Mob Mentality

There is a phenomenon in which people who normally know and adhere to their values change when in the company of an emotionally charged group. Over the past millennia, I’ve seen it far too often. Call it “peer pressure”, “groupthink”, or “mob mentality”, it doesn’t matter.

Since most people in your time are not scholars of history, I won’t use an obscure example, but one with which most of you are familiar. Nevertheless, the same interaction has recurred time after time–the living do not learn, so it is up to those of us who are gone to explain.

In an ancient land with no BBC, no cable, no wi-fi, a man approaches a village. A murmur passes through the crowd. “This is the ONE that we’ve been waiting for! He is the one!”

The people run together and a crowd forms and welcomes him. “Hail to our hope! Hail to our future! Hail to military victory!”

But it is not Alexander, or Caesar, Hitler, or Stalin. It is an itinerant teacher who has asked for nothing; who has accepted only a place to sleep and a shared meal.

As he approaches, the people line the streets.

“You are what we’ve prayed for! You are the best–Holy, Holy, Holy (holiest, the third order of holy). We wave palms over your head! We lay our cloaks for you to walk over. You are THE one.”

A few days later, in the middle of the night, a kangaroo court is held to condemn the same man to death. The mob, this time, cries “Crucify him.”

Was it the same people?

Think.

 

 

Fact and Fiction

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

If something is a reasonably accurate representation of reality, it is a fact. As humans, we’re incapable of observing, remembering, and then stating any event with 100 percent accuracy, even though most people try.

However, if you tell a lie, that’s what it is.

If you repeatedly tell a lie, it remains a lie.

If you get a million people to repeat your lie, it still remains a lie. It does not become a fact.

You may be able to kiss a frog and have it become a prince, but a lie is a lie is a lie.

It’s not a difficult concept, so why do so many people find it impossible to understand?

LATEST FAKE GNUS!!!!

In a surprise move today, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling with wide-reaching impact on the future selection of America’s leaders.

A number of issues have challenged the judicial system all the way to the nation’s highest court. These have included the ongoing allegation of voter fraud, disenfranchisement of minority groups, and Gerrymandering–all to ensure the continual reelection of incumbents.

The role of the Electoral College raises concerns, especially when the winner of the popular vote is repeatedly not the candidate who is elected. There are the credible—and frequent—charges that foreign governments interfere with US elections.

The Court ruled that selection for high office—cabinet members, ambassadors, the President and the Vice President—will from this point on be determined by polls, rather than elections. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., stated that it was his pleasure to present the courts judgement with a ruling and an opinion that were both unanimous, with no hint of dissent.

Our decision is based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We have determined that equal protection under the law is impossible when each of the individual states determines voting processes and procedures independently, delegating some of said authority to subordinate organizations, including counties, parishes, and political parties.

We anticipate that intelligent citizens have questions, which we will attempt to answer:

“Should this matter not be resolved by Congress?” The US Congress has shown the inability to address legal issues more complex than renaming post offices. Its failure to act in any meaningful manner since 1941 has demonstrated the de facto and ultimately the du jour abdication of Congressional authority. Given that members of Congress exercise neither authority nor accept responsibility, they will continue to be elected.

“What about the President? Doesn’t he have a voice?” The court acknowledges that the President does indeed have a voice, as well as a Twitter account, a Press Secretary, a Communications Director, and Fox News.

 “Then why not let the President address this issue by Executive Order?” Based on previous Executive Orders exceeding Constitutional authority, the Court deemed that this was inappropriate.

 “What about the Vice-President?” The powers of the Vice President cannot exceed those of a sitting President.

“Then why does the Judiciary have the authority to make this ruling?” The precedent has been well established that the other branches of government routinely defer decisions, particularly difficult decisions, to the Judiciary. The Court is merely adhering to said precedent.

How Dare He!

Andrew McCabe was once a member of the White House Theatrical Troupe–so called because at any given moment many top officials work in an “acting” capacity. McCabe was acting Director of the FBI (and, I might add, never nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, or even a Tony).

Unfortunately, McCabe neglected to learn the rules. According to the rules, 96.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. In most cases they are unnecessary because “people tell me” or “I’ve heard” is sufficient to substantiate a statement.  The rules further state that facts are, fluid, dynamic and always changing. And most importantly, anything with which you disagree is “fake news.”

McCabe, instead, looked to, of all places, the United States Constitution for guidance. In this case, he questioned whether the 25th Amendment should be considered. Using the Constitution is really hitting below the belt. It’s a good thing he got fired before he could invoke any other sections or amendments to the Constitution.

Who does he think he is, anyway–James Madison?

 

A United States President

 

tyler
John Tyler Gravesite, Richmond, VA Courtesy Wikimedia

Pardon me for not writing much lately because everything seems so contentious, so I avoid writing anything that might be offensive to the President, Congress, any City Council, or PTA, anywhere.

It’s not as if I don’t like writing about politics and presidents. With my love of history–considering I’m a historical figure myself–I naturally, I find them fascinating. However, I’ve decided to limit myself to politicians from the 19th century or earlier, one of the most fascinating of whom is John Tyler, our tenth president.

Originally a Democrat, he became a member of the Whig political party (gotta love the name–and it has nothing to do with hair!). The Whigs did not have a platform, choosing instead to campaign against Martin Van Buren and the Democrats, blaming them for the poor economy that had begun three years before the election.

The Whig’s candidate, William Henry Harrison was elected president in 1840 with John Tyler (“Tippecanoe and Tyler, too” was their slogan) as his vice president. Harrison died of pneumonia 31 days after being inaugurated, and before the cabinet could declare Tyler as “Acting President,” he assumed the title of “president.” He was derided, behind his back, as “His Accidency.”

As president, he was often at odds with the mainstream members of his party; he was a fan of tariffs and frequently vetoed bills–even those from his own political party. His reason was that he believed the president–not Congress–should set policy. Members of his cabinet resigned and a number of his nominees for the cabinet were rejected by Congress. There was talk of impeachment, and the Whigs expelled him from his own party. One of his major efforts was to annex Texas to protect it from Mexico, although Texas statehood did not occur while he was in office.

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Tyler signed Virginia’s Ordnance of Secession in November, 1861 and was appointed to the Confederate House of Representatives. He died before the first session in February 1862.

Tyler was the only President of the United States whose casket was draped with a foreign flag (the flag of the Confederacy). He was also the only president who was named an “Enemy of the State.”

Taking One for the Team

There is a reason I lived 24 centuries ago. Even though I never succeeded in finding an honest man, my chances were far better then than now. The lamp I carried in my search remains unlit.

Here is the Washington Post article that convinced me that honesty is not valued in your time.

Today, 800,000 federal civilians are working without pay and 380,000 are furloughed. A small (about 2 percent ) pay raise was planned for all federal civilian workers, but this was frozen by President Trump.

But not to worry.

Senior political employees in the White House will get raises, including Vice-President (does that mean he’s president of vice?) Pence will be getting about a ten thousand dollar pay raise. No longer will Vice-President Pence have to struggle to make ends meet on $230,7000 (plus expenses), but will have his pay increased to $243,000 (plus expenses).

That’s the 21st century version of “taking one for the team.”

 

 

Which Way Did They Go?

There was a time, or maybe I just imagined it, when the conservative party had clear goals and objectives:

  1. People should take personal responsibility for their actions.
  2. Try not to spend more than you earn, and to the degree possible, avoid going into debt.
  3. Values are important.

Where did the people who believe that go? They were either replaced by, or became the ones who now espouse different values today:

  1. “It’s not my fault! I can’t remember! My attorney did it!”
  2. “If there’s a huge debt, but I’m gone, it doesn’t matter.”
  3. Value = Personal Benefit

Well, it’s just as well, those pesky idealists are a nuisance. However, Reagan is probably spinning like a gyroscope in his grave.