Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more which I can’t include. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”
I am running late today, and short-handed, since I really needed to ask Tisiphone to do a favor for a friend (who has an ex-spouse who needs to be – explained – the meaning of “restraining order.”) But – as I point out every week – no one knows the true total number of the Furies, and I need to ask them if any of them are children. Because what is really needed for the first situation this week is about 400 baby Eumenides, primed to comfort children who need it.
We probably all cringed this week when the murderer of Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges (He is no longer a police officer, but now, what’s to prevent him from becoming one again?), and many of us re-lived that horrible night, particularly since, with the trial over, the dashcam video was now available and shocking. Castile’s death, happening as it did in front of his girl friend and right before the eyes of her little girl, was devastating even to those of us who follow such killings, and was covered here at Politics Plus as well in all the mainstream media.
What went under the radar then, and which I only realized this week, was that Philando Castile had in life worked as the nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill, “a small bastion of diversity, a Montessori school that draws from surrounding progressive neighborhoods.”
It was a few weeks after his death in July 2016 when Sakki Selznick learned that her daughter had been giving imaginary high-fives to Philando Castile.
Castile ― or Mr. Phil, as students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School would call him ― often greeted students with high-fives while they waited on line to get breakfast in the cafeteria. Now that Mr. Phil was gone, Selznick’s young daughter worried she’d never get one of his famous high-fives again. One evening, she explained, she was thinking about it and she’d started high-fiving the air, hoping Mr. Phil would respond somehow.
A magical high-five didn’t arrive. Through tears, Selznick explained to her daughter that she would not be getting one.
Ten-year old Miss Selznick is far from alone. “395 adoring students … have spent the past year mourning Castile, a loss that was felt anew last week with the news that Yanez had been acquitted of any wrongdoing.”
When the students returned to school last fall, they had been visibly changed. The school has been doing its best to deal with the grief head on. Teachers got special training, counselors had extended availabilty, visible memorials were created. But when adults cannot work through and make sense of a catastrophe. children really cannot be expected to do so. 400 or so baby Eumenides probably cannot resolve this either, but it couldn’t hurt, could it?
As one parent said, “It has been a hard year. I don’t imagine the next year will be easier.”
Grief like this is immobilizing. But the right is not immobilized right now. It is invigorated. And, while I would hesitate to call anyone on the right “intelligent,” you don’t gain as much power as they have without having something. Call it low cunning if you will. Shrewdness works for me. And I am seeing a trend. Some one, or some group, possibly not even organized, on the right, is is combining our grief and their projection to use against us. They don’t need to immobilize us forever. They just need to immobilize us long enough to destroy us. From AlterNet –
You may have mocked claims about the existence of paid protesters as just another lie from the right. As it turns out, at least on this one issue, they’re actually telling the truth. The problem is, the right neglected to mention those paid protesters are part of the right-wing apparatus…. If it seemed incongruous that the “new right”—whose members have declared themselves the defenders of free speech and conservationists of Western culture—claimed to be so outraged by the recent staging of a Shakespeare play, this might explain why. And when the right talks about “paid protesters,” just assume they personally know whence they speak.
If sending out paid protestors isn’t enough, consider how the right is complaining about left-wing violence – and using that as an excuse to knock a few heads themselves. From Mother Jones:
“Did anybody get to bash a commie yet?” [Kyle] Chapman asked, addressing a group of “Western chauvinist” street brawlers known as the Proud Boys, who flashed “OK” hand signs as a videographer livestreamed the event for Chapman’s 34,000 Facebook followers. “Well, let me know when the time is right because I’m not going to miss out on any fun.”
Mike Cernovich, who has a lot of monty to spend on paid protesting, made it into this story too –
“These [left/right] labels are changing,” insists internet troll, vlogger, and self-proclaimed “national security reporter” Mike Cernovich, who is among the most prominent pro-Trump voices online and now works for Infowars. “Whether the liberals agree with us or not, we view the left as being the establishment now. The counterculture, the dissident thinking is now coming from the right.”
Of course where there are right wingers there will be money, and money pervades all of this activity. Chapman is now looking to publish comic books. Partly because:
“Marvel, DC have really let their readership down because they’ve moved so far to the left,” he told me. “They’ve gone and changed white characters to black characters. They’ve taken straight characters and made ’em gay. It’s not what people wanted. They want superheroes.”
May I digress a little bit here? I am straight, and so white that I can’t spend more than five minutes in the sun without sunscreen. But I can recognize a superhero when I see one – and it mostly ain’t white guys. Anyone who is black or brown or gay or Muslim or any one of a thousand pther things these guys just can’t stand, IS a superhero. They HAVE to be super heroes just to survive. To not only survive but to stay positive, to stay away from hate (like the survivors at Mother Emanuel in Charleston) – these are the superest of superheroes. Anyone who can’t see that is blind. The blindness may or may not be deliberate.
The Nation also has an article on why political violence is necessarily on the right and of the right. The Nation has a pretty fierce paywall, and when I see something there I might want to refer to again not in the same month, I “print” it to a pdf or an xps file to save on my computer, so as not to keep spending that same “view” over and over. I did that with this one.
In the wake of the mass shooting in suburban Virginia last week that left House majority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three others wounded, conservatives have been furiously waving the bloody shirt. With LEFT-WINGHATE filling half the screen, Sean Hannity blamed Democrats, saying they “dehumanize Republicans and paint them as monsters.” Tucker Carlson claimed that “some on the hard left” support political violence because it “could lead to the dissolution of a country they despise.” Others have blamed seemingly anything even vaguely identified with liberalism for inciting the violence—from Madonna to MSNBC to Shakespeare in the Park.
This is all a truly remarkable example of projection. In the wake of the shooting, Erick Erickson wrote a piece titled, “The Violence is Only Getting Started,” as if three innocent people hadn’t been brutally murdered by white supremacists in two separate incidents in just the past month.
All of these articles are strong on what the right is in fact doing. Unfortunately, they are weak on ideas about how to combat what the right is doing. Because, unfortunately, just saying “Oh, they’re projecting,” is not going to work. One either sees that or one doesn’t. And they don’t.
But maybe Megaera and Alecto can come up with something. And, when she gets back, Tisiphone.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4059167