But first . . .

CURED premiers tonight (Monday) on PBS, then streams free for 30 days on PBS.org and the PBS app.  It won the American Historical Association’s award for the best historical documentary of 2021.

How far we’ve come.

Yet how far we’ve slipped.

After six decades fighting for social justice and enjoying the embodiment of the American Dream, this couple are moving on from a lost nation.

“The battle is lost,” Guy Sapperstein argues. “America is in terminal decline and nearly 75 million Americans seem to be willing to pull it down further. How can it be that so many millions voted for a man who started more than a score of businesses and every one failed, who cheated repeatedly on three wives before each marriage failed, who is despised by even members of his own family, who went out of his way nearly every day to show that he is a racist and a sexist, a man who has been caught, according to the Washington Post, in more than 30,000 lies in just the four years he was president, who cheated at nearly everything, including golf, how is it that such a man is held up as a paragon of virtue by nearly half of the electorate? Something has gone seriously off the rails.”

Read it all to see who the Sappersteins are and why they’re moving to France.

I’m not joining them, but before I tell you why, watch Bill Maher’s “slow moving coup” rant from Friday.

I call it a rant, but that suggests it’s unhinged.

What makes it so important is that it’s not unhinged.

We find ourselves in a bizarre place.

> Our “extremists,” like AOC, want crazy radical Marxist things like the same universal health care the rest of the First World enjoys.

And mandatory vaccination (with limited exceptions) to defeat COVID the same way we defeated smallpox, polio, measles, and mumps.

And a better balance between billionaires who pay no tax and workers who struggle to pay rent.

In other words: the living hell that is Canada.

> Their extremists, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, believe Jewish space lasers start wildfires.

And march with torches chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

And storm the Capitol with baseball bats and bear spray.

Indeed, their leader . . . who for years kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside . . . admires the torch carriers (“some of them, very fine people”) and loves those who stormed the Capitol (“We love you, you’re very special.”)

I repeat: watch Bill Maher.

A friend writes: “Trump will not be satisfied until he gets a civil war going where people are actually shooting at each other. It’s clear by now that he only knows how to up the ante. A poke in his chest with one finger inspires a shove. A shove invites him to swing at the head with a two-by-four. This is not going to end well.  I think back to when Bannon announced that they were there to ‘tear down the administrative state.’  They’ve done some impressive work to that end.  If we can’t respond to this mess effectively, I’m not hopeful for the next generation or even the planet. Manchin and Sinema are clearly not alarmed enough to engage whatever morality the gods gave them.”

I’m not leaving because:

> I love it here.

> All my friends are here.

> It’s cold in Canada.

> I can’t say more than a dozen words in French.

> I’m an optimist:

I’m hopeful Congress will pass voter-protection legislation and that the Supreme Court will not simply be a tool of Trump.

I’m hopeful both infrastructure bills will be signed into law in time for voters to appreciate the benefits — as they came to appreciate radical Marxist things like “weekends” and “Medicare” and “rural electrification” and “Social Security” — and not want to elect Republicans to take them away.

I’m hopeful we’ll pick up a few seats in the House and Senate, despite long odds.  (What were the odds Georgia would send a black man and a Jew to the United States Senate? But we did the work, funded the effort — and won.)

There are clearly “more of us than there are of them” — Democrats have won the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 elections — and most of “them” want much the same things we do (e.g.: universal background checks and taxes on corporations that pay none and citizenship for dreamers who’ve been here all their lives and cheaper prescription drug prices).

Sure, they don’t want to “defund the police” — but neither do all but a handful of us!  (Criminal justice reform would be good, though, as many Republicans agree.)

More than that, most of “them” are really nice people.  As are we.  Where we get in trouble is when provocateurs stir up fear and resentment, coarsen the dialog, and set us against each other.  (“I’d like to punch him in the face.”)  Putin is having a field day.

Because let’s face it: none of us is perfect.  Most Germans were good people in the years before and after so many of them got swept up in the rallies and the mob and the war to make Germany great again (because they were, after all, the master race).

Lindsay Graham is a really smart man, looking for love like the rest of us, who famously called Vice President Biden “as good a man as God ever created” and Trump, “a race baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.”  Yet for years now he’s done everything he can to align himself with Trump against Biden.  He was eloquent when he voted to impeach Clinton (because impeachment is about restoring dignity and integrity to the office of the Presidency, he said) . . . yet voted twice to acquit Trump.

People can be misled.  There are two wolves in each of us, as noted here before:

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil — he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

“The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Lindsey and a lot of others, for the last little while, have been feeding the wrong wolf.

If you’d like to help make the story turn out well, so we don’t all have to move to France, help.

Have a great week!



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