Adapted from the Twitter feed. Posted Monday night, September 26, 2016.
Down there we came upon a lacquered people
who made their round, in tears, with listless steps.
They seemed both weary and defeated.
The cloaks they wore had cowls that fell
over their eyes, cut like the capes
made for the monks at Cluny.
Gilded and dazzling on the ouside,
within they are of lead, so ponderous
that those imposed by Frederick would seem but straw.
Oh what a toilsome cloak to wear forever!
Once more we turned to the left, then went along
beside them, intent upon their wretched wailing.
---from The Inferno. Canto XXIII. By Dante Alighieri. Translated by Robert and Jean Hollander.
8:03 PM. Just unfollowed a "progressive" who's calling the debate tonight a face off between “the Two Worst People in America.”
I’ve been following this guy for a long time, and this is an old song with him, that HRC’s a moral monster.
Here’s a sample of his latest verse:
Clinton is clearly the more knowledgeable of the two–which has not kept her from being wrong on virtually every major decision of the career…
I got to know him a long while back from his blog. He writes a lot about TV, movies, and comic books, which is why I followed him in the first place. But he routinely strays into politics and when he does he shows himself up as a self-righteous and self-congratulating prig. He was a Bernie Bitter-ender whose support for Sanders was mostly expressed as Hillary hatred, and I’d been meaning to unfollow him since last fall but I kept putting it off, thinking he'd get better after Bernie lost.
He got worse.
If you equate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton you're either a moral idiot or just a plain idiot.
But if you are going to call HRC one of the worst people in America you're obligated to prove you're at least marginally a better person.
I also think you're obligated to prove you've done at least marginally more good for the world.
And it can’t be something like "At least I opposed the War in Iraq", unless you were a US Senator at the time and voted against it.
Basically, it can't be that you didn’t do something you didn't have the power to do and would never be given the power to do because who are you anyway?
The most common understanding of hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another. Another is condemning in others what you think praiseworthy in yourself or people you like and approve of.
But a third is pretending to virtues you’ve never had to practice.
There's a special place in hell for people who feel morally superior for never having given in to temptations they never faced and for not making mistakes they were never in a position to make.
Dante puts it in the sixth sub-circle of the Eighth Circle, which is pretty far down there, almost with the traitors and betrayers.
It's in Canto XXIII.
Dante’s point is that if you’re going to parade your virtues, you’d better actually posses those virtues to parade or, to get all allegorical, if you’re going to show off a golden cloak in public, it’d better not be lined with lead.
Illustration by Gustave Dore.