It’s been a tough month for a displaced, white, old boy like me, but I’ve gotten to the bottom of a few things in my own mind.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books and proprietor of the Harry Potter empire, has chosen sides in the gender battles of the worldwide culture war. Her voice has power. She has chosen to use it to advocate “harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person,” said a joint statement by major fan websites as they distanced themselves from her. Throughout the past month she has repeatedly shown she disagrees with the simple declaration that “trans women are women.” She has chosen to reject developing gender understanding by standing firm on the simplistic binary principle. “Choose to do whatever you want,” she implies, “but males born male stay male.” In order to defend her own sexual experiences she has chosen to dismiss contrary testimony. In her view there are two positions: hers and the wrong one. Yes, J.K. Rowling, as you had Dumbledore so wisely say, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Donald Trump stoked the culture war backfire he is fueling with the Mount Rushmore monuments as his backdrop on July 3. Without a trace of embarrassment he stood on ground stolen from the Lakota Sioux to whom it had been promised in perpetuity and brazenly praised the “settlement of the West” as one of America’s shining accomplishments while his supporters derided a group of Sioux protesters, yelling at them to “go home!” With no solid gains in any key indicator of presidential success he is counting on cultural division to re-energize his political fortune. His rallying cry this month is for people to choose which side they’re on. The choice is between “far-left fascism” and “me” (who was being portrayed as a “far right fascist” until his disastrous leadership of the response to the COVID-19 epidemic eclipsed all his other faults). He is looking increasingly desperate as he fails to get the economy moving by “opening the country for business” against all medical advice as the USA adds some 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 132 thousand deaths (with 401 thousand for the rest of the world put together). This disregard for human life is duplicated in Trump’s plans to keep children in cages along the border, to wipe out affordable health care, to withdraw from climate research organizations, and his refusal to denounce white supremacist terrorism and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump has chosen to limit his vision to “what’s good for me.”
George Floyd died on May 25, in full public view, so horribly that a mass movement was begun that has now come into focus as a campaign to reduce the militarization of local law enforcement, to reform the relationship of police to the people being policed, and to equalize the prosecution of justice. The presenting issue is the obvious differences between the way Black men and boys are targeted and treated by the police as opposed to how White men and boys are handled by the police. It makes no sense that the USA leads the world in incarcerations, and that Black males are vastly disproportionately prosecuted with sentences many times heavier for Black convicts than for White persons convicted of the same crimes. Systemic racism is beyond reasonable doubt. It is time for America to choose a better system.
David L Wells
7/6/2020 05:25:54 pm
Very well written and TRUE of course. Unfortunately, her in the U.S. people either already see all of this clearly OR they will NEVER see or accept any of it. I am completely confused by how so many Americans remain so closed in their choice without any ability to objectify anything. OR, is this a part of HUMANITY???? I am truly saddened.
7/6/2020 06:32:57 pm
I am so sorry Peter had this, and that the USA is in such leaderless and desperate shape. Blessings to you.
7/6/2020 08:17:09 pm
Thanks for your eloquence and clarity here, Ken. Someone who still seems murkier to me in her recent statements is JK Rowling, and though I know she is considered a great storyteller by her fans, perhaps she's not quite so good at expressing herself as an actual person now? All that aside, the deeper theme of what I view as the collapse of the Imperial USA is in the forefront of many minds all around the world, though not everyone sees it in such terms. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have made me aware that systematic racism is totally tied in with the climate crisis. The current threat to humanity and planet via radical climate change and environmental collapse does not primarily date to the Industrial Revolution, as I once imagined. Clearly it stems from the start of European (and later American) colonialism, when (mostly) white men began to view both resources and people as economic commodities. The fallout is with us today, and my hope is that lacking clear leadership, We the People may be waking up to realize that leaders cannot save us, rather they are the ones we must save ourselves from. Either People will wise and become proactive enough to take back the USA from those who have stolen it, or we will not, which will allow the global disaster to continue. I do not predict the future, but these multiple crises overlapping are a genuine chance for our species to wake up--enough. History shows that if 3.5% or so of the People "get it," that is enough. So who knows? Thanks again, Ken!
7/14/2020 11:57:08 pm
Ah yes blame the white man by the self loathing white man. Complete ignorance of the process of globalisation which began with many peoples the Chinese and Arabs and many more. If only the British had not gone and built roads and bridges and started the Indian railway the world's greated employer and life blood of the nation. You are laughable Bruce P. Grether according to you we should have remained in our caves and huts. You may rage like the Unibomber at civilization but unlike him you still love to live comfortably in it. You can always decide to try it yourself hypocrite.
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Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.