Monday, June 11, 2018

Mavourene Robinson – Walking Away from Reality

Ms. Robinson is a candidate for Howard County’s Board of Education.

Here is a screenshot I took of Ms. Robinson’s Facebook page.  A few days ago, she shared this roughly six-minute video from “The Unsilent Majority,” which implies her endorsement of the video producer’s message and his "#WalkAway campaign" at least in part, and perhaps entirely. 

In this video, the messenger describes his disaffection with “liberalism and the Democratic Party.”  However, in support of his “case,” he resorts to obfuscations, twisting historical events, straw man arguments, disingenuous phrasings, and what sounds like straight up un-truths.

Do I also suspect he is a paid shill?  Yes. There is definitely something “off” about this communication – as though it is meant to feel grassroots, but it would not surprise me if it was being funded/supported by one or more conservative groups.  But I digress.

My point is that if Ms. Robinson believes the central theme of Mr. #WalkAway’s narrative, it demonstrates a shocking disconnect from reality.  The underlying theory of Mr. WalkAway’s case is that everyone in America has received equal treatment, that we all grew up with equal opportunities, that racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of discrimination (structural and otherwise) do not exist, and that we all have equal prospects for success in life.  Having worked as a Republican operative in my ill-spent youth, I am well-acquainted with this line of argumentation and corresponding worldview and it is 100% unicorn dust.

American history, including our present-day history, is replete with examples of folks who were and are denied fair treatment because of their race, gender, sexuality, and/or socioeconomic class.  Social media has helped shed light on these cases (note: this is where conservatives would say that “no one was talking about race until Obama…”, which is also a false and race-baiting argument that they frequently employ).

He rails against the Democratic Party for allegedly encouraging group-think (this is an off-shoot of the “people in Group X can’t think for themselves” philosophy shared in many conservative circles). He accuses the Left of indulging in fascism (which, by definition, is impossible as fascism refers to right-wing authoritarianism, of which there are many recent examples).

He seems to have a problem with those who are intolerant of fascism.  So, according to Mr. WalkAway, despising hate itself is what makes the Democratic Party divisive.  He would rather have “unity” (which basically means shut up, protect the old power constructs, fuck justice, and let’s ignore the actual, demonstrable problems that exist in society). 

And Ms. Robinson agrees with this?  Why, exactly, is she sharing this video?   

Conservatives sure love talking about liberty but again, I turn to former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Roy Hattersley, who in his book, Choose Freedom, distinguished between liberty and effective liberty.  Liberty, far too often, has been used to justify the promotion of political and economic actions that serve the interests of elites (for example: providing more tax cuts for the wealthy, disenfranchising the working poor by creating barriers to political participation, subsidizing powerful corporate interests, etc…).  Effective liberty, or freedom, is as Hattersley put it, “not the absence of restraint on the rich and powerful, but the ability of the generality of men and women to exercise their inherent rights.”

In short, just give the people a fighting chance in a society that supports their ability to utilize their talents.  No one is claiming to be a “victim” (a common refrain from some conservatives and Mr. WalkAway); people just want a fair shot at the American Dream, free from the –isms and disproportionally-applied restraints on their ability to exercise what our Declaration of Independence refers to as “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

If Ms. Robinson agrees with Mr. WalkAway’s sentiments…and his OK with how he justifies what he claims are his new-found beliefs…then that is just a sad denial of the reality of America. 

Bear this in mind when deciding for whom to vote for Howard County’s Board of Education.

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