Tag: democracy

Don’t Ask Me Why

I haven’t shared my correspondence in a while, mostly because the hate mail has simmered down for some reason. I can only assume that my most virulent detractors have grown weary of repeatedly emailing me vague threats and hyperbolic insults.

I mean, really, there are only so many times that you can call someone a spic racist idiot communist before you move on to harassing women or trolling Muslims or screaming at gay people. Hey, I understand.

Instead of my usual hate email, I’ve been receiving questions more along the lines of “Hey, I thought this site was about Latino issues. Why the preoccupation with Trump?”

Well, it’s a fair question, although to be blunt, it’s also a bit of a naïve one.

You see, the focus of this site has shifted in the last year from chronicling the highs and lows of Hispanic culture to discussing the lows and lows (and lows and lows and lows) of the current occupant of the White House.

And this is because America has never had a president who hated Latinos more.

And yes, I’m including James K. Polk, who provoked the Mexican-American War solely so the United States could grab the West Coast (it’s true). And I’m also including Eisenhower, who instigated a massive deportation campaign called Operation Wetback (also true).

I’m sure those guys disliked Latinos, and some of our presidents were more racist — like Trump’s hero, Andrew Jackson, who wasn’t terribly fond of Native Americans, and just about every Founding Father who thought black people were good for nothing other than forced labor.

But none loathed Hispanics as much as Trump. Remember, the very first group he attacked, as he announced his candidacy, was Mexicans. And how much of his limited mental energy has been taken up with daydreams about massive walls and kicking out Latin Americans immigrants? The man really is obsessed with us.

Furthermore, no president has ever been as transparently bigoted as Trump, at least within the context of his culture. By that I mean we can all agree that Woodrow Wilson was a virulent racist, but a hundred years ago, when he lived, most white Americans were overtly prejudiced. Wilson was just worse.

Trump, in contrast, is living in enlightened time, when racism has been defeated, and people aren’t discriminated against, and… I’m sorry, I couldn’t finish typing that line without gagging.

The point is that our culture no longer defaults to bigotry, our government no longer enforces laws that are blatantly racist, and being a loudmouthed supremacist is frowned upon.

Within that context, Trump is egregiously racist.

Of course, you could argue that our culture does indeed default to bigotry, our government is once again enforcing laws that are racist, and being a loudmouthed supremacist is no longer frowned upon. But if that is true, we’ve regressed only since Trump was elected, which just reinforces the point that this guy has made racism acceptable again and moved our nation backward.

I mean, his prejudice is so well-known, so widely acknowledged, that even his supporters are acknowledging it now.

So when you’re dealing with the most anti-Latino president of all time, it’s difficult to focus on other topics. Believe me, I would love to get back to discussing the differences between Dia de Los Muertos and Halloween. And no doubt, I will soon.

But for now, it’s all I can do to keep up with this administration’s constant assaults on democracy, common sense, and basic decency.

And that’s why I keep writing about it.

 


Q4 Blues

Among the many torturous reasons that Trump supporters give for their ill-considered votes is that, supposedly, only a businessman can steer the mighty ship known as the US economy.

Yes, conservatives will grant you that our two most recent economic surges occurred when a pot-smoking draft dodger and a secret Kenyan communist, respectively, were masquerading as president while secretly plotting to destroy America. But in Republican eyes, the economy would have been even hotter during those time periods if a fine patriotic businessman had been in charge.

In any case, the idea of running government like a business “has been tried again and again, only to fail again and again.”

This is because “business has a convenient bottom line, called ‘profit,’ which can readily be measured.” But “not everything that is profitable is of social value, and not everything of social value is profitable.” In essence, there are many crucial aspects of our society that are for the public good, but that defy easy cost analysis. Things like the military, the police department, fire department, libraries, parks, and public schools “could not exist if they were required to be profitable.”

Furthermore, businesses and corporations “exist for the purpose of maximizing shareholder value — to produce profit and returns on the investments of owners and shareholders. Government in a democracy, by contrast, exists to protect the rights and improve the lives of its citizens.”

So please understand that running the government as if it were a business is a very bad idea, and it is a truly horrible justification for your vote.

And even if you find this overarching argument unpersuasive, realize that the last businessman you should put in charge of the nation is Trump. After all, he led a relatively small “family-owned company over which he held total control and operated in secrecy, without oversight or the need to report to shareholders.” That’s certainly not how the presidency works.

In addition, Trump’s myriad failures, bankruptcies, and lawsuits are well known, as are the tales of the stiffed contractors and discontented business partners he left strewn behind him like capitalist debris. Indeed, Trump has been “a walking disaster as a businessman for much of his life” and there is a vast disconnect between the “perception of Mr. Trump as a self-made mogul and the reality of his being a rich kid who lost other people’s money and made far less for himself than he claims.”

However, if you still believe that the government should be the ultimate business operation, and you inexplicably think that Trump is the man to run it, I have good news for you.

You got your wish.

After less than a year in office, we have “a self-absorbed CEO leading the nation through a divisive political era intent on dismantling the very structure of government itself.”

We have a leader whose chief motivation is to enrich himself quickly and then leave with a golden parachute.

We have an executive who relies on nepotism and cronyism, rather than actual competence, when it comes to filling important jobs.

We have a narcissist who surrounds himself with sniveling yes men, and who demands total loyalty (but offers none in return).

We have an administration that pursues its goals with cutthroat tactics and an almost sociopathic disdain for anyone who gets in the way of perceived success.

We have bureaucrats and middle managers who display a ruthless drive to cut unprofitable lines (even if that line is, say, sick children).

We have a corporate plan where profits go to the top, while the workers settle for scraps.

We have the cult of the leader, where everything the great man says is wise and profound (even of it’s clearly idiotic).

These aren’t hyperbolic examples. This is indeed how a lot of corporations work.

Now, I didn’t say Trump’s America was a good or efficient company. In fact, it illustrates the very worst of capitalism.

And such a business is, of course, doomed to fail. But don’t worry, because when it all collapses, it won’t be the CEO who suffers.

It will be you.

 


A Shining Moment

This past weekend, people all over America expressed patriotic fervor. After all, we live in a free country, full of natural beauty. And we strive for lofty goals of democracy and fairness, while extending a heartfelt welcome to immigrants of all types.

Ha-ha. Just kidding about that last part.

CALIFORNIA-FAMILIAS INMIGRANTES

You’ve heard, no doubt, about the demonstrations in Murrieta, California, where protesters blockaded busses carrying undocumented immigrants to a detention facility. The immigrants, “many of them unaccompanied children, were being brought from overcrowded Texas detention facilities for processing in California.”

The protestors waved American flags and chanted, “USA! USA!” They also indulged in some, shall we say, less-than-classy behavior (including the occasional slur). In any case, these uber-Americans forced the busses to turn around.

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Now to be fair, it must have been a bit shocking for the fine people of Murrieta to learn that 140 undocumented people would be dropped off on their doorstep. And the protesters were quick to claim that it wasn’t, you know, a racist thing. Of course not.

But the imagery is hard to downplay.

All I’m saying is that is that it is not exactly courageous to terrorize busloads of traumatized women and children. And heckling poverty-stricken people is not the stuff of patriotic legend.

However, for all those people in Murrieta who still think they were standing up for America, well, let’s put it in perspective.

The Founding Fathers won independence. Lincoln freed the slaves. The Greatest Generation defeated the Nazis.

But you held up a sign and screamed vulgarities at little kids.

Clearly, it was hero time.

 


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