To the Editor:
Sermon or serendipity, I would like to share these quotes. They are from a story, “Gooseberries,” by Anton Chekhov, and seem timely, what with our fates tied so closely to the fancies of a Russian dictator. The theme is from Pushkin.
“Dearer to us the falsehood that exalts; Than hosts of baser truths.” Chekhov expands on this: ” . . . nothing protests but mute statistics: so many people gone out of their minds, so many gallons of vodka drunk, so many children dead from malnutrition . . . And this order of things is evidently necessary: evidently the happy man only feels at ease because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence…but if there is a meaning and an object in life, that meaning and object is not our happiness, but something greater and more rational. Do good!” Or as John Lewis said, “make good trouble.”
Most these days might rightly demur, there is no surfeit of happiness. But there is an excess of frivolity – a rhetoric of trivializing contrariness, false equivalencies and specious assertions, which turns wickedly perverse delusions into worse facts, as exampled by the Trump presidency. Don’t be fooled by attempts to spin a silk purse of that pig mess.
A Republican president embracing the Confederate flag as a symbol of freedom and emboldening a teenage fanboy to take to the streets with an assault weapon. A right–wing religious icon sunk in sexual misadventure, sloughing of his father’s mantle and laughingly quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, saying he’s “free at last.” Strike up the band and cue the fireworks.
It is so much easier to swallow one big fantastical lie than tackle the myriad of hard truths. And that is our choice this election. Down the rabbit hole for four more years. Or on the road to a sensible and sustainable recovery.