I accept being mostly on my own looking for the joy in the dailyless of life, and being thankful for it.

Every now and again, however, I run across a fellow traveler who is quick to offer a response of heartfelt joy to someone else’s good news, good fortune, or acts of Christian kindness. Someone who offers exuberant, unsolicited praise for their husband, gratitude for their church, and just seems to be looking for the good in a world awash with bad news. It encourages me, as did this piece I stumbled upon via Rod Dreher:

Boy oh boy, is Felix Miller ever right:

Contemporary young people on the right may be described in many ways: Transgressive. Ostracized. Principled. Unpopular. Free-thinking. Reactionary. Traditional. However accurate—and perhaps damning — one thinks these are, there is one label that greatly worries me: Joyless.

He’s not talking about being funny, in a smart-alecky way. He’s talking about something rooted in love. More:

Many on the right, especially those who identify as “Alt-Right,” spend massive amounts of time rejoicing in the pain of those with whom they disagree. The fact that videos about “libtard meltdowns” and “Butt-Hurt Crying Hillary Voters Compilation” have far more views than videos about Shakespeare, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Dante’s Commedia, should tell us something. Young conservatives and reactionaries, much as they flail their hands at the death of Western civilization and the loss of wisdom, do very little in the way of actually preserving the beauty and truth underlying this great tradition. If joy is truly a result of love, man must be very careful to develop the right affections in his breast. Right now many on the right seem hellbent on cultivating affection for dank memes rather than for truth, goodness, and beauty.

Miller says that G.K. Chesterton ought to be our model. We can’t simply say what we’re against. We have to say what we’re for, and not only that, but we have to live it out. If we really believe what we say, then “we must show our countrymen that there is a better way.” Miller suggests eating, drinking, and making all kinds of traddish merry. More:

This may seem abstruse, but in fact it is one of the most practical realizations a young traditionalist can make. Simply change your habits to help bring friends and family into rituals and ways of life that affirm reality. Host a formal dinner! Go to an art museum! Have a picnic in which you read classic poetry aloud! This is how we can create a sustainable traditionalism in the West.

What I am advocating here is not aestheticism, but communally gathering around all that is true, good, and beautiful. Politics is ordered toward promotion of the common good, thus in order to engage in politics we all must first have a love for the good. We cannot base the rejuvenation of our dying civilization upon a shared animosity, for as Chesterton reminds us, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

True, this. Is it any wonder the world is in the mess that it’s in, and the church along with it? Why do so few seem to ask whose interests are served by our perpetual state of discontent, blaming, criticizing, finger pointing, and fighting?

Sadly, I think I know the answer to the questions. It’s because our natures, deep down, love darkness rather than light. Not only that, we’re mentally lazy and cognitive misers. That may be redundant, but it’s worth a double emphasis.

Joyful living and appreciation of others demand that we subdue our sinful tendency toward selfisness and criticism. Put simply, poking sticks and complaining is just more fun, if only because there’s much more company on the crowded road.

The news of the day is grim, and there is lots to criticize, murmur and complain about. Make a choice to choose life over death, blessing over cursing, joy over discontentment. Really, how much can any one of us do to stem the tide of evil perpetually reported for the express purpose of instiling fear and squelching whatever peace we have? Not much, so why volunteer to be terrified and agitated?

As for us and our house, we are making efforts, real efforts, to embrace beauty, family, community, and Ultimate Truth.

 

 

American identity, cultural absurdity, healthy living, Uncategorized

Don’t watch the news.

I grew up in a house where watching the news to stay informed was considered a mature and reasonable thing for an adult to do. My dad read the paper faithfully every morning, watched the 6 PM news faithfully every evening, and rounded it out with Peter Jennings at 6:30. I am not as faithful about the news as he was, but I always had at least a side eye on what’s happening. However, American news outlets are a one way ticket to CrazyTown.

Abandon American national news media via television or radio. Check local weather online (we live in a hurricane zone and it’s peak season here for the next six weeks, so…). Only read national news twice a week, and world news from non-American sources. Yes, the BBC is a liberal outlet, but it’s still better than ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSNBC, etc. And at least with them I can get news on what’s happening in Afghanistan, which I like to stay on top of for familial reasons. Other than that, it’s best to tune out.

Every person I know who seems sane and untouched by the crazy is a person who has no idea what’s happening in the news.

American identity, cultural absurdity

American stupidity is more like it.

This morning during the cool down after our run, our daughter told me about a  singer –Allen Stone– she recently encountered via Spotify. The lyrics to one of his songs follows:

American Privelege

Oh, it doesn’t seem right that I, I was born white
And my seven-stone fight told me they love me each night
I don’t lose sleep for kids sewing my sheets
Or the ones snitching my sneaks, as long as I can buy ’em both cheap

American privilege, is blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, is blurring my vision, inherited sickness

Everyday I piss money away, I’m the tip of your slave
Just tryna polish this ball and this chain
‘Cause I, I don’t think twice, just keep it out of my sight, oh
Bitch, don’t kill my vibe, no, bitch don’t kill my vibe

American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness

As long as I stay comfortable
(Cash that paycheck, spend it all)
(Build that house up big and tall)
Break the bank to build the wall
(Robbing Peter to pay Paul)
As long as I stay comfortable
(Robbing Peter to pay Paul)

American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness

 

She did some recon on this guy after encountering the song and…lo and behold! His dad is a pastor and his mom a nurse. In other words, with such parentage, he probably would’ve been fine no matter what color they were.

Her thoughts:

“I liked his music until this silly song played. He completely missed it when his privilege, as a straight white male, was revoked. Most of what he describes of his life is also my experience. The great life with the happily married parents is likely because he was raised in a Christian home rather than a white one. I’m as privileged -if not more- than he is. Only privileged white people left in America are white women, and that’s because they’re women. “

This current climate is easy to reduce to sound bites and sides but it really is complicated. 

I ran across this guy recently. Despite his misunderstanding of diversity and obvious affinity for BLM (Garvey’s Ghost echoes my thoughts on that movement) he is at least intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that white men are being demonized and denigrated by the liberal media as much as black men have been, even though the genesis and motivations are different.

 

American identity, family life

The nuclear family (alone) option.

This is an interesting bit of history on the roots of the nuclear family. Namely, that the notion was mostly 1) British, and 2) marked by many of the same characteristics that mark family formation in the United States today, hundreds of years after the era used as the springboard for the piece.

Not so long ago, family scholars labored under the assumption, half-Marxist, half-“functionalist,” that before the Industrial Revolution, the extended family was the norm in the Western world. There was more than a little romanticism associated with this view: extended families were imagined to have lived in warm, cohesive rural communities where men and women worked together on farms or in small cottage industries. That way of life, went the thinking, ended when industrialization wrenched rural folk away from their cottages and villages into the teeming, anonymous city, sent men into the factories, and consigned women to domestic drudgery. Worse, by upending the household economy, the Industrial Revolution seriously weakened the family. The nuclear family, it was believed, was evidence of family decline.

The nuclear family was the dominant arrangement in England stretching back to the thirteenth century.

But by the second half of the twentieth century, one by one these assumptions were overturned. First to go was the alleged prevalence of the extended family. Combing through English parish records and other demographic sources, historians like Peter Laslett and Alan MacFarlane discovered that the nuclear family—a mother, father and child(ren) in a “simple house,” as Laslett put it—was the dominant arrangement in England stretching back to the thirteenth century.

Rather than remaining in or marrying into the family home, as was the case in Southern Europe and many parts of Asia and the Middle East, young couples in England were expected to establish their own household. That meant that men and women married later than in other parts of the world, only after they had saved enough money to set up an independent home. By the time they were ready to tie the knot, their own parents were often deceased, making multi-generational households a relative rarity.

As I stop to think about it  for just 2 minutes (I just read the piece),  it makes perfect sense really.  Given that the U.S. was born of British heritage, it should be expected that our family dynamics mirror this.

I am beginning to wonder, however,  if I am too naive. Despite my oft-professed realism, I actually believe there’s a reasonable and sane midpoint. One where the overwhelming importance of the two married parents, father-led home is acknowledged as best for children and society, but which also acknowledges that such an arrangement thrives with  a little help from a village.

Ideally, that village would be extended family, but experience has taught many people that in the absence of shared values with some blood kin, you have to take support where you can get it. Thankfully if we’re fortunate, Christianity can open the door to heart connections with those of like precious faith onto whom we can lean from time to time when we need it.

Having come from a community where historically the extended family has tried -with minimal success to speak of if any- to fill in the gaps of the broken family nucleus with extended family support, it is my belief that if you have to choose one or the other, then the nuclear fmaily is the only viable way to go.

(h/t): Maea, via TPC

 

 

American identity, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Thoughtful commentary by thoughtful, thinking men.

I’ve been knee deep in family celebrations and get togethers for the past little bit. Perhaps there will be more on that at a later date, but I took a bit of time to catch up on some of the writers that haven’t been winnowed from my formerly way-too-long reading list. Some of these are worth sharing. Some I fully agree with and others I appreciated for the opportunity to think about the implications. In no particular order:

To say that Garvey’s Ghost has been on a roll the past few posts would be an understatement. I really enjoy this guy. He thinks, and he makes sense, and even on the rare occasion when I have a quibble (for instance, I am just not into Pan-Africanism), I click away from his stuff with something to consider that is off the left or right’s beaten path.

Next up is Doug Wilson’s thoughts on using profanity. I *get* where he coming from here. I really do, and although I battle with cussing in my head at times, it is extremely rare for a cuss word to come out of my mouth. My husband, who can be pretty incisive with his words, and is known not to pull a verbal punch, finds profanity problematic as well. The difference is that rather than it being indicative of someone’s lack of love for the Lord, he sees it as a lack of ability to think well or quickly enough to convey the depth of one’s convictions or perspective without it.

I’m not particularly moved by squeaky clean language coming from a snooty, snobby, self-righteous person. I’m so over propriety draped over feigned piety that I could spit, and someone who uses a cuss word here or there -unless the setting or situation is wholly inappropriate- doesn’t really bother me all that much. It certainly doesn’t mean they’re a Hell-bound sinner. I said Hell. Is that permissible?

Buried in the comment thread of Doug Wilson’s post was a comment tangentially related to the subject matter, but this guy’s words resonated with me so deeply that I think they bear repeating for their spiritual value. It is this very conviction which has completely overhauled the way I view people. More importantly, the way I speak to and of them:

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot more about how sinful I really am. The part that scares me is not that I sin, but that I don’t fully desire to be rid of it. I do at times, but at others I make accommodations for it’s presence. I’m not sure I know the difference between personal disappointment and disgust, and real repentance.

Yes, brother, whomever you are. I know exactly what you mean. If there’s any good from it, it’s that it keeps my heart tender towards others. Saints who know they are also sinners tend to be less snobby. Or we should be.

Lastly is a C.S. Lewis piece that I was reminded of by a commentator at Zippy Catholic’s. I cannot recall which post this was buried in, but the portion from Lewis they quoted was this bit:

Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. Fur spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.

I was motivated to go re-read the entire article which I hadn’t read in at least a decade, and it was well worth the re-read. Lots of good stuff there, regardless of whether or not you agree with the thrust of Lewis’ argument:

Well, between the reading and the writing of this post, lunch break has gone way over. If I was on somebody’s job, I’d be losing money.

Enjoy the rest of your day. All 15 of ya.

 

 

 

American identity, black in a multi-culti world

Something about roots, culture, and history (I guess).

Yesterday morning a dear friend, of Scotch-Irish descent born and raised in Appalachia who has long since forged a new life and path with her (non-Appalachian) husband and children, handed me a book.

Hillbilly Elegy, which I’d never heard of despite its being a best seller, has fascinated me since I picked it up last evening. In the years since I’ve known my friend, she has been trying to get me to *get* the universality of certain experiences in a way that I didn’t until I started reading this book.

There were numerous accounts and recollections offered from J.D. Vance’s upbringing that I related to quite strongly.[1]  He offered examples and experiences that I could have written almost verbatim, but for the cast of characters and regional backdrop. This, even though I am as far removed from Appalachian culture as anyone I know.

Many of his conflicting feelings and emotions (feelings which my friend has also expressed over the years) resonated with me. How, did I connect with this white hillbilly -his description of himself- from the Appalachian hills in a way that would seem pretty unthinkable to me, a black woman raised in the black, working class south?

It really came down to the same thing that built the connection between my friend and I. I used to think it was that we both loved Jesus, but nope. There are plenty of people who genuinely love Jesus but with whom I’d just as soon not be bothered. Rather, it is tension of being similarly situated on numerous fronts:

  • Raised in a culture among people who we loved and who loved us,
  •  a culture with deep roots and strong virtue,
  • but a culture also in the grips of strong vice and pathology, which
  • limits the ability to achieve, grow, and thrive without leaving those behind, while
  • still feeling a deep gratitude for what it imparted to you even as
  • your sanity and the future of your children demands that you move on from it.

As I talked with my daughter about it this morning, she was less incredulous. Across the board, she noted, people are increasingly classless and it is quite common now to find people of various backgrounds and ethnicities involved in various displays of dysfunction. The stereotypes are becoming increasingly obsolete and the dysfunction generally associated with the poor or ghetto classes are seen every where except among the upper crust.

Of course, while she certainly witnesses the tension of which I write, she does so from a more comfortable vantage point. Which is the very thing we wanted for our children; the ability to see, analyze, and understand without emotional or psychological weights. In effect, any double consciousness they experience is spiritual in nature (in the world not of it and all that), rather than ethnic or cultural, as described by W.E.B. DuBois.

Somehow, my man seems less hamstrung by the weights than I. As usual, he is the anchor to my rocking boat, the lighthouse our kids use to navigate the storm that typifies today’s stormy cultural waters. But then, he generally ignores commentary: from the left, right, and others, choosing to think for himself. “True intelligence [about an issue]”, he said recently, “Comes from taking the time to really think about a thing, not simply regurgitating what someone else said about it, and that includes randomly spouting off cherry-picked Scriptures.”

[1] Thomas Sowell penned the research that connected a lot of these dots several years ago, but because he is that damnable combination of black and conservative, this research is rarely spoken of when dysfunctional cultural narratives are discussed.

 

 

 

American identity, cultural absurdity, Humility is important

America: One big fun house mirror.

President Trump’s latest undignified, poor impulse control theatrics has the media trotting out the “beneath the dignity of the office” line. Indeed, before i heard any news report, I even used the words: “That is so undignified”.

All it took however, was one good cup of coffee and clarity took hold. This is who we are, and by we I mean collective America; undignified, impulse driven, show boating, shameless, and daring anyone to confront our right to do what we want, when we want, and how we want. Of course we elected a president who does exactly the same.

One would certainly hope that by 70 years of age, a bit of maturity would kick in, yet I am reminded of one of my stepmother’s cardinal sayings: “Wisdom done not come from age, wisdom comes from God.”

That a media and corporate complex which relentlessly pushes exactly this type of emotion-driven, flesh-fueled approach to life would start to yell “undignified” when the man the people they service elected behaves in precisely the way they prescribe and reward crystallizes how distorted our self- images are. It’s as if we’re surrounded by fun house mirrors with no sense of how the behavior we condemn is part and parcel of American life.

This is occurring as I am reading books that touch on these themes as well. One of them is very recently published, and I have been dissecting and writing on it chapter by chapter.

The next installment includes a chapter on how unbecoming, unchaste, and embarrassing behavior is the new normal as a direct result of the current technology. The Anthony Weiner incident is used as a prime example, which speaks for itself.

For every person who understands full well that their antics are on display, there are others who find themselves having their naivete and sense of intimacy betrayed by people they thought they could trust. In a sane world, most people would refrain if only for fear of public shame, but that no longer exists either.

The other book, Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch, was published in 1978, and yet somehow, with no knowledge of what life would be like in 2017 he tapped into the pulse of what we see today. America has been headed for this, complete with a nutty, no holds barred, undignified commander in chief for quite some time.

The president’s antics are simply an extension of the way many Americans live their lives and share their thoughts; unfiltered and without reservations for all the world to see. The pause button has been disabled until after the fact and when it’s too late.

So pardon me if once again, I find my outrage meter mysteriously on the fritz at the latest round of American pearl clutching. My ironic humor meter, however, is working just fine and we got a good laugh this morning here at our house.