Monday, December 12, 2016

No retirement possible

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my former "boss" in several progressive ventures was in town. He and I agreed that the personal consequence of the election was that our dream of fading into a relatively graceful retirement had been flushed away, a tiny ripple in the vortex of public and national pain.

Charles Blow riffs on the thoughts of one of my forebears on the retirement question.

... One of the first and most essential ways to mobilize around a cause is to establish its moral framing.

In a 1780 letter written to a fellow revolutionary considering “retiring into private life,” staunch abolitionist Samuel Adams — a man strongly opposed to slavery and therefore one of my favorite founders — wrote:

“If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security.”

There is no other time to which this could apply more perfectly than now. This is not the time for the “retiring” of “experiencd patriots.” A “vain and aspiring” man now possesses the highest seat in government and the administration of the government is on the verge of becoming a farce. ...

The vital aspect of this is Blow's call for "moral framing." Donald Trump, the Trump cabinet, and the leaders of the Republican party are bent upon committing wrongs. Let's state this in terms that hearken back to more ethically grounded times.
  • They intend to use the power of government to enrich the few rather than to spread the common good.
  • They propose to undermine equal justice under law, both by denying it to classes of people they despise and selling it to cronies, just as did a king that old Sam Adams fought.
  • For these entitled white men, all others are just bit-players living at their pleasure and for their exploitation.
Neither life nor liberty is secure under such a regime.

2 comments:

Damon said...

I know you've put your time in, invested your life in the greater good. At the same time, the world would be lucky to have you out there again, fighting for those who can't. I wish I wasn't so invested in a different fight right now, so I had more time and resources for this fight - a fight of our lifetimes.

janinsanfran said...

Damon: I think of your fight and your family every day!

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