To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, January 20, 2022





This sage advice would serve us all well, especially in light of the hysteria occurring around the world and around the country. The French, remarkably, are “maintaining an even strain” while finally taking pointed action against the forces who use hysteria as a recruiting tool. Good for them. The crazed lunatics who bring mindless killing to the fore of modern society seem to be asking for retribution from the majority of sane people in sane societies led by sane governors.

The mindless slaughter of 13 November 2015 in Paris must also serve as a reminder of our origins as a stone-age cave dweller where tribalism led the league in intellectual processing. In Rebecca Costa’s very interesting book, The Watchman’s Rattle, she posits that humans have evolved much more quickly socially than biologically. Groups like ISIS, Al Queda and some raving lip-strummers in Iowa seem to corroborate that thesis. The primitive, tribal imperative in all things obviously evolved as a survival mechanism for tribes still needing to hoard and defend food and shelter resources from human and non-human competition. Along the way, somebody invented religion or shaman-ism as power forces to explain the unexplainable to the “masses” and thus control their behavior. There were certain aspects of this arrangement that were probably valuable to survival, but there also must have been power struggles for the “hearts and minds” of the masses we still see today.

It is especially upsetting to this writer to see our own political animals denying refuge to those who are being mindlessly killed by mindless wars waged by mindless, hysterical forces who feel that their tribe is the only tribe while all else must die. Nobody told these deeply disturbed people to calm down. No, they were given or sold guns and tanks and explosives with which to conduct their mayhem and killing. How does this work? Who, in conscience, sells terrorists weapons in 2015? There are obviously some very bad people out there. By the way, the United States is the world’s leader in weapons manufacturing and sales.

One school of thought shows how western petrodollars used by kingdoms and caliphates in the Middle East are funneled to religious schools that are specifically committed to destroying western civilization. Ironic, huh? Why would those schools be so committed to an entire civilization? The answer most often floated is revenge for the Crusades, the first major religious wars between Christians and Muslims. Much like the American Civil War, animosity was woven into the fabric of the culture that keeps manifesting itself in ugly, violent, hysterical ways. Now, it’s because the west is entrenched in the oil business there and simply can’t leave. Worse, these major religions have sects fighting each other over ideology and who owns the truth. Ironically, there is no hard evidence whatsoever that there is even a truth that exists regarding the manifestation of a deity, or the veracity of the prophets. The conflicts seem to be not so much about justifying religion in general as it is questioning what is its purpose.

So, why the hysteria? Well, when the human mind lacks rational and tangible evidence and proof, it tends to default to emotion, the primitive, life-saving reactions and behavior that most mammals exhibit. Sometimes that tangible evidence evokes emotions too, but then we say those emotions are justified and behave a lot less irrationally and violently. Clearly, the group emotion of the United States while fighting fascism in World War II was predicated on forthright attacks on our homeland and well-being like Pearl Harbor, 1941. You may have noticed that our politicians who promote hysteria and emotion are still beating the 11 September 2001 drum whenever they want to secure attention or votes from a particular demographic. There was certainly an emotional gathering after that date, but what we got from our “leadership” at the time was an hysterical response that plunged our fighting men and women into two irresponsible wars in two countries that had no significant military forces that could threaten our shores. We also got a major tax cut for the richest among us, while we borrowed money to fight the wars. Tax loopholes were expanded, not reduced. The result was a multi-trillion dollar debt.

We quickly received the infamous Patriot Act from the fear mongers that suspended the letter of the Fourth Amendment. We invoked our panic by creating the Department of Homeland Security and doubled our military budget. Meanwhile, corporate America was sending millions of jobs to China, Mexico and Indonesia. These collective behaviors have to be described as hysteria on steroids. Imagine the scenario had the Supreme Court allowed all Florida ballots to be counted in 2000. Imagine the scenario had Al Gore been President, something denied him and us even though he won the popular vote. If there was ever a need to relegate the electoral college to the ash heap of bad ideas, this should have been it.

We are now in the throes of a presidential campaign that is as hilarious as it is hysterical, especially from the GOP candidates. These people have never met a fear that they wouldn’t exploit. Truth is out the window. Rationality and facts are almost entirely absent. The Republican campaign and the dumb-show debates remain an emotion-based, mud-slinging exercise in nincompoopery that has rational people rolling on the floor with laughter…or acute indigestion, depending on emotions invoked on their individual psyche. Blessed be those who can laugh these “candidates” off. Cheers to those who can dismiss the nonsense with a shrug and return to the fact that actually 75% of the Republican Party is rational and able to think…even a little.

The bottom feeders like Christy, Santorum, Jindal, Paul, Huckabee and Fiorina who are transparent with their lies, nonsense and fictions, are easily dismissed. Ted Cruz seems to glory in being the most dangerous and disliked person in Congress, EVER. Yet, he continues to feed the maw of hysteria and nonsense. It’s all he’s got. Truth and Ted Cruz rarely cross paths. Trump and Carson must take turns applying clown face makeup to each other. Their bigotry and disrespect for the American people is profound. The only Republican candidate who exhibits adult behavior and rational thought at the same time is John Kasich. So, naturally, his poll numbers remain in single digits. The media, bless their ratings-addicted hearts, run around like scalded cats to follow the latest iteration of hysterical nonsense from this collection of exceptionally primitive candidate strategies. It’s about selling advertising, after all. My message to the media is: CALM DOWN. These guys and lady will do your job for you. Crazy sells in America. Hysteria sells in America. It’ll be O.K. Relax.

Having said all this, my message to the American voter is: CALM DOWN. It’s O. K. We’ll be fine, but you must vote. The progressives, black and brown people tend to stay home on election day that isn’t a Presidential event. BAD decision. This allows hysteria to win. I mean, look at the House of Representatives populated by loonies like the “Freedom” Caucus. These people were elected by a voting population of less than 40% of the eligibile voters. Look at what Texas elects as governors and its Republican caucuses in Washington and Austin. The Texas governor – who also denies access to Texas for fleeing Syrian refugees – “won” election with a whopping 17% of the eligible electorate. Only 32% of eligible voters showed up. Guess who votes. Yup! Hysteria votes. The only way around that is for rational and calm voices to vote. Vote like your country depends on it, because it does. If rational people don’t vote, we will become like “them”; those led by hysterical demagogues who have no idea about a complicated, peace-loving way of life. Vote out the war mongers and there likely will be no war. Listen to the experts who KNOW how to dismantle hysterical organizations. They can only be utilized by rational and calm leaders…like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Take a deep breath and vote the right way for the United States. Vote.

Vern Turner
Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump, is available through Amazon.