Fargo’s High Plains Read weekly took two weeks off over the holidays and when I picked up a free copy of the last issue for 2016, I spent over an hour reading and sinking into its art work. Editor and co-owner John Strand’s editorial reviewed the papers origin in Grand Forks and move to Fargo after the 1997 flood. John is expecting that newly elected ND Governor Doug Burgum (REP) former Microsoft VP “will prove to be an incredibly capable governor”, however, he holds back from making any prediction about Donald Trump’s tenure, while writing that he tapped into the sentiment that political gridlock is unacceptable. He anxiously waits the New Year to unfold, as are we all!
The Gadfly, Ed Raymond’s column “From Lucy to Ellen” addresses the point that “sexual orientation is not a moral choice. It is something to which people awaken.” “Let’s Talk” Fay Seidler’s essay is about “dating someone who is transgender.” Several other interesting essays follow until we reached The Last Word The Roots of Republican Party Dishonor by Charlie Barber, which was an essay I studied. The feature The Power of Fake News focus is on fake news inside the Peace Garden State – North Dakota. This essay leads off with Death by Oil: Remember the Dakota 38 Sioux Indians who were hanged 154
years ago in Minnesota. Britney Goodman’s Culture column is the Project Unack: Telling Stories, Creating Community, which is an exhibit at the Rourke Museum, funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities, which initiates dialogues in Fargo-Moorhead about the legacies of American War. Reading this issue was interspersed with sinking into the colorful art work illustrating the stories, directed by the other co-owner Raul Gomez. And then there are the many colorful designed ads pulling you in – paper is like a virtual walk down Broadway, stopping into the HoDo for mug of beer. Reading this issue was quite a holiday experience that can really only be had with a hard-copy of the paper in hand, but some flavor can be had online.
The HPR has come a long way and its progressive position in Red North Dakota has staked-out a critical-thinking position. Having said this, we must keep-in-mind that HPR is a corporation – and as Pinky says like a fish it “cannot see” the water, capitalism, that it swims in.
Ed’s , my Fargo Central High School teacher, column The Gadfly has always been my first read and now Barber’s The Last Word column is a second must read. The insert words in Charlie’s essay is that “Neither he nor the Republican Party which embraced him can continue to exercise power without responsibility. He is not the type to ‘shut up,’ but Mr. Trump is now going to have to ‘put up.’” Charlie then identifies the origin of our current predicament in writing that “Republican… must face accountability for their enthusiastic embrace of the narcissistic Tea Party Crew.”
In a stable nightly watch for me, The Rachel Maddow Show the other night interviewed Ezra Levin, co-author of the Indivisible Guide helping online, local, grassroots activists to organize resistance to the Trump agenda. Seems the democrats have learned a lesson from this narcissistic Tea Party Crew. It is going to be a hard-core political-porn reality show year – produced, directed, and staring The Donald.
Charlie builds his thesis in searching for the root of the Republican Party’s dishonor by tracing it back to the 19th Century Gospel of Greed. I am reminded of History Channel’s four part series The Men Who Built America. This an excellent series on the corporations built and run by John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. These were challenging times, toughness in these corporations was ruthless, and some will maintain this was necessary. Charlie makes the point that this Gospel was “trumpeted by Ronald Reagan to its logical conclusion: self-worship and self-delusion.” On top of this he holds the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision responsible, it considers the corporation to be a person with full individual rights. Now we have the money behind the Koch brothers and Robert Murdoch in the game. How much money was spent in the 2016 election cycle? Lots! How much longer will we have put up with this bullshit? Term limits, public financing, and restricting elections to a few months needs to be.
Charlie outlines Ruskin’s five great intellectual professions in the life of every nation: The Soldier’s profession to defend it; The Physician’s to keep it in health; The Pastor/Teacher to teach it; The Lawyer to enforce it; and the Merchant’s to provide for it. Not included as one of the civilized professions is that of the politician. Charlie makes a very interesting point in that by not including politicians Ruskin does not consider politicians as “uncivilized”, suggesting that those who do are “too lazy to use their God-given brains to exercise their own hard-won freedom to decide issues of right and wrong”. This is one dimensional thinking presented in Herbert Marcuse’s critical thinking work 100 years later 1964, which is being addressed in a forthcoming blog, Trump A One Dimensional Man.
Charlie then turns to begin the examination of the key issue, a psychology underlying politicians and their political parties with an interesting twist. Given that politicians and their parties “are about the acquisition and maintenance of power,” Charlie links their moral judgments on how “we perceive honor in the other walks of life,” like the five professions, stating that “One can only be an ethical politician if one is already an ethical soldier, doctor, lawyer, teacher, preacher or businessman and sticks to those moral principles during their life in politics”. The conclusion Charlie reaches is that knowing Trump’s unethical behavior as a businessman, there is no reason to expect he will be an ethical President . Charlie does not let the Democrats off the hook by saying they just put up Hillary “whose flaws, real and perceived, do not meet the test of ‘deplorable.’”
This essay, Charlie indicates, is the introduction for two previous essays published in the HPR: one on 10.26.16 and the other on 11.02.16, which is on line – Corporate worship and compromising the police profession. We are told to expect his line of inquiry to continue – I look forward to them! I really identified with Charlie’s realization that reality is unfolding and grasping its threads requires one to examine what one has experienced and hopefully written about and bring it forward. I have been doing this with my essays that HPR has published, The mathematics of faith, Kapitalism on the couch, Kapitalism its nature, Deep Jesus, US?, Modern times the university factory, Kapitalism’s concept of the self, A new depth ethics, The sane society- us? Hyperlinks have been added for the DAMBlog and just now looking back at them, I am seeing how did unfold and still are – Trickster Donald Trump, using the psychology of C.G. Jung, was sent to HPR before the election but was not accepted and so my account of the Trump’s saga, unfolds here next as Trump A Black Swan and Trump One Dimensional Man.
The one HPR essay of mine that is very personal is Modern times the university factory scene, which is my experience of being exploited and alienated by the University of Mary – Fargo – yes of all things a religious university. Here is the main point in that HPR essay and also I think Charlie’s view: “As business schools snuggle up to corporation, their ability to teach ethics is being questioned. Garten’s B-Schools: Only C+ in ethics, gives business schools a C+ grade in the teaching of ethics. He arrives at this grade by examining ethical failures of businesses like Enron. These corporations were and are managed by individuals taught ethics in our major school of business. Schumpeter’s The pedagogy of the privilege suggests that with business schools named after major business benefactors, with 50+% of universities board of regents holding corporate positions, and with many business school faculties earning handsome consulting fees, faculty members are not going to deeply examine the ethics of corporations.” So, what are the odds Trump will drain our Washington Swamp? Small like his hands!
Charlie, ends his essay by drawing a line for us to consider. His first two essays addressed the honor of a soldier and a policeman with the other professions to follow. The line being drawn is the traditional one between honorable and dishonorable – “death before dishonor.” The Soldier not to leave his post in battle; The Physician not to leave in a plague; The Teacher not to teach falsehood; The Lawyer not to countenance injustice; and the Merchant Trump “to get a better grip on what the gospel of greed and worship of corporations have done TO us, as well as for us.” Amen to a new depth ethics!
The Corporation Documentary I used in teaching management at the U of Mary and at Concordia College Moorhead. I think it played a part in finally not being ask to continue at Concordia and before that I told the U of Mary to shove it, quit, mailing the “university factory” essay to Mary’s President and Board of Directors, many were Nuns. Here is what I blogged about in confronting U of Mary, which also applies to Concordia also a religious institution: “The premise of secular education is to seek understanding and truth, not to preach dogma whether it comes from The Church or The Corporation. The challenge facing our schools is the disappearance of academic freedom , which is defined as, “the belief that the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment.” Both The Church and The Corporation have dogmas incompatible with institutions of higher education and when they form an alliance – it is an unholy alliance!
Concordia College recently named its new building The Offutt School of Business after big money donor Ron Offutt CEO of R.D. Offutt Equipment. Over 50% of the School’s Board are business persons. Both U of Mary and NDSU have business schools named for big donning CEOs and I expect their Boards have 50+% businesspersons.
Trump Death Before Dishonor – do not bet on it! Breaking news, Donald has asked me to ghost-write a Broadway play on his life – The Art of the Lie – a tragic comedy!