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TygrBright

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 16,593

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Okay, I've learned my lesson: EWF Lives Matter

Entitled White Fratboy Lives Matter.

Now that I get that, I'll head back into the kitchen and keep stumm. I have learned my place.

You don't need to worry any more.

I know that whatever an EWF feels entitled to matters more than the trauma of millions of women.

I know that whoever is bullied by an EWF probably deserved it, and it wasn't that big a deal anyway, so quit whining about it.

Whoever stands between an EWF and what they want deserves whatever happens to them, regardless of how cruel or traumatic it may be.

So, okay, I get this now.

You win, EWFs and your enablers.

Enjoy your victory!

Celebrate!

Party down!

Once and for all, you've shown me. And millions of other women.

We are totally cowed.

We're anxious to make amends.

From our place, of course.

So take another victory lap, and another.

Order a few more kegs of brewskis and party hearty!

Enjoy the Brave Old World you've snatched back from the brink of extinction.

Keep enjoying it.

Now that we're all properly defeated, of course, you don't even need to bother to leave the frat house on November 6th. Y'all will win in a landslide. Keep the house, even increase the majority, yep.

Sure you will!

Congratulations!

very humbly,
Bright

We Are Survivors.

I survived being sexually assaulted.

I survive the assumption, every day, by a patriarchal culture, that my value as a human being is less than the value of someone with a penis.

I survive a system rigged to pay me less, disregard my autonomy, snatch control of my body from me.

I can say this, from my experience:

The judicial system of the United States of America WILL survive having an entitled, vindictive, childish patriarchal asshole foisted into its highest level.

America, our institutions, our ideals, our will to freedom and self-governance, our beliefs in equity and the ability of humanity to become better than our worst instincts, is stronger than the vicious, mediocre, greedy assholes who are battering it from within.

As I have experienced damage, and it has affected my life in painful ways, America experiences damage, and is painfully affected.

This is not damage that heals quickly, or without deep pain.

But I survived, and I am stronger for that survival. As I live, and learn, and will to be better than the fear and the self-doubt and the pain I've embraced as my allotment, America will do also.

I am not giving up.

I will NEVER give up.

I will continue to survive.

I will continue to speak out.

I will continue to learn.

So will America.

I don't "believe" this: I KNOW this.

I will sleep well, even if the Supreme Court takes the kind of damage the entitled patriarchal oligarchs are detemined to inflict upon it.

I will sleep well, and I will rise, and I will stretch and eat well and exercise and look after the amazing gift of this life, because my voice is needed.

I will continue this struggle, and I will do it with JOY.

And in being a happy warrior I will deal them the ultimate defeat.

manifestly,
Bright

What "youthful mistakes" tell us

A lot of talk right now about how we shouldn't judge someone based on their "youthful mistakes". Or at least, not let "youthful mistakes" ruin current prospects, twenty and more years later...

Because, of course, we've all made them.

Most of us do dumb shit when we're young. Most of us make a few poor choices.

But see, here's the thing:

What kind of dumb shit did you do?

Me, I mooned after rock n' roll bands, hitchhiked to concert venues, absorbed mood-altering substances, turned down some help I might have benefited from, spent money I didn't have, lied to my parents about who my friends were and what we were doing, went to a wapatuli party at the ag frat, told no one about being sexually assaulted, turned down help (again) for depression, stayed in some pretty shitty jobs, did a couple of sex-related things I'd be terribly embarrassed about if pictures ever surfaced... there may be more but that's the stuff that sticks in my memory.

You know what I didn't do?

Assault anyone.

Bully anyone (except myself).

Deny anyone their basic human rights.

Deliberately try to injure someone else's reputation or get them into trouble.

I'm not saying I have no amends to make from that period of my life. I've made some, I'll make more when it's possible. People do hurt each other without intent, and thoughtlessness can have some dismaying unintended consequences.

I have no ambitions for the type of public service that would require a high-level security clearance or scrupulous examination of past errors and their implications, but if I were called to such, I hope I could be forthright about it, and let others decide whether the character I've accumulated over my entire life, and the actions I've taken, both stupid and hopefully better-considered, both youthfully and in maturity, made me suited for such service.

No one is exempt from making youthful mistakes. Examining the TYPE of youthful mistake is the important thing. What does it say about a person's character then? And can you see, in the years since then, whether that character has grown in the same direction, or taken a different course?

meditatively,
Bright

Fairness

More than one man I'm close to have said things to the effect of "It's about time ('these guys'/'guys like that'/'institutions like that prep school'/'enablers in the dudebro club'/etc.) get seriously called out on this, and have to take consequences."

Agreed, and thank you, guys.

But then some of them go on to say, "But I worry that a lot of guys are going to suffer unfairly for stuff they didn't do, or stuff they were only peripherally involved in, or because they went to a school like that even if they never did anything" yadayadayada...

And then there are those who worry about something like 'proportionality' in terms of the consequences, like- 'it was only a drunken grope that didn't go anywhere, she was fully dressed and left on her own steam, why should it wreck a whole career decades later' and shit like that.

So unfair, right?

mmm-hmmm...

Tell me, please, what is "fair" about the lifelong impact of attempted rape on a young woman who knew, thirty years ago, that to try and have her assaulter identified and punished (oh, proportionately, of course!) would only result in 'the second assault' of being blamed, not-believed, subjected to venomous gossip and character assassination, etc. And so she's never really slept all that well, has always had trust issues in relationships, has lost opportunities to try things because of needing to keep herself safe (because deep inside, she knows she's not worthy of society keeping her safe- that was proved thirty years ago), has had her vision of her self distorted and occluded by her victimization, had suffered from periodic depressions that have affected her parenting, work, etc.

What is "fair" about that?

Women who have survived sexual assault are not inclined to trust any 'system' to be scrupulously fair. And indeed, the whole concept of 'fair' is subject to valid debate. We're not talking about things that can be accurately measured or compared across incidence and time.

The cry for "fairness" is a strong and resonant one that stirs empathy on a very fundamental level in human beings. Manipulating our perceptions of what is "fair" and who's been fairly treated or unfairly treated, by whom, with what motives, is a potent tool for those who would seek power and influence. Demagogues of all kinds beat the "fairness" drum to bring their followers into the streets, metaphorical and literal.

The law seeks "equity" but if you talk to any competent and experienced judge at almost any level of the judicial system you'll get an earful about how illusory that goal can be, way more often than not.

I do not seek to make some kind of universal retribution upon all whose physiology puts them in the patriarchal 'privilege' spot. But neither do I think that calls for "fairness" in examining the impact of consequences on those who've participated in, enabled, and/or benefited by the victimization of women- women whose pain has NEVER been acknowledged, examined, or redressed in this culture, are going to get a whole lot of respect.

Sorry.

It may not be fair.

Neither is being dehumanized, degraded, treated as an object whose pain doesn't matter, and left to your own devices for decades.

Get used to "unfair."

You can survive it. We're here to testify to that.

truthfully,
Bright

Himpathy's Last Victory

(Note: I didn't coin the term 'himpathy'. I first saw it in this interview with Kate Manne. My definition is slightly different than hers, but, I think, congruent.)

Will a Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States be himpathy's last victory?

It is comforting to me to think that such a confirmation would so blatantly expose the toxic ubiquity of himpathy that America will rise up as a nation to deliver a final rejection, in November 2018, in November 2020, in courts and police stations and schools and churches and institutions throughout the land.

But I'm not counting on it.

Himpathy is too pervasive in our culture, too toxic.

Himpathy says "It would be a tragedy to ruin HIS career/future because of the pain/trauma he inflicted on HER."

Himpathy says "It's understandable and okay for HIM to treat HER as an object, to elicit the belonging and approval of his fellow Dudebros."

Himpathy says "SHE can explain in accurate and complete detail but it's not understandable or acceptable until HE explains the same thing."

Himpathy says "HE can be a minister/bishop/prophet/imam/rabbi but SHE can't."

Himpathy says "I don't feel the impact of the news from HER voice, but when HE gives it, it's more important, believable, real, authoritative."

Himpathy says "HIS art/musical composition/sculpture/poetry/film is worthy of enshrining as a cultural reference point, but HERs is 'folk art' or 'chick lit' or whatever."

Himpathy says "It's okay for the collective noun in a language to be gendered in relationship to HE, because SHE applies only to this anomalous subset of not-quite-fully human members of the species."

Himpathy says "This film isn't going to have much impact unless the protagonist is a HE, because 'people' won't be able to enter into their feelings and experiences if it's a SHE."

Himpathy says "HE belongs here. SHE has to prove she can compete on the same level."

Himpathy says "People will come to see HIM play football but not to see HER play basketball, so our University will spend five million dollars on a football coach and a hundred thousand on a basketball coach."

Himpathy says "No one's going to respect our organization/institution unless we have HIM for a leader. If we have HER for a leader they'll think we're weak or negligible."

Himpathy says "We can't start the meeting until HE arrives, even though SHE is here and ready to begin."

I would love to think that America's ready to give up on Himpathy. I can't quite get there.

But failing that, I would love to think that the rising water now far out at sea is a tsunami of Himpathy rejection that is going to break with massively destructive force over the GOP.

And THAT, I believe, is achievable.

Let us make it so.

If we can't make Kavanaugh's confirmation Himpathy's last victory in our nation, let us at least make it the GOP's final triumph of Himpathy.

determinedly,
Bright




What's in the woodwork...

I've lost count of the times, over the last few days, when I've heard, heard about, or read about some Pissed-Off Old White Guy (isn't "POOWG" just an adorable acronym?) snarling something to the effect that women 'coming out of the woodwork' to accuse fine, upstanding other OWGs of Stuff That Didn't Even Used To Be Worth Paying Attention To, is some kind of evil conspiracy.

See, apparently in the minds of these POOWGs (spot me on this one, I know it's irrational but I can't make anything rational out of what I'm hearing, so I have to go with 'irrational') "real" sexual assault is very rare-- only at-gunpoint, stranger rape resulting in grievous bodily harm qualifies.

So, obvs, all these women bringing up "sexual assault" are just monkey-wrenching, faking it, and/or otherwise being the kind of nuisances that their husbands should deal with and keep out of the public sphere. They're scurrying around in the woodwork like roaches, chittering together and conspiring to Be Mean to Men for their own malevolently female reasons.

Guys?

Over here?

Down by the baseboard, yep.

Hiya.

You're right about one thing, Old Dudesters: If your Mama told you that old line about "If you see one roach in the kitchen, there's a hundred more in the woodwork?" And that's what you're going by?

Actually, that's a pretty good inference. Except for the scale.

For every one woman popping out of the woodwork to point a finger at her assaulter, there's not a hundred more. It's probably more like A THOUSAND.

Estimates range from one in three to one in five American women has experienced some form of sexual assault. That's a LOT of women, any way you calculate it.

'But waitaminnit', I hear your creaky voices objecting: 'if there's somewhere between 30 and 50 million women who've been victims of sexual assault, there must be that many rapists in jail, and there certainly aren't so you're making this all up.'

POOWG logic.

Gotta love it.

No, dudes ancien, that doesn't follow. The number of perps does not equal the number of victims. Once a skeevy asshole has discovered that He Gets Away With It, he rarely stops at one victim. So, thankfully for us, there are a much higher number of men who don't engage in sexual assault than you might think, by the number of women who've been assaulted.

The fact that the airwaves, Intertoobs, Starbux lounges, print newspapers, meeting minutes, legislative hearings, criminal courts and every other public forum haven't been one long narrative of outrage isn't because sexual assault is "rare".

It's because ENABLING IS SO COMMON.

Many guys who'd never dream of literally waving their weiner in a co-worker's face themselves are reluctant to see the co-worker who DID wave his weiner in a co-worker's face lose his job. Or get prosecuted. He's basically a nice guy, after all, aside from the weiner-waving thing. And the co-worker over-reacted.

Even many WOMEN, god help us, who've carefully warned their darling sons about the manipulative little sluts who are going to try and victimize them, can't believe it when it seems their sweet boychick humped on an intoxicated classmate. And they certainly don't want their offsprings' lives "ruined" by having to take the consequences of their actions. Ah, mother love.

Now listen up, POOWGs, and listen carefully.

All of us here in the woodwork (and I know you cannot even begin to IMAGINE how many of us there are... you remember the scene with the spiders in the Indiana Jones movie? Or the one with the scarabs in "The Mummy"? Did you ever see "Willard"? Yeah... like that, only MORE) aren't gonna stay here.

And here's the deal: Now that we're coming out?

We're not just coming for the perps, wizened bros.

We are coming for THE ENABLERS.

And we're not going to stop.

Not for generations we're not.

Not until the culture changes to grant us full and equal humanity, to the extent that our personhood is not subject to the vagaries of pathetically inadequate masculine ego seeking to bolster itself by sexual domination, subjugation and dehumanization of US.

Get used to it.

Yeah, we're in the woodwork.

Chitter-chitter.

menacingly,
Bright



The Agonizingly Slow Pace of Exposure: Is There an Understandable Justification?

This morning one commentator pointed out that the most damaging thing about the Woodward book isn't that it provides any 'new' information, but rather that it provides powerful confirmation to what's already been exposed by multiple sources.

That was followed, later today, by the ominously phrased and carefully anonymous "Resistance From Within" Op-Ed in the New York Times "by a senior Administration official".

And no one has to tell us here on DU that the pace of the Mueller investigation seems positively glacial, considering how much evidence there apparently is just (metaphorically and possibly literally) lying around, and how many people lining up to sing like prize canaries.

I've lost count of the number of pieces, here and elsewhere, pointing out hundreds of different aberrations, incompetences, and clear incidences of gobsmacking corruption, and saying something to the effect of "If anyone in the Obama Administration had done that the impeachment proceedings would be done and dusted by Friday of the same week!"

Yes, it's frustrating. It's agonizing. We watch the damage accumulating and holler "What The Actual F***!" among ourselves. When is the metric crapton of other shoes going to hit the deck and SOMETHING HAPPEN TO BRING THIS TRAVESTY TO AN END?

And I think I'm getting a sense of why people who otherwise would be pushing hard to do exactly that might be deliberately slow-rolling this stuff.

It's linked to two clear facts that are almost never brought up during the course of the discussions, at least not anywhere other than here on DU. And even we seem to forget them a lot:

Fact One: The extent of Russian intervention in the 2016 election is not fully known, but the shape materializing in the fog is looking bigger and uglier by the day. Which brings into question the legitimacy of those 2016 election results, although possibly not the legality of the inauguration and the installation of the [Redacted] Administration and all the appointments appertaining thereunto. There is no consensus on how the Constitution should be interpreted to provide guidance in such a case.

Fact Two: It is also becoming increasingly clear to a larger and larger section of the public as well as the punderati and the Federal Establishment that the GOP has become so corrupted, vitiated, greedy, and possibly actually subverted by Putin & Co., that they will NOT cooperate with any of the Constitutionally-provided processes for changing the composition of the Executive Branch between elections. Unlike after Watergate, there are no GOP heroes left who will put the integrity of the Constitution and the government of our Republic ahead of their own greed and/or agendas (Or Putin's agenda.) Both impeachment and Article 25 removal rely on a 2/3 vote of the Senate.

No one sees that happening yet.

Keeping those two facts in mind, what are the likely outcomes that might proceed from increasingly serious evidence of increasingly serious crimes on the part of [Redacted] and his minions?

And who might be waiting just beyond our view, to exploit situations of Constitutional chaos and civil disorder? With what resources, what foreign masters, what domestic traitor/collaborators?

I think it's possible that this process is being slow-rolled because it's necessary to buy time- a lot of it- to lean on various GOP Senators, cobble together Constitutional justifications and processes, identify the most dangerous ambush sites and (metaphorically) flank them.

That NYT Op-Ed looked like a pretty clear indicator to me: There are several lines of attack from Russia and/or domestic adversaries wanting to undermine our nation. If a "soft coup" is part of their plan, Constitutional chaos and civil disorder might well leave all the wrong people in charge.

Maybe slow is a good thing right now.

speculatively,
Bright

On Subversion, Disinformation, and Propaganda-- And Why We're Losing the War

Who's "we"?

In the larger sense, America.

More specifically, liberal Americans.

More specifically still, the Democratic Party.

What's this "War" of which you write?

Again in the largest sense, the long war waged by Russia, first in its Soviet incarnation, and now in its incarnation as an autocracy under Putin. Russia is not the only adversary waging a war of subversion via disinformation and propaganda, but they are the most expert and they have been focused on America as "the main enemy" for a very long time. And they put a LOT of resources into it. But there are also other players out there using similar playbooks.

In a sadder and closer-to-home sense, the "War Within" involves Americans versus Americans. Though this is promoted and strongly enabled by the outside adversary(s) as part of their larger strategy, there is an equally long history of Americans motivated by greed and hunger for power who haven't hesitated to use the same arsenal in their quest to accumulate wealth and control at the expense of other Americans.

Define terms, please-- 'subversion'? 'Disinformation'? 'Propaganda'?

Any search engine and all dictionaries will provide general definitions. But for our purposes, 'subversion' is any strategy used to render an adversary either unable or unwilling to oppose the actions of the subverter. Here's an example: Promote disunity among your opponents with "No True Scotsman" arguments that splinter them into increasingly narrow factions and set them against one another.

Disinformation is deliberate deception, but that's more than lies or fake news. It can be distortion of the importance of a particular piece of information, distraction, misinterpretation of factual information, the establishment of nonexistent connections between actual events or facts, etc. It can be as simple as a suggestion to an innocent journalist that they investigate something that will ultimately prove to be a blind alley, rather than pursuing something else that would lead to a genuine story. It can be using various audiences' lack of sophistication against them- we see this a lot in loud assertions that something is "proved" by "research". On more rigorous technical analysis, no such "proof" exists, but the disinformation has already had its effect.

Propaganda can be very crude and still be effective- see "Facebook/bots/2016 General Election". But it can also be more subtle, and very powerful. It comes in many forms. A great deal of marketing and advertising relies on what is, essentially, propaganda: Influencing the beliefs and actions of the target audience via a whole range of informational tools.

So how are we "losing" against this nasty stuff?

That question itself holds the first clue: "Nasty stuff." Americans have an ingrained and visceral "eeeeeyew" response to information warfare. Subversion, disinformation, propaganda? Those are used by Bad Guys. Since we are the Good Guys, all we have to do is Tell the Truth, Protect the Free Press, and Justice Will Prevail. This combination of naivete' and squeamishness has been most effectively exploited.

Here's an example from the smaller-scale War Within: The "Liberal" bubble. Personally, I think being liberal is a fine and admirable thing. I look at the dictionary definitions and my heart swells with pride. "Open to new behavior or opinions"? "Respectful of individual rights and freedoms"? These are good things, right? Of course! Me and other self-identifying Liberals in this here bubble think it's a wonderful thing to be! And while we've been complacently relying on those dictionary definitions to explain who we are and why it's so great, have we been paying attention to what's been happening outside our bubble? No, we've relied on simple faith. If people just look at the definition...

Except that there's been a decades-long campaign of disinformation and propaganda to turn the label "Liberal" into a vile insult. And it's working.

Facts, dictionaries, records, primary sources, all the things we love and rely on and have such faith in can be dry and dusty, compared to the shiny glitter of propaganda. And they can be very vulnerable to disinformation tactics. Does the phrase "Lies, damn' lies, and statistics" ring a bell?

So what do we do? Join them in the gutter? Isn't the cure as bad as the disease?

Yes and no. Remembering that we are the Good Guys, after all, there is no shame in embracing that identity and staking our claim to the moral high ground there. Sure, it somewhat limits our tactics, and they have a helluva head start on us. But the truth is that pretty much everyone has both a 'better self' and a 'baser self'. While it's generally easier to tickle the fear buttons and the self-interest buttons, it's not that difficult to tickle the love buttons and the altruism buttons-- and it can be very powerful.

America hasn't always been sitting back and letting our adversaries steamroll us in this war. We have propaganda chops of our own. "Radio Free Europe," the "Voice of America" even the Peace Corps were all tools in America's fight to keep the hearts and minds of the world out from under the Soviet cloud. Yes, we didn't always use them well and they were occasionally subverted against us, often by our own ineptitude-- but using an adversary's mistakes against them is part of the package. The correct response is not to quit using a tool that we've made a mistake with, but to fix the mistake, recalibrate the tool, and keep fighting.

There are three things we can do to fight back, and I believe to ultimately win (because, yeah, we are the Good Guys):

First: Acknowledge that the war exists and commit to fighting it. Commit resources, ingenuity, and effort. Point out what's happening. Be alert for our adversary's actions and CALL THEM OUT. Point out what they're doing. Pull away the curtain. Explain what they're up to. No one likes to feel like a manipulated tool, and, at first, we won't admit to ourselves that's what's been happening to us. Persistence. Repetition. Avoid blaming-the-victim framings in favor of "whoa, they're clever-- but now that we SEE what they're doing, we don't have to be fooled".

Second: Use propaganda techniques to make the Good Stuff shinier, louder, and more attention-getting. Yes, even if that means sometimes oversimplifying, losing the nuance, and giving up the on-the-other-hand equivocation. Is direct participation of people in determining their leadership and the policies that will shape their lives a Good Thing? Damn' straight it is, and IT DOES WORK. Yes, it can be subverted and perverted and made less effective by a clever adversary, but that doesn't change the reality: It's a Good Thing and Worth Making Work, even at a cost.

Third: Use propaganda techniques to expose the icky, icky, ickiness of the Bad Stuff. Not only is what we're promoting a Good Thing, take a hard, personal, in-your-face and it-can-happen-to-me look at how unpleasant the alternatives really are. Okay, so taking passports away from some people with Mexican-sounding names in the border states is okay because I don't like Mexicans and it won't happen to me anyway? You think so? What about when the passport-takers-away decide that they don't want YOU traveling for some reason? You think it can't happen? LOOK OVER THERE (pointing at Vladivostok and the latest defenestration and/or forcible detainment of some Enemy of Putin trying to flee). THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT. And it won't stop with "people with Mexican-sounding names," bucko.

We can turn this war around. But we have to start actually fighting it.

determinedly,
Bright

Russia Is Co-opting Angry Young Men

via The Atlantic

Fight clubs, neo-Nazi soccer hooligans, and motorcycle gangs serve as conduits for the Kremlin’s influence operations in Western countries

Part of the appeal of this strategy is its sheer outlandishness. It may seem implausible that Russia’s secret services could recruit or radicalize skinheads or social outcasts in the West. The Kremlin can easily argue that whatever ties exist between far-right groups in Russia and the West occur spontaneously, and have no connection to the Russian state. But whether it be Serb ultranationalists in Montenegro or neo-Nazis in Hungary, the hand of Russia’s intelligence services has in many cases already been exposed. Russia’s ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, waged using separatist proxies under the firm command and control of the Russian military, has provided a convenient recruiting ground for right-wing fanatics from Brazil to Belarus.

After the Kremlin accelerated its covert war against Western democracies in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s intelligence services dramatically ramped up their “active measures” (in Russian intelligence jargon, aktivnyye meropriyatiya or “active measures” refers to a broad range of covert influence and/or subversive operations) using radical-right and fringe groups. These groups serve as the perfect unwitting agents to accomplish Moscow’s twin goals of destabilizing Western societies and co-opting Western business and political elites.

By forging ties to radical groups on the far right, and sometimes on the far left, the Kremlin has developed convenient local surrogates that can amplify its talking points, even as Russian trolls reinforce the divisive narratives such groups spread online.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that the partnerships between the Kremlin and these groups are always marriages of convenience. Many are genuine partnerships based on a shared aversion to liberal democracy and a desire to undermine it.


Yes, disinformation and propaganda are the major battlefield tools for Putin's war on the west and 'liberal democracies' in general, and 'the main enemy' (America) in particular.

But they are not by any means the only tools.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is in denial, or naive beyond what's good for them.

When you look at those videos of the skinheads doing dumbshit, mean, scary, stupid skinhead things and think "What tools!" you are more accurate than you may realize.

And, in America at least, they are heavily-armed. Why? Oh, just because Putin's Russia has put a buttload of effort, money, and resources behind the NRA, that's all.

Purely coincidental, I'm sure.

Are you?

ominously,
Bright

John McCain's Last Service to America

I didn't agree with much of John McCain's ideological agenda, and I was keenly aware of his flaws, and the damage that some of his ideas and actions have done to things I value.

Nevertheless, he has my respect, and his family has my sympathy in their time of loss. As do the people of Arizona, whom he served conscientiously, to the best of his ability, for decades.

It is, of course, easy to point out everything he ever did wrong. It is easy to question his motives, the compromises he made, the values he expressed. It's easy to find flaws and faults. He was on the other side of the aisle, for one thing.

Nevertheless, I suspect we will see a few days' very welcome public applause for John McCain and the live he lived, and the service he gave this country, and that is not only a good thing, it is a profoundly valuable thing right now.

We need focus and unity on things that we can agree on. We need to share and praise the values of service and patriotism that his life expressed. The sacrifices he made for this country. The genuine heroism he displayed as a young Navy pilot. The deep commitment to public service he lived as a Senator.

It is profoundly valuable and important right now because we are under attack. That attack is focused on dividing us. On magnifying our differences and promoting our hatred for one another as Americans of differing opinions, ideologies, beliefs, and backgrounds. We are experiencing a deeply anti-American campaign of disinformation and propaganda to keep us at each others' throats.

By the life he lived, his words, his personal sacrifice, the ideals he expressed, the commitment he made to public service, John McCain demonstrated his love for an America that is bigger than any narrow ideology.

At a time when so many things divide us, when it is so easy to find things to hate one another for, John McCain has rendered us a last service: The opportunity to come together in celebration of a truly American life, writ large in all its heroism and all its flaws. To celebrate the things we share, that he shared with us, rather than to tear each other down for everything we believe each other are wrong about.

Thank you, Senator.

Pass gently, and know that your contribution to this nation is honored, and will not be forgotten.

respectfully,
Bright

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