Friday, February 5, 2021
Incitement to Violence
In recent weeks we’ve come to associate the phrase with acts of the lame duck American President and his most craven lackeys to incite mobs of angry followers into attacking the American Capitol in a quixotic effort to cancel the 2020 Presidential election. I don’t believe I’m a particularly violence-prone person but I can relate to the ex-president’s frustration. In these troubled times of the corona virus pandemic we are all stimulated to the edge of violence by many routine events, some of them trivial.
For example, every month I must pay a fixed amount to maintain service on my cell phone. Over the past several decades communications services have expanded and improved at a pace unimaginable just a few years back. As if to establish some sort of balance in the universe between progress and decadence, the sales and administration of those expanded services have undergone an inexplicable equal and opposite regression. Perhaps with the sales of used cars now being taken over by efficient internet programs, all those people endowed with super con man skills have been forced off the used car lots and into the telephone service call centers, unless they are the elite of the elite and have moved into politics. Be that as it may, I have selected and signed up for a program offered by my service provider, yet each month as soon as I’ve made my payment I receive messages saying “respond yes within 48 hours and you’ll get “zzzzmb” “ and then what? More charges? More “services” that I didn’t ask for? If an app were available to set off a small explosion in the offices of the service provider, I might very well go for it, and I’m no Marjorie Taylor Greene. These things are minor irritants but they add up and my indignation does rise.
Just think what the ex-president must be going through. With his presidential immunity gone, he will be facing a number of criminal investigations and charges we’d need a huge legal staff just to enumerate, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars of personal loans he has coming due in the year ahead. As ex-president, he can no longer pressure officials of countries seeking favors to frequent his overpriced properties, which are already hurting financially from the COVID induced slump. Faced with such a bleak future, how many of us would not resort to desperate measures to maintain our privileges?
As for his supporters in Congress, the motivation is less obvious. Should they suddenly discover some heretofore unnoticed moral fiber, they will face unwinnable primary challenges from the Proud Boy wing of the party in their next electoral campaigns but despite losing their nice salaries and perks, their economic opportunities as lobbyists would almost certainly be a step up the economic ladder, so what is it? Is being a seditious celebrity villain preferable to being seen as a normally decent, if quietly compromised, elected official?
I have resolved to stop worrying about the futures of the craven clan and stick to the small problems at hand. How to get even with my disservice providers! When my bank upgrades its security measures so that I can no longer access my account on-line, after a learning curve of years to get there in the first place, shall I simply switch banks, or start picketing the bank? Hire some Proud Boys?
There have been some small satisfactions in the evolving virtual world. We know that internet companies are invasive in their data gathering and they tailor their ads to our preferences before we know them ourselves. Not buying anything on-line in combination with a little trickery can yield some positive results. My actuarial table-generated advertising profile theoretically should include ads for prostate relief, disability insurance, erectile dysfunction cures, elevators to glide up and down the stairs at home and all the other new remedies that pharmaceutical companies urge you to ask your doctor about, but by clicking on ads for lingerie, perfume, sports cars and Caribbean cruises, all of which I have neither budget nor use for, I can assure that my cluttered computer screen is at least cluttered with attractive images instead of the morose stuff.
In the age of COVID, any consolation available to us that makes life a little more pleasant and less stressful, whether it’s respite from the ex-president’s crude tweets or a more attractive computer screen, is to be cherished.