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What's Love Got To Do With It, Anyway?

I recently got to read an article on Marianne Williamson, written by an author with the unlikely name of Taffy, who had been assigned to cover the candidate by the NYTimes.

At the debates, Ms. Williamson seemed quite plausible and attractive, but I could not get my head around her chosen profession of being, essentially, a motivational speaker.  Having read the article (please read; it is a slight possibility that I might have misunderstood some of the content there, and because I'm writing this more than a couple of weeks after reading it, I might have forgotten some things, too) I understand Ms. Williamson a lot better.  At the close of the first debate, Ms. Williamson said that she wanted to counter Donald Trump's basis for his political strategy, namely the harnessing of hate, with the power of love.  That statement no longer seems to come out of left field.

The Left-Field-ness of the statement was not really anything to do with its reasonability, in terms of the bare meanings of the words.  Trump certainly has capitalized on unharnessed feelings of hate and frustration in a large number of people, and the frustration of many conservatives among the Republicans at being unable to push forward their agenda, namely to make the USA a little more like it must have been in the Fifties.  All right, a lot more.  This is the subtext of the MAGA caps.  It is not about whether America was great in any objective sense; it merely meant that many conservatives remember it as being great.  They long for their youth, the things that made life in the USA so wonderful.  Of course, different people remember different things as being what made life wonderful!  There was a lot of money; taxes were (sometimes) lower; there wasn't this much pressure to do well in school; movies were better; you get the idea.  (No doubt, some folks think that the uptight schoolmarms among the Democrats were responsible for raining on their parades.  No making fun of minorities and women . . . Women took a sexist joke with a smile, in the old days, didn't they?)

But Love?  What is this?  Flower power all over again?

Whether or not Marianne Williamson finds a place in the Administration of 2021, we should take her basic idea seriously.  Without something like love, the future is very bleak.

A rose by any other name
What Sister Marianne calls love has been with us all along, by other names.

The chief among these is respect.  This word has many uses, some of them very different from each other.  I'm using it in the sense of treating everyone as though they're human; as though they have the same rights as we ourselves.  Technically, of course, an illegal immigrant has very few legal rights; but they do have some rights by law, no matter how much certain people hate that fact, and even some of us may hate that fact.  In many countries, foreigners are viewed with distaste and dislike, and sometimes with hostility.  Marianne advocates a return to respect.  And I do, too.  (As an author, and perhaps too unrealistically, I write stories in which everyone is respectful.)

There are other words: kindness, hospitality, generosity, patience.  They all mean love.  They're all sadly lacking in the way this administration, and Republicans in the government, have been conducting themselves.

And there are Republicans outside the government who are deeply unhappy about this.  It is difficult to identify with a party that wants to advance its goals by abandoning all these characteristics of loving and decent people.

Marianne Thinks The Left is Mean
If you Google an article in the New Yorker about Marianne's feelings about her candidacy, you will read that Marianne is shocked and frustrated with others in the left wing of the Democratic Party.

The younger folk among the Democrats, who tend to identify strongly with the Left Wing of the party, are impatient.  The older Left Wingers are also impatient, because they feel that its going to take hard steps to push back on the Alt Right, and warm fuzzy approaches are going to distract and delay the party.  Many factors are pushing them towards cynicism: the feeling of urgency in those who are fearful of Climate Change; the steady drift of economic (and political) power to be concentrated among the richest Americans; the gradual erosion of the power of Congress, and the gradual increase in the power of the Presidency and the Senate.  The escalating chaos among foreign governments that were formerly allies of the US.  The breakdown of international economic agreements.  The confusion within the Department of Justice, and the other security agencies.  The Republicans are truly bent on dismantling the government, and the Left wants to put a stop to it quickly.  We can imagine that, in their hurry, they act viciously against anyone, even other Democrats, who appear to stand in their way.

This is the sort of thing that the Democratic leadership mistakenly did during the 2016 elections, and that did not end well.  Unfortunately, whether we have time for it or whether we do not, these hasty Left-Wingers must learn through experience just how much decency they can sacrifice in order to further their progressive agenda.  In my considered opinion, they cannot sacrifice decency--or Love, if you prefer--at all.   You could sacrifice religion; in fact, the government must be run without reference to any particular religious system.  But you can't sacrifice love.  Trump sacrificed love, but nominally embraced Christianity.  The Church responded very badly, hoping that in the long term, conditions favorable to organized religion will emerge.  That may well happen; as many of us suspect, organized religion is almost the opposite of what most religious leaders have taught.


This post first appeared on Fiction From K Brown, please read the originial post: here

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What's Love Got To Do With It, Anyway?


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