Tuesday, August 9, 2016

If the Trucks Pass

With the political ascendency of Donald Trump comes one of the true moral challenges of our time.  In deciding whether or not to support the nominee of their party, Republican politicians as well as the base of the party are confronted with the politics of sociopathology.  When, in the course of human events, it becomes obvious that one who seeks power displayed the characteristics of mental illness, what to do?
For some, the choice would be simple.  Their moral compass makes definite the options.  They draw upon the lessons of history, the instances of crossroads previously chosen, and the powerful example of reasoning the consequences of a haphazard decision.  But even the notable moral philosopher/psychologist Kohlberg acknowledged that for most people, attaining the highest level of moral reasoning based on conscience is difficult, if not unreachable.
One also runs the risk in this discussion of being the haughty one on moral high ground while you all struggle to even reach the threshold.  Still, let's go on so that this discussion can take place.
The Nobel prize winning author, Toni Morrison, while being interviewed by the late Ed Bradley of CBS, once said, "I feel that white people will betray me.  That in the final analysis, they'll give me up.  If the trucks pass and they have to make a choice, they'll put me on that truck. That's really what I feel."
She went on to add, "By the way, there are lots of black people who'd put me on that truck also, so I'm not trying to demonize the white race.  It's just a kind of a constant vigilance and awareness that maybe these relationships can go just so far."

This is precisely how I feel about people who are either unable to see Trump for what he is, and/or people whose politics have no moral compass whatsoever.  The trucks passing is of course a reference to Nazi Germany and many Jewish people who were placed on those rolling trucks by those unable to make a moral decision in time of crisis.
I suppose we all have relationships with people that can only go just so far.  In my effort to maintain a variety of friendships from the different universes I frequent, I'm often confronted with the roadblock that says, this is where you stop.  I must add, no, this is where I need to get off.
I realize there is grave danger in walking around constantly wondering who would throw me under the bus if it came down to a choice, but that's precisely the kind of thing the current political climate creates.  I see, almost daily, the kind of politico who, on some level, must know better, but in the end is incapable of making a moral decision.  What remains to be seen is what, if any will be the consequences for all involved.
If I were in the classroom this school year, I'd go deep with the metaphor of trucks passing.  The possibilities are unlimited.  By winter break, there is even the possibility of getting answers to some of these crucial questions.

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