This week’s Sift will have two featured articles. The first one, “The Procrustean Sainthood of Nelson Mandela”, should be ready to post within the next hour or so. In that article, I use Mandela as an example of a phenomenon you can also see in Martin Luther King: We talk about great leaders “ascending” to a kind of secular sainthood. But often what happens is that the Saint archetype descends and wipes out any part of the a person’s reputation that doesn’t fit. In the public mind, the new saint becomes a generic wise man and nice guy, whose mantle can be claimed by anyone, including the people who fought against him in life. I argue instead for admiring Mandela as the person he was, rather than using his name to cover whatever each of us happens to think is good.
The second I hope to post around 10 or 11 Eastern time. It will be called “Rooting for Your Country to Fail is Unpatriotic”. In it, I call out the unpatriotic tactics conservatives are using to sabotage ObamaCare. There’s nothing wrong with opposing something the president and his party wants to do, and even trying to get it repealed via the usual legislative process. (I, for example, opposed the Iraq War and consistently voted for candidates who promised to end it.) But it’s a different thing entirely to work against a project that your country has taken on and try to make it fail. (I did not help the Iraqi resistance, interfere with the American war effort, or crow over the corpses of our troops. That would have been unpatriotic.)
The efforts Republicans are making to prevent Americans from learning about their rights under the law and to actively confuse Americans that the law could help have crossed that line. They aren’t just partisan, they’re unpatriotic. That needs to be said.
In the weekly summary, I’ll also discuss the improvements in HealthCare.gov, President Obama’s inequality speech, Christmas’ war of aggression against our other holidays, and a few other things, ending with the most minimal nativity scene ever.