...militarism, dominance of some over others? I despair sometimes at this reversal. First, because it worries me that every criticism can be co-opted. Second, because the message is so true and people know it is true but it has almost no effect on them (on me, also). King also shows the message can’t be destroyed when you co-opt it, it remains uniquely powerful because it is true that we are equal and we have NO GOOD REASON to do harm to others and an overwhelmingly powerful reason to struggle to the mountaintop. But we don’t do it! I have to print out this essay and read it over time to think about this. It’s something that plagues me but I have never been able to explain it to people in a way that they understand.

Expand full comment

Although you don’t quite solve the mystery (maybe it can’t be solved) of how a dominant military superpower could make their most trenchant critic the cloak to make themselves blameless, you get into it! I’ve always wondered why this gets so little discussion. How did the most effective (at least in terms of presenting a lasting message) critic of so many things become the shield for the people doing harm with all those things. (Wealth-accumulation, miltiari

Expand full comment

My mother has been getting these lengthy GOP-inspired email messages, forwarded from a retired work contact who has nothing better to do in retirement than read conservative / GOP talking points and fwd on the nonsense to people.

My father succumbed to cancer in November, but much earlier succumbed to the poisonous rhetoric coming from Trump and his cohorts. It strained our relationship in unimaginable ways, and for some reason known only to me, I managed to care for him as he was dying. I wished to never endure the internal conflict that I suffered then, ever again.

My mother is of the same generation, but a different person for sure. Not hateful, not vicious and small, but she's older, and her media diet is not something I can strictly control. These email messages were worrying me, because they had a slew of lies, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and so forth... and it was exhausting to keep giving point by point refutations.

I forwarded to her the first of this series. I've since forwarded the next two; I have her attention now.

If this series helps me keep my mother from getting her point of view twisted away from humanity and kindness, I'll happily subscribe ten times over. The series resonated with me strongly but I was already receptive to the argument, and the clarity of the argument helped me make sense of what I felt. I'm hopeful that this will also resonate with mom, who is a kind and generous person, but perhaps doesn't really understand what has happened to her friend and trusts him (entirely too much).

Expand full comment


Thanks so much for this lovely and thoughtful comment. I'm very sorry for your recent loss, and for the difficulty that our national corporate propaganda machine brought you during an already difficult time. I hope my essays will help even if only in a small way.

Expand full comment