Thursday, February 2, 2017


From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College
(edited slightly only for punctuation and line sense in this blog context)

"I don't like to talk about politics-- political history is my job after all, but there is an important non-partisan point to make: What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with the ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating what is known as a "shock event.  Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event. The Executive Order banning entrance has had all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counter-terrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it. Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot. My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won't like. I don't know what Bannon is up to-- although I have some guesses-- but because I know Bannon's ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle-- and my friends range pretty widely-- who will benefit from whatever it is. If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal. But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event. A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union. If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power. Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it."

from me
If shock works, fear is holding it's hand so people will need training and practice. Sprint is selling drone games, but before this one arms itself and the Perky Parrot becomes an Eagle with it's talons out, It might be wise to remember that war is not a virtual game. I'm thinking about friendly chess matches in real time and space, about the value of diplomacy, about the future of humanity and the planet. We might turn our thoughts to finding common ground.


Faux turn of the century Iron work jacks up the real estate value of buildings, faux flooring and trim adds to the rent once old spaces have been rehabilitated to accommodate the market rate.  Faux gardens, fountains and malls with steel chairs and tables dot the territory to imitate congenial space for human habitat. Human beings are affected by their habitats, either conforming to or rebelling against them. We are not comfortable in sham worlds and seek authenticity even when we don't know that's what we really want and need. When I think about what the settings were meant for, I free myself.     

Around the corner from my apartment, a bus stop advertisement is pushing the positive when I just heard NPRs broadcast about the waste fraud and misappropriation of funds meant to help Vets directly that the VA seems to continue to perpetrate with abandon while paying for advertisements like this"An investigation by NPR and local member stations found that: the VA has about the same number of new hires as the VA would have been projected to hire without the additional $2.5 billion; the new hires weren't sent to VA hospitals with the longest wait times; and the VA medical centers that got new hires were not more likely to see improved wait times."  If we think, we can't be fooled.

She Thinks of Me
Out of the blue, dear Cynthia Craig sends these natural products from the Healing Root in Vermont.
The very essences needed to boost immunity, ease pains, heal wounds, promote calm and more.  So helpful these gifts are, and so nourishing the kind thought that sent them my way, I'm grateful.

Bottom-line thinking and supply-side economics, like bottom-feeder ethics are last and least best of all possible options for promoting a healthy society.  How then can a poor man or woman respond to the enormous and many powerful entities that pervert health and wellness into insurance plans that don't insure either?  How can we think our way through the raging torrent of thoughtless deconstruction pouring out of the new administration in Washington?  What actions might be of the most value to invest in nowSince we must find ways to 'insist, resist and persist', may they be from a base of clarity and calm thoughtfulness. My own energy is limited by my individual capacity on many fronts. Group energy can be chaotic unless the group agrees to cohesive purpose and effective means.  I'm not a strategist, nor do I have the strength once mine in youth. I value kindness, empathy, courage and intelligence above all. 

May all beings find effective means for their values and energies.
 May all beings be happy, safe and at peace with whatever comes to them in life.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for re-printing Heather Richardson's post Michelle, and for your other thoughts and musings...awareness, awareness, awareness.

Liz Ackert said...

There is so much here, I may come back to respond further. But for now, I am glad to see Heather Richardson's piece here and elsewhere. It is a caution to us all. But it is your response that is most on my mind. How fear is such a part of all that is happening around us. It is only by getting to know each other one by one that we can even begin to let go of fear and start to rebuild the trust that is needed to coexist.

Mo Crow said...

"I value kindness, empathy, courage and intelligence above all."
souls on deck, we were made for these times

jude said...

these times are such an opportunity to learn about this life, this world, and the miracle we call love.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

the post is FULL

i can feel it as it might have felt to you to pull these
things together and place them here as your Offering...
LOVE LOVE and LOVE to you, Michelle