America’s Love For Guns Is Directly Related To America’s Love for Racism

America isn’t the only country with a racist past. We are however the only (first world) country to have both a racist past and a deep, abiding love for guns and gun culture. America didn’t have to succumb to racism at its birth; that was a choice we made – an economic choice. But for slavery – and the free (because stolen) labor it provided to the cotton, tobacco and sugar cane businesses among others – the South would never have risen to begin with. Or, if they had, it would have been because they’d figured out a way to both make a profit and pay for the labor needed to bring their products to market. Instead, everyone involved succumbed to greed and their worst instincts. Our founders wrote down “All men are created equal” but they meant something else entirely: only white, Christian, land-owning men are equal. Everyone else is there for the white, Christian, land-owning men to exploit.

Slaves and slavery were so essential to the Southern economy that the slavers organized patrols to hunt down and capture escaped slaves. Policing in America originated with these “slave patrols” and that “people as property” mentality remains deeply embedded in how America thinks about (and hires) cops. Do we need any more evidence that America’s police departments are over-stocked with racists who see their job more as zoo keeping than protecting and serving? Our founders had the gall to think of slaves (all Black people, really) as “three-fifths of a man” (and that for political reasons!) When a white cop pulls out their weapon and aims it at an unarmed Black person, to them, that Black person is less of a person than they are and that’s why shooting and killing them is so easy.

But then, guns make killing easy because that’s what they’re designed to do: kill. Every gun is engineered from the ground up to send a piece of hot metal flying through the air – at speed – toward a live target, the goal being to kill it. You can’t send a piece of hot metal flying at someone without thinking it could kill them; death is baked into it. To think otherwise is a lie. While people who aspire to responsibly own a death machine might valiantly try to “be responsible”, the fact is, accidents happen. Unintended consequences happen. Children get ahold of their parents’ unsecured weapons all the time here in America. Don’t believe me? Google it, why don’tcha. Then prepare to spend some time reading.

Nancy Lanza was an avid gun owner and – if you’d have asked her – a responsible gun owner, too. That is, she was a responsible gun owner until the morning of December 14, 2012 when her son Adam murdered her with one of her own legally purchased firearms then headed to Sandy Hook Elementary School. The thing is, guns aren’t designed to sit in gun lockers. It’s like how cars aren’t designed to be driven by drunk people. But, when guns get out of their lockers – or drunk people drive – that’s when the tires hit the road – and the drunk driver kills someone. How responsible is a gun owner when their death machine is in their hands – or the hands of others? In America, 329 people are injured by firearms every single day. In 2019, according to UC Davis Health, 39,707 people died because their life intersected with a gun. That’s a hell of a lot of irresponsible gun ownership, no?

The “responsible gun owner” argument is that THEY aren’t like that. THEY are different, ya see. They’re “responsible”. Until they aren’t. Until something unexpected happens as it did yesterday when 15 year old Ethan Crumbley took the semi-automatic 9 mm Sig Sauer handgun his dad had purchased a few days before to school – where Ethan was already in trouble for “concerning classroom behavior”. We don’t know if Ethan’s parents were ever “responsible gun owners”, but they definitely failed that test in the end.

Ya see, that’s the problem for all of us out here who DON’T own death machines. We have to rely on the competence, good intentions and genuine “responsible-ness” of everyone who owns a gun. Gun non-owners won’t know ahead of time which gun owners are failing to be responsible. We never got a head’s up that James Holmes was going to the movies on July 20, 2012 at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Was James ever a responsible gun owner? Don’t know. But, if he ever was, he wasn’t that night when he killed twelve people. 70 others were injured, 58 from gunfire. Same token, we don’t know if Omar Mateen was ever a “responsible gun owner” before he killed 49 people and injured 53 more at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL which he shot up on June 12, 2016.

While racism itself isn’t behind most of our mass shootings – male dysfunction is – the easy availability of death machines across America makes it easy for every male with personality flaws and anger issues to use a gun as part of their “therapy”. The NRA seems to approve of its members using the second amendment to resolve all disputes. As Kyle Rittenhouse proved, you can even cry “self defense!” when shooting unarmed people because you feel “threatened” by them.

Want to know just how racist America is? Imagine, if you will, what would have happened to AR-15-toting Kyle Rittenhouse if he had been Black instead of privileged white. Think the cops there that night in Kenosha would have waved at Kyle and waved him through? Think all the armed racists there to threaten the Black Lives Matter protestors would have seen Black Kyle as one of their own? Puh-leeze! If Kyle Rittenhouse was black, they would have had to clean up what was left of him with a hose.

America’s gun lovers insist they need guns to protect them from an overzealous government. To call that horse shit is a kindness it doesn’t deserve. It’s right wing bullshit kabuki. It’s a lie. Right wing gun lovers do not fear the government; they just want it out of their way. Right wing gun lovers – almost entirely white – see themselves as surrounded. A diversifying America terrifies them because they refuse to share power. And the people they refuse to share power with is everyone not them – not white. And, to make their point of just how determined they are? They “open carry” their intentions.

No one at a supermarket is going to attack them. No one ever was going to. They gun owner knows that. The point of the exercise isn’t self-defense, it’s intimidation. It’s white people trying to impress everyone else that they – a gun owner – can hurt them bigger and better than the person without the gun can hurt the gun owner. No part of that thinking is even remotely “responsible”. But it is deeply racist.

Not every gun owner is a racist, but – count on it – every racist needs a gun to feel complete. They need a gun to do what they personally can’t – force people they don’t like to do what they want (including die).

A guns is to a racist what a good argument is to anyone else. The gun IS the racist’s argument.

“Originalism” is Racism In A Judicial Robe

I almost admire the conservative ability to wardrobe utter bullcrap as serious legal argument — and get away with it. “Originalism” is one hundred percent pure, unadulterated bullcrap. The tell? It holds this truth to be “self evident” — that “all men are created equal”. Except the white, Christian, land-owning men who wrote and stood by those words didn’t mean them literally. Yes, they meant only men. But, by “men”, they only meant white, Christian, land-owning humans possessing a Y chromosome (a thing they didn’t know existed). While some of America’s founders truly took their inspiration from the French Enlightenment, too many took their inspiration from the Bible — where slavery (and bigamy and child rape and all kinds of awfulness) was accepted. The Bible was used to justify slavery (and miscegeny and genocide). To this day, some of our most fervent Christians (by their description) are also our most fervent racists, misogynists, bigots and fans of genocide. Orginalism sees itself reflected in slavery and it likes what it sees.

Originalism is all about justification — justifying why modern people, despite being modern, are obligated to follow how things were done in the past simply because that’s how they were done in the past! That’s it. That’s conservatism’s entire rationale — what’s wrong with ‘how we did it’ even if ‘how we did it’ excluded, punished, disenfranchised or disadvantaged an increasing percentage of the rapidly diversifying population?

The term was coined in the early 1980’s by then Stanford Law School dean Paul Brest (who was actually critiquing originalism as a way of thinking). Legal minds and scholars were trying to wrestle to the ground “the founders’ original intent” as a “final arbiter” for how to interpret them. Now, let’s be clear up front — the founders did some serious heavy lifting. They articulated something that hadn’t ever been articulated before: what Lincoln would later call “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”. But, being fallible humans (being men even more fallible therefore!) America’s founders didn’t get it entirely right. For starters? They screwed the pooch on “All men are created equal”! We The People need to start there. Most people who aren’t white already do.

Originalism appealed to smart guys like Antonin Scalia because they saw in it a way to disguise their own racism. They want us to believe it’s not relevant that the founders lived in a hierarchical world of their own creation. That slavery existed then means, really, that slavery should still exist now. Republicans really and truly do believe that. It’s why they hate the whole idea of a “minimum wage”. A minimum wage means you can’t coerce someone to work for you for free. That is what slavery is after all — stolen labor. A slave owner steals the work product of his slaves (after deducting the costs of housing, clothing and feeding the slave). It must have been profitable because slavery persisted in America for as long as it did.

It took a whole Civil War to actually stop it. Though, looking back, clearly, we only stopped slavery as practiced out in the open. Slavery has endured to this day. It’s what killed Reconstruction dead before it could level the playing field. It’s what motivated every Jim Crow law (now and then). It’s what motivated poll taxes and voting restrictions. It’s what motivates white supremacy and pretty much the entire Republican “agenda” (such as it is). Originalism, don’t forget, made its peace with slavery: it accepted it outright.

And every originalist still does — still accepts, if not slavery itself (so messy!) then slavery’s cousins, nieces, nephews and entire extended family. Anything that forces America to be exactly how it was, or to think how it thought, wears its white supremacist purpose right there on its Klan robe. How much would you like to bet that more than a few conservatives — if given a way — would gladly bring back slavery?

Fortunately for America, some of its founders actually got what America was actually doing — saw its genius and framed that genius correctly: “E Pluribus Unum”. Out of many, one has always been the source of America’s genuine exceptionalism. Diversity. Ironically, diversity is originalism’s nemesis.

What more do you need to know about originalism? It excuses white people from ever having to work too hard, from having to compete, or from ever having to take responsibility for their actions. Imagine the chaos that corruption would cause if it slipped on a judicial robe and then legitimized itself. Hey — no need to tax your imagination. Show me an originalist, I’ll show you a racist — even if they present as a perfectly nice lady like Amy Coney Barrett. Institutional racism like theirs never has to sully itself with honesty. The racism embedded in the culture does all their heavy lifting.

Ditto the misogyny.

The RW money — seeing demographic extinction in its future — got proactive. The Mercers, the Kochs et al, put their money on (and into) the Mitch McConnell project to deny President Obama very possible lifetime federal bench seat while cramming through as many of Trump’s lifetime appointments as possible (including Amy Coney Barrett’s shotgun nomination and confirmation in the waning days of Traitor-In-Chief Donald Trump). The RW money represented the very same interests as white supremacy — but with a used car salesman’s disingenuous smile and a proctologist’s cold, fishy handshake. Democracy poses too many problems. It’s too, too unpredictable. That’s why it was always the RW money’s goal to do everything possible to undermine American democracy — it’s the shortest distance between where they are now and permanent minority rule.

If America’s founders had been all or mostly Black, do ya really suppose “originalism” would be a “thing” among white guys today? Of course it wouldn’t! And if Black guys spit back “originalism” every time a white guy demanded to know why he had no rights? This is one more conversation we would not be having.

It’s A Good Time To Ask Conservatives: What Exactly Is It They Want To “Conserve”?

The Republican Party Needs To Be Razed and the Earth Salted Behind It –  Mother Jones

Ask me where I stand politically and I’ll tell you: I’m a Progressive. “Progress” perfectly describes what I want for my family, my community, my city, my state, my country and my whole world. I want them all to progress into the future the best way possible so that as many people as possible benefit, thrive and succeed. Yeah, I truly do believe that a rising tide will indeed float every single boat. That’s what I want. That’s what your average Progressive wants. Now, ask a conservative what they want and the world they’ll describe doesn’t look like the future. It looks exactly like the past. Or, more precisely, they’ll describe a world caught in amber where as much of the past as possible is frozen in place in the present. That is exactly what conservatives want to conserve: the past or whatever is left of it. If it was possible to literally halt progress and, instead, regress us collectively into the past, many (if not most) conservatives would absolutely do it.

What does a white supremacist want to conserve? What does a yahoo waving a Confederate flag want to conserve? What does Mitch McConnell want to conserve? What does Charles Koch or the Mercers want to conserve? What does Vladimir Putin want to conserve?

“Originalism” perfectly captures the entire conservative “ethic” in one, neat, bite-sized corruption McNugget. The concept is simple. America can only ever be what the white, Christian, land-and-slave-owning men who drew up its founding documents thought it could be at that time. Originalists (like Antonin Scalia) insist that we must accept that flawed version of “All men are created equal” where “All men” only referred to white men like them and only men. Fortunately the more progressive-minded founders reframed America’s founding principle in the Great Seal: “E Pluribus Unum”. Out of many, one. See how one way of thinking tugs us backward while the other propels us forward?

Why did our founders cut a deal with slavery? Because money. Take slavery’s stolen labor off the table and the Confederacy never rises. Maybe America never happens period. After all, slavery, to a degree, helped cash flow our Revolution. We’re still dealing with this Devil’s bargain. We compromised with evil except evil never actually compromises with us; all that happens is we become a little more evil. Or a lot more evil. The impulse to enslave is the same impulse to get anyone to work for nothing (or next-to-nothing). Good bosses recognize that good workers are worth more than bad workers because of what motivates them. Slaves don’t want to be there no matter how hard you whip them. But then, the whole point of a slave and slavery is pure, brute economics.

Want to know why conservatives hate the BBB? Because its core concept wants to empower virtually everyone. The whole point is to go as far as possible to actually level the American playing field so that, for once, everyone has the exact same shot at attaining the American Dream. That won’t just be good for them as individuals, it will be good for everyone. If it means rich people won’t be quite as rich, I can live with that. So can they.

The reason conservatives bristle at the thought of Critical Race Theory is because of that first word: “critical”. Conservatives and conservatism cannot stand up to criticism or critical thinking. They want to make slavery a museum display and nothing more as if the moment the Civil War stopped, all of slavery’s harm magically stopped. How ironic that such devoted Christians (conservatives cling to their Christianity almost as tightly as they cling to their guns) find contrition so objectionable. But then, conservatives don’t believe in a Jesus who preaches “Do unto others”, they believe in a church that commands “Do as I say — or else!”

Slavers, don’t forget, pointed to the Bible as a justification for slavery. But then, the Bible is just originalism’s founding document.

As the conservative feel good vibes of Reaganism waned, the conservative money saw catastrophe on the horizon. America was diversifying at such a rapid pace that “thinkers” like Newt Gingrich grasped how perilous white conservatism’s grip on long term power already was. When Gingrich declared his culture war on the Democrats, he was declaring that war on actual Americans — all those diverse, not-white-like-Newty Americans who would soon enough usurp political power forever. That scared Newt and every conservative like him. The thought of losing power (of even having to share it!) was unacceptable. It made them feel bad and those “bad feelings” are behind literally every move conservatives had made since.

Gerrymandering isn’t meant to represent the majority’s will, it’s meant to circumvent it — to give the minority undue power and influence over the majority. And, if it’s done right? Gerrymandering will make that minority rule permanent. Just in case, conservatives also rely heavily on voter and voting suppression. Donald Trump himself said it out loud: when more people vote, Republicans lose. The presence of Donald Trump caused the GOP to step up its game however. Or, more accurately, Trump’s presence kompromised the entire GOP into submission. Though the Republicans may have resisted Trump at first (the Marco Rubio-backing Washington Free Beacon paid for the original oppo research on Trump that led to the Steele Dossier), Trump’s corruption became their corruption. A month before nominating Trump to be their candidate in 2016, the Republican leadership acknowledged amongst themselves that Trump was owned outright by Vladimir Putin.

There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” is now current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he walked into a room of GOP leaders. No one stood up and said “Whaaaat? Kevin — are you sure about this?” There was nervous laughter instead (the entire scene was recorded and the recording was played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous). Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quickly corralled the room’s nervous anxiety. No one was going to talk about this fact that they all knew or suspected outside that room. They would all keep this national security threat a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, is the bow Ryan put on it.

Once you cross the line into treason? There’s no going back. What happened in that room was absolute treason and everything awful that’s happened to and in America since has flowed from that moment of treachery.

Maybe I need to tweak what it is that American conservatives want to conserve. The past they want to conserve is one where they aren’t serving a life term in a federal prison for committing treason. In that context, it ain’t hard to get what any conservative might want to “conserve”.

The Only “Good Way” For A Democrat To Counter “Critical Race Theory” Is For The News Media To Have Resisted The Rabbit Hole To Begin With

Fascists, authoritarians, seditionists and Republicans all adore rabbit holes, the deeper, the darker, the flat-out crazier the better…

What makes the whole “Critical Race Theory” conversation so perfect for them is that their rage isn’t based on anything. Well, not anything real. It’s a balsa wood chimera and that’s super ironic because there really is a monster at work here: the very white people pitching “Critical Race Theory” as a boogey man. “Education” may have been how the button was labeled — the button they kept pushing in Virginia — but the dot it connected to was pure, unadulterated racism. Every time Glenn Youngkin blathered about wanting Virginia’s parents to be involved in their children’s education, what the suburban moms heard was “Stick together, white people!” Not a one of those parents — even the ones who’d previously voted for Obama — thought they were being racist, but that’s how systemic racism works. The system does all the racist heavy lifting for you. All the white person has to do is show up and look “shocked!” that such things still happen in America.

“Critical Race Theory” is an academic theory that, being an academic theory, can stand up for itself all by itself — in the context in which it was created: academia. The academic idea undergirding CRT is sound. It asks in cold, hard terms what racism cost Black people in America — racism being antithetical to America’s stated purpose. How did white America profit and benefit at Black America’s expense? And how might that very real wrong be righted? How shall America make not only its Black citizens whole but — in so doing — make itself whole as well. How shall America seize this moment to finally fix what the country’s founders got wrong? While they wrote “All men are created equal”, cynically, they didn’t mean “all men” though — cynically — they did mean only men.

America remains a great idea as yet unrealized. Even the founders knew they hadn’t gotten it right yet — and began amending their Constitution almost immediately. Their own intense debate over slavery informed their final work product. Though the founders made a Devil’s bargain with slavery, they built in the means and mechanism for slavery’s eventual elimination. The Confederacy beat the founders to it though. Not a single Confederate state argued “states’ rights” in their secession documents; they all argue for slavery. Slavery may have lost the (Civil) War, but it won the peace that followed. Thanks to Andrew Johnson, Reconstruction (which would have gone a long way toward leveling the playing field that slavery made vertical) failed even before it got started.

Slavery’s bottommost line is stolen labor. A slave works for free. So long as a slave’s work product is worth more than the cost of housing, clothing and feeding that slave? Slavery makes economic sense. And if people still buy your products and do business with you even though they KNOW you use slave labor (hello, China!), then why change what you’re doing since what you’re doing is more profitable than the alternative? Money automatically compromises every conversation it gets into. Slavery is immoral — full stop! Anyone who enslaves others should be a pariah. Anyone who profits from slavery — same thing. Anyone who today continues to benefit from slavery while others continue to suffer from its ripple effects needs to stop benefiting. They’re not entitled to those bennies.

The real point of making CRT a thing is to connect America’s suburbs back to its latent racism. Back to the systemic racism that 1) aims to keep Black and brown people “in their place”, 2) aims to deny that any systemic racism exists, 3) makes ending racism nearly impossible and 4) makes reparations for slavery (racism’s crowning achievement in America) completely impossible. Racism starts on the back end of that process. Reparations are impossible because racism can never end because racism is so pervasive because Black and brown people must be kept “in their place”. Racists don’t have to reason themselves to that conclusion, that’s their starting point. And like all conservative values, the goal is full-on regression back to a “golden age” in the past where white, Christian, land-owning men ruled over all they surveyed.

The first rule about rabbit holes is avoid them. Whether it’s CRT or birtherism or The Big Lie, once you follow a Trumpanista or a Republican down any of these rabbit holes, the game is already over and they won. Does anyone really want to try and reason a QAnon follower back to reality? They wouldn’t recognize it even if we chained them to it. The only good answer when a Trumpanista offers to show us around their rabbit hole is “Thanks, but no thanks”. Don’t even stand in the doorway — it can suck you in like a black hole’s event horizon. One minute there you are, YOU, the next you’re being spaghettified by the intense gravitational pull of the most powerful force in the universe: bullshit. The moment you even allow that “bullshit ‘could’ be true”? Bullshit won. Don’t expect it to be gracious about it.

Every time Glenn Youngkin said “education” or “CRT”, the correct response from the press shouldn’t have been what it was (“Oh, please — tell us more!”), it should have been a derisive groan as they pulled back their microphone and an angry “What the hell are you even talking about?” And every time they leapt into the rabbit hole, expecting us to follow, they should have seen us standing at the rabbit hole’s rim, arms akimbo, a look of withering disrespect in our eyes. “No,” our expression should say, “I’m NOT following you down there, that’s bullshit! You want to have a conversation, Skippy, you and your lying ass step outside the rabbit hole, otherwise…”.

It’s not unlike arguing with a child. After not getting so much as listened to for a while (never mind not getting their way), even the most intransigent five year old eventually will come around because they’ll need something which, being a five year old, they can’t provide for themselves. Similarly, Republicans spewing bullshit would eventually come around if the news media stopped ingesting that bullshit and began demanding receipts instead.

That would be my recommended response: “Back it up or it’s bullshit”. Think of the look in a Trumpanista’s zombie eyes as, instead of following them into the nether regions of their lunacy, you told them to put up or shut up first.

That doesn’t seem like much of an ask of our news media — to demand receipts from BOTH SIDES instead of the one that always has them — the Democrats. The reason Democrats have receipts is because they use facts as the basis for their world view whereas Republicans never have receipts because they base their worldview on their feelings. And, since the prime feeling inside every Republican is white terror at losing political hegemony, there can’t ever be any facts other than the one: white supremacy relies on white people maintaining political power even if it’s at the expense of our democracy.

That’s what Glenn Youngkin really pitched to Virginia — a neater, “cleaner” version of Trumpism and, especially Trumpism’s core racism. Calling it “Critical Race Theory” has the added benefit of putting racism’s victims — Black people — right back on the defensive: how DARE Black people demand that white people admit to some simple, basic historical truths: without slavery’s stolen (and therefore free) labor, the Confederacy would never have risen the way it did. Every single slave is entitled to every bit of back pay plus interest. But, that’s only if we really want to be fair.

Being fair is hard. It can be really expensive too. But, consider the alternative. The instant we abandon “fairness” because it’s hard, we make being unfair the go-to position since it’s so much easier. And then we wonder why our whole country — despite the majority wanting democracy — teeters on the edge of authoritarianism. Nothing good comes from following anyone down a rabbit hole.

That gets exponentially worse when the rabbit hole is constructed entirely of racism.

If We’re Honest With Ourselves, We Suck At Being Honest With Ourselves

Americans love honesty. In the abstract, anyway. Young George Washington could not tell a lie about cutting down his father’s favorite cherry tree (“the story first appeared in an 1806 autobiography of Washington, whose writer admitted that he was just trying to show how our most beloved president’s “unparalleled rise and elevation were due to his Great Virtues.”). “Honest Abe Lincoln” was, well, “notoriously” honest in, well, everything. Americans really liked that about him then and we still do. “Honesty’s the best policy”, we insist. Tell the truth and it will set you free. Hey, even Shakespeare got it. Above all: “to thine own self be true”.

But, as much as Americans talk the talk about honesty, Americans collectively suck when it comes to actually walking honesty’s walk. Especially when we have to be truthful to ourselves. As we stand before the bathroom mirror each day — just us and, well, US — as we look into our own eyes and attempt to take stock of ourselves, that is when we need to be most honest about every last little thing that got us from wherever “there” is in our past to wherever “here” is. Forgetting vital details is one thing; sometimes memories need to be stoked to life like an old furnace. Deliberately refusing to confront them, regardless of why, that’s a sign something’s desperately wrong. America is staring itself in the bathroom mirror and if we can’t be absolutely honest with ourselves (on both sides of the looking glass), we will absolutely plunge off the precipice.

I’m just speaking from experience here. Very long story short: I kept a secret from myself for 45 years. What I mean is, as I stared at myself in every bathroom mirror I ever stood in front of for that whole time, I refused to acknowledge to myself (and for my own benefit!) that when I was 14, I was sexually molested twice by the religious director at the synagogue where my family belonged. Can I tell ya? Doing that made a mess inside my head that came within literal inches of killing me. Not to worry — I got better. Between a great therapist, the right mood stabilizer and copious amounts of smoked THC, I managed to put my darkness at arm’s length, admit to myself that I was the victim of an adult committing a crime against me, not the one responsible for it happening, and begin to create bonds with other people that I had been unable to beforehand because of the secret I was keeping (“if they didn’t know my secret, they couldn’t possibly know me” was how I saw it). Getting mentally healthy was life-changing. The process itself was hard. But worth it!

Something in the American character reflects Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” —

Church Lady is very, very, VERY judgy. What makes her funny however is how bang-on right she is! We get the behaviors that disgust Church Lady. She sees on such a granular level though. And kind of obsessively, too. That’s what makes Church Lady really funny and a great character: she’s the guiltiest of “unchristian” behavior, really, and the least able to see it in herself. Church Lady, like that great swath of racist America, cannot to her own self be true.

If America was really and truly honest with itself, it would admit a few things to itself. For instance — we are not nor have we ever been a “Christian Nation” founded by Christians. Some of the men who took part in founding America were, indeed Christian. Plenty were deists however like Thomas Paine (they believed in a “Supreme Being” but not one defined by any institutional church. They saw “God” in nature and in logic and in democracy. We should also be honest about what the country’s founders did and didn’t do. They did have a great idea — self government where the rule of law dictated everything. However not all great ideas are executed the right way right out of the box. Some great ideas (human flight, for instance) take a long time for us to perfect enough to not die every time we try them. “All men are created equal” has a lot going for it — but it’s not perfect and never was.

For starters, the white, Christian, land-owning men who gathered together to articulate what they thought this new nation should be, started their work from a skewed position. They didn’t mean “all men” though they did mean “only men”. By “men”, the men who founded America meant them. Just them: men who looked, acted, sounded, spoke, prayed and thought just like them. But, at the same time, James Madison encapsulated the American ideal this way on our Great Seal: “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one. See how much cleaner that is? How much more inclusive? Nothing about E Pluribus Unum says “but give the white guys all the advantages they can possibly have because otherwise they can’t compete”.

Why did America cut a deal with slavery? Simple: money. Without stealing the labor of every slave who worked a cotton, tobacco or sugar cane plantation, none of those crops would have been nearly as profitable. To this day, you’ll hear arguments from serious people that this justified slavery — how else could the Confederacy have risen without all that free labor (minus the costs of housing, clothing and feeding one’s slaves)? I wonder, would any of those slavery apologists be apologizing for slavery’s “necessary evils” if their families had been in bondage or if their family’s wealth had been taken from them along with their freedom? Puh-leese! Ask a hard question!

It’s like asking a racist if they’re a racist. How the hell would they know? They’re a racist! Racism isn’t in the eye of the racist anyway — same as beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder — more exactly, in the eye of the racist’s victim. If anyone sees racism in someone’s attack on them, it’s not for any of us to question them, NOT being subjected to the racism. Oh, yeah — this can be messy. But racism is way messier. To fix things of this nature, it doesn’t do to aim for the middle. You aim for the other extreme because it’s the only way you can possibly get tot he middle. We have to see and call out every bit of racism for the time being in order to assure ourselves collectively that we’ve really and truly leveled the playing field for everyone.

That is democracy’s true goal — to get the very best out of everyone by giving everyone the very same opportunities. Consider how much genius America has denied itself simply because our racism refused to educate or nurture certain people. Consider how fearful some Americans have always been about learning anything new! The “Know Nothings” were an actual political movement who were anti-Catholic, Anti-Irish, anti-immigration, populist and xenophobic. This, really, is pure conservatism. It wants to conserve what was — the imperfect version of America the founders put into practice. That is what originalism wants to enshrine in amber and call “America” — our first draft.

Well, fortunately for America, E Pluribus Unum finally overtook “All men are created equal” and that’s what triggered white rage — the fear of losing (or worse, having to share) political power with the rest of America’s citizens.

How do we fix it? Oh, it’s soooooooo simple (yet soooooooo complicated). We walk into a private bathroom. We lock the door. We go to the bathroom mirror and we look at ourselves in it.

And then we cut the shit.

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. Hear, HEAR, John Oliver!

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.

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.

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.