The Monday Morning Teaser

This week presents a challenge I think I’ll be stuck with for some while: The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress are doing some very important things, but it’s hard to pull my eyes away from the Republicans as they set themselves on fire.

So: a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill is steaming ahead, and stands a chance of passing before long. Biden continues to announce major changes in policy; we should soon hear how he plans to control the Gestapo-like organization ICE had turned into under Trump. The new administration is struggling to deal with the vaccine-distribution mess Trump left behind, while the new-infection numbers are finally turning around. Little by little, Biden’s cabinet is getting approved.

But meanwhile, Trump’s impeachment trial starts tomorrow, and he just refused to testify voluntarily. While state GOP organizations are censuring life-long conservatives like Ben Sasse and Liz Cheney, Republicans in the House nearly all supported keeping QAnon lunatic Marjorie Taylor Greene on major committees after she gave a lie-laden speech in her own defense. The GOP leadership in both houses is digging in to oppose a Covid relief bill that 2/3rds of the voters want.

What to pay attention to? Serious sensible governance during a time of crisis? Or raving lunacy?

You’ll see my quandary this week: I’ll try to highlight governance, but I’ll also mention the other stuff — and once I start talking about it, it’s hard to stop. MTG is a case in point: I hate to give her this much attention, but I don’t feel like I can leave that speech alone.

Anyway, the featured post, which should be out soon, focuses on Republicans, but in a more philosophical way: “Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric”. I end up claiming that conservative rhetoric arises out of what is fundamentally an oral culture, and that liberals make a mistake when we try to understand it from a literate-culture point of view. We waste a lot of time trying to decipher and respond to notions like “cancel culture” and “political correctness” as if they had logical content, when actually they don’t.

The weekly summary goes back and forth: from impeachment to the Covid bill to the Covid pandemic to MTG’s speech to anti-Putin protests in Russia and so on. I’m still picking a closing, but there are several good ones to choose from. I’m going to try to get that out by noon.

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  • Roger  On February 8, 2021 at 8:43 am

    If you can, please explain MTG’s “I was allowed to believe” statement. Was she brainwashed, or just talking to hear the sound of her own voice?

    • weeklysift  On February 13, 2021 at 6:23 am

      I wish I understood it. I interpret the statement as a dodge, a denial of responsibility, because I have no clue who the authority might be who “allowed” such a thing.

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