The Daily Take: Hyperbolic name-calling, or factual truth-telling?

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples

Good morning! Hope your weekend went well, and you accomplished whatever you had planned – including if your plans were to do nothing. (For some of us, doing nothing is hard work.)

If you read the weekly newsletter that came out yesterday, you learned I got my yard overseeded, which took a while. I had apparently put too much nitrogen on it (if a little is good, a lot must be better) and caused a fungus to grow and attack the grass.

I kept hoping the grass would recover on its own, but it just got worse over time. I finally had to mow it to the ground, treat it with a fungicide, and replant the grass seed.

You’re probably asking “What do your lawn troubles have to do with the topic in the headline?” I’ll show you. It’s a strained comparison, I admit, but I’m going with it.

What to call it?

I kept thinking the grass would come back because I assumed the cause was drought. And if it’s drought, the grass has gone dormant, and watering will bring it back. Eventually, though, I had to admit the problem was worse than that; there was an infection killing off the grass, and only by recognizing that and killing the infection could I hope to get the lawn I had before.

As you know if you read my stuff regularly, I struggle with the name-calling on both sides of the political divide. Last I checked, all the Republicans are still fellow human beings, as are all the other players in the space, and therefore our shared humanity should be a factor in how we treat one another.

And yet ... and yet ... you can’t stop an infection until you recognize that there is, in fact, an infection. You have to diagnose it and then treat it. You can’t just hope it will go away on its own.

There is an infection in our body politic, and it is running rampant in the national Republican party. It is an infection of authoritarianism, and of neo-fascism, and of so-called Christian Nationalism. It is anti-democracy, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Enlightenment. It includes the cult of Trumpism, but is now independent of Trump.

This infection is taking over the Republican party, and if present trends continue, it will BE the Republican party in short order. For a time, we all hoped it would burn itself out and the Repubs would return to sanity – just as I hoped a little watering would restore my lawn. But now we see that it is continuing to spread, especially in state legislatures. And just like I had to admit that in fact my lawn was infected, we have to admit and call out that one of our political parties is infected.

Note that I’m NOT saying Dems have no faults. We could make a long list of issues with the party, including corporate capture and horrible messaging. But the problems in the Democratic party are like a broken leg, while the problems in the Republican party are cancer.

I will continue to struggle with this. I will continue to try to find common ground where possible, and will try to recognize our shared humanity whenever I can.

But I, and ForwardKY, will also name and call out the dangerous infection we are dealing with, and sometimes in blunt terms. When you are facing an existential threat to your democracy, it doesn’t pay to dance around the issue.

Hyperbolic name-calling doesn’t help. But truth-telling is essential. I hope I, and the site, can find that line, and follow it fearlessly.

* – * – * – *

Miscellanea

  • As you also know if you read yesterday's newsletter, I've asked for some informal feedback. Since you DT readers are some of our most engaged members, please take a moment to look back at that newsletter and respond.
  • I plan on adding links to interviews to the race pages on Election Central. Watch for an update about that this week.

All for today. Thanks, as always, for reading – and for supporting the work.

Bruce


Today’s Don’t-Miss Stories

Fancy Farm is dead
“Not funny, just mean.” So wrote Garrison Keillor in the margins of homework – and so he would have written of the speeches at Fancy Farm. Teri Carter explains why.
Christian Nationalism? Been there, done that
Guess what – Christian Nationalism has been tried before. As Ivonne Rovira points out, it didn’t work out too well.

And the home page ...

Forward Kentucky
Objective news, effective policy, progressive commentary. The progressive voice for Kentucky politics.

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The Daily Take is a newsletter containing observations and thoughts of publisher Bruce Maples, and is only available to Partners of Forward Kentucky. It is available via email, and is also available on the web site to logged-in Partners. The email version is sent to Partner members who have opted-in to receiving it via the Newsletters section of their profile.

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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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