Our isolation continues and we have ample time for reflection.
It’s astounding how many chores I’m finding to occupy my time.
This week’s story was prompted by a rare break when I visited Facebook.
Last week was our first Stories Matter! Online Storytelling Workshop.
The tellers all said they found the experience beneficial.
This old dog is learning new tricks.
Hope you’re finding your time at home productive, as well.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
The Triumph of Evil
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke.
In the book “Evil in Modern Thought,” from 2002, Susan Neiman writes of evil as “acts of intentional malevolence.”
She is understandably reluctant to offer a single, narrow definition of her own for what “evil” means today, but what she does suggest is a useful description of what effect evil has: calling something “evil,” she writes, “is a way of marking the fact that it shatters our trust in the world.” Evil is both harmful and inexplicable, but not just that; what defines an evil act is that it is permanently disorienting for all those touched by it.
I am wrestling with my will. My will to take care of my family responsibilities and my will to stand up to deliberate prevarication.
I have little time for Facebook these days. The other morning a friend posted a story about the Governor of Michigan banning the sale of plants and seeds. It seemed a little odd. The comments after the post were all about how stupid it was.
So, I did a little research and what I found was the Governor declared Garden Centers non-essential. The Daily Wire, a conservative blog, spun the piece to “no seeds and plants”. Obviously, the owners of Garden Centers are pushing back.
As of this morning April 14, 2020 Michigan has 25,635 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Thankfully 5 people have recovered. Sadly, 1,602 have died. Performing her constitutionally-mandated, police authority; she is protecting the citizens she serves by closing gathering places where the virus could spread.
The last time I caught my friend spreading disinformation I called him out on FB and he threatened to unfriend me. I obviously hurt his feelings. And of course, my mother’s words, “It’s not what you say, Gayle Turner, it’s how you say it.” Came to mind.
His threat came around the time my mother’s dementia began to require more of my time. And frankly, I didn’t want to pick a fight.
My friend’s posts are decidedly Republican in nature.
The irony of all this is he’s a pastor. I’m not surprised a conservative pastor would be posting material in line with Republican positions. What surprises me is a man who preaches love from the pulpit would be spreading distrust at a time when we need to pull together.
Now, I’m a progressive Democrat and I’m sure supporters of the President find my questioning the truth of his pronouncements disloyal, promoting disunity and provoking distrust.
Issac Assimov said, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
But ignorance is one thing, willfully distorting the truth is another.
I was quite outspoken as a young man. The story I told myself was, “I was championing right.” I respect my friend, which is why I haven’t called him out on this latest post. I’m sure he’s telling himself he’s fighting evil, wrong-headed, power-grabbing politicians.
I don’t doubt he feels he’s championing right.
The fact is I’m tired. Being a care giver is exhausting. And I’m not a nurse on the front lines or a teacher holding her charges together via a virtual thread or a parent striving to provide with no paycheck or idea when they’ll get to go back to work or if there will even be a job to go back to.
Stories are about people in a place with a problem and there’s a change, ideally progress. This has all the elements of a story save one. Change. The jury is still out as to whether or not I’m going to confront my friend.
It’s not my job to police his FB.
That said, I keep hearing Edmund Burke’s word,
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I Want to Hear from You
I’d love to hear your stories.
Share with me stories that matter to you.
What stories have come to mind during this period of isolation?
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Til next time,