• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    riverdaughter on My Minority Opinion on Simone…
    Beata on My Minority Opinion on Simone…
    Dawsalee on My Minority Opinion on Simone…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Washed up and ranting about th…
    Beata on My Minority Opinion on Simone…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Washed up and ranting about th…
    Colleen on Washed up and ranting about th…
    William on The Congressional Hearings on…
    jmac on Washed up and ranting about th…
    riverdaughter on The Congressional Hearings on…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Washed up and ranting about th…
    William on Washed up and ranting about th…
    William on The Congressional Hearings on…
    William on The Congressional Hearings on…
    lililam on The Congressional Hearings on…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    April 2021
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Who Goes To Prison For America’s Crimes? The Whistleblowers.
      There’s a joke about the CIA and torture, in that the only person who went to prison for torturing people was the guy who revealed the torture. Daniel Hale, the guy who revealed that drone bombing killed 90% innocents, is now off to his stint in jail. He seems tough, maybe he won’t be driven to multiple suicide attempts like Manning was by the deliberate mis […]
  • Top Posts

All things visible and invisible

I have a point. Bear with me.

As many of you know, I’m a Tolkienista. Some of the best people are. Tolkien writes about the power of mythology and how it can illuminate truths in our everyday lives. It makes sense given that he was originally a classics major but I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds.

Tolkien is comfort food to me. I always feel better after I read him. Lately, I’ve been revisiting parts of the Lord of the Rings like looking up Bible passages. And I keep coming back to the character of Sauron. It’s because Sauron himself keeps coming back. He keeps making trouble and the various peoples of middle earth keep falling for him over and over again because he keeps changing his appearance.

I’ve written before about how Tolkien drew from Plato’s story about the Ring of Gyges when he wrote the LOTR. In the myth, Gyges is a poor shepherd who discovers a magic ring after an earthquake reveals a tomb where it had been hidden. The ring makes Gyges invisible and he uses his invisibility to take what he wants, riches, another man’s wife, a kingdom, because no one can pin the crimes on him. No one can see him.

It reminded me of the Trump years because didn’t he get away with murder (probably) when his party refused to see what he was doing? You can’t hold a man accountable for misdeeds if no one can see him. Or the Trumper would say in reverse, he wasn’t found guilty therefore he did nothing wrong. But really, when we break it down, it’s just a matter of willful ignorance, of turning ones face away.

Sauron gets away with his deceptions partially through invisibility. He eventually gets caught in every instance but the fact that he gets so many chances is because his targets don’t recognize him when he returns. Each time he returns to prey on another group of people, he’s got a new name, a new physical appearance and a new con game. His targets are duped every time. And the reason he gets additional chances us because his targets don’t finish him off when they have the opportunity. Well, eventually they do. But they have multiple chances and they seem to prefer an “out of sight out of mind I’ll worry about that tomorrow” attitude to actually taking care of the problem once and for all.

That’s the kind of thing I worry about at night. We hacked the ring off of Trump’s hand but he’s still out there, searching for his ring of invisibility or new physical manifestation. He’ll come back in a new body, a different name, some better arm candy. We will always need to be on our guard, ready to force him or her into revealing who they are.

But there is hope that we can hold people accountable.

If it weren’t for the bystanders who recorded George Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin might have gotten away with it. He was counting on his cloak of official invisibility to shield his actions and maintain his power. Those recordings stripped him of that and laid bare his actions for all to see.

The character of a person is determined by whether they give in to the temptation to wield power over others and exploit them if they think they can get away with it. The Trumpers would say that only a fool passes on opportunities like that.

We have a nation where roughly one third of our citizens see other people as prey, resources, wealth, and a source of ego fulfillment. They’ve been conditioned to think it is ok to treat the rest of us as easy marks or terrorists or weak. And they’ve gotten away with a lot of bad because that 30% pretend to not see what they’re doing or somehow benefit from it or believe it’s a dog eat dog world.

But not this time with Derek Chauvin. This time we saw the nature of what unlimited, unchecked power is when it is directed at a vulnerable person. The country was horrified by it and accountability finally happened.

Just because you don’t see the hurt, the pain, the ruination and destruction doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. And just because one bad cop got caught doesn’t make the exploitation and inequality visited on so many vulnerable people somehow more tolerable.

We all know how to set things right. Even the 30% knows right from wrong. There’s no excuse for pretending to not see.

6 Responses

  1. RD, what an elegant, heartfelt, and and hopeful expression of the import of the Chauvin case.

    I do think that there are evil people who in modern parlance, would be called sociopaths, who have no quality of empathy or caring. Trump is pure sociopathy, and there are other Republicans who are the same, and indeed may have more smoothness or cleverness than he does, so are even more dangerous.

    The way that such people may get what they want; is first, that too many other people want to give them a benefit of the doubt, thinking that there must be some good intentions in them, which there are not; and second, that there are people who think that if their enemies suffer (liberal tears!), they are vicariously winning. So they gladly follow the tyrant, and identify with his “victories,” which are only for himself, his family, and a few of his cohorts. One thing which would help is if more people spoke up and called them what they are, instead of letting it go or trying to make terms with evil, or seeing it as simply one of two interesting sides. Chauvin did not have the protections and defenses that Trump has, and had no place to hide. And he did not have the platform to confuse people that the evil he did was actually for their benefit, and that everything said or found against him was fake, lies, or a hoax. The cloaking of evil through verbal deception may be its greatest danger.

  2. OG Antifa Cancel Culture, April 25, 1945. 😈

  3. Blowed up REAL good! 😀

    • I forgot to mention that Newsweek only allows you five free articles per month.

    • What we’d hear from these cowards if they had to sign their names to their evilness:

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: