It is not surprising that the media circus is attracted to clowns.
This is true not only of the establishment press in the United States, but also anti-establishment platforms that are addicted to sharing the mad mutterings of a familiar gallery of dolts who have dominated what could be charitably described as the “public discourse” in the US for year after numbing year.
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These smug, calculating charlatans adore stunts and gravitate to the outrageous, which, in turn, invites the notice of much of the staid and “progressive” media like moths to a dim(witted) light.
The clowns are, by temperament and professional etiquette, loud and obnoxious. They have to be.
For outsiders like me, and perhaps you, this preoccupation with what these fools have said and done can distort our appreciation of the country they call America. We are quick to define the whole of the US as the figurative and literal personification of the clowns who – for profit and notoriety – leverage their cruelty and stupidity into exposure and influence.
Lost amid the cavalcade of crazy is another America: an intelligent and compassionate America that is beginning to stir and assert itself as a potent counterweight to the noxious MAGA-hat-clad chorus.
Enlightened America is, I’m convinced, on the cusp of a renaissance just as the pivotal mid-term elections begin to appear over the fast-approaching political horizon.
It began with a speech made by an obscure Michigan lawmaker, Mallory McMorrow, in the state’s legislature in April. Her short but remarkable address should be remembered not only for its eloquence but as the moment that may have helped galvanise Enlightened America.
Wisely, McMorrow refused to “rise above” the ugly insinuations hurled at her. Instead, she confronted the smear merchants head-on. Repeating the calumny would mean acknowledging it – that makes me uneasy.
The gritty Democratic state senator, however, did just that in her remarks. It was the standard QAnon insanity. She was a “groomer” who “sexualised” children. McMorrow was having none of it. So, she began by recalling her family’s history of charity, generosity and “of being of service to others…who had less, often unfairly”.
McMorrow told her accuser – a Republican state senator – that “Christianity and faith meant being part of a community [and] that service was far more important than performative nonsense like…writing ‘Christian’ in your Twitter bio.”
Her voice rising with thunderous indignation, McMorrow said that she had learned as a child from her mother’s example that it was a duty to defend and “lock arms [with] people who are different”.
McMorrow issued a challenge to herself and every other Enlightened American watching: “I know that hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.”
She ended with this commitment: “We will not let hate win.”
It would be easy to dismiss McMorrow’s injunction as a fleeting, almost boilerplate response to a spat between two little-known politicians.
It would be wrong to do so. McMorrow’s speech vaulted her into Enlightened America’s consciousness. Every word of her statement – a little over four minutes long – was imbued with a riveting sincerity that mesmerises. It was, at once, an antidote to the rancid right-wing’s catalogue of obscenities, as well as a necessary and urgent call to action.
Enlightened Americans in Kansas, I suspect, heard what McMorrow had to say – and why and how she said it. In early August, they handily defeated a long, methodical effort by evangelical zealots to have abortion rights stripped from the state’s constitution.
The overwhelming victory – won in the dispiriting shadow of a ruling by the US Supreme Court to eliminate federal protections for abortion rights – was proof that when Enlightened Americans see harm and injustice, they respond, decisively.
A rainbow of diverse, young women has led the resurgence of – to tinker with a phrase – America’s not-so-silent majority. They are registering to vote en masse in “blue” and “red” states where abortion rights are imperilled by reactionary forces who want to deny women agency over their bodies.
Beyond protecting their right to choose, these first-time voters will not, as McMorrow vowed, permit hate to win.
Boston-based immigration lawyer, Rachel Self, made that plain after Florida’s Republican governor-turned-human trafficker, Ron “dehumanised” DeSantis, dumped 50 people, including children, like garbage bags onto the sidewalks of Martha’s Vineyard in mid-September.
The abandoned refugees and migrants, he chortled, “were given a good ride” from the “sunshine” state to Massachusetts.
I defer to psychologists to decipher the sinister pathology that would prompt such chilling and cavalier viciousness.
Still, like the Enlightened Americans in Kansas who saw harm and injustice and were moved to do something about it, their brethren in Martha’s Vineyard rallied to feed and house their new and desperate neighbours.
Self was among the many eager and willing helpers. “To [these] wonderful people who find themselves plane-wrecked on our island, I have a message for all of them: You are not alone. We have your backs. We are proud to be here for you and we’ve got you,” she said. Self took aim, as well, at not only the politician responsible for the sadistic stunt but the equally sadistic motives behind it.
“It is sickening, cruel, [to be] throwing obstacles in the way of people fleeing violence and oppression. Some of whom walked through 10 countries in the hopes of finding safety. It is shameful and inhuman.”
Finally, Self spoke, I think, on behalf of every Enlightened American who will not tolerate Neanderthal America’s grim, disfiguring designs for the land they love and pledge allegiance to.
“If the intention of those who perpetrated this horrendous act was to create a crisis, you have failed,” she said.
There’s more than a month to go. Yet I am confident that on Tuesday, November 8, Enlightened America will prevail.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.