I know, I know, a lot of my friends and erstwhile supporters are going to have what my grandmother would have termed “a conniption” when they see this headline. The long and short of it is this: I don’t care. As Bob Dylan reminded us "the hour is getting late."
|Flowering of Hope at the Pow Wow Originals Open Edition Prints|
|Spirit Pony in Smarts Brook Snow Originals |
Justice Louis Brandeis said that “sunshine is the best disinfectant”. . . that the remedy for incorrect, incomplete, or false speech is more speech, not less.
We create institutions to act as a referee on speech - to exert a moderating influence and to act as a source of a collective “constitution of knowledge” as author Jon Rauch calls it. But in an era where too many institutions have been captured by corporate interests or political ideologies, the default must be more speech - until we have successfully wrested these institutions from their corrupting influences.
For example, time after time I have heard RFK’s position on vaccines characterized as “vaccine denial” yet a more careful search of the record - which is not easy because he has been silenced so thoroughly - is not that he opposes them but that we are not taking sufficient steps to ensure their safety and provide alternative pathways to those who object to them. This is hardly a position that qualifies as far outside of the mainstream.
Yet, instead of encouraging a rigorous debate on the entire range of his positions he was effectively shunned by the mainstream media, and banned from twitter and other social media. The result was that the very entities that should have been standing up for free speech were complicit in denying all of us - both those who agree and disagree - the opportunity to participate in a rigorous debate that would be far more likely to lead us to what can be considered “currently accepted truth” in an atmosphere where the ground seemingly changes on a daily basis.
Now I have to admit my own complicity here. For the past two years I have had a growing sense of discomfort about the ease with which many of us - including myself - have rationalized a lax commitment to the protections of free speech in the face of the pandemic. Even the banning of Donald Trump caused some pangs of conscience in the back of my mind. I regret that I did not stand forcefully enough for free speech, I will not make that same mistake again.
|Colors Over Franconia Notch|
We quite nearly lost our democracy to the slow-motion car crash that was Donald Trump. Joe Biden is a decent man and a skilled politician but are he and Kamela Harris equal to the challenge of leading us forward toward a peaceful revolution, because that is - in fact - what we need to halt this descent into a totalitarian dystopia and climate catastrophe? It’s too late for incrementalists. Millions of Americans went from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. They are clearly not racist, nor are they unmoored. They are, quite simply, desperate. Desperate for hope and change; desperate to believe again in the American experiment.
In the Democratic primary process, the only way for the President to demonstrate his vision - and his commitment to it - is for him to compete in the primary process and to debate with Bobby Kennedy and Maryanne Williamson - if she demonstrates sufficient support.
Time is short and of the essence. The existential challenges of climate change and wealth disparity hover over us like the sword of Damocles. Give me a candidate who is not afraid to use the words Love and Peace in a speech, who challenges us to believe in ourselves again, who has the courage to take risks for these things by reaching out to all Americans who long for a leader who will go beyond dogma and lay out a path forward to uniting us. A path that will restore the American promise for us and the American example for the World.