Clippings: “To Be Hopeful in Bad Times” (Sept. 4, 2018)

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“Progressive, populist, and grassroots constituencies have had many victories.
Popular power has continued to be a profound force for change. And the
changes we’ve undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing….
This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that
could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires
the ability to perceive both.”

-Rebecca Solnit, Hope in a Dark Time

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To Be Hopeful in Bad Times.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the
fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice,
courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine
our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we
remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved
magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this
spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way,
we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of
presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is
bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

-Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
(Thanks to Karen Brown for sharing this message from Howard Zinn)

Truth-Telling. When I studied epistemology, I learned the aphorism
“Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.” So it is with POTUS:

“President Trump Told Congress Something Untrue. Here’s Why That’s a
Big Deal” at:
http://time.com/5359041/donald-trump-terrorism-claim-fact-check/

“A historic Trump tell-all” at:
https://www.axios.com/donald-trump-tower-meeting-mueller-investigation-tweet-45312664-5ff0-4e89-95f2-df4dab068c15.html

Disruption and Politics. Thomas Edsall has looked at why we’re in the
mess we’re in today. He’s identified some key factors that you might be surprising,
e.g.: “The More Trade There Is With China, the More Republicans Win” and “The
scapegoating of immigrants takes place across the board and is not limited to
manufacturing workers.” These forces will not disappear quickly, so we had better
get used to a turbulent political environment. Edsall’s conclusion:

“The determination of the Trump wing of the Republican Party to profiteer
on technologically driven economic and cultural upheaval — and the success of this
strategy to date — suggests that the party will continue on its path. Democrats develop
a more far-reaching understanding of the disruptive, technologically fueled economic
and cultural forces that are now shaping American politics — if they intend to steer
the country in a more constructive direction, that is.”

For more on this, see “Industrial Revolutions Are Political Wrecking Balls” at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/opinion/trump-industrial-revolutions.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20180503&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=3&nlid=20387967emc%3Dedit_ty_20180503&ref=headline&te=1