In the first half of the 20th century Bertol Brecht, a German dramatist, addressed the fascist extremes of ‘true believers’ in Europe in his plays. His observations are still apt. He wrote: “Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties.
- He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed;
- the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed;
- the skill to manipulate it as a weapon;
- the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective;
- and the running to spread the truth among such persons.”
― Bertolt Brecht, Galileo
We are currently a kleptocracy, where he who steals the most assets from the most people wins. Voting is actively discouraged and propaganda is the tool perpetuating fraud. And the messianic personality cult maintains the status quo by feeding on the energy of the ‘true believers’ whose resentment and entitlement drive their fascistic extremes of behavior.
We really should not be surprised that Trump followed Obama. When Barack Obama was elected, news outlets promptly began exclaiming that his 80% approval rating meant wonderful changes would be raining down upon the populace like manna from heaven. My heart sank down through my feet and ended somewhere down around the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Hero worship is a fundamental distortion of democracy.
In fact, our democracy was set up precisely to avoid the excesses of the personality cult. In 1776, that cult was in the form of King George who was intent on claiming the divine right of kings. In a recent talk, Barack Obama said that he ran for president because once there had been one black man in the office, kids would see that the American Dream was still a possibility. Obama was invested in living up to the responsibilities of the office, not to creating a cult-like following, and that angered the true believers.
The best thing about the Biden/ Harris administration is that it is realistic. In comparison to the past four years, addressing our actual problems looks boring and predictable. I am hoping Bill Maher’s Baldy Awards become a fixture, recognizing those people who settle in and do the necessary work to keep our democracy going.
The two pieces of legislation that will make the biggest difference for the most people in the USA in 2021 are the Voting Rights Act and the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. If people are able to vote and they have access to the information they need to make decisions, then our democratic experiment will keep staggering along. if people cannot vote and they do not have access to information, there is no democracy.
Radio was the brand new tool of choice for fascists in Bertol Brecht’s time. Social media is the current new toy for the spin doctors and proagandists. Making sure that the Voting Rights Act and the Fairness Doctrine go through will make it possible for people to get a handle on how social media affects their choices and for them to act on those choices.
my title is also a quote from Brecht’s The Life of Galileo (1939) sc. 13 w