Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hole Hearted

It would be somewhat hypocritical for yours truly to get too bent about the emperor referring to certain countries as shitholes. I've certainly pulled no punches about such an assessment, and have in fact used that word to refer to third world countries, or violent Islamic despotisms where basic human rights are scoffed at. That's not an evaluation of the individuals living in those countries, nor their suitability to emigrate to these here Yew-nighted States, merely an impolite observation of the condition of the government, the society, the economy, the levels of basic services, etc.

So yes, Haiti is a shithole, as is North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, and the Congo, and on and on. So are many parts of the US:  the opioid belt; large chunks of the NASCAR states; the swaths of washed-up towns festering out in the hinterland with delusions of revanchism and the lost glory of Granpappy's hallowed widget-stamping job that went to Malaysia during the Reagan years.

It is not necessarily a value judgment of the inhabitants, nor an assertion of moral superiority over them. Unlike the emperor, I don't hate the humans, I feel bad for their situation (except when they bring it on themselves). It is simply a blanket observation of an area that is arguably not only much worse off than other areas, but substantially worse off than it should be, if said area had its collective shit together. It is also a correlative observation that many or most of such areas have the common thread of overpopulation compounding the overall poverty rate. In other words, they could simply cut their birth rate in half and improve their lot within a generation, doing absolutely nothing else to move in the right direction.

Americans of white European heritage take things for granted (duh). They tend to forget that the countries their own ancestors left were not good places to be -- they were shitholes as well. That's why they left, y'know? Scotland was not a paradise when the emperor's mommy got out of there a hundred years ago. Many parts of Germany were ravaged by famine and wars of national confederation around the time the emperor's paternal grandfather left. The Pilgrims didn't come here because they were doing well back in England. I know my ancestors left Ireland and Wales and Poland because they needed to get the hell out of those places at the time. There are books about this sort of stuff. This is not rocket science.

So while the squirrel mediots fixate on the "vulgarity" of the word, they seem to be ignoring the much more important issue, the proverbial elephant in the room -- the man seems literally to not understand why people emigrate, why they would leave their homes, families, communities, the only places they've ever known in their harsh lives, to come to a country where they don't know anyone, don't understand the language. It doesn't even occur to him, the concept that someone from a poor, violent country would be more likely to want to leave home than someone from a prosperous, stable country.

People take those risks because the opportunities are worth it to them, because all they have is hope that things can get better. People who were doctors and lawyers in their homelands come here to drive taxis and taco trucks and run convenience stores, because they think of the USA as a place where someone can work hard and get ahead. Life is a series of offsets and tradeoffs, unless you're a spoiled dipshit who has always gotten everything you want.

Seriously. What kind of a moron does not get the basic concept that Norwegians no longer move to America because the average Norwegian has a better quality of life than the average American? Well, it turns out it's the kind of moron that's been given the keys to the country, and has chosen to drive it to the nearest cliff, gas pedal stomped to the floor. It's the kind of moron that talks derisively of other nations as shitholes, while doing his level best to turn this country into a shithole as well.

I felt that tonight's Netflix premiere of David Letterman's new interview show would be a nice break from the daily nonsense, as the featured guest of course was PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA (PBUH). I miss both Letterman and Obama tremendously, all the more so for the current collective maelstrom we find ourselves in, and it was rewarding to see these two chat in an intimate setting, their mutual affection obvious to all.

It was somewhat disappointing but not at all surprising that Obama and Letterman studiously avoided any direct mentions of the emperor or his abortion of an administration. The interview was punctuated with a couple of segments of Letterman walking the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis, and much discussion of the importance of the civil rights movement to Obama's development as a person and a politician.

It turned out to be better for not mentioning that bastard and his works, because what you focused on with Obama and Letterman is how both men function as normal human beings who speak with enormous affection for their families and children, who go out into the world and experience it, who actually do things for other humans without expecting money and adulation in return. Both men are funny and sharp and kind and self-deprecating. This accumulated steadily into a wondrous contrast with what we've been immersed in, a claque of scummy cultists utterly obsessed with lying and cruelty and greed.

By the end, my wife was in tears, just thinking about what we've lost in the longest year of most of our lives, and what more will come before we pull out of it (if we ever really do). This toxic man and his toxic cult followers have poisoned the water table of our collective consciousness, and we're all waiting on Robert Mueller because no one else has the stones or ability to do or say anything meaningful about it. And the longer we all wait, the more of an effect the fumes have on all of our brains.

Perhaps most potently and subtly, the Obama interview was a reminder of a time, in the dim and distant past, when the President of the United States did not act like a jabbering drunk on a fucking barstool every goddamned day of the week.

1 comment:

Brian M said...

I might recommend a read at "Grok in Fullness".

The vast, all-consuming opioid tsunami may be an artifact of very sketchy statistics diddling, in service of the very "authoritarian" politics you rightfully decry elsewhere. The same kind of logic used to justify the horrific War on Drugs by Nixon and his ilk.

Not denying that West Virginia or Anderson, Indiana are faded places, but...