Cock-A-Doodle-Doo! Time to Do Our Part

Corinne Fesseau feeding her rooster Maurice in Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron in 2019. His crowing prompted a court case.Credit…Kasia Strek for The New York Times

A Letter to the Editor in this morning’s New York Times … “Re ‘Rooster’s Noise Lawsuit a Win for France’s Barnyard Bellowers’ (news article, Jan. 25):

“The crowing of the late Maurice the rooster and his successors is now protected by French law: liberté, égalité, cacophonie.

“Steven S. Honigman

“New York”

Liberty, equality, cacophony, a fancy-dancy word for Noise.

Twitter bagged a win just as noisy as Maurice et al, if in reverse.

Maurice and kin get to cock-a-doodle-doo as they will. For life.

Donald Trump gets to be silent on his favorite dynamite detonation platform. For life.

Bully for you, Maurice.

About time you silenced the bully, Twitter. B.L.T.N.*

I am convinced that Twitter’s overdue action is what has allowed all of us finally to hear the rumble of discontent that undergirded The Capitol insurgency.

Robert Grenier is a former C.I.A. station chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iraq mission manager, and director of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center. In this morning’s Times, he details “How to Defeat America’s Homegrown Insurgency: We don’t need new laws. We need law enforcement, accountability, and a willingness to listen.”

Mr. Grenier maintains, “There has long existed in this country a large, religiously conservative segment of the population, disproportionately (though not entirely) rural and culturally marginalized, that believes with some reason it is being eclipsed by a politically and culturally ascendant urban coalition of immigrants, minorities and the college-educated secular elites of tech and mainstream media. That coalition, in their eyes, abridges their religious freedoms, disparages and ‘cancels’ their most cherished beliefs, seeks to impose ‘socialism’ and is ultimately prepared to seize their guns.

“This, in very general terms, is the core segment of the nation that has been unified, championed and politically energized by Donald Trump.

“Bridging the urban-rural cultural and political gap with facts, tolerance and empathetic sincerity is a vital national project, but one which has become effectively impossible.”

Um, I beg to differ, Mr. Grenier. It’s only impossible if we want it done in a hurry.

Hurry isn’t going to suffice.

Sustained, slow, repeated reaching out and reconnection are what will make this possible.

“[T]he past few days have brought a jarring realization: We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen.” There’s no may be about it. We did. We are. We need to continue to witness to it.

Mr. Grenier outlines a three-part plan:

“First, the easiest and most straightforward, is criminal justice. We should continue to track known extremists, and investigate and bring to account those who commit crimes.

“But the first element will not succeed without a second, which is even more important but far more difficult: We must isolate and alienate the committed insurgents from the population.”

Here is where we part company although, admittedly, I am not an insurgency wizard and Mr. Grenier is. We’ve tried the isolation path, Beloved. The insurgents are already alienated. That’s not even close to working for us.

Mr. Grenier surprised me, however, in outlining how to isolate the extremists. Read on, MacDuff. He advocates nothing less than a national listening project.

“We must establish, undeniably, what actually happened in the election. That requires neither new laws nor a thought police: It’s not something for the government, but for all of the nation. We must all earnestly engage in an effort to listen to others’ ideas, no matter how daft they may seem; to understand where such ideas come from, no matter how hateful the source; to meet assertion with reason and evidence, not counterassertion. And where our evidence is lacking, we must patiently seek it out.

“Neighbor must speak with neighbor across the divide, rather than merely shunning alien views. Media figures must concede inconvenient facts, rather than tarring the other side with an emotionally satisfying broad brush. This is far from saying that all thoughts and ideas have equal validity: They do not. But truth is unavailing if not presented with clear underlying fact, and if not conveyed with respect. Success in restoring evidence-based truth as the language of public discourse is by no means assured, but lack of effort will doom us to failure.”

“To be sure, the nation’s fundamental and legitimate political divisions will remain. But while not all differences can be bridged, they can be tolerated. … By bringing people together, we can isolate the extremists.”

My friend, artist and peacemaker Brad Heckman posted one of his delicious #sketchquotes, this one of Angela Y. Davis. She said, “Walls turned sideways are bridges.” We are in desperate need of bridges, Beloved, between those who feel so disenfranchised, left behind, lost, leaderless, devalued.

I know, I know, some of them stormed The Capitol. They are being rounded up and charged with their crimes even as I write. But think a moment. I’ve heard estimates of those in attendance on January 6th of up to 10,000 citizen souls.

74 million people voted for Donald Trump. That 10,000 — a generous estimate — amounts to .0001351 percent of ‘his’ voters. Miniscule! we say. No big deal! we say. Lone wolves! we say. No, no, no, I respond. A sampling of those 74 million who need our care, our concern, our listening ears, our open hearts, and our willingness to go the distance and reconnect.

Mr. Grenier’s final element concerns insurgency leadership. … “Defeating [Donald Trump] politically was the first step. Given the continuing threat he poses, convicting him in the Senate and barring him from future elective office is not only a just punishment for his crimes but also a national security imperative. He will, and must, retain his First Amendment rights. But the public shunning and permanent diminishment of Mr. Trump is a necessary requirement of future peace.

“The political and social divisions in our country will take time and application, from both sides, to heal. In the meantime, we minimize the threat at our peril.” Agreed, we do.

Lithuanian journalist Silvia Foti has some vital, if painful, learning to impart. In this morning’s Times, she writes, “No More Lies. My Grandfather Was a Nazi. In Lithuania, he was celebrated as a hero. But we can’t move on until we admit what he really did.”

Ms. Foti is addressing the acts of one man. We have to address the acts of many. The principles still apply. Watch … and learn.

“Transforming a Nazi collaborator into a national hero requires four steps of manipulation. One step shifts all the blame to the Nazis, even though my grandfather, like many Lithuanians, willingly participated in slaughtering Jews.”

45, anyone?

“The second step creates a victim narrative, asking how a Jew killer could be sent to a Nazi concentration camp.”

White supremacy. White grievance. Some white males.

“The third step discredits counternarratives by labeling them as Communist propaganda told by enemies of the state.”

Owning the libs, if you’ll allow the shorthand.

“The final step refuses to accept that two seemingly contradictory truths can coexist: Noreika bravely fought against the Communists and shamefully participated in killing Jews.”

The insurgents who stormed The Capitol are fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, friends, lovers, churchgoers, carpoolers. Just like us. They own homes. Just like us. They work. Just like us. They want to be well and prosperous. Just like us. They want affordable health insurance. Just like us. They want vehicles that start when they turn the key. Just like us. They want enough food. Just like us. … They are us.

Ms. Foti again, “Analysis of a dark past is always traumatic. But we will never achieve clarity and healing if we base our history on lies. Although later generations might not know the details, they will still experience the emotional pain passed down from parent to child to grandchild.”

This is what we too risk if we do not pursue this line of inquiry until we are all supplied with the answers we’re seeking. Those on both sides of the divide.

A decorated paramedic has resigned his position in Polk County, Florida because he was accused of covering up the theft of three coronavirus vaccines. The paramedic’s supervisor did the actual stealing. He resigned anyway. Chief Robert Weech, the Polk County Fire Rescue Chief, said, “It’s a matter of public trust. We take that seriously.”

The public trust, Beloved, is rent in two, or, better, rent, willy-nilly, into Humpty Dumpty shards. It must, must, must be repaired sooner rather than later.

We all know that the lawsuit over Maurice’s right to cock-a-doodle-doo was a frivolous one. The verdict was handed down tongue-in-cheek. As the Wikis say, “The idiom tongue-in-cheek refers to a humorous or sarcastic statement expressed in a mock serious manner.”

Not so fast. Slow it down, Beloved. Maurice’s job, if you will recall, is wake-up. Time to wake up, get up, start the day, do whatchoo gotta do, see those you need to see, live your life. The Twitter silence, along with Maurice’s cacophony, is a clarion call to all of us.

We must address those who feel so isolated, so alienated, so disenfranchised and bring them back into the collective cohort known as our citizenry. Nothing less than our whole world is at stake.

In another Letter to the Editor this morning, Mary-Ellen Banashek of New York gives us a stellar example to follow. Consider this:

“Anthony Fauci is a shining example of patriotism, civility and courage under pressure. And no, Dr. Fauci, even jokingly, you were never ‘the skunk at the picnic;’ you were the rose at the skunk convention.” Let’s each one of us pick up his light right where we are and begin to love our neighbors as ourselves all over again, shall we? B.L.T.N.*

*Better Late Than Never

Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her essays address the intersection between spirituality and culture. Find out more at www.susancorso.com

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 35+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com