Saturday, October 06, 2012

A letter to a friend

Good Morning, my friend.

I have to apologize for being so snippy to you on Twitter (although in my defense, Twitter-writing can be snippy practically by definition, more so when one has been attacked all day).  I am, as you know, a writer and poet, not a journalist, and the need to see truth pursued and justice served tend to occupy a significantly larger part of my nature than trivial matters like, oh, concern for what others think of me, to name just one casualty.

I knew a few guys like Mitt Romney when I was at UF. Hell, I went out with one--just once. He drove beautiful, expensive German cars--a new one every semester, it seemed--and had his own plane, at age 20. He paid people to write his term papers for him. He was utterly unconcerned about the rights of others, or the laws by which everyone else's lives are constrained. The phrase "moral imperative" might just as well have been written or spoken in Swahili, it was that foreign to him. In fact, what interested him--what seemed to be the only things that made him happy, however temporarily--were "getting" a girl away from another young man, and breaking rules. In other words, generally doing the opposite of what everyone else did regardless of it being mean-spirited, dumb, dangerous, or illegal. Or all of those things.

I may have been very young, and I was admittedly intrigued with the notion of being swept off my feet by someone who could take me to the nicest places in town for dinner when I mainly existed on peanut butter and wore a lot of thrift-shop clothes (albeit very stylish ones, I'd add, in the days before we called them "vintage"). But thank God, I was both sickened and quite unnerved by his utter lack of care for other people during the time I spent with him. I'm sure it bothered him not one bit that I didn't return his calls for a second date. There were thousands of pretty middle-class girls at that school.

This morning, I accept that people are happier believing that the final candidates for the country's highest office are, by default, decent, ethical sorts who would never stoop so low. We all know how well it goes when someone unethical is given outsized amounts of power (and firepower).

So, you're right: I have to let it go sometimes, because it's probably impossible to convince others to assign the same weight to a potential leader's core morality that I do. It's actually kind of scary to contemplate a Greg Stillson (from The Dead Zone) character having access to the nuclear codes--no-one wants to leave his or her comfort zones that way. And of course, no-one wants to be ridiculed as a crackpot conspiracy theorist, which is often the first epithet hurled when someone says, This is not quite right…something is off.

Come to think of it, eyewitness reports are themselves often dismissed as having been "seen wrong" anyway; or, worse: people who commit wrongdoings, like the pepper-spraying cops at U.C. Davis, are not held accountable for things that everyone saw and even recorded on video.  Because in some twisted version of modern jurisprudence it's considered unhealthy for the system--or something--to set a precedent of going after authority figures.)

My very best to you. 


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