Are Anti-Vaxx Cops From The Same Hiring Pool As The Cops Who Murdered George Floyd?

Across America, police departments are facing the same problem: a quarter to a third of their employees refuse to get vaccinated (against this particular coronavirus exclusively; none of those employees seems to have balked at any vaccination before this one) and are willing to walk off their jobs if that means staying unvaccinated. Let’s please, please agree: these cops aren’t worried about any science. This bizarre stance doesn’t flow from any positive human impulse, rational thought process or real world situation. It is entirely manufactured within the heads of its adherents. It is defiant ignorance for defiant ignorance’s sake. Hmmmmmmm… now, why does that feel so familiar to us? Probably because it flows from the same toxic, tribal belief cesspit as racism. And bigotry and misogyny and every other ignorance-born way of thinking. From a Human Resources POV, this reflects two distinct hiring pools: cops who accept new information and cops who don’t. From a sociological POV, this reflects two distinct types of human: hard core conservatives and everyone else.

Politics shouldn’t play any role here. It’s obscene that they do. But both sides didn’t put politics into this conversation; only one side did that and we ain’t just talking about their anti-vaccine attitudes. One side of the American political spectrum relentlessly puts politics at the center of everything. They have to if they’re going to accomplish their goal of permanent minority rule. When Republicans gerrymander a Congressional district, their goal isn’t to see that district’s population represented regardless of their politics, it’s to do the exact opposite. Because politics. When Republicans suppress Democratic voters by writing bullshit, anti-democratic, unconstitutional legislation, their goal is political — even as they behave criminally to achieve that goal.

Every time a Republican infringes in whatever way on another American’s right to vote? THEY’RE BREAKING THE LAW. They are. That we’ve been slow to see it that way — and prosecute it accordingly — that’s not the law’s fault, it’s ours. The rule of law can’t enforce itself — and it can only reflect our best efforts at creating a country where everyone really does get equal treatment before the law. Equal enforcement of the rule of law would create an environment more conducive to a truly level playing field where every American truly has the same opportunities to achieve “the American Dream”. And to hold onto and build the wealth their hard work has earned them. And to hold onto and build upon the political power that wealth invariably brings.

Of course, when most everyone has a similar level of comfort (via “wealth)) and no one is struggling to get by or just eat, our society as a whole will benefit. It’s not hard, either. President Biden;s Expanded Child Tax Credit reduced poverty in America and spurred the economy at the same time — exactly as universal basic income always does whenever it’s battle tested. But, what if our problem is that some Americans WANT other Americans to remain in poverty — with zero political power? The impulse to pay people as little as possible for their work stems from the same impulse to enslave people. Slavery’s bottom line is stolen labor. It’s the entire point of the exercise: you get their work product for nothing (except the costs of housing, clothing and feeding a slave). The American south was always agrarian. The three big cash crops that established and then became the entire basis for the Confederacy’s economy were cotton, sugar cane and tobacco. All three demand a lot of field labor to plant, tend and harvest. If the plantation owners who grew those plants had paid a fair market rate for their labor, that would have directly impacted their profits.

But stolen labor is stolen money. The money that should have gone into fieldworkers’ pockets went into everyone else’s pockets instead. At no other stage of the sugar cane process as it went from seed to consumer did anyone NOT get paid — except the people who physically touched the plant itself. The reason slavery’s descendants are entitled to reparations is because something very real was stolen from their ancestors: their pay.

Though slavery ended in practical terms, the economic impulse to steal labor never did. Here in America, white money has always tried as hard as it could to steal the labor it needed for its businesses (non-white labor especially). The reason we have a minimum wage is because without it plenty of bosses would economically abuse their workers. What’s happening today though — where businesses are struggling to find workers willing to work for them is because pandemics historically change the economics of the eras they ravage. The Black Death destroyed feudalism. Here, today in America, the same thing is happening. Slavery is feudalism and feudalism is a perverse form of slavery. Just as bubonic plague decimated the work force as it ravaged 14th century Europe — throwing economic power to the workers (being in such short supply) — COVID is throwing economic power from those who need work done to those needed to do that work.

Here’s the takeaway: if pandemics can change whole economic systems (as they have), it’s probably possible for them to change how people treat and value other people non-monetarily too. We don’t have to be racist (or bigoted or misogynist or hateful in any way). We choose to. Just like we choose to hire cops who we know are racists even as we hire them.

George Floyd’s murder changed our national conversation because the proof of what Derek Chauvin did to him was, well, so clearly evident. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds during which Derek Chauvin knowingly and willfully executed George Floyd while a crowd watched and begged him to stop while they videoed him. “I don’t care” shines like a beacon from Chauvin’s eyes. “No one — NO ONE — is the boss of me”. That’s what Chauvin’s whole demeanor shouts.

Take this to the bank: Derek Chauvin didn’t show up for work that day having never behaved that way at work. This was how Derek Chauvin practiced policing because he still believes that that is what policing is. Policing in America began with slave patrols. It’s never stopped thinking of itself that way.

Here’s the problem: racists are good at not questioning things they should question. They walk in the door totally convinced that white people really are superior to all others. That’s not based on anything substantive. It’s all feelings and zero facts. Racists, once triggered, become zombie-like, driven by whatever those feelings tell them to do — attack peaceful, prosperous, productive Black communities, for instance, as a white mob did in Tulsa on May 31, 1921 when they destroyed the Greenwood section of town.

In jobs where we need people to “follow orders”, we still need them to follow orders sensibly. Soldiers or cops who’d follow a leader literally off a cliff won’t be around long. We’ve built a moral obligation into our military laws just so soldiers and cops don’t have to do that. We’ve made following morally repugnant orders a choice not an obligation. But, we never turned away from hiring — as cops or soldiers — people who would follow morally repugnant orders. That’s not on them — they are who they are and who they’ve always been. It’s on us. We don’t have to hire people we know (yes, we DO know!) are either racist or feel sympathetic toward racists. Being “racist adjacent” is the same as being racist.

The anti-vax cops nationwide are doing us a favor and we’d be stupid not to let them.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder (and Eric Garner’s and Michael Brown’s and Tamir Rice and Walter Scott and Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and Stephon Clark and Breonna Taylor among too, too many others!), America finally saw policing and its police departments in the light in which policing in America should always have been seen. Because we evolved policing from slavery — from recapturing escaped slaves — policing in America has always held onto its compulsion to keep Black people in line. Policing still thinks of Black people as someone’s property — three-fifths of a man some “full man” owns.

We need police officers to keep the peace. We need them to help mitigate emergencies and to be part of any dangerous situation’s first response on our collective behalf. We need them to do this work in order to have order. But, we’ve heaped a lot of other jobs onto “policing” that don’t belong to them. How we solve that is a whole other series of conversations. For starters though, we need to stop setting ourselves up for failure by constantly returning to the same hiring pool for police officers when that hiring pool consistently produces problems for us.

Perversely, over the last two years, nothing has killed more police officers than the coronavirus. If one was a cop, you’d think that fact alone would cut through the bullshit and force you to see sense. Ah, but racist brains don’t work that way. Neither do anti-vax brains. They sure seem to be one and the same.

In hindsight, my bet is, we’ll connect those dots. The same cops who think violence is policing also think not getting vaccinated against a demonstrably deadly virus proves their loyalty to… what? What are these people being loyal to? What’s causing them to choose stupid and selfish over doing the right thing for the right reasons?

Maybe our problem isn’t just the hiring pool itself but those who keep returning to it. What do they expect to find there (aside from a hire they need to make)? Maybe, perversely, the coronavirus is doing something we haven’t the courage to do for ourselves: remove racist assholes from every PD hiring pool in America.

Would America Breaking Into Two Americas – Red V Blue – Really Be Such A Bad Thing?

America is what happens when you let sleeping dogs lie and one of those dogs is racism. America has always had a jones for mythologizing itself. That’s because we have no common, longstanding history to stand on as people from every other country did when they came here. Aside from the Native Americans (wiped out by European pathogens, not European culture, wisdom or superiority), there is no roots “American Culture” other than the one that’s slowly been forming over the last 240 years — proof positive that America really is the place where E Pluribus Unum. E Pluribus Unum is America’s genius. Out of many, one is American Exceptionalism. But, white people prefer “All men are created equal” because they know that the white, Christian, land-owning men who wrote or stood by those words didn’t mean them literally (except for the word “men” which they meant very literally). That’s the foundational bullshit upon which originalism sits its bloated, intellectually dishonest ass: America can only ever be the country a bunch of white racists imagined it to be.

That’s the choice facing us — as it always has been. Nothing has changed since the nation’s founding. We are a great idea as yet unrealized. That doesn’t mean we can’t fully realize every last bit of E Pluribus Unum’s genius — which would, all by itself, fix “All men are created equal” into “All people stand equal before the rule of law”. Our kneejerk response to America splitting up is “That would be the end of America!” And, yes, it would be. It would be the end of America as the world has known it for 240 years. But it wouldn’t be the end of America.

The overwhelming majority of Americans want what the Democratic Party is doing, not what the Republican Party is doing. If you put it directly to every single voting age American “Citizen, do you want America’s experiment in self-government to continue or do you want America to become a one party, permanent minority rule authoritarian state, how do YOU think they’d vote? The hard core of the hard core Trumpanistas — the ones driving this shit wagon off a cliff — peaked at 25% of Americans. Trump famously shrank the Republican base down to HIS base. There are plenty of Never Trumpers among Republicans. There’s no comparable thing on the Democratic side — no Project Lincolns or groups of Republicans buying ads to implore other Republicans to vote for Democrats.

The problem is, we’ve gotten into our heads (thanks, news media!) that there ARE two sets of facts — one Democrats believe and one Republicans believe. Those “alternative facts” Kellyanne Conway so cleverly pulled from her bony white ass aren’t facts, they’re pure bullshit. That’s the point! They’re the ALTERNATIVE to facts, not an alternative version of facts.. See the difference?

On cannot compromise with evil. Evil will not compromise with you so, if you compromise with evil, evil stays as it is while YOU end up becoming more evil. Same goes for racism, bigotry, misogyny, ignorance and greed. In America, one of our two political parties has in fact fully compromised with all those things.

Take away the stolen labor (slavery) that built the southern and then Confederate economy and you there never is a southern or Confederate economy. Had the money that built the sugar cane, cotton and tobacco businesses been forced to pay its labor fairly (versus zero — it’s entirely possible that a very different country and culture would have emerged, one where workers and work were respected. One where race was irrelevant to how one stood before the rule of law. But, once you get it in your head that white people are superior in all they do, you’ve set yourself up for failure.

America must prosecute Donald Trump if it’s to remain a viable country. We can’t let hostile foreign countries at cyber war with us choose your presidents (and we can’t let the presidents they choose go unpunished for being literal traitors and their presidencies re-evaluated in the light of their treason). To let such presidents & presidencies stand is to invite such foreign involvement in the future since there’s literally no punishment for doing it. Why WOULDN’T a hostile foreign government buy as many candidates as possible? Hey, if democracy’s for sale and there’s money to be made?

Did I mention that nothing good happens when you compromise with greed?

Even as the rats begin turning on each other — realizing the depth of their legal peril — the damage done will remain. Alas, we do have two sets of “facts” in play (a contradiction of terms if ever there was one). Having seized control of the local political machinery (credit where credit is due — unlike Democrats, Republicans ran for local offices because they saw how important local control was), Republicans will have the means to push their states and localities past the breaking point where the rule of law can survive all the corruption around it. The rule of law can’t enforce itself — and every time we enforce it unfairly or unequally, we hurt its integrity. White nationalism drove the Confederacy’s rise. It drives the Confederacy’s lingering, zombie-like presence. It will drive the formation of a Second Confederacy if only to have an entity to negotiate Trump’s release from a prison sentence of Life — for having committed treason.

America at war with itself is unhealthy both for us and for our standing in the world. The world needs us to regain our stature. We really do represent something special to the world — the ideal that hard work and determination can overcome social status in a world that wishes it could quit social status as a “thing”. The world needs our genius for reinvention. It needs our democratic spirit to shine brightly — as the beacon the world always saw in us. If the red states chose to take their ball and go home, I say we should let them!

First, we’d put it on a ballot. One simple question: “Do you want (fill in state’s name here) to be a “red state” from this day forth or a “blue state”?” Count the votes and color the state accordingly.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that red voters have their way in most of the south. They won’t get Virginia. Georgia’s also a question mark as is North Carolina. And I bet even states like Kentucky (where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans) poll differently than we expect. Oh — all those polls? We’re going the hand-marked paper route. There’s too much at stake here to let a bunch of Republican-run companies pretend that they’re anything but corrupt. So, let’s say that all the southern states from Texas to Florida, from the Gulf Coast up through the Midwest to Oklahoma, Kansas, parts of Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, parts of Utah and Western Washington and Oregon — these places all insist on ending their relationship with the United States of America.

This will be awful for all the blue state Americans living in what are now very real “red” states. They’ll be stuck with a Sophie’s choice re their lives. I’d expect a progressive, forward-thinking Blue America to anticipate Red America’s brain drain. Being government-minded, Blue America will naturally plan for various contingencies while Red America thinks “planning” is what “elites” do. Blue America — recognizing how important immigration has always been to the American ideal will simply re-establish, re-state and re-emphasize this fact. Without racism and greed interrupting the conversation, America might finally be ale to have a meaningful dialogue about immigration.

Blue America, we hope, will be a consummate respecter of the rule of law. Break it, no matter who you are, and you must take responsibility for breaking it. Red America, on the other hand, won’t have the rule of law. It will have a grab bag of “make it up as you go along” rules that only apply when they apply and only apply to who they apply to. Being belligerent by nature, Red America will endlessly sabre rattle. They’ll threaten us relentlessly. But only for a while. One thing the rule of law does is organize a society. Since the Second Confederacy will have tossed out the US Constitution, they’ll plow along without one.

Even if Red America tried to fashion a new “improved” US Constitution, we can all imagine the anti-democratic screed a bunch of racist, woman-hating, corrupt scumbags would cobble together. Only hard core Trumpists will be given any decision-making power. There won’t be any “system” beyond corrupt patronage. For reference, see “The Trump White House”. That will be how the Second Confederacy “governs”. Because greed and corruption run everything, nothing will run.

I give Red America’s power grid six months before it begins to shut down. Infrastructure will never happen. Roads and bridges will fall apart, isolating more and more pockets of Red America from Red America. Food will grow scarce, forcing some of those pockets to reconsider their “Red v Blue” votes.

While Blue Americans will be well educated (getting either free state run college or tech training whichever suits them), have health CARE free of charge (well, they pay for it through their tax dollars), paid family leave for pregnancy and illness and a universal basic income that allows Blue Americans to pay their bills while waiting for the best possible job opportunities (the ones that pay bigger salaries and taxes back into the system), Red Americans will sit in the dark, starving. While Blue America thrives, Red America will sink further into misery, making third world countries look like first world countries.

That’s when Blue America will hear a knock at its back door. It’ll be Red America still wanting back in, filled with contrition. Or what they hope is contrition having long since lost the ability to be contrite.

Having raised two children, I’ve learned that the very best teacher our children can have is failure. Success teaches us only that our shit doesn’t smell. Well, that’s nonsense — our shit continues smelling even when we succeed. The second we start buying our own press, we’ve set ourselves up for failure. Better to allow one’s children to taste failure from time to time — and then make sure they see the opportunities failure presents that success never would have.

Yeah, a Second American Civil War would suck. It would be terribly destructive and generationally expensive. But, it might be our only way back to becoming the America the world needs us to be.

The America WE need us to be…

History Teaches: Deadly Pandemics Can Topple Whole Economic Systems — Like This Pandemic Is Toppling Ours

From Black Death to fatal flu, past pandemics show why people on the  margins suffer most | Science | AAAS

The right wing and our punditry are beside themselves that Americans are refusing to go back to work. Um, no — they’re not refusing “to go back to work”, they’re refusing to return to work 1) that doesn’t suit them or their skill sets, 2) doesn’t pay what the work should be paid and 3) doesn’t fit into their lives. This is how workers are supposed to think — not as the slave-like drones conservatives want American workers to be. Leave America and you discover that the rest of the world works in order to live. Americans, by contrast, live to work. It’s not because we love our work; it’s because, in essence, we’re meant to be chained to it. Something in conservatism loves the idea of a workhouse where the indigent work for virtually nothing until they drop dead. Their hands or legs are easily replaced by another. The worker herself is irrelevant; all that matters is that “the work” gets done so the bosses atop the food chain can get paid.

The Black Death that blew through Europe in the fourteenth century (Historian Barbara Tuchman called it “the calamitous 14th century in the subtitle of her brilliant book “A Distant Mirror” — her deep dive into the century that, in Europe — produced not only the Black Death but also, during the same time frame, the hundred years war (between England and France) and the papal schism that put one pope in Rome and a second pope in Avignon, France. For a short time, a third pope also entered the picture but he soon disappeared.

The feudal system that dominated Europe worked vertically. Atop it was the king. Below him were all the families that supported his being king. Below them were the far flung landowners of the realm and wealthy merchants and below all of them were the vassals — the dirt poor peasants working the dirt for everyone above. This was economic slavery. No vassal was ever going to get rich and set himself up in business somewhere. Such things didn’t happen. The system wasn’t designed for anything to happen. Money pre-capitalism was undynamic in nature. A country was worth what it could physically produce. Or pilfer in war.

The bubonic plague killed more than half the population in many places — even more in some, less in others. It devastated the work force. Even as the world succumbed to plague all around them, the healthy tried to keep life going. People still had to eat. Crops had to be farmed and, somehow, gotten to market — if there was still a market. The plague pandemic cut down the number of available hands to do that farming to a bare minimum. Now, the peasant who lived on “Sir John’s” land might normally have been obligated to pick Sir John’s crops so that he could generate income for his estate and family by getting that produce to market. But Sir John’s neighbor — Sir Neville — was offering actual cash to Sir John’s vassals if Sir John’s vassals would pick Sir Neville’s crops first. It’s not like Sir John was a prince who treated them like princes.

So, off to Sir Neville’s Sir John’s vassals went. And, just like that, feudalism in Europe died.

In time, the guilds arose — representing the crafts and then labor in general. With the rise of capitalism, labor became a commodity. Industrialization meant mass production which meant the likelihood of abuse on the factory floor. Industrialization became another form of feudalism to the laborers until the unions — based on the old guilds — rose up and demanded fairness in wages and working conditions.

The Black Death gave life to labor.

Though the death wasn’t anywhere near as catastrophic as during the plague, the coronavirus pandemic still reached everywhere with the potential for mass death. If your loved one’s body is in the pile, you’re not going to measure one pandemic’s body count versus another. You’re mourning a loss that changed your world.

The way this pandemic has already changed ours.

We’ve experienced the “for worse part”. There is a “for better” out there. It’s coming and, if the workers of the world unite? We may see the pandemic with mixed emotions. For some people, this new world will be their salvation.

The Terrible Truth Is: Donald Trump Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

Let me be clear first: with one profound exception, Donald J Trump doesn’t “know” anything! His bloated, orange treason-head is utterly devoid of coherent thought beyond how to keep filling his greedy maw. All that cobwebby space between Trump’s ears and beneath that awful haircut is filled nearly to bursting with one piece of absolute certainty. Donald Trump knows who he is. He knows what he is and he loves that entity and knows how to sell it. And he knows that most of the rest of us — love him or hate him — will buy it. Though it pains me to say, the terrible truth is Trump is a better storyteller than I’ll ever be. I’ll certainly never have his audience. Trump has made the American news media his perpetual bitch and used them — he’s still using them — to tell a story that simply isn’t true. About Trump. About us. But, he knows because his own life proves it, the more he repeats his lies, the more they’ll become “the truth”. Whole religions have risen because demonstrable unreality replaced reality. You’ve got to have done some pretty effective storytelling to get hundreds of people not only to drink your Kool-Aid but feed it to their kids. That’s exactly what Trump is doing.

And we are going right along with him though we don’t have to.

Trump’s a bully. So’s Vladimir Putin (though Putin’s the bigger bully by far). The lessons learned on the schoolyard never get disproven. Bullies, if unchecked, run a sick, twisted show the rest of us have to perform in. Even if a bully’s actions don’t directly touch us, still, their impact on the schoolyard will ripple and those ripples will touch us eventually and then repeatedly. Around us,, some people cower because they naturally play beta to the bully’s alpha. But, others cower not so much at the bully’s power, but at the bully’s effect on the schoolyard. They buy into the bully’s power over the bullied and cynically begin to believe that’s just how it is. The bully will win because (they now see) bullies always win.

Except that’s not true. Most bullies, in the end, lose. In time, another bully rises up and kills them. That’s the tingle at the back of every bully’s neck that never goes away. It’s Tony Soprano always having to wonder if one of his fellow diners in the restaurant he’s eating in plans to bust a cap in his head before he’s finished his pasta. Bullies know that there’s always another bully out there, gunning for them. They know that though most of us will cower, some of us will come for them instead. They may not know us intimately, but they do know how we’ll react to them. They calculate their storytelling accordingly.

Putin’s a spy by training. Spycraft, by its nature, is all about storytelling. Sometimes to explain the truth and sometimes to make the truth unknowable. It all depends on what the spy needs to accomplish. The Hitlers of the world know how deeply tribal hate runs inside most of us; it certainly runs deep inside of them. Being mostly lizard brain themselves they grasp how easy it is to trigger other lizard brains emotionally and then to action. It’s all about fear. Authoritarians and fascists tell and sell “fear stories” to the fearful. They understand that, regardless of their own complicity in their problems, the fearful are much happier blaming their misery on “the other”. Self analysis is hard even for those willing to do it. For those unwilling to do that hard work? They’ve walked into the marketplace of hateful bullshit with their credit card in hand and no limit on the card.

The Trump’s of the world see the rubes coming. Whatever their grievances are — justified or unjustified — Trump plays to them. Magnifies them and turns them into “a cause”. And then he turns to the news media and sells them a story, too — that what he’s doing, ugly as it is, is legit. That’s how things like “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” get normalized and legitimized. Things presidential contenders could NEVER say out loud and get away with — well, now they CAN say those things out loud — and get away with them. They know that we’ll buy “But, her emails!” too — because we’ll buy everything! And we’ll equate “But her emails” with “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing”, thus equating Trump’s very real racism and rape mentality with entirely unreal obfuscation.

Hey, “both sides do it, right?”

Despite the fact that the MAJORITY of Americans don’t want what Donald Trump or the GOP want (we voted against it FFS!), America teeters on the precipice of authoritarianism. How is that even possible?

Simple: because Trump knows us better than we know ourselves.

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans want what Joe Biden wants, want what’s in his Build Back Better package, our news media has us convinced that we might not get those things anyway because the Democrats can’t get their shit together. That’s a piece of storytelling all by itself. The MAJORITY of the Democratic caucus supports what Biden and the Progressive wing wants to do — because their constituents want it too. Ask Joe Manchin’s actual constituents policy by policy if they want what Joe Manchin is negotiating away. Then ask — since he’s not doing it for the voters in West Virginia, on whose behalf IS he negotiating? Then ask if we were talking about a shootin’ war somewhere versus a “war on poverty in America” would we even be having this conversation? We wouldn’t. Regardless of its rightness or wrongness, we always have money for war and never a question of “how’re we gonna pay for this?”

That’s Republican storytelling working its dark magic.

But, here’s where their storytelling magic and its debilitating effect on us suddenly runs out. What Trump and the GOP are counting on — America going along with their criminal hijacking of our democracy (that their version of our story is THE story) — won’t work because it counts on a character detail that simply isn’t present in America’s story. Homorgenous cultures like Germany’s circa 1900 (or any of the European nations and their cultures) were the product of at least a thousand years of different tribes from the same place slowly forging into (in Germany’s case) one German-identifying “nation”. Hitler rose to power despite the majority of Germans hating him (hell,, Hitler was Austrian, not German!). In part, Hitler succeeded through sheer schoolyard bullying. But, in much larger part, Hitler succeeded because he understood the schoolyard and understood how to play the schoolyard’s commonality — nationality — to his advantage. The German tribe was quite large at that point — and very, very “German” even if their passport wasn’t.

Down deep, even the “Good Germans” felt more German than good.

Nationality is key to “national socialism”. America’s sense of “nationality” is entirely different from Nazi Germany’s. Oh, yeah, sure — a third of Americans DO see nationality the way the most fascist Germans did. But they’re only a third — and that’s at best. Feeling white superiority is one thing. Acting upon it is something else entirely. The bottom line on bullies is they’re cowards. If they don’t trust the group will be there to hold their victim down so they can beat that victim? They’re keeping their hands in their pockets. White supremacists know down deep that they and everyone like them are cowards. If they had an ounce of real confidence, they wouldn’t worry about being replaced. They’d go out and compete like big boys and girls.

Should America stumble into its worst case scenario — and the Trumpist Party (that’s who and what the Republicans are now and will be forevermore) literally seizes power (by whatever means which is exactly how they’ll accomplish it) — their moment of triumph will evaporate right before their eyes because they won’t get the willing compliance of a “nation with a common history”. Those white nationalist tribalists will, instead, find staring back at them (and not up at them) the faces of every other tribe — all the ones they shat on, enslaved, denied rights to, abused or thought could never, ever challenge them for supremacy. Not a one of those faces will be compliant.

Or going along to get along because they all know where that leads.

If there is to be a Second American Civil War, it won’t go the way the people who want that war to happen think it will. Witness the number of Americans who won’t go back to work because, frankly, who wants to be a slave? That’s what the corrupt, right wing money has done to our economy — turned most of us into economic slaves, chained to a system we can’t escape and so we go along to get along. Or, at least, we used to.

The Second Civil War won’t be fought with guns. Oh, the right wing will fight that way. They’ll use violence because violence is literally all they have. But, arrayed against them will be the intellectual might of E Pluribus Unum. America’s diversity is what makes it truly exceptional. And America’s diversity will not kowtow to racism, bigotry, misogyny or treason. America’s diverse citizens believe wholeheartedly in America even if those who think they’re “more American” don’t. The many tribes that make up “America” will stand against (and will defeat) the one tribe that stands with Donald Trump.

Okay… I was wrong. Donald Trump does NOT know us better than we know ourselves. Trump’s fatal flaw is what I thought his strength was — he knows himself. He knows only himself and, because he’s counting on “himself” to be there at the moment of truth, he’ll fail.

And that’s because he doesn’t know us. He has no idea who we are and doesn’t care. Same goes for everyone who still puts that “R” next to their names (important life hack, Republicans: if you stand with a monster — even though it’s just because that’s where the money is — YOU are a monster). None of them know or appreciate yet who we are and why we will NEVER let them get away with this. Neither the villains of the piece nor our professional storytellers (the news media) get who we are or what that means about our reactions.

Let’s please, please, PLEASE keep reminding ourselves that WE do.

Slavery Is A Zombie That Won’t Die

Any “original sins” Eve may have committed were literary. America’s original sin — slavery — was absolutely for real. America remains a great idea thus far poorly executed. We’re an experiment in human self government going through a very rough patch because of a design flaw at the beginning. The white, Christian, land-owning men who wrote or stood by “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men” though they did mean “men only”. Some of them, to their credit, did grasp where the correction to their fumble would come from when they made “E Pluribus Unum” our country’s motto. But, even those white, Christian, land-owning men who hated slavery — they still sat down and made a deal with slavery when they allowed it to exist at all inside the new country they were creating. Ever notice how, when you make a deal with “the devil”, it’s always the devil who makes out? Same with slavery.

America made a deal with slavery that slavery is still winning. It’s a zombie that will not die.

The incentive to enslave people is the same as the incentive to get people to work for nothing. Or next to nothing. Free labor is slavery’s one, true goal. All its associated costs (food, shelter and clothing for the enslaved) are just part of the larger equation: what it costs to have the slave versus the slave’s productivity. If the difference between those two numbers is great enough? Slavery is profitable. That’s its bottom line. If slavery wasn’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

The nations of Europe saw the Americas as a money-making venture first and foremost. That there were humans living here wasn’t a problem for long (thanks to European pathogens, not European cultural superiority). Capitalism was always the driving force behind colonization. As soon as the Europeans who first colonized America realized how well tobacco, sugar cane and cotton grew here — all being in high demand back in Europe — the race was on to produce more of those things as cheaply as possible. If we look at it from production’s point of view, the land is a hard cost. It’s non-negotiable. Same goes for whatever the “machinery” costs are to plow, sow and harvest the crops the land produces. The one big variable — the soft cost — is the human beings needed to do the actual physical labor.

If all the other costs of getting finished sugar cane to market are, at best, minimally negotiable and therefore baked into the cost of doing business, then the one place “the money” has to negotiate with is the soft cost: labor. From management’s point of view therefore every penny spent on workers is a penny less of profit. In a fair world, management wouldn’t see this as a zero sum game. They’d have foresight that projected their thinking beyond the next quarter and well into the future. And they’d see themselves and their product in the far larger perspective of the commonweal and the Greater Good.

Too bad crony capitalism is so much more attractive than plain, old, boring regular capitalism.

Take stolen labor off the table and there’s no way the Confederacy rises. Hell, if the money that first seeded the Confederate states’ agrarian economy had paid its labor fairly on principle, they might have founded an actual workers’ paradise. Alas, not only didn’t that happen, but the slave economy that dirty money built continued on even after slavery itself was theoretically made illegal. The greed at slavery’s root grows well in a potting soil of racism. Racism justifies both the greed and the slavery to the racist. Thus is the “slavery zombie” born inside the conservative brain. Inside the conservative-money brain.

No one makes a Nike sneaker — or a Tesla or a Blue Origin Rocket — all by themselves. No one alone can fix anything. Even if an Elon Musk “eureka’s” a great idea, ideas minus execution in some practical way are worth bupkis. They’re just “ideas”. To get from great idea to money-making product in the marketplace takes hundreds if not thousands of other peoples’ input and work. Yeah, sure — in the absence of the great idea, none of this work happens. But, by the same token, in the absence of the work to manifest the great idea here in reality, the great idea doesn’t happen either.

Good capitalism recognizes it must spread the profits generated much more equitably amongst every person who made those profits possible. The idea may get a bonus — an extra point or two perhaps. We do want to incentivize great ideation. But great ideators need to see their work in perspective. Remember: insulin’s creator, Sir Frederick G. Banting wanted insulin to be free to anyone who needed it. He refused to put his name on the patent, feeling it was “unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for a mere $1. They wanted everyone who needed their medication to be able to afford it.” A great idea in context!

But the three companies that currently cover 90% of the worldwide insulin market (Novo Nordisk, Eli Lily and Sonofi) have tossed the intent of insulin’s inventors aside especially inside America’s borders. What costs $8.81 (in 2018) outside America costs an American $98.70.– almost nine times higher. The cost of health care gobbles up much more of an American’s paycheck and wealth than anywhere else on the planet. Nowhere else (that’s civilized) can a cancer diagnosis result in a family going bankrupt and losing their home and generational wealth.

This is how slavers think and do business.

The Civil War may have formally ended slavery but it didn’t end the sentiment that made slavery possible. If anything, the end of formal slavery made informal slavery much more successful and far-reaching in America than actual slavery ever was. Modern day slavers may not be allowed to pay their workers nothing, but paying them next-to-nothing isn’t actually an improvement from the slave’s point of view. If slavery has any “benefits” (and it doesn’t of course), it’s that its workers (slaves) don’t have to feed, clothe and house themselves. The slave master takes care of those expenses. Freedom from slavery — such as it is — makes those expenses the former slave’s responsibility. They better earn enough money — now that they earn money for working — to pay for all these things!

That’s where the slavery-zombie suddenly pops into frame.

America used to foster “company towns” — places where “practically all stores and housing were owned by one company who also employed pretty much everyone in town” Pullman, IL, Hershey, PA, Steinway, NY and Roebling, NJ all were famous company towns. Wages in a company town were just enough to pay the bills (at the company stores) but not enough to ever build any wealth. That way, the workers would always be renters with no assets to speak of, real estate being the basis for all great wealth. That is exactly what institutional racism has done to Black wealth in America — made it almost impossible to acquire and absolutely impossible to maintain.

I know exactly on whose behalf the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is negotiating. I count myself as one of those people. The Democrats therefore are negotiating on my behalf. The Republicans are the most dishonest actors to ever take up acting. They’re cynicism on the hoof (so is the news media that covers them like they’re honest actors). They represent bullshit, criminality and treason. I’m not sure why any Democrat would negotiate with that. I completely disapprove of the Democrats negotiating away the things I want my government to do with my tax dollars especially since I don’t see who exactly we’re negotiating with here as it’s not the Republicans.

There are no Republicans in the room with the Democrats trying to make a deal for Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. There are Progressives and their agenda — the President’s — and there are… “moderates”? Is that what people who negotiate against their constituents’ best interests are called these days? I hear Joe Manchin stamping his feet that “his number” is $1.3 trillion and he won’t budge from it but I don’t see for whose benefit here Joe is “negotiating”. Joe seems to think that taxpayers demanding their tax dollars benefit them is “entitlement” while rich guys putting our tax dollars into their pockets isn’t.

Greed is a foul, foul thing. Like a virus, greed turns those infects “into” it. Even good people suddenly get greedy. They may justify it a thousand different ways but that’s just the virus — their greed – talking.

Being undead, Zombies crave brains. Being greedy, slavery craves free labor — and if slavery can’t get the labor it needs for nothing, it wants to pay that labor as close to nothing as possible.

When Are We Going To Stop Being So Permissive To Criminals And Are We Being So Permissive Because Those Criminals Are White?

On January 20, 2021, at noon, Donald Trump ceased being POTUS and reverted to being Citizen Donald: former president with a few perks-of-the-office still but, in most other ways, just another American beholden to the rule of law. So, when Trump told those subpoenaed by the January 6 Commission to ignore those subpoenas, he was openly violating the law. In fact, each time Trump opens his mouth — like he did again at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines this weekend — and repeats those instructions while also continuing to openly support insurrection — that’s also a crime. When members of Congress stand with and support insurrectionists, they BECOME insurrectionists themselves because that’s how conspiracy to commit a crime works — especially when members of Congress openly associated with those insurrectionists in advance of the insurrection. It’s a crime to assault people just because you disagree with them. It’s a crime to threaten them — especially with a weapon. It’s a crime to co-conspire with hostile foreign governments to undermine America’s government.

At least, in theory, all those things are crimes. Apparently, they stop being crimes when rich, white Christian men are the perps.

First question: WHO is being permissive here? Who appears willing to accept terrible behavior by one group versus far less terrible behavior by other groups? For sure, Black people aren’t being permissive toward white crime, neither are brown nor Asian American nor Native American nor anyone LGBTQ. That leaves white people — and the people who speak for white people, our news media. If outraged citizens on the street, witnessing George Floyd’s murder, hadn’t videoed the event with their phones, we wouldn’t know about it. Same as we don’t know about most of the 6,400 other people police have killed or fatally shot since 2015. This doesn’t happen in other countries. It doesn’t make us “exceptional”.

America remains a great idea poorly executed because the white, land-owning Christian men who drew up America’s founding documents couldn’t overcome their own native racism. And, yeah — they were racists. They proved it by agreeing that “All men are created equal” so long as “All men” is “white, Christian, land-owners who also are MEN”. No one else qualifies as “equal”. Well, that idea is demonstrably false. The same men also put “E Pluribus Unum” on our Great Seal. “Out of many, one”. The Great Seal doesn’t qualify who the “many” are. That’s because E Pluribus Unum captures more fully America’s Secret Sauce (what makes America truly exceptional) far better than “All men are created equal” does.

The playing field has never truly been level here in America. That’s not a reflection on the strength of our founding idea, it’s a reflection of our not having gotten the hang of democracy yet. It really is a challenging form of government, being all DIY. As Churchill put it, “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms…”. Democracy is the best of a bad lot, in part, because (as Ben Franklin pointed out) it demands so much hard work to maintain a republic. It demands that its citizens participate — not an easy ask. In the whole history of humankind, self-government is a very, very recent innovation. Kowtowing like betas to an all powerful, divinely-connected alpha dog who claims a superior blood line is much more our habit. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And people claiming divine authority for their power are the MOST corrupt. They’re also the most full of shit.

That’s not a coincidence.

Here in America, white people gained an unfair advantage at the start that — understandably — they are loathe to let go of. But, what originalism really is saying is “Hey, we wrote the rules at the start — with a heavy bias toward ourselves — but that’s just how it is and how the country must always be”. White people also rationalized a legitimacy for enslaving people. America’s economic base, in the beginning, was agricultural. We could easily grow vast amounts of sugar cane, cotton and tobacco. The only problem with those particular crops though is the labor intensity demanded to grow and harvest them. If one had to pay a fair market wage to the labor needed — and one needed lots of labor prior to industrial farming techniques — then the profit margins would shrink radically; they might even vanish altogether. The decision to use slaves to perform that labor solved that problem by making the labor costs virtually zero.

At its bottommost line, slavery is stolen labor. America made stolen labor legal — so long as the laborer was Black. We also imposed a variation of slavery on Mexican farm laborers and Chinese railroad workers. Slave wages are designed to make economic independence impossible, keeping the worker enslaved to his or her job. An unhappy worker tied to a job because it has health INSURANCE (not health care — ours isn’t a health CARE system, it’s a health INSURANCE system — not the same thing!) that they literally can’t live without is not much better than a slave tied to a master because otherwise they’d have nowhere to sleep, no clothes, no food. Policing in America began as an adjunct to slavery. Originally, cops were slave hunters.

In other words, even the basis for law and order in America harkens back to our racist flaws and the maintenance of a corrupt, brutal economic system based on only one group in America actually having any rights to speak of. We walk in the door making life easier for white people and harder for everyone else. Crystal Mason is doing five years in a Texas prison for voting in 2016 though she was still on parole. Republican (and white guy) Edward Snodgrass forged his dead father’s signature on an absentee ballot — then voted himself — in the 2020 election. Snodgrass is a local politician in Porter Township where he lives. Busted, Snodgrass pled guilty to a reduced charge of falsification and received a sentence of three days in jail and a $500 fine!

Hmmmmmm… doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?

When Trump said, during his 2016 campaign, that he could shoot one of his followers on 5th Avenue and not suffer any consequences, he was horrifyingly right. Trump didn’t use a bullet to take out his followers, he used the coronavirus and lies. Trump understood — having lived the life of a criminal — that being rich, white and Christian was already a kind of “Get Out of Jail Free” card. He also understood that by corrupting others, the potency of that “Get Out Of Jail” card increases exponentially.

All abuses of power are corrupt. Our permissiveness toward white people when they act criminally is corruption on the hoof. That, too, is illegal. If we really want to stop this merry-go-round from hell, we need to stop it for good. We need to call corruption what it is and criminals what they are. If we just reframe our story, we’ll suddenly understand exactly what the story really is. And we’ll stop treating Republicans like honest actors, our partners-in-governance and start treating them like the criminals they are.

Texas + Zero Gun Laws = Death, Death & More Death

Perversely, one of the advantages of America’s students having to study from home during the pandemic was that it radically reduced the number of school shootings. There was plenty of gun violence outside those empty schools to make up for it though — a whole other problem — but, thankfully, school shootings were zero for an extended period: bravo, America! The rest of the civilized world understands what America refuses to: the proliferation of guns across a society endangers every bit of that society. We’re the data set that proves their point! Alas, there’s little one can do to soothe a lizard brain aflame with the fear of mortal peril because Black and brown people live in America. Let’s be honest — every single one of America’s gun laws (like policing itself here in America) has its roots in racism or slavery. Racist paranoia is the organizing principle undergirding Texas’ new gun law — the one that makes it even easier to get a gun, carry a gun in the open and use that gun — as an 18 year old high school student did today in Arlington, Texas when he opened fire at Timberview HS, (so far) injuring four people.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/lockdown-issued-at-timberview-high-in-arlington-possible-shots-fired/2759727/

Even as our news media trips over itself to cover yet another school shooting, they can’t make the leap to “why” it keeps happening. It’s painful watching our news media scratch its head over yet another seemingly intractable American problem, having framed the story for so long from the NRA’s perverse point of view. Australia used to be almost as gun-mad as America. But, on Sunday April 28, 1996, lone gunman Martin Bryant — armed with two semi-automatic assault rifles — killed 35 people and wounded another 23 in Port Arthur, Tasmania, a tourist town. Within two weeks, Australia — its six states completely in agreement — tightened its gun laws, banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns outright. They also “put more hurdles between prospective gun owners and their weapons.” Want a gun in Australia? Prepare for a 28 day waiting period, a thorough background check and a “requirement to present a ‘justifiable reason’ to own a gun”.

The result? “The number of Australia’s mass shootings dropped from 11 in the decade before 1996, to one in the years since – the murder-suicide of a family of five in New South Wales in 2014.” There’s icing on that “reduced gun violence cake”: The overall rates of homicide and suicide also fell significantly after 1996. There are still illegal guns in Australia; it’s a problem they know hasn’t gone away entirely. But they’ve demonstrated the flip side of what we’ve demonstrated: fewer guns where they don’t belong equals less gun violence equals less death.

In other words, one plus one equals two.

I’m old enough to remember when the NRA was a “gun safety” organization. That was before they became the gun manufacturer’s lobby, determined to get richer than they already were by stoking white peoples’ fear of Black people. When dangerous muttonheads like these losers leave their caves, armed to the teeth, who out here are they so afraid of? Do they honestly think a situation could suddenly happen where they’re going to be the thing that prevents a tragedy? They ARE the tragedy — walking around, just waiting to happen!

Every gun — every single one — is an accident or a tragedy that just hasn’t happened yet. Guns are all “death machines”, designed from the inside out to send a piece of hot metal hurtling through the air at a live target, the point being to kill that live target dead. Every part of the gun is designed to facilitate that. Sure, you can fire your gun at a non-living target but that wasn’t the point. Neither is a gun sitting in a gun locker. While that’s a responsible thing to do with a gun that you’re not using, you’re doing something with the gun that it wasn’t designed to do — sit. Guns are death machines. For starters, as they do in Australia, we need to ask: “for what purpose, citizen, do YOU need a “death machine’?”

“Because you’re paranoid” won’t cut it as an answer.

Our biggest problem with guns and our gun laws is that we’ve never been honest about guns or our gun laws. Hell, we’re living inside the NRA’s linguistic bamboozlement that turned a “well-regulated militia” choosing which citizens get to “keep and bear” arms (not OWN them — and “own” was a perfectly good word back then) into a “Have All The Guns Ya Want!” free for all. As written, the Second Amendment was about gun control; it’s right there in the words, no making shit up required.

Conservatives believe feelings are more important than facts. They’re paranoia trumps any facts you can throw at them abut violence. And just like they couldn’t care less if their own children succumb to and die from Covid-19, conservatives apparently couldn’t care less if their children end up in a stack of bodies recovered from a school shooting.

We used to take comfort from the fact that what stopped Russia and America from nuking each other and the planet into a permanent winter was the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Since we both feared the bleak outcome of one side pulling the trigger, both sides agreed in advance not to pull the trigger. The Republican Party is a death cult on a suicide mission — permanent minority rule or bust. We can’t rely on them for anything good or positive. Gun laws epitomize the Republican way of seeing things. From their vantage point? The more death, destruction and chaos we experience, the more they like it.

Okay – What IF America Split Into Two Countries?

In a very real sense, we’re still fighting the Civil War. And, we fought the Civil War because, though we aspired to E Pluribus Unum, we tripped over “All men are created equal” because we didn’t mean “all” men and by “men”, we meant only “men”. America has always been a great idea poorly executed. Or… “not yet executed to its intended specs”. Let’s put it that way. “America is a country still aspiring to reach the potential of its aspirations”. And those aspirations can (and, I believe, will) be achieved if we simply hew to our own founding principle: through many, one.

This, really, is what America is now fighting about. Donald Trump’s presidency — the circumstances that made him president (they don’t include freely or fairly winning election) — exposed the Republican Party for the anti-democratic, permanent minority rule desiring thugs Newt Gingrich dreamed they’d be. In Germany, after WWII, it was against the law to display swastikas or any Nazi symbols because of what they represented. In America, OTOH, we never stopped glorifying treason: that’s what a confederate flag is — a symbol of treason. This is what happens when you compromise with evil (as America did when it cut a deal with slavery).

Our current chaos flows directly from the gross mistake of writing “All men are created equal” but only meaning “white, Christian, land-owning men”. Also, this is what happens when one side loses the war but wins the peace that follows. Whatever the Confederacy lost at Appomattox Courthouse, it regained not very long afterwards: they destroyed Reconstruction (and any chance America had to right a terrible wrong, level its racial playing field and demonstrate just how great an E Pluribus Unum America could be) and stole the narrative. A war exclusively about slavery (that’s according to every seceding state’s secession docs) was repackaged as a war about “states’ rights” — as if the Confederacy was actually fighting a “good fight” about freedom and liberty.

Not only was the Confederacy racist, it was incredibly full of shit.

So is that portion of America that still supports what the Confederacy was after. But then, it’s just conservative standard operating procedure to bullshit everyone including yourself. Right now, red states are howling how much they want to secede from the blue states. That’s so sweet: a bunch of impoverished red necks who can’t take their toothless maws from the federal money teat thinking they could do anything on their own other than fail. Okay, white supremacists — have at it! Show us what a white supremacist super state looks like here in reality!

Confederacy, The Sequel will probably include all the confederate states minus Virginia but plus Oklahoma and probably plus Missouri too. It will also include all those vast tracts of red real estate out west. Idaho, Wyoming, most of Montana and western Washington and Oregon. Far Northern California too perhaps. At first.

Even as the red-hatted yahoos fill the streets with drunken brawling and celebrations, a brain drain will begin. By the same token, plenty of blue state ultra conservatives also might look red-ward. Their blue dollars will be worth far more in those less economically dynamic red states where real estate and life are cheaper. The educated will abandon red America in droves. So, too, will the innovators and problem solvers. Women in those states unfortunately will face some hard choices that dictate staying versus going. Those that go will thrive while those that stay behind will sink deeper and deeper into despair, drudgery and depression because they live in a country that hates them — hates everyone not white, Christian, male and land-owning..

All Red America — The Confederacy, Part Two — can ever be is a poor man’s Gilead.

Being racist and paranoid and short-sighted, Red America will weapon up, their lizard brains aflame with bunker mentality run amok. They’ll see the “same-ification” of their country as success. The white faces all around them will reassure them that they really have achieved the white homeland of their wettest wet dreams. But, within weeks the brain drain will hit them as systems malfunction or break down and the few people capable of fixing anything get stretched thin. The power grid will go first, then other big pieces of infrastructure. Remember — the red states have always relied on the blue states to pay for them. Take the blue states and their money out of the equation and the red states will find themselves broke at the start. Failing roads and bridges on top of unreliable electricity will screw with Red America’s already sketchy supply chain.

Next thing ya know, Red State Americans aren’t just sitting in the dark, they’re hungry, too. And thirsty because the water systems also need maintenance and improvement. And — because their sewage systems also aren’t performing as needed anymore — Red State Americans are now swimming in shit. Still choosing “freedom” over vaccination or mask mandates, variants that, at most, inconvenience Blue State America kill Red State Americans by the refrigerated truckload. Because they refuse any sort of vaccination (or health care) protocols, Red State Americans aren’t allowed to travel to Blue State America — or anywhere for that matter.

Their isolation will increase their paranoia. They’ll saber rattle that much more but with that much less gravity (though they’ll still be Kim Yong-Un style dangerous). The divide between haves and have-nots will expand in Red State America. What remained of the middle class will finally collapse. Ninety-nine percent of Red State Americans will be poorer than they are now while the richer-than-rich one percent get richer still.

The rest of the world will view Red State America suspiciously because Red State America is so corrupt. Corruption will be why so little international money lands in Red State America. Also — the leadership of Red State America will be outlaws from justice in Blue State America where they’ve all been tried for election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason in abstentia. Red State leaders will be as welcome in Blue State America as Jefferson Davis.

Before long, Red State Americans will march toward their border crossings with Blue State America with the same grim determination that Central Americans and Haitians do today. Like those poor souls, Red State Americans will have literally nothing left to lose.

Meanwhile, across the border in Blue State America — where Joe Biden’s agenda got fully funded in large part because the moderates suddenly had nothing corrupt to compromise with — not only are Blue State Americans happier and healthier than Red State Americans, they’re living longer and they’re all wealthier. Every American will have full health CARE (not the health insurance we mistake for health care), free pre-school and community college. Affordable (if not entirely free) public colleges and universities will produce diverse problem solvers as will trade schools and other skunkworks that innovate away our challenges. Blue State Americans will see both the benefits of their citizenship but also its responsibilities — which they will embrace as a matter of civic pride and patriotism.

Give these two countries a decade — just to drive the point home — and two very different-looking countries will result. One will be a lot closer to realizing the full potential of our experiment in self-governance. The other will be an authoritarian shithole with a giant, fake-gold “T” over it. .

White People And Whitewashing

It might not be a coincidence that white people are better at whitewashing things than pretty much anyone else. Originally, “whitewashing” (coined in 1591 in England) was pretty direct in its meaning. One whitewashed walls to clean them of everything not white resulting in a satisfying. uniform whiteness. A whitewashed cottage was easier on the eyes — especially white eyes. In a way, whitewashing things was a way to impose literal whiteness into an environment. Or onto it. And then something really strange happens when white people see a representation of their own whiteness staring back at them. To them, that whiteness is their own innocence of all charges; it’s a mythology built on an actual cover up — a few quick brush strokes of white paint to obliterate a long history of treating every other tribe on Earth like inferiors.

Up until very recently, white people in America got away with whitewashing America’s history. Example — though the Confederacy lost a war they started over slavery (according to their own secession documents), they won the peace afterwards by whitewashing their racism into a more patriotic-sounding concern for “states’ rights”. As in “we seceded to protect states’ rights!” Shame “states’ rights” isn’t mentioned in a single Confederate state’s declaration of secession. That bit of whitewashing happened later.

That’s how whitewashing works. White people come out looking better than they deserve to look. The whitewashing hides the truth — of who they are, what they’ve done and (most importantly) what they intend to do having deceived most people into thinking this love of whiteness in our culture was a stone cold fact of life. It most certainly is not.

Try as they have to whitewash American culture, white people keep appropriating every other culture into white culture because white culture in fact craves the “colors” all those other cultures exude. But white hegemony is a hard habit to break. Especially because it’s built so high upon a foundation of bullshit. White hegemony assumes the total superiority of white culture. It assumes white religion is the correct religion. White thoughts are the best thoughts. White art is real art while other art is “folk art”. White music is “music” while “other music” — jazz, for instance — is noise. White hegemony also insists that the only history worth noting in America is white history. No other tribe’s history in America matters.

To white people, that is. They even managed to memorialize this as a fraction: Black people were worth three-fifths of a white person.

White people really have taken that “whiteness” to heart. They really do see purity in it. Brides wear white — because pure. Whiteness says “Life!” while blackness says “death”. The colors themselves don’t say anything. We imposed those meanings onto the colors.

Want to know what scares white people in America more than anything? The words on our own Great Seal: “E Pluribus Unum” Out of many, one. Diversity has always been our secret sauce — what really and truly makes America exceptional because no other country on earth was built by ALL the other nations on earth the way America was. “E Pluribus Unum” beats the crap out of “All men are created equal” because the white men who penned “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men” though they did mean “all” (as in only) “men”. America is a great idea as yet unrealized. Because white people.

Whitewashing’s effect on our culture are profound. We revised genocide (wiping out most of America’s native people) as “Manifest Destiny” — the divine guidance by a white deity to spread whiteness across North America. We both enslaved Black people literally then enslaved them indirectly by stealing their voting rights and their wealth. Slavery begins with stolen labor — that’s really the whole point of slavery: to get production’s most expensive cost — the labor to make a product or process it — for free. Housing, food and clothing are a slaver’s “cost of doing business”. We have to assume the value of the stolen labor surpassed whatever the living costs were by a ton because the Confederacy (whose entire economy was built on stolen slave labor) was willing to fight a war over it.

In our whitewashed version of history, Reconstruction never happened; it did happen but Andrew Johnson and the South’s undampened racism despite losing the war killed Reconstruction dead before it could level the playing field for Black people in America. Our whitewashed history wants us to believe that Black people never achieved what white people achieved in America because of their blackness. The truth is, white people in America have always begrudged Black people (or any non-white people) any success here in America. Having political power in their hands, white people have used legislation to enforce their whitewashed version of America onto America.

They’ve used the courts to back up their whitewashing. They’ve used the culture and the media to imprint into our brains.

White people have even whitewashed the language. I don’t know about you, but it makes me laugh (not in a good way) every time the news media bleeped “bad words” from their air whenever they broadcast scenes from the insurrection. That is because white ears are delicate. Having convinced themselves that only “others” use “dirty” words while white people use good words (raising up the language!), we’ve convinced ourselves that words are obscene while actions — like insurrection, sedition and treason — aren’t. But then, I guess if insurrection, sedition and treason are being perpetrated by white people?

It’s no biggie. Hell, the Republicans have already begun whitewashing January 6 — just like they’ve obstructively whitewashed the fact that but for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS.

Right Wing Hysteria = Bullsh*t Kabuki

Among the people I’ve worked with during my Hollywood career is mega producer Joel Silver. Back in the day, Joel produced huge box office hits like the “Lethal Weapon”, “Matrix” and “Die Hard” franchises. He also executive produced “Tales From The Crypt” which is my connection to Joel. Joel remains a controversial figure for various reasons and he was controversial back then because of the work environment he created. Joel was notorious for being a monster — for having his way because he was willing to shout louder than anyone else in the room. That was true; Joel did have his way because people simply feared having to “deal with him” (deal with his extreme craziness). But, having sat in the room with Joel while he actually “performed” his craziness? I know for a fact — a lot of Joel’s craziness was an act. It was based on his over-sized personality and hair trigger temper, but, what most people in Hollywood experienced as “Joel Silver” was really “Bullshit Kabuki” — performance art with a purpose.

What our news media calls “white rage” has, at its core, an element of truth: how America was is not how America is going to be — and that will impact white people in a particular way: they will no longer be able to take their cultural hegemony for granted. That’s it. That’s the ONLY thing any white person is about to “lose” — the automatic win. Stone cold fact: white people compete with the rest of us, they step onto a playing field already tilted significantly toward them — and it’s tilted even more so when a white Christian man steps onto the field. Anyone not white, Christian and male has to climb a mountain just to get to the heavily tilted playing field. This applies to business opportunities, education, criminal justice and pretty much everything in America. This happened because when America’s founders wrote “All men are created equal”, they didn’t actually mean “all men” (though they did mean the “men” part).

America has always been a great idea poorly executed. That’s because the white European man who coined “All men are created equal” came from a culture that automatically excluded everyone else. Thomas Jefferson, like all the founders, took his white racial superiority for granted — because of course he did. That doesn’t mean Jefferson or any of the founders was right. Because of course they weren’t. The Catholic Church insisted until quite recently — despite evidence to the contrary — that the earth was the center of everything. Big ideas get perverted by little people all the time. Good thing there are re-writes.

Though America’s founders got the “All men are created equal” part wrong, they got the idea of a living, breathing Constitution right (albeit with way too many giveaways to slavers whose whole business model laughed at “All men are created equal”). They made the document correctable. So far, we’ve made 27 significant revisions to the founders’ vision. A lot of those have gone to expanding “All men are created equal” to include everyone as in “Everyone is equal before the law” and, so long as they follow that law, they can be anything they want to be in America. They’ll have to put in plenty of sweat equity but, as Americans, we accept that challenge because we know — if we do this right — we can get the very best out of every American and make America the very best it can be.

That’s the desire on ONE SIDE of the American equation. On the other — the descendants of privilege crave a return to the days where America was a great idea poorly executed. Democracy won’t get them from here to there because only they would vote for representatives who’d try to make that happen. That’s why the right wing has turned its back on democracy: it isn’t working for them anymore — as in “working exclusively for them”. White Americans have always been happy to import other humans if those humans were willing to work as slaves of one kind or another. What we did to Africans, we also did to Chinese men. We imported them into America to build the railroads for little money then — when that work was done — we made it nearly impossible for them to remain by enacting laws that discriminated against them cruelly.

Let’s be quite clear: Black people in America have NEVER treated white people the way white people treated Black people. Same goes for Latinos. And anyone who came from Asia. In America, the history all runs one way: white people have treated everyone else like shit. White people have worked overtime to prevent everyone else from voting or even from getting to hold onto the wealth they earned through their hard work. Events like the 1921 Tulsa race massacre weren’t just about racial violence. We don’t know for sure how much Black wealth the riot (white people were the ones rioting) blotted out. But, the blotting out of that Black wealth was very much the point. Much of that wealth was taken — by white people. Deliberately. Black people have NEVER done such a thing to white people here in America.

Chinese Americans did not write the exclusionary laws that made their lives hell. Japanese Americans did not write the laws that turned them from good Americans into prisoners of war in their own country. Mexican Americans do not look down on white Americans because those white Americans speak English like a third language.

There is literally nothing legitimate about a white point of view that insists white culture is superior and therefore white people deserve to run everything but that IS the white point of view. To accept it — without forcing it to admit what it really is — is to give credence to bullshit. White culture isn’t superior. Any argument that starts with or from that premise starts out fatally flawed — a fact it knows itself. That’s why those arguing FOR the white cause have to resort to theatrics. They have to put on a show because if anyone actually listens to the arguments themselves, they’re finished. Thus the Kabuki.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Bullshit Kabuki star.

Here’s what I look forward to — MTG getting to perform in the theater space she most deserves to perform in — a courtroom. I look forward to EVERY Republican getting their moment to shine — their Bullshit Kabuki rehearsed and pitched to the very back row. I look forward to Jim Jordan performing. Matt Gaetz. I look forward to Ron Johnson putting on a show on the witness stand as he Bullshit Kabuki’s the story about dinner on July 4, 2018 when he and seven other Republican members of Congress cut a deal with Vladimir Putin. I look forward to GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s singing and dancing as he explains — under oath — what he meant by “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” The entire Republican Party has a gi-bungo problem: they’re all guilty of committing TREASON.

To be fair to white people, there are two kinds of white rage. There’s the real rage — coming from white people who, in some cases, have never gotten their share of America’s promise. There’s also the rage of people whose good fortunes turned bad when technology changed and left their businesses in the past. Blacksmiths feel coal miners’ pain. Most blacksmiths quickly got up off their asses and found themselves new work. That’s how it works for everyone. And, yes, it sucks when you’re the one being disadvantaged by changing circumstances. But, white people having to share power with everyone else in America is not the same thing. These aren’t “changing circumstances” depriving white people of their hegemony, it’s fairness. It’s the actual promise of the American experiment finally getting a chance to shine.

White people may perceive life as a zero sum game but that’s just them seeing the world defensively instead of how it is or could be. The thing they think they’re losing was never really theirs to begin with.

That’s the difference.

The people demanding fairness and equality have always been promised those things but never actually gotten to experience them. They will not accept the status quo any longer. That, too is a difference.

White people attacking the Capitol to try and overturn a (relatively) free and fair election is not an expression of legitimate rage. It’s white hegemony stomping its feet and throwing a temper tantrum. To see it any other way is to give white hegemony credence it does not deserve. It is to see white kabuki as something it isn’t: a legitimate point.

Honest actors are honest actors. They step onto the stage speaking from their hearts but also from their heads. They may have a political point of view, but the thing motivating them isn’t political, it’s an ideal for a better, more prosperous, more diverse America. Dishonest actors — Republicans — spew bullshit and lies and call it patriotism. It sure would be nice if the people charged with reporting our collective story understood the difference.