Has America No Sense of Decency?

Last Saturday, in broad daylight, a man drove his car at full speed into a crowd of people. After crashing into another car, he then hit reverse and drove backwards as fast as he could. One woman was killed.

And that’s it. Nothing else. Just that.

The action was deliberate. The man driving the car was not from Virginia, where it happened, but Ohio. To get from Ohio to Virginia takes an eight-hour drive. One does not take that drive casually.

The man was among a larger group of men, men with guns, men who had also traveled great distances to be in Virginia that weekend. We are told they were there to protest the removal of a statue, but that was not why they were there. You do not protest the removal of a statue with guns. You do not protest the removal of a statue by chanting slogans that have nothing to do with the statue. You do not drive eight hours to protest the removal of a statue.

The men with guns were there to proclaim their dominance over others. The driver of the car that plowed into a crowd of people and killed a woman was there to demonstrate it.

And that’s it, too. Just that. Nothing else.

We are having a difficult time understanding why that isn’t enough. We are having a difficult time understanding why that can’t be seen, seen for what it is, and judged appropriately. An evil man, encouraged by other evil men, committed an evil act. That’s it. That’s what it was. Nothing else.

And yet people can’t see it. Some people can’t see it because they agree with the evil men. Other people can’t see it because they support the people who agree with the evil men. And still more people can’t see it because they don’t want to see it, they don’t want to see the evil, they want to believe that the evil was never there in the first place. Because if they saw the evil, saw the evil for what it was, they fear they would be forced to accept responsibility for it.

And yet, there it is. The evil. In plain sight. In broad daylight. Unmistakable. And people can’t see it. That’s it, too.

Why can’t people see it?

We’ve been wondering this all week, the week after a woman was murdered in broad daylight for all to see, the week people have refused to see it. We’ve been wondering about this because we thought we lived among people who could see that, who could easily see that, see that for what it was, and react with revulsion, as people who could see that would do. There’s a lot that the people among us can’t see, won’t see, refuse to see, but surely they could see that, surely the people among us could see a woman being murdered in broad daylight. Who couldn’t see that?

And yet they haven’t.

And we wonder: What does it take to see that? If the evil is apparent, blatant, manifest, and the people among us can’t see that, what does it take to see it?

A few years before we were born, one man saw it. He sat face-to-face with evil, vile evil, and he saw it. We would not know of him, or what he saw, for some twenty years after he saw it. He had become a hero, an American hero, for seeing it, and saying it, saying what it was, saying what he saw, the evil facing him. And in saying it, he used an unusual word:

Decency.

It is not a word you would have expected from a man like him, or any man in that setting, facing evil. It is a very simple word, with a very deep meaning, a meaning that we would like to think describes the people among us, a word that captures our hearts and souls. We are a plain people, but a decent people. We respond to evil as decent people do: with revulsion.

And yet the people among us have not responded with revulsion this week. They have responded with defensiveness. They have responded with distractions. They have responded any way they could, so long as they didn’t have to respond to the evil of a woman being murdered in broad daylight.

Decent people don’t respond like that.

And that deeply saddens us. We know there is much other evil that the people among us don’t respond to, that they refuse to see, but that other evil is always at a slight remove, not that you have to look hard to see it, but it’s slightly easier not to. But when a woman is murdered in broad daylight by an evil man, an evil man among other evil men, evil men with guns who proclaim their dominance over others, you have to willfully not see it, to try your hardest not to see it, to refuse to see it at any cost.

Even if the price is your own decency.

And the people among us refuse to see it.

That man who faced an evil man before we were born asked the evil man a question, a simple question, a decent question, and we’ve been thinking about that question all week. We have been asking that question of the people among us, frequently, repeatedly, incessantly, hoping that we could find the answer we want to say, the answer that gives us hope, hope that we’ll all get through this, hope that our shared decency has not been lost, or worse, that it was never there to begin with.

And each time we have asked that question, we have not found the answer we want, an answer that helps us understand why the decent people among us cannot see the evil among us.

Because each time we ask the question, the answer remains Yes.

19 comments:

11:08 pm • Friday • August 18, 2017

Brannon is going to have a great time at the Nazi Times.

12:00 am • Saturday • August 19, 2017

Putin Angrily Resigns from Trump’s Reëlection Campaign

MOSCOW (The Borowitz Report)—In a stunning rebuke of a former close political ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday angrily resigned from Donald Trump’s 2020 reëlection campaign.

In an unusually emotional comment by the Russian President, a visibly bitter Putin added, “I worked very hard on Trump’s 2016 campaign, and, at the end of the day, I have no more to show for it than Chris Christie does.”

11:33 am • Saturday • August 19, 2017

I Support the Soft Insurrection Against Trump

I believe strongly in the structure of government — that the military obeys the orders of the president, that the president gives instructions to his Cabinet members and they carry out his wishes, and friendly members of Congress help him pass his agenda, but damn it if Trump makes me glad they aren’t. Trump reminds me of a mean, flighty child king who manspreads on the throne while his ministers rule the kingdom — and that makes me glad. So you can see my dilemma. How do I reconcile the decentralization of leadership and almost rogue actions of the government, not to mention the fact that the “deep state” keeps leaking vindictive information to weaken Trump, with the fact that I hate Trump? I’ve disliked presidents before, but I wouldn’t piss on him to put him out if he was on fire. Even Vice President Pence, the creeptastic bigot, seems competent enough to not start World War III by falling asleep on the button.

In the end, I feel myself coming down on the side of the “soft insurrection.” Mostly because that while I believe in American institutions of law and governance, I also believe that when those institutions go astray, in this case the president himself, it becomes the moral obligation for those who value the ideas of America’s potential to do what they can to salvage it. If a president can’t be trusted to not nuke the planet into a cinder in a fit of rage and petty revenge, we should trust those who, while different in political views, share in the value of American institutions. Also, I won’t lie, I kind of get a kick out of watching them make Trump look like a schmuck. Someone should assign an all-transgender Marine guard to the White House just to spite him.

12:05 pm • Saturday • August 19, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Yup. Yup yup yup.

There is a danger to this, especially when the military is involved. Our military has a strong, deep tradition of respect towards civilian leadership, and we are very familiar with scenarios where that is not homored — it is, after all, the premise of Dr. Strangelove.

And yet, in these times, in this circumstance, we must take that risk. We must take many risks, risks that may set unwelcome precedents. This is not Reagan. This is not Bush. This is not something we can wait out, as bad as it gets, because we know we’ll have another shot at changing it in the next election. We must take risks. Because if we don’t take risks, we risk losing everything.

12:35 pm • Saturday • August 19, 2017

Boston is making me feel a lot better right now.

1:22 pm • Saturday • August 19, 2017

/Best of America/

Some posts to brighten our day.

1. The NYT joins the celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday.

How to Sell a Frank Lloyd Wright House

2. What if they posed men for calendars the same way they pose women?
Guess which one’s my favorite, ha ha.

The Dudeoir Calendar

3. This is one of my all-time faves that I’ve been dancin’ and jammin’ to all week. Cue the Night On The Town montage!

DeBarge – You Wear It Well

3:22 pm • Saturday • August 19, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Re: Item 2. I thought that’s what fireman calendars were for.

5:19 pm • Saturday • August 19, 2017

@nojo: The “The Ravishing Rancher” really sells it.

12:03 pm • Sunday • August 20, 2017

The photos from the Boston counter protest are incredible.

Twitler and his neo-Nazi goons better not show their faces around here, ’cause we’ll give the fascists a proper Pacific Northwest welcome.

Now I just need to lay my hands on some chain link and a bronze bikini.

10:36 pm • Sunday • August 20, 2017

AMERICA! needs better nazis. These guys are pathetic. Someone could make a bundle opening a Julius Streicher finishing school for aspiring nazis or something.

11:49 pm • Sunday • August 20, 2017

@¡Andrew!: All this work everyone’s putting into saving the country, and Republicans will just recover and shit on everyone again.

11:51 pm • Sunday • August 20, 2017

@FlyingChainSaw: I, for one, enjoy watching a obnoxious man with many guns crying like a baby.

10:08 pm • Monday • August 21, 2017

We made it through the eclipse, and not once did the dawg start chasing his tail in circles or clucking like a chicken. I’m surprised.

10:42 am • Tuesday • August 22, 2017

Are we at war with Eastasia or Eurasia today?

11:33 am • Tuesday • August 22, 2017

@¡Andrew!: We’ve always been at war with one of them. I forget which.

8:28 pm • Tuesday • August 22, 2017

@nojo:

Sure but a real nazi would recite Mein Kampf and, once sensing his doom at the converging mobs of communists, shout his last SEIG! HEILS! until blood came out of his eyes and then blow his brains out, you know, something that would get the ratings and entertain Stinquers.

These dime store nazis provide little real entertainment and they keep right on breathing.

4:59 am • Wednesday • August 23, 2017

@FlyingChainSaw:
I agree.

Just spoiled fucking brats who believed they were promised the world and were denied it. Kind of like the Nazis, but the difference was most of the OG Nazis had seen war and had adult mindsets or actually did stuff. Not these guys.

We should be so lucky that they are incompetents.

8:09 pm • Wednesday • August 23, 2017

/And now for something completely different/

We’re Going To Enjoy This Cocaine-Fueled Mason Jar Rocket Ride For As Long As It Lasts

When I became an executive of a company that produces mason jars back in 2003, I never dreamed my life was going to be like this. A decade ago, we were just another glassware business, but now, there’s not a precious little bar in New York, L.A., or anywhere else that isn’t serving drinks out of our iconic containers. And now that mason jars are on top, now that my fellow executives and I are goddamn beverage conquistadors, we’re going to enjoy this cocaine-fueled rocket ride for as long as it lasts.

I’m blasting off to fucking Mars, dicksuckers, and I’m headed straight through the belly of the goddamn sun!

As long as every gastropub and Williamsburg speakeasy wants to keep pouring craft cocktails into our jars, we’re gonna swim in uncut Peruvian street spice and party like savages. You keep mounting mason jars by your bathroom sinks and using them as toothbrush holders, and we’ll keep buying Fabergé fucking eggs faster than Sotheby’s auctioneers can shit ’em out. You make mason jars into jack-o’-lanterns, we wear tie pins that could fucking put a kid through college.

You don’t think I’m a bona fide golden king? I’m on a hovercraft right now. That’s what that sweet crafting green will get you. That, and world-class trim at every nightclub VIP room on earth.

8:14 pm • Wednesday • August 23, 2017

Tdumbp Struck By Beautiful Vision Of What America Could Be While Looking Out Over Seething, Screaming Arizona Crowd

PHOENIX—Visibly moved by the outpouring of rancor before of him, President Tdumbp was reportedly struck by the beautiful vision of what America could be while looking out over a seething, screaming Arizona rally on Tuesday. “As I gaze upon the snarls on your red faces today, I’m filled with hope at what astonishing hostility the America of tomorrow can achieve,” said the president, swelling with optimism at the inspiring scene of thousands of Americans gathering to act on their basest instincts. “I’m simply overcome by the bitterness and resentment filling this convention center. Just imagine if everyone in the nation—every single man and every single woman—could let their anger and intolerance consume them the way it has the good people in this room. What a wonderful country this would be.” Tdumbp went on to say that while progress would not always be easy, the uncontainable rage of crowds like this one made him feel like America was well on its way.

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