Draconian to Terrible
Image Courtesy: Mother Jones

Draconian to Terrible

We are becoming accustomed to a new reality. What seemed ridiculous, unbelievable, and unacceptable only months ago, now feels familiar and ordinary.

We are no longer surprised and appalled. We have become inured to the shocking, stunned into silence, and feeble, at best, in our anger and protest. And, it all happened so quickly.

Familiar standards, balance and ways of behaving have been chillingly upended. A straight answer on the simplest of matters from the White House and from others in the polity is cause for celebration. In fact, we have become both hopeful and expectant these days that the most draconian proclamation will morph into something only terrible or sad. This is the new reality – our spirits are lifted when the end is less horrific than what was first proposed.

The appointment of a Special Prosecutor is cause for celebration instead of dread. The head of the EPA has not yet destroyed the environment. The Housing secretary hasn’t started throwing out the poor from public housing. The Secretary of Education hasn’t yet thrown those late in paying student debt into jail. The President is waiting a week to decide whether to turn his back completely on global warming. The Senate is delaying a bit on acting on the Health Care Bill which may, in the end, only take health care away from a dozen or so million poor people instead of the projected twenty plus million. Congressmen may keep their pistols holstered and only body slam reporters. Cutting taxes for the rich may only reduce but not eliminate some government services for the poor. Fewer than anticipated cuts in corporate regulations may make some far richer but not, at the same time, cause another economic crisis. Plans to increase coal production may not cause as many new cases of black lung disease as projected. And there is some hope that we may never put Muslims in concentration camps.

So, Americans are quickly becoming accustomed to a new reality. We are relieved, even joyful, when the most draconian morphs only into terrible.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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