By Jorge D.H. Prósperi, 2020
President Abraham Lincoln through his lingering eloquence reminds us that during the worst of times we should focus on who we are – who we want to be. He challenged us for eternity on November 19, 1863.
It is 2020 . . . the Coronavirus has no color . . . no grey fighting blue – no brother against brother struggling violently for the meaning of what it means to be mutually recognized, validated, respected as a human being . . . to be valued far beyond the price of a bale of picked cotton.
Lincoln continually challenged us as citizens to address the self-evident essence of what it means to be a human being.
There is no more grey or blue – just shadows remain. Instead, a minuscule invisible virus humbles us to the core. Lincoln again comes calling in 2020 to remain focused and humble on what is “self evident.”
Gaslighters will fight to maintain the status quo, its power and control and deter change – an ever fruitless and exhausting endeavor on their behalf.
There is a scene in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” when Lincoln speaks to the telegraph operators that he often visited to keep track of the carnage. For Lincoln every life mattered and he mourned each – both grey and blue.
The telegraphers kept notes of Lincoln’s visits. They were qualitative researchers during the Civil War observing and listening to Lincoln. One of the telegraphers was Charles Almerin Tinker who kept diaries. Another was David Homer Bates who wrote a book about his journey with Lincoln. All of the stories are there in the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana in the Library of Congress.
On one occasion Lincoln visited the telegraphers and shared the story of Euclid, a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “founder of geometry” – if not its father, certainly an uncle. Lincoln on the night before writing his watershed speech for the ages explained . . .
“Euclid’s first common notion is this . . . Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning. It’s true because it works; has done and will always will. In his book, Euclid says this is “self-evident.” You see, there it is, even in that two-thousand year old book of mechanical law: it is a self-evident truth of things which are equal to the same thing, are equal to each other. We begin with equality. That’s the origin, isn’t it? That balance-that’s fairness, that’s justice.”
Self-evident truth and its credibility is being tested again by individuals who distort the truth for personal gain, power and its control.
Self-evident truth and its credibility is also being demonstrated by governors and mayors who are making tough decisions with authority, knowledge, intelligence and compassion. They are leading with courage without bravado and seeking aggrandizement. We can hear it and see it and is being compared and contrasted to the president daily campaign press conferences.
The virus now demands that president, governors and mayors face a seemingly no win situation. It is demanding that women and men of integrity, dignity, empathy step up beyond self – demonstrate that truth and character be evident.
During Trumps’s daily Presidential press conferences we hear repeated gaslighting of information by surrounding cheerleaders praising the gaslighter in chief for his leadership. All initiatives require mention of his name – turning to the president in order to give credit. The constant contrived adulation is appalling. It’s all a waste of valuable time. It is insulting to all Americans.
What Trump can’t control during the press conferences is his lack of pro-active leadership and competence. There are reasons why the President in the past three years has stayed away from doing open and transparent press conferences. He can’t stand the heat.
You may have noticed Trump’s constant mention of generalities, speculations, promises – nothing ever concrete and decisive – always without the details that matter. This is yet another strategy used by gaslighters. Keep the public off balance with just enough delusions – fill the playing filed with fog and move the goal posts at will.
Tell citizens that “business may be back to normal by Easter!” But say it as a wish not a fact. Use the words “may”, “maybe”, “if”, “could or should be.” Ever hear of the subjunctive mood? Ever hear of the pluperfect subjunctive case? It’s a grammatical term that is all about doubt, uncertainly, if then clauses.
But the daily press conferences during the pandemic have changed the dynamic. Now all of America is listening. Reporters follow up with critical questions over and over relentlessly.
Trump tries to quickly speak louder over the question, interrup, move through the questions that expose ineptitude, mismanagement and semblances of corruption. The more he gaslights the more the reporters critically question. He has lost two necessary ingredients that every gaslighter seeks and uses . . . power and control.
The most damaging of lies is that the administration knew of the virus months before and ignored the warnings. Evidence is growing that the Obama administration provided the Trump transition team with pro-active measures which were ignored. The meetings and reports are a matter of record.
It will become evident why public health and national security experts shake their heads when President Trump says that the coronavirus “came out of nowhere” and “blindsided the world.”
This is not true. It was the Trump administration’s decision in 2018 to dismantle a National Security Council directorate at the White House charged with preparing for when, not if, another pandemic would hit the nation. The Trump administration now faces what is self-evident when credibility and trust have been destroyed.
It is up to each of us to demand the truth – to pursue it – to call out those who gaslight for personal gain at the expense of others . . .
In the case of the virus, on Feb. 27, as reported by NPR’s Tim Mak, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was tamping down fears suggesting that the virus could be seasonal.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear,” the president said then, before adding, “It could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens.” “So far we’re getting great reviews!“
On that same day – FEB, 27, Senator Richard Burr-N.C attended a luncheon held at a social club called the Capitol Hill Club. And he delivered a much more alarming message.
“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” Burr said, according to a secret recording of the remarks obtained by NPR. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
This warning was not provided to the American people on February 27, 2020. It took place at a luncheon organized by the Tar Heel Circle, a nonpartisan group whose membership consists of businesses and organizations in North Carolina, the state Burr represents. Membership to join the Tar Heel Circle costs between $500 and $10,000 and promises that members “enjoy interaction with top leaders and staff from Congress, the administration, and the private sector,” according to the group’s website.
Who profited from that prior knowledge that the virus was already present? Who had the info to false-start selling off their stocks?
Let us also remain aware of despicable . . . AMERICAN CEOs – small and big business manufacturers that are now holding hospitals hostage over the prices of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – such as N95 respirator masks, gloves, protective gowns, plastic surgical masks and ventilators.
Here I need to digress and get “east-side-motown-8 mile down and dirty”.
Who are these MFs? Where were they born? Really . . . America? Where do they live? Really . . . in the good old USA? What schools did they attend? Are they even human? How pathologically sick are they? How disconnected can they be? Who are the politicians that support them?
What political party supports such inhuman ideology and why? Perhaps even Ayn Rand would upchuck.
How blindly loyal are these MFs to capitalism’s delusion of supply and demand? Do they have families, wives, husbands, children . . . how do they live with themselves?
How do these MFs avoid living lifeless? Oh I forgot, there is always a Saturday or Sunday where self-absolution is waiting from guilt. A little holy water and all is cleansed.
Don’t you want to know their names, the names of their companies?
I do – and all the politicians who support them locally and nationally. From the highest MF authority figure in Washington to the MF shop owner in Macomb County. You scumbag MFs!
Sorry, sometimes I digress from sanitized squeaky clean academic high minded spaces to basic street signs realities from the past . . . immigrating, growing up in the NY harbor area, North-end of Boston and East Side Detroit . . . those raw imprints are hard to leave behind . . . but they keep me grounded and real.
Be careful when gaslighters begin to deflect attention from focusing on the competence of their leadership. Gaslighters now have a problem given the Coronavirus . . . TRANSPARENCY . . . IT EXPOSES!
They will deflect quickly by pointing your attention to blaming others. Historically this means immigrants, migrants, minorities, the press, academicians, scientists and researchers showing data and facts.
Be cautious when Trump and his cronies have you focus on the Chinese Virus and not the Coronavirus. Be careful of those distracting shinny objects called “race baiting” and “racial dog whistles.“
Listen carefully to the language of excuses, deflections, defensive postures, assigning fault to others and not taking responsibility. He will quickly pass the buck to others or deflect when cornered with the truth,
“I don’t know that” . . . “I don’t know him/her” . . . “this is the first I heard of it” . . . “I’ll look into that” . . . “you have to ask her/him” . . . “Never happened” . . . ” . . . “that’s a nasty question”
In a time calling for selfless common allegiance, united collaboration and immediate professional responses to mayors and governors, Trump has insulted and belittled accusing by way of nuanced inferences.
“They say”, “All of you know”, “Everybody is saying”, “You know better than I do”, “Somebody told me” “I’m hearing it from a lot of people.”
Instead of focusing on the problem and Americans dying, he takes – makes the time to go off script and belittle, demean and insult Governors and Mayors.
Why even waste the time when time is running out? Americans are on ventilators – breathing for their lives! Don’t you get it Pres?
Among his targets is the governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer.“We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from . . . Michigan. We don’t like to see the complaints.”
YOUNG? WOMAN? DON’T LIKE? COMPLAINTS? Are you listening America?
The problem is that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been courageously decisive, in front of the curve like Governor Cuomo on pro-active crisis management decision making.
The problem is that unlike Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, Gretchen Whitmer is leading – not following – therefore not in a good position to kiss the emperor’s ass.
Let’s examine carefully what “the problem” is with “a woman” from Michigan. She has pushed the Trump on delivering and keeping his word. Trump does not like this from a governor, a blue state, and especially from a woman.
If this was not the case, why waste valuable – critical time calling out her gender? He was campaigning, gaslighting on behalf of his base, Fox News and those red states.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has responded for all Michiganders in every respect . . . what the Michigan flag represents and expects.
“E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many One!” – “Tuebor – I will Protect” – “Si quaeris Peninsulam Amcenam Circumspice – If you seek a pleasant peninsula look about you” but not only during the best of times enjoying our lakes – but all of the time – the toughest of times.
From an early lock down, closing schools, creating medical task forces, uploading a state website, providing daily updates, working with other governors, insisting on medical supplies, initiating building of off-site hospitals, calling out federal agency procrastinations . . . she is in command Mr. President. She is not hiding – that woman, YES “a woman” is leading.
Recommendation, “you” – “that man” – learn from her. Grow some cojones, you are overdue. It’s been 3 years on the job. You are no longer going through political puberty. Grow up!
Gaslighters are weak. They break and run under pressure. Their ego can’t take being shown up – outsmarted – out problem-solved – being transparent and honest. The inherent weakness is exposed when compared and contrasted with authentic strong selfless leadership. Especially compared to those who have dedicated their lives to public service rather than beauty contests, popularity contests and TV ratings.
Why else the fixation with President Barack Obama. The job is too big for Trump, too demanding, too difficult, too challenging for a little man in an empty suit.
Americans want to believe their leaders. They crave in 2020 for authenticity. They want to trust their leaders. They want them to be ethical and be an example to their children. Americans don’t expect perfection, but they do require honesty when being addressed by the president of the United States. I repeat The President of the United States. It just needs repeating over and over, and over . . .
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES . . .
The incoherence is deafening. The trumped up-stories endless. The deflections constant. The gaslighting exposed.
Do I have any humble suggestions for CURRENT Trumpers who in the middle of this Coronavirus pandemic remain blindly loyal – in denial as to who Donald Trump is? Yes . . . please go to your place of worship . . . light a candle . . . get on your knees . . . ask for forgiveness. To quote a common republican standard in times of horror and trauma . . . my prayers and thoughts are with you.
As for Trump . . . yes . . . please, please, please . . . RESIGN with no apology needed or required . . . just tweet it! Please, get out of America’s way into the 21st Century.
This is not an insult but rather a sincere request to please return to The Apprentice, Beauty Pageants, building hotels, playing golf. Please do start another University and another non profit, but this time do it ethically.
Better yet, become a TV host on Fox News where you can gaslight to your hearts content surrounded by your disciples and apostles fawning all over you.
Do what you were meant to do . . . pucker up those lips and revel in your charlatanism and gaslighting. Quarantine yourself from society . . . spare us from your nefarious psychotic phobias.
How ironic, . . . that the psychological abuse of spreading false information would be exposed by an invisible non-human . . . with its own Gas Light* . . . lighting the way . . . “before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea.”
End of Part III of III
* Gas Light is a 1938 play by British dramatist Patrik Hamilton. The play gave rise to the term “gaslighting.”