Tuesday, November 15, 2016

President Trump--Part 2

I've been bowled over by the response to my previous posting. I never expected the number of views and emails I have received in response to it, most of them from students, artists, and faculty members at other universities, the overwhelming majority of them expressing similar sentiments to the ones I did, and sympathy and support for my own personal struggle against egregious violations of academic freedom, administrative bullying and harassment, and the imposition of codes of "pedagogical correctness" at Boston University.

But I cannot tell a lie. A small but significant number of my respondents actually wrote in defense of Trump with a few including internet links to click on to disabuse myself of the "lies the lamestream media have disseminated" about him and his campaign. (Some not surprisingly linked to fake news feeds.)

It's a free country, so far at least, and I thank them all, including the pro-Trump respondents, for their responses. (I only wish Boston University administrators allowed me similar freedom in my own courses to express my views, teach the material of my choice, and evaluate my students in the ways I think best, rather than controlling what I teach and how I teach it.)

Though I hadn't intended to do so when I made my initial posting only hours after the election results were in, in the light of the responses I have received, I have decided to devote a few more blog pages to this subject, based on things readers have written me. I will, where it seems desirable, allow them to remain anonymous. 

In this posting I am reprinting two short emails I received a few days apart from an artist who has been one of the most loyal readers of and responders to this blog over a period of many years. The first email below was the second or third thing she wrote me in response to my initial posting, and alludes to something I wrote her back in a private note, in which I compared Trump's scare-tactics to those of Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s. 

The second email from her reprinted below is even shorter, and includes an internet link to an interview with Noam Chomsky. Chomsky, for those who don't already know, is one of the great living heroes of American intellectual life, and he is as courageous and truth-telling in his observations about the consequences of last week's election as he has been about hundreds of other issues for the past five decades. I give this interview my highest possible recommendation and strongly encourage you to read and think deeply about it. --R.C.

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Thanks for your responses, I somehow guessed you'd be writing about the election outcome in some way. Thank you for sharing with me and giving me some badly needed encouragement. You've made me a believer in writing through feelings to understand them, I'll try focusing and doing that for myself. Half the night and all this morning, I've been trying to process what just happened. Alternating between shock and depression today, but I'd been feeling unsettled about the election for the past few weeks so it wasn't a complete surprise. I hadn't written about it, and certainly welcome your thoughts. You are always right on target. Interesting that you mentioned Joe McCarthy, I had thought of him too last week. Another vindictive bully operating through fear and hate. God forbid that should happen again in our country, but nothing can guarantee it won't so we must stay vigilant. The election is so discouraging, but we can't give up. I agree with you about the importance of making and sharing a quiet and true space which I've been trying to do through my own work. It's a true refuge. It's good to be reminded of the importance of staying focused when the whole world seems to be blowing itself up through its own stupidity. The truth is getting harder and harder to know and find these days in a profit-driven, entertainment media (don't get me started!), but the truth's hidden gold nuggets and lumps of coal turned into diamonds are well worth the effort of venturing out into difficult terrain. I guess reaching out to bridge the gap between us and the Trump supporters is a start, although I must say I'm in no mood for it yet today with strident and gloating Trump supporters so I'm keeping quiet with my head down. Always, the best we can do is strive to be the best and truest of who we are, never losing sight of beautiful states that matter and must be preserved.
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It gets more terrifying every day as Trump selects his team & lays out his plans, I'm trying to understand what's the best way forward. I don't know if you're able to view this link, but I think Chomsky is correct in his observations. The denial to recognize the need for addressing climate change is our greatest immediate threat. Do you agree?