Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Not all Americans—Trump included—are “dreamers,” save in their racist nightmares

Well, during his SOTUS Donald Trump, as expected, “trumpeted” his “brilliance” in bringing the country back from the “abyss” of the Obama era, although to be perfectly frank I (nor should anyone else) see any difference in my workaday life since forever. Outside that faucet of existence, there are “differences” and all of them in time will prove to be disasters for this country, sooner or later.  Trump didn’t talk about things that really matter to ordinary people—like the massive ballooning debt that his tax “reform” will only make worse, or the way he and the Republicans are finding ways for a slow kill of the Affordable Care Act without a “replacement,” and the way he is gutting social programs (and with the help of Paul Ryan, Medicare and Medicaid) to pay for his “great military” and his “beautiful wall.” He is more interested in ridding “bureaucrats” in government who are not in lock-step with his program of fear and hate, and, of course fostering an atmosphere of fear and hate appeared to be the only time he spoke “from the heart."

Trump continued his racist presumption that Hispanics only bring crime, drugs and violence into this country, when the truth of the matter is that immigrants are much less likely to be involved in such acts as full-blooded “Americans.” I didn’t see any family members sitting behind Trump representing the victims of the record number of mass shootings (nearly all by white American “dreamers”), and the MS-13 gang problem that he is fixated on because they are Hispanic (Russian and Chinese immigrant organized crime in this country is a much bigger—albeit not discussed—problem) is wildly overblown, and in no way is representative of the Hispanic “culture” that so many disparage. Ignorance abounds, and why not? Trump’s appalling lack of knowledge about “chain migration”—in fact in takes as long as 25 years (in the case of Mexican immigrants) to bring an aged family member into the country proves that this man is out of his depth morally and ethically. 

Even in a “progressive” city like Seattle, most people are too “superior” to even be seen in the same company as a Hispanic individual (well, maybe an attractive Latina with something to “sell”), and in places that are not “progressive,” like Kent (where a black man was brutally battered in the head with a baseball bat yesterday by a Samoan man for the mistaken belief  that he had sexual relations with his sister), I constantly encounter scraggly-bearded white men in filthy clothes looking for scapegoats for their pathetic lives who just want a reason to beat-up someone who looks like me, or  bigoted white women who make it a “point” that I know they’ve locked their car doors (actually, according to a police memo I happened upon, the Russian mob controls the car theft and drug racket in the area). I wish these bigots could walk a mile in my shoes.

Let’s be open to historical truth for once. This land “belonged” for tens of thousands of years to Native Americans, and most Hispanics have indigenous people “blood” in them—which is more than what white Americans can say. Nobody asked or wanted Europeans to come here, but they did. The simply took what they wanted, with or without “treaties.” They all had “dreams,” hoping to escape religious persecution like the Puritans, or hoping that a “new world” would bring new opportunities that they did not find in their home countries. Until 1924, all they needed to be a “legal” immigrant was the price of boat fare, and the majority of white Americans today benefitted from that rather lax immigration policy. But like white women who have benefited from affirmative action far more than under-represented minorities, they hate the idea now because in their arrogance and conceit they can only see the world through the prism of white privilege. 

Thus in regard to the recipients of DACA, Trump can’t help but disparage them as “undeserving.”  In The New Yorker, columnist Amy Davidson Sorkin noted during the SOTUS “At another point, Trump said, in a petulant tone, ‘Americans are dreamers, too,’ as if anyone had been given reason to doubt that. As my colleague Jonathan Blitzer noted this was a complaint about the Dreamers (who, the ‘too’ suggested, were not Americans) and one of a peculiar kind. It wasn’t just the substance of the Dreamers’ aspirations—their hope for documentation, for a chance to work in the country they grew up in—that Trump seemed to resent but that they aspired at all. Dreaming was something Americans did; why did they think that they deserved to? More than that, he made it sound as though dreams could be intruded upon—as if it cheapened dreams if the wrong sort of people shared them. But dreams are not hotel suites. It is, perhaps, odd that a career peddler of mass fantasies like Trump could be so put off by what he presents as presumption, to the point where he regards it as a theft. This is, perhaps, where pride comes in. Trump, it seems, mistakes exclusivity and arrogance for strength. But they are not the same thing, not remotely.”

Once more, we must channel Aldous Huxley and note the refusal of Trump and his anti-nonwhite immigrant following to treat these people as individuals with their own aspirations for something better than what they had before. “They” are all lumped together in one group with disparaging traits applied to them; there is no effort to understand any of these people’s personal point of view, or what it is like to be constantly beaten on with ignorant falsehoods and never being able to speak for themselves, especially on 24-hour cable news programming like CNN, where the only people that “matter” are either white or black. 

Comic Andy Borowitz tried to put a humorous spin on the proceedings, satirizing Trump’s failed effort to be appear compassionate:

“In all my years of practicing medicine, I have never met a patient as healthy and vigorous as President Trump,” Dr. Ronny Jackson said. “But the sustained effort of simulating compassion proved too much for someone who has never exercised that part of his brain before.”

Shortly after Trump spent a gruelling ninety minutes pretending to care about immigrants, the unemployed, and other people whom he normally dismisses as losers, aides noticed that he was turning from a bright orange to a slightly paler orange before crumpling to the ground in a giant heap.

“If you have never spent a moment thinking about a human being besides yourself, imagine trying to pretend you are doing that for a solid ninety minutes,” Jackson said. “It’s physically punishing.”

Immediately following his collapse, Trump was rushed to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where a brain scan showed that his brush with human feelings did no permanent damage.

But as others have pointed out, Trump reserves his “compassion” only for white nationalists, xenophobes and nativists who fear the “browning” of America, and not just by Hispanics, as the growth of south and east Asian immigrants have exploded both in legal and illegal terms (one in every six persons from India are technically in the country illegally). Although the media did not mention it, most of the targets of the ICE raids on 7-Elevens a few weeks ago were Indians, and here in Washington I noted that a few local convenience stores seemed to subsequently be shy a few employees, probably out of fear that their operations might be targeted too. 

We ought to strive for something better, morally and ethically. After all there was a time when America promoted itself as a land where the “tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free” were welcome. Did this only mean for Europeans? I blame the U.S. for most of the drug violence in Mexico today that so many in that country are trying to escape on two counts: it's insatiable appetite for illegal drugs, and its "war" on the Colombian drug lords, which didn't stop the trade, only moving it and its violence further north. There has to be a "price" to pay for American stupidity. And the immigrants from Central America—an area that as I noted before that the U.S. had the devil’s hand in creating inequality, impoverishment and violence--no doubt see themselves in the same light as those European immigrants back then (today, the arrogant among them are just trying to take high-paying jobs). But "Mexicans" are not really “human” are they? Not like white people, right? They have nothing to “contribute,” except doing the “dirty work”—but we have unemployed black persons who should be consigned to that type of thing. So much for their "dreams," huh? At least they are “Americans”—although not as “real” as those who are white.

There was an American from a humble background who lived his dream as a great singer, and who never forgot where he came from. His name was Elvis Presley. When he performed “If I Can Dream” on his 1968 television comeback special, you could tell he was speaking from the heart:

There must be lights burning brighter somewhere,
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can't my dream come true
oh why

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won't that sun appear

We're lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We're trapped in a world
That's troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

Deep in my heart there's a trembling question
Still I am sure that the answer gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there's a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, right now
Let it come true right now
Oh yeah

This is not the kind of “dream” that Trump, his neo-Nazi pal David Duke, the worm in the White House apple Steven Miller or the xenophobe Ann Coulter are talking about. This is the kind of dream that America is supposed to be about, or pretends to be about. The reality, it seems to me, is that it is hard to distinguish between people pretending to live what the American Dream is really about, and those who would deny it to others simply because of the color of their skin.

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