« November 2015 »

Memo to America: UGH.

It takes a lot to wear me down, politically speaking. But this week's done it. I've seen a lot of xenophobic hissy-fits over the course of this column, and even before. YAD started three years after 9/11, but some of my earliest writing about politics and stupidity began in the immediate aftermath and the demonization of Arabs, Muslims, and unrelated bearded swarthy types like Sikhs. But this week has been brutal, even for my heavily callused, desensitized brain.

And even though we eventually calm down, and things go back to a sort of normal, it never goes all the way back to normal. And worse, the slime left on the national psyche by the intense demonization of The Other is just lubricant. So the next time something happens, the slide into bigotry, racism, and xenophobia goes faster, and goes farther.

I mean, right now, I consider it an upside that America's bigot class is so busy demonizing, say, two Syrian families who turned themselves in to authorities at the Mexican border as sneaky infiltrators (thanks for that, Donald) or calling for internment camps in the style of the Japanese internment in the 40s (mayor of Roanoke) that they're much too busy to demonize the protesters speaking out against yet another police shooting of yet another black man, this time right where I live. Well, not RIGHT where I live. I'm a middle-class white suburbanite, after all. But in my vicinity.

And I know that some of it seeming worse than ever is just that it's happening now, and my news feed is full of it, and unrepenting, but some if it also that, well, it's worse than ever. Yesterday, the House voted to do something against the Syrian refugees. Doesn't matter what, really, because it's largely symbolic and Obama will just veto it with his new "fuck all your bullshit" look on his face.

And yeah, House Republicans are crazy and always have been, and fuck those guys. But what about the 47 House Democrats who voted for it? I don't care if it's out of regular cowardice or political cowardice, fuck all of them. I won't get to vote against any of them, because my representative is Keith Fucking Ellison, who's too busy standing with Black Lives Matter in the 4th Precinct while cops in riot gear point guns at his son to have anything to do with this bullshit, and, as one of Congress's only two Muslims, is, I'm sure, angrier and sadder about this than I could ever be.

But if any of you are in one of these 47 Democrats' districts, I urge you to vote for their primary opponents if they have one. Because at best, they're quislings for madness, and at worst, they're just fuckheads.

And speaking of primary votes, I encourage you all to cast protest primary votes against Hillary Clinton, who's going to get the nomination anyway. She'd been doing so well pre-Paris, but in the Democratic debate last weekend, her invocation of 9/11 to defend her campaign's constant and unwavering financial support from Wall Street reminded me exactly why voting for her in 2016 is going to border on physically painful. And her proposed Syria solution - no-fly zones, a drastic uptick in freedombombing, and some ground troops - is exactly the centrist hawk bullshit that enabled the neo-con Middle East adventures that made things oh so much better.

An even thinner, more watery version of our old sanity will return after a while, I'm sure. We won't actually round up Syrian refugees and put them in camps, or establish special ID cards and tracking for American Muslims (thanks again, Trump!) But in the meantime, panicky white women will have the tanned and bearded removed from planes for "suspicious behavior" like watching the news, as happened a few days ago on a Baltimore-to-Chicago flight. Because one white person's abundance of caution is another non-white person's ruined trip.