Archive for December 16th, 2020

Mary Mallon was an Irish cook who was responsible for infecting 53 people with Typhoid fever in the early 1900s. She was forcibly quarantined not once, but twice, as an asymptomatic carrier of the illness.

Mary persistently refused to accept responsibility for being a vector of the bacterial infection. She refused to acknowledge her condition even after numerous positive lab tests. Like today’s Republicans, facts were inconsequential. On the contrary, she complained bitterly that she was being victimized. This is a bit like those who complain that their rights are being assaulted when mandated to wear a mask.

What earned her the nickname was her complete disregard for the illness and death that she caused. After release from quarantine the first time, she changed her name and returned to cooking ( despite having agreed to not do so as a condition of release). Having infected others, she was arrested and quarantined once again. Mary’s selfish mindset is now being boldly replayed by virtually the entire Republican Party.

Republican governors and congressional representatives politicized mask wearing with intent to deliberately foster widespread infection. This was all in the pursuit of the so-called herd immunity scenario. Tragically, reaching that goal would require the loss of more of our sisters and brothers than any other nation. These cold-hearted monsters were ok with that. We have reached 3500 deaths in the last 24 hours!

This is sociopathic behavior perpetrated on a National scale.

It amplifies the flagrant disregard for human life and absence of personal responsibility of Mary Mallon. It does so by a factor of 5850!

She killed 53 people. We have suffered the loss of 310065 souls as of today, and Trump and his party have nothing whatsoever to say about that. Fifty three deaths in the early 1900s was considered an atrocity. How far the value of life has fallen!

US Republican political leaders are guilty of negligent homicide.

Their flagrant denial of science and medical expertise is the most grotesque form of political malfeasance. The evidence is becoming clear that the Whitehouse deliberately strong-armed the CDC. In doing so, they have blood on their hands and should be charged with crimes against humanity for gaming the Nation and playing with the lives of men, women and children ( see the James Clyburn memo).

We need a post- inaugural commission to investigate what is unsurprisingly coming to light about the deliberate choices that this Whitehouse made to “sit out” enacting a National strategy anchored in public health best practices. I have no doubt that much more will be coming out in the weeks and months to come that will make clear the true depths of the National blight of the Trump era.

Our dead deserve justice. Those who acted with such blatant disregard for human life need to pay a price for doing so. It doesn’t appear that that will come in the form of a high political cost. Republicans may, when all is said and done in Georgia, succeed in retaining the Senate majority. They also won back most of their Senate seats and did pretty well in the House.

Absent a high political cost, one hopes that the lives of our deceased will nonetheless be honored with justice. This should happen through more than the offer of prayers and best wishes, and moving cathedral bell-ringing ( though that’s all lovely). We need indictments of those cruel officials whose deliberate choices lead directly to untimely and unnecessary loss of life. These malicious officials should, at the very least, feel profound shame at the consequences of their action and inaction.

This Holiday Season is awash in far too many tears at the loss of dear ones. It did not have to be this bad.

Competent and caring leadership would have produced a very different outcome. We should be ashamed at the state of our country’s health when compared with that of other Nations where action was swift, decisive and way more effective.

Shame on Donald Trump, his Cabinet, and the complicit Senate Republicans! History will be unkind to them. It will speak of the legacy of these years with reference to corruption, hatred, violence, atrocity, unmanaged pandemic, fascism, and the weakening of democracy and global alliances.

Trump defined himself as a “stable genius”! So, I suppose Stalin was deeply compassionate? I can’t wait for the National nightmare to end, though I fully recognize that it only recedes for a short while.

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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.. the fact that something or someone seems to be everywhere.

Cambridge Dictionary

This is the principal ingredient in the secret sauce that keeps Trumpism alive. Repetition confers the illusion of validity to the inflammatory memes people internalize.

Malignant narcissists are masters of giving truth to lies ( lying so boldly and incessantly that their veracity comes to appear self-evident). Donald Trump commits crimes in plain sight and wraps it in a rhetoric of American virtue. He works hard at only one thing – to be perpetually in the news. Whether negative or otherwise, all press is good press to one like Donald who needs, above all things, to be at the center of the National conversation. This is a lesson for those of us committed to truth and the exercise of authentic leadership.

How can we constructively apply this lesson in practice?

Trumpism needs to be buried under an avalanche of truth-telling. All available and able voices need to join the choir. There is no such thing as over-communicating. There needs to be a detailed strategy and a vigorous storytelling engine for truth telling and a celebration of democracy that commands attention.

From where I sit, Biden needs a Communication Czar who can manage social media content and all vehicles for outreach. This needs to be so much more than a Press Secretary. It should be a cabinet position. In our times, the dark web is a factor that needs to be part of the strategic response to conspiracy theories and counterbalance to false narratives designed to confuse, misdirect and contort the truth.

Over this holiday season, I am embracing the spiritual exercise of being explicit about what I believe and why. Even more importantly, it is the right season for an Examen of consciousness focused on how my beliefs affect my listening. Doing so provides a potent spiritual inoculation against viral messaging untethered from the facts.

May your season be illuminated by the real and the true.

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Blessed are they who make peace, for they will be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:9

We tend to recall the true value of things when we are faced with the threat of their loss. This is what many are experiencing about our once assumed democracy.

The Trump years have revealed a persistent cultural malignancy. Five years of hate-soaked rhetoric and callous disregard for the dignity of persons has reawakened the “shadow”of the Nation. The fragility of the American democratic experiment has been fully exposed. We find ourselves on perilously thin ice.

The Executive Branch and the Senate have been complicit in the raw pursuit of power for power’s sake. Servant leadership has been totally eclipsed by a cruel distemper. We have been witness to the elevation of a latter day “ democratic autocrat,” a replay of the norm-bashing history of Andrew Jackson.

Wrapped in a perverse American Nationalism, Trump’s dark poison awakened a perennial plague. It is a recessive cancer that only needs a big pulpit for a celebrity voice ready to fan the fears of disaffected people. It has once again resurrected the love affair with the idea of the “ elective monarch” that our founders worried about and warned against.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are President and Vice President Elect. Providentially, this sets the stage for a desperately needed correction in the National spirit, a treatment for the cancer. That said, we will hopefully enjoy a season of true remission. But remission does not eliminate the malignancy which can, and likely will, resurface.

The sociopolitical disease has progressed significantly: a virtual stage 4 scenario. We need to watch for the face of the cancer and address it swiftly and with unflinching fervor when it appears. As citizens and patriots, we need to make our voices heard over the unhinged irrational worship of alternative reality.

The Holiday season is a time set aside for the celebration of the light. As a Franciscan, I am called to pursue the way of peace, to seek the best in everyone. We are admonished by our founder to embrace all of our brothers and sisters and to be healers.

How do we heal the cancer of Trumpism and the allure of autocracy (which is clearly alive and well in our Nation despite Trump’s decisive defeat)?

Peacemaking is so much more than a Hallmark card sentiment. It is the antithesis of looking away, ignoring misbehavior, or pretending that there is no lasting illness. It is not merely a neurotic need to just “ smooth things over”. Denial and appeasement are enablers that make more room for the spread of the disease. What we must do is name the “ beast” when we see it (a gift arising from a mature discernment of the spirits).

In caring for souls in fraternal and sororal solidarity, our task is fourfold: (1) a duty to care (enough to directly and proactively engage the darkness); (2) diagnose/ discern where thought and behavior are misguided, unbecoming and inappropriate; (3) act in the service of greater goodness and the protection of innocence; and (4) decisively and affirmatively shun those who eschew personal accountability.

Let’s not forget that Jesus had no hesitation in calling out Pharisees and Sadducees ( learned men of the Temple) as “ hypocrites” and “ vipers”. In offering these thoughts, I also reflect on the counsel of St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who leads an undisciplined life that is not in keeping with the tradition you received from us.

2 Thessalonians 3:6

Take note of anyone who does not obey the instructions we have given in this letter. Do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.

2 Thessalonians 3:14

Trumpism unfortunately appears to know no shame. Like all things evil, it awaits a next shot at ascendency. Those afflicted must be held relentlessly accountable.

The Republican Party has been completely overcome by the spirit of Trumpism. It is wholly corrupted and morally bankrupt. Conservative men and women of good conscience will likely need to form an alternate party in accepting the reality that, after Trump, the once great party of Lincoln is dead.

Saying nothing, doing nothing and just hoping that Trumpism will settle down after the inauguration of a new Administration would be a dangerous and naive complacency. This is especially so when the evil being perpetrated is powered by an unabashed narcissism and greed.

Women and men of peace have equanimity and comity as their goals. Achieving both demands watchfulness for the reappearance of the many-headed hydra of the lesser angels of our nature.

Let us each commit to keeping watch with implacable dedication and keen attention.

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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