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Why We Should Embrace the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Why We Should Embrace the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Sonja Avlija

Donald Trump’s election to the White House has led to an outburst of fear, anger, outrage, disgust and acrimony, but those feelings have also exposed one of the enduring fantasies of liberalism: that democracy is always defined by tolerance and compromise, the mutual exchange of pleasantries, and peaceful co-existence with other people. Many feel understandably uncomfortable or afraid because recent events have forced them to look into the eye of the tiger and they don’t like what they see—a landscape characterized by illiberal values like racism, sexism and anti-immigrant sentiment.


Top flight article, as I see it !

What may be missing is the connection not only to people, but to the natural world, the real natural world, where life and limb are at some risk. Strange that ! But I have found that without risk, in the words of Freud I believe: "life is impoverished"


This is a decent article, as far as it goes, but I wish she had mentioned the overwhelming umbrella of violence the US holds in its hands.

Violence mercilessly spread across the globe in our permanent wars, violence from our police, and the quieter violence of poverty & deprivation.

There is real, physical torment going on, not just feelings of loneliness & disconnection.


And now that I think about it, the inability to perceive or comprehend the effects of state violence is one of the predominant characteristics of modern liberalism.



The article interests. Given our history of bloody unionizing efforts, Vietnam war protests, women's suffrage protests, civil rights protests, Watts riots, and not to mention the horrific violent acts by the state upon Japan, Muslim countries, Vietnam, Cambodia, and etc etc.etc., I have not suffered under the "Liberal fantasy" you describe in your article. Your advancing compassion and the sacrifice of narcissism for the coming together of people holding opposite or at least diverse perspectives seems laudable. Certainly, emotional intelligence plays a decisive role in its succeeding and openness to the "other." So how does this work with those who are not open to "otherness"?


I don't work with nazis - I organize against them. why is this article even on CD? just like the damn dems who vote in Pelosi, a "leader" who has led them to defeat after defeat but oh - excuse me- she knows how to raise money and isn't that what politics is all about? and why is Bernie still hanging with them anyway??????????????


That's what I thought. That's what happened in Germany in 1933-1945.


Really? You're missing out. Nazis are a barrel o' laughs. Have you ever listened to the 'Horst Vessel Song'? Its hilarious. And the story of old Horst is amazing..he was a brownshirt that got shanked by a communist over a prostitute. See..Horst was also..a pimp. Again..Nazi's? Hilarious! I mean sure..'Not In My Back Yard'..I'm definitely a 'Nazi NIMBY'..but we can and should laugh at them.


Their getting closer to the crux. The author actually mentions 'PC' and sort of indicates that maybe its a problem for lots of people who might otherwise 'join the cause'.

Now they need to realize some basic truths:

1) All relationships are predicated upon exchange.

If you're telling me how to live, taxing me to death, taking my rights 'for my own good and the good of the community'..camouflaging control as 'do-gooderism'..then the 'exchange' is faulty and won't work. Give mw autonomy and I'll give you my total support.

2) Reciprocity.

Reciprocate in a true manner and all will be well in the garden. See the New Left is actually..currently..the Old Right. Warning labels on Music (trigger warnings) mass censorship..black lists..a culture of snitching and 'reporting' others for their expression. "Regulating Us Out Of Our Freedoms", an oldie but goldy of the Right wing. Just make "Freedom XYZ" so...cumbersome and complicated and so full of really heinous legal traps and mazes that people simply give up their rights. And yet while the New Left bemoans, justifiably imho, this practice as applied to Reproductive freedom and voting rights it now engages in IDENTICAL behavior regarding Freedom of Expression/Religion/Press and the 2nd Amendment en total, with California now actually making otherwise totally innocent citizens with nary a parking ticket into literal 'felons' "If" they refuse to relinquish their 5th amendment right to self incriminate and place themselves on a "List" of "Dangerous People" because they happen to own a gun the "Left" does not approve of. Identical behavior. Total hypocrisy.

NO "true"..Reciprocation. Not "Constructive Reciprocity" anyway. You want Solidarity? You want a Movement? Get...Off..Our...Backs. Ending the nanny state and PC will gain immediate reciprocal actions from people like me. If you can't do that..than why should I do anything for you?


You're desperate for culture to return to a state where a man with a gun could rape his wife and beat his kids, dump toxic waste into the nearest stream, and discriminate against any minority he disliked; THAT'S what you're referring to if you're looking backward in history as a model of how you think things should be.

I'm a straight white Southern male, and I think safe spaces and trigger warnings are ridiculous myself, but those are easy targets, and if you think political correctness is as bad as the actual suffering that women, blacks, American Indians and others have endured in the past, or if your gun is that much a part of your identity, you're just a whiner and a dickhead.


And please stop whining about taxes. When was the last time you confronted your boss and demanded higher pay instead of crying about taxes?

Most "conservatives" LOVE the military that takes 60% of our discretionary budget; when they complain about taxes, they're really complaining that the government is helping people (not killing them), which again, is a reflection on the kind of person that "conservative" is, not on the facts of our tax system.

For eight years I saw white right-wingers driving around with "Don't Tread On Me" stickers on their cars, even though they were SILENT when George Bush wiped his ass with the Constitution, sent Americans to invaded Iraq on false pretenses, and handed their children a $2 trillion tax bill to pay for it all. They were likewise silent when Blackwater goons actually DID confiscate guns in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It's hypocrisy, it's racism, and it's a joke.


Absolutely- replacing human with robot and nature with computer- soulless.


I do not understand "gun rights." Since when is an individual a miltia ? The US has twisted the second amendment into another shill for a big business. In other countries ( even Israel- a country surrounded by others who are not its biggest fans) a private citizen does not have the right to own a gun unless it has to do with someone' s JOB.


I agree- what's up with this tax crap? I would rather pay a little MORE personally if it means having a better society. And taxes you're right are not income- getting a raise is. Also, since when is getting health care a "sin"? If someone has an employer that refuses to pay for insurance or even sick time- how is that helping anyone? Some of the same crowd that says "Hands off my body" are people who actually need help the most -like they've never been to a dentist or doctor.


I think it's more of they do not like change-those rebels.


The nanny state???? Are you referring to social security and medicare which actually come out of our paychecks- in other words you have to WORK in order to get these. If you are referring to fraud and waste that is another story.


Absolutely, but sometimes feelings of lonliness can eventually exact a type of violence without a support system. Spreading unending war in the name of "democracy" and "freedom is not free" plus having a culture where millions of private citizens own guns is just scary and shameful.


Have you ever gotten e mails from a pol office right after an election - and with the money they make? Shameful and laughable at the same time. Don't give a penny.


My take on the piece is that, as much as anything, Ms, Avlija is implying that we all need to show more empathy and understanding for the "other," whether the other is of a different race, nationality, gender, political party, or opinion. And I think she is absolutely right on that. When I look back over the last 50 years, I see a great decline in empathy, particularly among those on the Left, which I find disappointing and disturbing. I adopted Leftist beliefs long ago in large part because of the Left's promotion of the importance of empathy, and I have been saddened to see the focus shift away to more selfish and self-serving pursuits.

I don't think that we as a species can survive long-term unless we can reverse the current decline in empathy, as empathy builds on itself and spreads somewhat like a contagion (a happy one), much like the practice of cruelty spreads from those who impose it to those who suffer from it.