An Act of Mercy
March 8, 2017
First off, happy International Women’s Day! Ladies, the reins of power are yours for the taking – so, please take them, now. Sorry about the mess. (Bet, you never heard that sentence from a guy before.)
After one-hundred-twenty days of struggling with the Trump phenomenon, I suspect I’ve been asking the wrong questions. Been taking a bad angle, as it were.
Mostly, my focus has been on the Donald himself. After all, Trump is both symbolic and symptomatic of the dysfunction. And he presents an easy target – garish sanctimonious anti-intellectualism packaged in a dumpy balding package. It’s tough to ignore a target so deserving.
To a degree, I’ve touched upon the Trump voter. And while my characterizations of these fine people may have been over generalized and unkind, they nevertheless hold true. But unkind truths should, at least, lead somewhere and this path just winds. The working class, Nazi tolerant, Russian supportive, pervert complaisant, white Christian demographic can’t possibly exist. But further generalization seems to always yield categories like the stupid and the greedy. (See, unkind and leads nowhere.)
So, either, I missed something obvious or the line of inquiry had stalled.
Then, from an unlikely source of intellectual stimulation, Paul Ryan, came possible insight. Who would have guessed? Yeah, Paul, taking a cue from the Donald, tried his hand at reducing complex ideas into a short slogan came up with “Act of Mercy” as description for killing Obamacare. Nice – more importantly, telling.
Mercy is granted by the victor to the victim. It describes mitigated punishment in an adversarial relationship. You know, have mercy on the poor sinner.
While Paul’s chauvinism is amusing, the assumption that mercy is his to give is informative. Did we lose a battle with congress and now he’s compassionately granting mercy? This begs the nature of our relationship with those who govern. Mercy requires adversaries. Do we elect adversaries? That would be fucked up. Or does Paul think himself kind, benevolent? That would be a different problem.
Hmm, this line of thought requires further reflection… Time to clear my head, a walk in the woods with the dog – the late winter mud could serve as a small mercy.
Unlike the Donald, Paul Ryan’s clumsy attempt to slogan like the Donald may have revealed some hidden truth. The republic is grateful for his candor.