First a mere insinuation, just a hinted accusation, slowly growing to a rumor, which will shortly start to flow.
What began as innuendo Soon is swelling in crescendo; Gossip turning into scandal, Stopping nowhere hard to handle…
Those lines were written 200 years ago for Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” illustrating how to use slander or calumney (calunnia, in Italian) to ruin a rival’s reputation.
I saw the fabulous South African coloratura Pretty Yende in this opera at the Met today and couldn’t help comparing compare the aria The Art of Slander, sung by Basilio, to “alternative facts.” And to the Tea Party’s slandering of Obama. And to “fake news,” like what inspired a guy to bring a rifle to a DC pizza parlor.
From the start of Obama’s administration, there were rumors he was a Muslim, not an American citizen, that he was a racist, and worst of all, a socialist. These rumors were repeated and used to fan the fire of the ill-will of people who were quite legitimately upset with what had happened to the country. However, the calumny was used to target a president who had nothing to do with what got us here, and it has been used to fan the hatred against him, disrespect him, and do the absolute opposite of what he’s trying to do to fix the economy. All in all, it’s quite cynical.
Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all must have have taken a lesson from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. (From the Musical Almanac).
What do I do, personally, about reacting to Trump? March? Tweet? Write letters? Make calls? Many of my Trump-resisting friends will go to Washington on January 21. Many more will carry signs in Trenton.
“The Berlusconi parallel could offer an important lesson in how to avoid transforming a razor-thin victory into a two-decade affair. If you think presidential term limits and Mr. Trump’s age could save the country from that fate, think again. His tenure could easily turn into a Trump dynasty. (the opposition) was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity.”
But a good friend, a Washington insider, tells me that “the op-ed from the Italian is already outdated (we’ve learned a lot about Trump’s future government since 11/18) and shows the folly of the approach he advocates. Trump’s made most of his cabinet picks, so we now have the benefit of actual decisions to use to evaluate whether there is really any interest in bi-partisan governing that would be consistent with his campaign promises.
“It will easily be the most extreme cabinet ever sworn-in. The Department of Labor nominee opposes the idea of a minimum wage and required overtime pay, not exactly economic populism. The AG was rejected by the Republican majority senate in 1986 when he was nominated to the bench. And the details of the infrastructure plan that he says Democrats should work with Trump on have been announced and will amount to a massive give=away to corporations and the privatization of public infrastructure.
Will Trump himself pay attention to the marchers? I don’t think so. But the march can put the legislators on their guard.
“I agree with you that Trump will care little about the protests nor will he care what Democrats think of him. The key are those people and institutions that are enabling him and necessary for him to govern.NeverTrumpers who worked hard to defeat him in the primaries did the good work,the Republicans that have continued a public stance against him after the election are true heroes and that opposition is mainly from the foreign policy and national security wing of the party. They have put country ahead of party.
“Unfortunately, the broader so-called Republican establishment, if that still exists, has decided that the opportunity to get its policy wish list through is more important to them than the dangers that will come from giving this man and his followers the keys to the country with little oversight or accountability. The only thing that will change that will be if they believe there will be electoral consequences as a result of Trump’s unpopularity.
“To that end, protest, including the occasional massive protest like the woman’s march, is an important action but of course cannot be the only thing. Mass protest is a piece of movement building AND people need to contact their elected officials.
“That needs to be followed up with intensive grassroots organizing in the places that Republican elected officials represent, like Pennsylvania, including reaching out with empathy towards those that are suffering economically and need help. Help that Trump has already shown he has no interest in delivering at a systematic level.
This article for the Guardian tells how progressives should use Tea Party tactics. Former Congressional staffers have created the Indivisible Guide for resisting the Trump agenda. “Unless you worked in congress the summer of 2009, you cannot fathom the volume of phone calls [that came in],” said a former staffer. The Tea Party “slowed federal policy making to a halt.”
Call your own members of Congress. If you like and agree with their decisions, call the lawmaker’s office and say so. Rally the troops behind them. Say ‘Thank you for opposing Trump’s agenda but also speak out at every turn.’
If you need help learning to make a difference, and you live near Princeton, put this workshop on your calendar for Wednesday, February 22 at noon at Princeton Public Library: Sam Daley-Harris: Writing Checks, Signing Petitions, and Protest Marches: Is That All There Is?
Shall I march? call? write? I’m glad for the marchers –my prayers go with you! We marched in DC 25 years ago (photo above). But this year I will find other ways to ‘speak out at every turn. ‘