If you cannot see that Trump has more in common, character-wise, with Biff Tannen than not, you’re not trying. That’s what makes everyone else think you’re really, simply just lying to them.
Sometimes I like to just jot down some food for thought. This isn’t so much a persuasion piece. I’m inclined to think I’m observing on things about which most people cannot be persuaded anyway, and I’m apparently just not very persuasive to begin with. It’s just some observations.
I’ve never yet figured out when this past Great America was supposed to have been, but it seems to keep hovering around a tranquil post-war period when everything was hunky-dory like in the movies, and restaurants were allowed to hang signs that said “whites only.” And while I’m still cautiously willing to accept on face value that it’s an economic thing, not a race thing with them when individuals down here at the bottom of the class spectrum with me say that’s the case (an unpopular position among my friends on the left, generally), we never seem to hear reassurances from this administration that the return to past greatness, whenever that was supposed to have been, is absolutely not intended to allow those signs to go back up.
I’ve got strong feelings about institutional, systemic racism, exactly the kind found perpetrated on the public by both parties, which just made both sides itch a little. I’ve got a significantly more generous attitude about garden-variety racial/ethnic bigotry than I’m generally permitted to have on the left, but there’s a really simple reason for that. It’s no excuse, but it’s a given…look around the world, and where you find two different groups living in proximity, there is bigotry. It’s a cultural construct that is incredibly difficult to undo. I know incredibly sensitive white far-lefties who have been known to clutch a purse more closely when faced with a possible aggressor when the only two clues of aggression were incidental maleness and incidental blackness. We all suffer from it.
Go to Wales, and there’s snarky comments about the English. Go to England, and the Londoners might be shits about Manchester. There’s opinions about the Irish. In Ireland, are you from north or south? You’re wrong for that. Dutch don’t seem to care for Germans. I’m pretty sure the Basques have some opinions about Spaniards, and vice versa. The French don’t like anyone. There’s Italians vs. Sicilians. Greeks and Macedonians. Turks and Kurds. Balkan peoples like a little genocide now and then. Same with Russian splinter states. And you might notice the farthest I got from white was Turkish. But that same dynamic exists everywhere else, too. Find two contiguous ethnic groups, and they’re talking shit about each other.
One would like to think that it’s the 21st Century and knock it the fuck off already, but what are the odds? We can’t just wish this away, and so far, no genius at all has come forward with a workable and completely desirable solution. And if you’ve ever reconsidered walking through a particular neighborhood at night for entirely pragmatic reasons of safety and didn’t wonder if it was more than a little racist (or is it?) and felt bad about it, I’d suggest you’re not racist…just a human with human bigotry. Work on it, but I somehow doubt it’s your worst sin against humanity. This isn’t a confessional. Don’t tell me about the worse things you’ve done. We both know…it’s a sad fact of humanity…you have.
The challenge in the interest of justice and the rule of law and the right of equality before the law is to make sure those personal prejudices don’t deprive someone of a right on the basis of something that is entirely beyond a person’s control. Race and ethnicity are not just causes for inequitable treatment. In the general sense I mean here (exceptions will be weird cases), nobody wakes up and thinks, I know, I’ll be black today, maybe Arab tomorrow.
To the extent that anyone willfully chooses to blame entire groups for their limited experiences of a handful and the worst things they’ve heard about a few other, coupled with the culture that nourished those biases, I think it’s a bad look. I reflect that back by repeating that if we can form our expectations of those whole groups on the basis of a relative few bad actors, then I get to call out white trash, because some white people do absolutely horrendous things, so victim blame the rest because they don’t do anything about their own worst. That’s how that works.
But where we’re talking about poor SS Huckabee being asked to leave a restaurant, we’re in new territory. We’re in “as an artist, not just some generic ‘baker,’ I don’t create works of art to celebrate gay marriage” territory. Is it safe to assume SS Huckabee wasn’t escorted from Taco Bell? Any restaurant she’d go to, that cook is far more like that baker than not. Cooking is an art in its own right. That restaurateur had every bit as much right as the baker to refuse service. Perhaps even moreso.
In the baker’s case, right or wrong, the baker believes some things about gay people. The ready argument from the left is that being gay isn’t a choice. I suggest they oversimplify, but are mostly correct. And maybe the baker holds some issues about the very being of gayness. But were it not for behavior, there was nothing for the baker to oppose. Shopping for a wedding cake is a behavior, a choice one has as much right to as anyone else, just like being hungry and wanting to eat at a restaurant is a choice. The discrimination comes in when service is refused, and the service isn’t refused in either case on the basis of the free action of shopping for cake or wanting to pay for dinner. It has everything to do with what the patron does when not buying cake or seeking dinner. It’s about the way those patrons exercise their agency elsewhere.
In the gay couple’s case, odds are good, thanks to the zealotry involved, the zealous baker would oppose every last gay thing that gay couples might do. Pro-tip: the only “gay” things…are none of your damned business. Getting dressed, going to work, cleaning the house, feeding the dog, buying groceries, there’s no gay way to do those things. Fabulous, yes. Gay, no. But the baker had no trouble with cake that didn’t run afoul of his beliefs. Need a cake for an office party? There you go. $35.95 please. The baker’s ire was limited to one particular behavior that we know of…the behavior of getting legally wedded in any sort of ceremony whatsoever. The baker, thanks to a particular form of zealous bigotry, abhors the very notion that the country now allows this to happen, and still would have sold them an office party cake. That’s how narrow his exclusion was because that’s how narrow his issue was.
Enter Sanders. Or Nielsen getting heckled out of a different restaurant. This isn’t because of vaginas or their skin color. It’s because of observed and/or suspected behaviors. This isn’t because they sought food at restaurants. It is exactly because of their observed behaviors as a matter of public record that people have discriminated against them, shunned them, rejected them. Same with those poor, sad young WH interns that can’t get dates in DC because people can’t stand them, not because they aren’t hot or well-connected or gainfully employed. It’s because of the choices they make.
It’s because of their character, which is absolutely 100% volitional. People freely choose to be the kinds of people they want to be under whatever circumstances unless there is a legitimate medical reason to the contrary.
People have the right to free speech. And other people are absolutely free to hear that speech and decide that the person uttering it is complete trash.
But there’s another element here, one that the news tends to miss entirely because they dare not point it out. This is a class and power issue. I’ve got some pretty shitty opinions about some things as some folks see it. But who the hell am I that I matter? I can barely convince a waiter to bring me cream for my coffee, and I think I’ll change a political opinion? I’m as nobody (or more) as anyone reading this.
Serve in a position of power, though, or directly in service to a position of power, and you are endorsing the things accomplished by that power. The people wielding that power right now seem to think they have the right of it and that it’s the others who have it all wrong.
The problem is that time and again, the evidence is that vast majorities here and abroad (and the other 6.6 billion people on the planet have opinions that matter in this situation, too, since they’re often the ones who have to suffer the consequences of American decisions regardless of who is making them) think the positions taken by the people currently in power are bad positions. Not wrong. Bad. More, the general consensus is that the people making these decisions are, indeed, bad people. Not incorrect people. Bad people.
That isn’t to say that every supporter is a bad person, and the ones that actually are, are essentially nobodies like me. But the people in power? That’s where I direct my rage. That’s where I’ll direct it when it turns blue or green or whatever whenever. Because that’s where the rage should be pointed when you think people are horrible. Character matters far more at the top than at the bottom. We can’t simply reject entire percentages of the body politic legally. “Trump hat, won’t serve,” I think, would be entirely different from “Trump staffer, won’t serve.”
These people get up there day after day, and lie to us. Repeatedly. Smugly. And they do it with a different kind of shit-eating grin than the ones worn by Dems. If this were wrestling, it would be so much easier to see that the people in power now are the heels, not the faces. When we see movies and the bad guys and good guys are obviously drawn, it’s not because of Hollywood bias that Biff Tannen is a villain, not a hero. It’s not Hollywood bias that makes Reggie the asshole, and not Archie. That’s the nature and part of the function of storytelling…to reinforce our sense of good and bad, socially appropriate and not socially appropriate in recognizable forms. That is pretty damned uncontroversial.
My apologies to the pro-Trump side, but if you cannot see that Trump has more in common, character-wise, with Biff Tannen than not, you’re not trying. That’s what makes everyone else think you’re really, simply just lying to them. Are you lying? Only you know. But you’re a fool if you cannot see how it looks like a lie. If you see it and don’t care, maybe the problem is that you root for the Biff Tannens of the world.
Pro-tip: Biff Tannen is the villain. Pick any light-hearted movie you want and find the villain. The traits are obvious for a reason. Be what you want as an individual, but it’s just brutal honesty to point out that the whole damned Trump cabal is overflowing with easily recognizable villains. Cons, idiots, grifters and assorted actually bad people who are ripping off the American people left and right and dragging our name through the mud worldwide.
These people deserve to be shamed out of every public place they go to. It should be difficult for them to be part of the entire American society when their entire credo is built on opposing any part of it that is not like them…villains.
That’s really what this is all about. I have a hard time believing that anyone capable of understanding a Disney film cannot see that the people they support are obvious villains. We see that they are villains because of the choices they make and how they choose to present themselves. And it’s a sad day for American character when people are cheering on the obvious bad guys.
On the flip side, it’ll be the Dems again, soon enough. They’re a different kind of villain. They’re the ones you expect to see in Game of Thrones…backstabbing and conniving, but putting on the very best of appearances while doing it, before betraying you.
Trump is absolutely betraying his supporters, but I won’t fault him as much for that as I do for the things his supporters endorse in all its obvious villainy. In that sense, his supporters, who I generously suppose have moral compasses at least as developed as those of 5 year olds and can make sense of Disney films, know, however much they deny, that they are supporting the villain, the Biff Tannen, Scar, the Skeksis over the urSkeks, although I think Star Wars might be more confusing because they’re convinced that the Dems are the Empire and they’re the noble rebels, and they’re not entirely wrong. They just don’t see (or seem to see) that they’ve put Darth in charge, filled his cabinet from Mos Eisley, and love Stormtroopers even in real life. As they continue to get betrayed, no matter how long they stay in denial about it, I’ll feel like they got exactly what they had coming. Life’s a bitch like that.
But that betrayal is completely different from the kind of betrayal mastered by the Dems. They’ll talk the good talk and appear to walk the good walk (barring all class and privilege issues), and, when the chips are down, will throw the least of us under the bus as soon as they need to bargain in favor of Wall Street somehow. It’s just the appearance of putting up the good fight, and it would even be easy to believe in if someone hasn’t been paying attention for the last nearly 40 years. Looked at overall, it’s a clear and deliberate pattern. It’s not “politics is the art of the possible.” This recurring betrayal is baked right in. That *is* their program.
In terms of political shunning, I’m all for it. SS Huckabee is getting what she deserves for wrapping herself in paperthin faith and outright, demonstrably, provably lying to us day after day after day and having the nerve to show contempt for anyone who dare challenges the lies.
I just wish like hell that decent people, left and right, irrespective of race and ethnicity and gender, would start showing Dems the door, too.