I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.
Jamelle Bouie presents a devastating portrait of the new Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson[i]. In short, he embodies everything that anyone with half a decent mind abhors.
First of all, as Bouie notes, that “when push came to shove, supposedly moderate members of the House Republican conference were happy to defer to their most extreme colleagues on substance, if not on style.”
As part of his radical, extremist views, he’s against Social Insurance Programs of any kind. He’s resolutely against the “bodily autonomy of women,” read “Abortion”. Indeed, he is in favor of a Nation-Wide ban on it. He’s also resolutely against Gender-Affirming Care for Transgenders. Thus, it’s no surprise that he’s Anti-Gay. As a matter of fact, in 2003, he defended Laws that criminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults.
But of them all, his unremitting efforts on behalf of Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election stand out. As Bouie writes, “The new speaker is, in short, an election-denying extremist who believes his allies have the right to nullify election results so that they can impose their vision of government and society on an unwilling public. He is Jim Jordan is substance but not Jim Jordan in style.”
If all this weren’t bad enough, Republicans can’t agree on how to fund the Government. Even worse, they can’t agree on whether to fund it at all.
Lastly, Bouie opines,
“The far-right extremism and open contempt for democracy that mark much of modern Republicanism are not aberrations. It’s not a spell that might fade with time…”
In sharp contrast, the Sunday Business Section of The Times contains an article on how businesses in Germany and the U.S. are offering workshops for their employees, first to counter Disinformation, and second, to strengthen Democracy by conducting seminars on Civics[ii]. But most of all, the efforts are undertaken to help employees cope better with the overwhelming amounts of Conspiracy Theories. Disinformation, Hate Speech, etc. that Threaten workers daily. To be clear, it’s not just because businesses are interested solely in protecting Democracy, but that the constant vitriol to which employees are subjected interferes directly with the quality of their work and productivity. It certainly effects their interactions with the Publics they serve.
In summary, while the programs differ, their basic purpose is to “fill the gaps in workers’ knowledge of the basic underpinnings of the democratic system, especially in a digital civic culture. The programs teach how to recognize and question conspiracy theories and disinformation, aiming to reinforce personal responsibility and resilience against polarizing content”.
Even though, some businesses in U. S. have undertaken similar efforts, we lag way behind Germany where the basic programs originated. And, this in a country that has received far less of the amounts and kinds of Political Polarization to which we’ve been subject.
The point is that we need all the efforts and programs we can muster to counter the extreme views of Mike Johnson and his co-conspirators who are working relentlessly to destroy Democracy.
[i] Jamelle Bouie, “A Right-Wing Fever Come to Life,” The New York Times, Sunday, October 29, 2023, P SR 3.
[ii]Melissa Eddy, “Disinformation’s Impact on the Workplace,” The New York Times, Sunday, October 29, 2023, P BU 6.
Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.