So. Anything Interesting Happen This Weekend?

Published November 9, 2020
Biden wins White House, vowing new direction for divided US

Trying to write something about this election is like trying to pick up a hundred pounds of sand in your arms. Things slip away. It’s big and unwieldy. Also, you wonder if you have anything to say that others have not already said better than you can.

Still, for my own sake if for no one else’s, I feel like I should say something, since I have fought, like half the country (and, alas, only half the Church) to see this day come.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the next President and Vice President of the United States.

The first and most important thing to say about that is that this is a time to celebrate. The American people have met and beaten the gravest domestic threat to the United States since the Civil War. Yes, challenges still lie ahead. But take a breath and savor that fact. It could have been otherwise. This monstrous man could have won again and we could have seen him complete the destruction of our civil order that he has thus far so ignobly advanced. We could have watched helplessly as this lazy, ignorant eugenicist fool adopted a “plan” for “herd immunity” that mean doing nothing while we were abandoned to sickness and death totaling millions.

But he didn’t. We beat him. And more than simply beating him, we have elected a decent and good man who is competent and who has already shown himself determined to seek the common good. That too is worth celebrating.

In addition, we have elected not just a woman, but a woman with both African and Asian roots whose very being is a repudiation of the racist, misogynist Freak Show that is the MAGA Cult. That too is worth celebrating.

Also, worth celebrating is the fact that we shall soon be governed by Competents who will take science seriously again instead of living in a cloud cuckoo fantasy land of lies. That is good news both for those facing COVID and for those facing climate change. Speaking of which, Biden will instantly rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and is already putting together a Pandemic Response. Since he already helped create both of those things before, he has experience.

For my part, as for many, Election Day itself was painful because of the Gomer Pyle Axiom of High and Low Expectations.

What is that, you ask? Simple. When you have high expectations, then anything less than crushing victory feels like a loss, whereas when you have low or no expectations, mere competence can seem like a revelation of glory. So when Gomer Pyle bursts forth in a voice of moderate talent, it feels as though a new Caruso has arisen. But when Michael Jordan misses a layup, it feels like the foundations of the earth have been shaken and everything you thought you knew was wrong.

Like many people, I was, if not certain, at least highly confident of a Blue Wave last Tuesday. Surely, I thought, after the spectacle of the past four years and the steaming cesspool of GOP Crime Syndicate Corruption, this would result in a shattering win for the Dems, not only for the Presidency, but for the Senate and House as well.

So it was deeply depressing to watch nearly half the country fulfill LBJ’s prophetic analysis of this deep, original sin in our national character:

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Sorry. But you can’t convince me that is not the fundamental dynamic at work here. Trump has run on and ruled by racism again and again. It’s his characteristic appeal and his base knows that. If you tell me “Maybe for some, but lots of people voted for him cuz he’s prolife” I reply that you are either ignorant, stupid, or a liar. And that isn’t just because he raised Planned Parenthood funding to record heights.

The reality is that the people who claim they only support him because he is “prolife” have proven this is a lie every single day for four years.

How?

Because instead of defending the unborn, they have devoted their time and energy to defending every lie, cruelty, sadistic act, racist remark, misogynist bullying, sexual assault, kidnapping, call for violence, and criminal act he has committed. They voted for him this time, not because those things were bugs, but because they were features. If they had really only supported the prolife stuff and not all the other filth. they would have spoken against the other filth. They never did. They either remained silent or, as was far more often the case, they passionately supported it.

So yeah. It was heartbreaking to see not only half of America, but half the Church go for this filth for four more years. And for me, it was shocking.

But then I reflected on the fact that there are lots of people for whom it was not a shock at all. For millions of brown people, for instance, it was no shock. It was, in fact, confirmation of what they have been saying for years that I didn’t want to believe.

More than that, it was not a shock to God. Indeed, God seemed to me to be saying, “Prudence suggests learning from brown people in this hour instead nursing your wounded ethnic and religious pride that thought your tribe better than that.”

So that is the first (but by no means the last) lesson I am taking from this election. The enormous turnout of this election means that we have been given a very accurate diagnostic of the health of the body politic (and of the Body of Christ) in the US.

For those willing to prudently face reality (something the MAGA cult is dedicated to denying) we are being offered a scary, but hopeful, moment from Christ the Physician. The Election is the moment where he has taken that half of the Church willing to listen to the Spirit into his office, shut the door, and said, “Your tests are back and you may want to sit down for this. I have some bad news.”

Not hopeless news, mind you. But bad.

God diagnoses us so that he can heal us (with our cooperation). And as Peter says, “Judgment begins with the house of God” (cf 1 Peter 4:17). The reason our nation is so sick is because of a failure in the Church. We have failed to be the leaven we are supposed to be and have, instead, taken on the flavor of the culture like tofu.

I don’t claim to know how to fix blame for that, except that (as I hope to discuss in a week or so) the guiltiest culprit is me. Nor am I altogether confident about whether the disease had progressed or receded in my lifetime. My guess is that a century ago, much more than 50% of the Church would have been comfy with an unabashed racist as President.

Such things are hard to measure since progress is a relative thing and I tend to measure my ancestors by how far they moved the ball down the field given their point of origin, not by how closely they map to present mores. King David sparing his enemies summary execution was making a stride unthinkable in comparison with most Bronze Age Semitic kings. In comparison, Trump not having Biden taken out and shot is not a sign of his enlightenment by the Spirit, but simply a bare minimum adherence to the rule of law by a sullen child who wishes he had that power.

Similarly, I can say that while it is good that half the Church has opposed this goon and his corrupt racist agenda and that is probably better than what the the Church of 1870 would have accepted as normal, the other side of it is that it is shameful and embarrassing that only half the Church is capable of such an elementary moral position while the other half is at open war with the plain teaching of the Magisterium that such a vile position is “foreign to the mind of Christ.”

All of which is to say that once the celebrating is over, we shall have plenty of work to do and I will have more to say in coming days.

But for the moment, thanks be to God our Father through Christ our Lord for his servants Joe Biden and Kamala Harris:

30 Responses

  1. I’m devastated that almost half the electorate voted for Trump. It seems our country is irrevocably damaged by racism, bigotry, and greed. But then I remember what Lincoln said and realize I must resolve to be a big pussy in a pink hat. USA!

    1. I don’t think Trump’s support speaks to a situation so dire as it first appears. Most Americans really don’t follow politics – at all. But we do still associate strongly according to tribe and custom of our family and community. Take a look at Fox News’s election night exit polls:
      https://secondnexus.com/fox-news-voter-analysis-polls

      You would think from those polls that Americans are like 70% Democrat!

      We really are a charitable, compassionate, progressive people. But Americans generally don’t know policy from party. So you can ask a given individual if they like Obamacare and they may absolutely balk. But more often than not, if you ask them if they support specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act they will say “Absolutely – we should have something like that!”

      Similar narratives occur all the time. Once the Republican party smears a common-sense piece of legislation, the uninformed, non-political people get riled up against it. But if you ask them if they support the specific policies in the bill and avoid calling it by whatever pejorative names are attached, Americans support all kinds of Democrat initiatives like gun control, expanded Medicare, college tuition assistance …

      1. Thank you for this. Of course you’re right about most Americans not keeping up with politics. It takes a lot of time and energy, after all. But…Trump wast a celeb gifted with an astounding amount of free publicity by the so-called liberal media. Maybe these voters had never heard of Paul Manafort or Roger Stone, but they must have heard of Trump calling Mexicans criminals and rapists (“but some are good people”), seen clips of Trump mocking disabled reporter New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski, heard about Trump insulting a Gold Star family, and of course heard about the Hollywood Access tape. And they pulled the lever for Trump anyway.

        MAGAs have died believing Trump’s bs on COVID. You would think that would impress some of his cultists, but apparently not.

        It is funny how popular so many items on the Democratic agenda actually are, and you’re right about the Dems’ messaging. The best ad campaign came from that bunch of neocons at the Lincoln Project. That goodness they’ve set their sights on Georgia, we need all the help we can get.

    2. For the most part, Americans just have no idea how awful Trump is. Too many watch no news or get their news only from Fox. Americans don’t support racism and xenophobia. They just don’t know that that really does constitute the policies of Trump and his administration.

      To be sure, Trump really did appeal to the racists and emboldened and supported them. But he also successfully appealed to Cuban Americans and a few other minority groups.

      The Republican party beats the pants off the Democrats when it comes to messaging.

      1. I tend to agree with you. The Republicans have successfully branded the Democrats as Socialists and the Dems have never really pushed back on this. The vast majority of Americans, myself included, know that Socialism doesn’t work as well as Capitalism in creating wealth. And the Republicans have branded as Socialism anything that helps the common folks and/or restricts the wealthy, things such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the FDA, etc. Yet unfettered Capitalism is profoundly anti-Christian in nature because it concentrates wealth and power in the few and uses the workers as only tools to be used and discarded. Capitalism has to be regulated so that its benefits are applied to the workers as well as the owners.

      2. Not just Fox, but the Sinclair group. They own radio/TV stations and newspapers in dozens of places in the middle of the country, all those states where Trump won. And from what I’ve heard, it’s much worse than Fox, which is starting to back off from Trump and his cult. And the country desperately needs to go back to the Fairness Doctrine where both sides were examined and not allowed to spout garbage. Also the United decision needs to go! Corporations are NOT people!

    3. I’m as far from a liberal as you can imagine, both socially and economically, but even I would prefer being a pussy in a pink hat rather than watch pro-Trump ”media”.

  2. A great column, Mark. You hit at least one of the nails on its flat little head. I have already quoted you somewhere else— that’s how good I think your analysis is.

    I am working on my own piece, so i probably can’t comment at length today. But maybe i can leave you with this much. There are at least three more nails that must be considered: homophobia, misogyny, and religious megalomania. And the board they are all nailed into is what Stephen R. Donaldson, in his most Catholic books, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, called DESPITE. Loosely defined: “I’m better than you, and I will make sure that you know it.” It has a lot more meanings than just that, but that is what LBJ was talking about.

    Here is where I am probably going to upset you, but as you say, we must speak our truths. And this is a religious blog, after all. Religious despite is built into conservative Christianity. It’s a feature, not a bug. “I am saved. You are not. God loves me more than he loves you. I am pleasing to god, and you? Not so much.”

    And once someone accepts THAT premise, this— what you wrote— is easy.

    “ Because instead of defending the unborn, they have devoted their time and energy to defending every lie, cruelty, sadistic act, racist remark, misogynist bullying, sexual assault, kidnapping, call for violence, and criminal act he has committed. They voted for him this time, not because those things were bugs, but because they were features. If they had really only supported the prolife stuff and not all the other filth. they would have spoken against the other filth. They never did. They either remained silent or, as was far more often the case, they passionately supported it.”

    More later, when i have time.

    1. Ben, you are right, but not on every level. Not at the core. There are lots of people who use religion as a crutch or a costume or a club, but there are also very decent people who have been humbled by life, who have gone through some transformative experience (usually almost unbearable pain) –who have come through it like Gold in the fire. They are truly humble and compassionate people. For most,this path to unadulterated love is a process that takes an entire lifetime.

      Also, (and I hate to end on a negative note) I have no problem believing in evil. I don’t like to focus on it, or give it any space in my headspace, but *intelligent* evil exists. Most people love to cower on their couch with popcorn, thinking that evil looks like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, but that’s mostly silly. Evil exists in its most distilled form, when people go through all the motions and trappings and “perfections” of worshipping God, but in fact are aping what is good and beautiful. When we are young and impressionable, those people tend to impress us with their elegance, confidence, turn-of-the word–an air of being supremely in control. My encounters with plain old garden-variety people who are in some ways selfish, vain, adulterous, petty, greedy etc. pales in comparison with vain,narcissistic,cold, practitioners of the “faith”. (They can be found in every religion, no?)

      I no longer fear Trump–he was a real test for people of “faith”. If we *didn’t* pass the test with the (to borrow from Mark) “visible from space” charlatan, what will happen when the “perfected” version of religious evil comes along?

      1. @ taco

        I don’t disagree with you at all. If I implied otherwise, that wasn’t my intention. I have often said on these very pages that I don’t really care what someone believes, but I care very much about what they do with it.

        Hannah Arendt discuss this thoroughly in her book on thetrial of Adolph Eichmann, which carried the title “the banality of evil“. basically, she concluded that eichmann wasn’t so much a evil moral monster but a bureaucrat who, desirous of advancing his career in the Nazi hierarchy, simply had no empathy for the people who were murdered. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I certainly get what she means by it. He wasn’t special, by any means. He was entirely too ordinary.

        Your second paragraph was very interesting to me. On Thursday, I received an email from my oldest friend in the world, 57 years now. He’s an evangelical Christian, and a really good guy. what he had to say about the election exactly parallel to what you had to say.

        “ I spoke with a member of our church yesterday who was in tears and dumbfounded… “I need some spiritual counsel,” she cried. “You are only one of 3 in our church who I think does not support Trump. How can Christians possibly support him? How can I maintain friendships with such hypocrites? It’s like Germany in 1938-1939.” She is a German-Croation who is now an American citizen. Her dream of America has been shattered. “This is a tough one, Silvie. I’m struggling with it too. I honestly don’t understand either.”

        After chatting for a while we concluded that it is the difference between being spiritually minded, or religious. One can be religious, following all the steps and tenets, but never really understand the spiritual implications of their beliefs and actions. One can be religious, and still bigoted, willingly misinformed, uncaring and unsharing, not grasping the implications of their beliefs and actions.”

        Certain persons get very angry with me when I state that purely theological concerns have absolutely no place in the civil law that governs all of us. They simply are not seeing it from the point of view of being on the receiving end of it.

        Or as my friend put it, not grasping the implications.

  3. The counties on the Texas-Mexico border (where I live) are *mostly* blue. But they went more for Trump this time around than they did four years ago. Are all these Latinos voting for Trump because they’re secretly racist and hate themselves? Hardly. I know a lot of these Latinos-for-Trump types in my little town. Their reasons for voting for him are complex and can’t be reduced to any simple impulses. Broadly speaking, I would describe them as low-information voters of good will who respect the system and authority figures and get what news they get from not-very-diverse sources. They see the GOP as God’s party, standing for life and liberty and love of country, and Trump is Their Guy. I do know a few white racists, mostly through Facebook. But most of the people I rub elbows with in real life just really do think that the Democrat Party is full of dangerous radicals who hate the police (whom they revere) and want to destroy America. These people also got big stimulus checks for their family, “signed” by President Trump himself, earlier this year. Those were lifesavers for people around here. People are going to remember that.

    Some of the prominent white assholes around town are big Trump supporters, of course. There’s a history of systemic racism here, and it’s intertwined with the history of our esteemed local gentry. But without knowing more I have to give a lot of the white people who voted for Trump the same benefit of the doubt I give to my Latino neighbors. I do believe that the spirit that made the Klan flourish (briefly) as a popular people’s movement in the 1920s has reared its head once again. But I can’t and don’t write the country off on that account, nor even many of the people who’ve gotten swept up in this new “Klan.” Most people are of good will. They’ve just been led astray by people they trust and don’t know it. Like my kind fellow parishioner, a devout who Latina who gave me a Pray to End Abortion and Euthanasia sign, which I put in my yard next to my Biden Harris 2020 sign. She later texted me that horrific Staring into the Abyss homily, possibly after driving past my house, which is near the church. She saw a priest in a chasuble telling us that we’ll go to hell if we vote for Democrats and she believed it and sent it on in good faith. I know many people like that. People who just think that Jesus is on the side of the GOP or that the GOP is on the side of Jesus and don’t have anyone around to convince them otherwise.

    1. A few memories come to my mind after reading what you have written.

      First, Stockholm Syndrome (seemed odd when I read it described in Psych 10.)

      When I was a little girl, my grandfather told us the strangest thing. He became a border control agent in Chula Vista (after teaching for 30 years). He loved Spanish culture. His first teaching job was in Puerto Rico where my mother was born.

      After he retired from that job, he told my mother something that bothered him for a long time afterward. I was just a little kid, but what he said surprised me, and I’ll never forget it. He said that the Mexican American agents were the most brutal towards the Mexicans trying to cross illegally.

      Next, Frat hazing comes to mind.

      “Sh*t goes downstream” is what my husband says when he describes the pecking order in families.

      My MIL who used to call our country “tacky” and “Gringolandia” before she became a citizen almost popped a blood vessel defending the U.S.
      when her son’s Chilean FIL dared to be critical of the U.S. Her second oldest son wrote us all letters (as did my mother) exhorting us to vote for Trump, “the candidate of family values”. Once his 401k hit the million mark they became Libertarian/Republicans. Oh yeah, and she *works* for Trump.

      In simpler terms? The saying “I got mine”comes to mind. Trump’s father was a hard-scrabble immigrant that clawed his way up with contracts building low income housing for returning soldiers. He used to search the ground at job sites picking up fallen nails. (The elites of NY turned their noses up at his new money.)

      My Mexican pediatrician who was born in L.A. was put on a train, and deported illegally to Mexico in the late 30s. He eventually came back, and loved this country so much that he refused to speak Spanish to his children.

      1. @ taco

        “I got mine. Is a real thing. We have gay people, usually men, We call homocons. Usually wealthy as well. And they are huge republicans, despite the republican platform that calls for dismantling their marriages, among many other things.

      2. A few years ago I was at a pro-life meeting at my parish. (I’m no longer involved, for some of the reasons Mark has gone into on this blog.) The priest at the time, who was Polish, assumed we’d be taking on immigration rights along with the abortion thing. In his mind (as in mine) they just went together. The group nixed it immediately. Those most vehemently opposed to the suggestion? The Mexican Americans who immigrated legally. People make a lot of assumptions about alliances. The Democrats need to get smart and try better to understand the nuances of American Latino culture.

    2. It doesn’t make any difference if there are people around to tell MAGAs otherwise, as many of us can attest.

      You wrote:

      She saw a priest in a chasuble telling us that we’ll go to hell if we vote for Democrats and she believed it and sent it on in good faith.

      But I was assured Catholic priests never advocate for candidates and the Catholic Church is universal so it’s not fair to blame the Church for the American hierarchs’ support (tacit or not) for Trump.

      You wrote:

      But most of the people I rub elbows with in real life just really do think that the Democrat Party is full of dangerous radicals who hate the police (whom they revere) and want to destroy America.

      The “Defund the Police” slogan was the stupidest thing the left cooked up this year, but many of the libs I know defended it. As for the rest, the GOP has deployed a very effective propaganda operation for thirty years. May Newt Gingrich rot in the hell he believes in.

      By the way, it’s the Democratic party.

      1. “It doesn’t make any difference if there are people around to tell MAGAs otherwise, as many of us can attest.” It does though. It depends on the individual. Why do you think I don’t have any experience in talking to Trump voters?

        “I was assured Catholic priests never advocate for candidates,” etc. Not by me. They usually don’t, but sometimes they do, and it’s bad when they do. They should lose tax-exempt status for doing it.

        As a Hispanic in south Texas, I’ve been harassed by law enforcement more times than I can count: city police, county police, state police, border patrol. I’ve been accused of kidnapping my own (white) wife; I’ve been detained & searched & hauled into BP checkpoint stations and interrogated; I’ve been threatened with jail and accused of transporting knives, guns, drugs, bombs. After protesting with BLM on my town square, while police cruisers circled the block, a BP chopper hovered overhead (for hours!), and a white vigilante armed with an assault rifle stood guard nearby, *I* say defund the police. Not to abolish them, but to take some of their all-too-plentiful funds away for spending on other social services, e.g., mental health and education and housing. The slogan isn’t the best, I agree, but my point isn’t that it’s bad to protest the police. It’s that you can’t assume someone is a bad person for opposing the protest because you really don’t know where they’re coming from. Maybe on the Internet you do. But the Internet isn’t real life.

        My comments are coming from a Catholic perspective, seeing as I’m a Catholic, and this is a Catholic blog, I’m saying that I can’t write all these people off, partly because they’re made in the image of God, but partly also because it’s just not politically smart. Some people are clearly acting in bad faith. Others have consigned their minds and souls to MAGA, Lord have mercy on them. But that’s not all Trump voters, and it’s certainly not all nonvoters. I live in a red county with a majority Latino population where white MAGA people run the show. I’m getting involved in the county Democrat_ic_(!!!) party because I think we can flip it. But it’s not worth even starting if we’re going to demonize everyone who voted for Trump. I actually want to get something done here, not just s**tpost on the Internet about how right I am and how terrible things are.

        Biden ran on unity and decency, which turned out to be smart. Politically speaking, I think the Lincoln Project is quite stupid (not to mention venal). I hope they stay out of the Georgia runoff. Leave it to grassroots organizers like Stacy Abrams. The LP’s self-aggrandizing ads just make people dig in. Trump is a moron, and will go. But there’s someone out there who isn’t so dumb, who right now is thinking that they can do what Trump did, but better. That’s who scares me. We need to start fighting against them. We’re not going to win by demonizing the other side, but by persuading the undecided or wavering that our side is better. We don’t have to persuade everyone. A few percent in the right places will do it.

      2. @ Guajillo

        My opinion that “Defund the Police” was politically idiotic is no reflection on my views on the police. Clearly drastic reform measures and reallocation of resources are called for. Demilitarization of police departments would be a nice start. But the slogan was stupid, it scares people, and may have even cost the Dems House seats.

        Good on you for getting involved with local politics; what makes you think others here don’t do the same? I don’t know that I “demonize” MAGAs, but neither do I give them a pass. They’re not children. And I certainly understand why low-information voters would take their cues from thought leaders like their priests. I’ve personally witnessed the code-speak from priests on who Catholics should vote for, and I hardly think my experience is unique.

        What’s so stupid about the Lincoln Project? It’s not at all clear they had the effect you’re describing. As for the guys who run it…more joy in Heaven. I read Stuart Stevens’s mea culpa. How many people, especially people with a professional investment in partisan politics, have the brass to admit they’ve been wrong their entire lives about their party? The Lincoln Project will be on that midnight train to Georgia, and I’ll bet Stacy Abrams is fine with it.

        I doubt our efforts at persuasion will matter much if Mitch McConnell controls the Senate, which seems highly likely. We’ve seen this movie before. It’s a miracle the Obama administration was able to accomplish as much as it did.

      3. @ Guajillo

        Btw I read an article in the Washington Post, “Why Texas’s overwhelmingly Latino Rio Grande Valley turned toward Trump.”

        It echoed several of your observations. I found this graph telling:

        Peña and his family switched parties in 2010, helping to form the foundation of a Republican grass-roots resurgence in the Rio Grande Valley. They organized gun groups, Boy and Girl Scout parents, Bible study groups and started College Republicans chapters to run conservative candidates for government. They encouraged church groups to vote not for parties but values, specifically promoting antiabortion issues and upward mobility in one of the poorest and most religious regions of the country.

    3. @ Guajillo

      First of all, let me say there is little in your posts that I don’t agree with.

      Let’s assume for the sake of argument though that I’m a Trump voter (I’m not, I’m not a US citizen, though I’m probably more to the right than you are):

      Persuade me? Perhaps, though probably not. What I want to know is what you’re willing to give me, what is crucial to you and what you want to yield on. We can start by not demonizing each other, but that’s not good enough.

  4. @Ben, I’m rattling my brain to remember who it was that taught me the importance of the separation of church and state. Believe it or not I’m pretty sure it was from books by Josemaria Escriva who lived through the bloody Spanish civil war. As a Spaniard, he would have had a lively memory of history, and the use of stakes and fire on “heretics”. I don’t blame people for being mad at “ultra conservative” Opus Dei members, because those that embody this Americanized version of O.D. have strayed from the original principles of the founder. Even in Spain he (the founder) was vilified by the right for being too liberal. He was however, a product of his time, and obviously not flawless, but his ideas of sanctity that is open to the most common man and the great value of *all* work holds true to this day. Funny how some things morph into others. Mark’s saying about the American Catholic church being like tofu is pretty spot on. There is plenty of work to be done to get back on track after the unholy wedding of right wing politics and christianity.

    I’d like to believe that in the not so far off future, humanity will be able to muster up just societies that consider all men of equal value. We are all made in God’s image (our souls). When we don’t love we aren’t truly human.

  5. @ Guajillo,
    After thinking about what you wrote, and how people can “dig in” if they are insulted, it strikes me as a very, very good approach you are taking –meeting people where they are at without judgement.

    Also, I’m reminded of the graciousness of Mexican people. I’m trying to think of a way of stating this in a non-insulting way, but I’m afraid that their humility can be interpreted as problematic–a charming and pleasant quality that has an inferiority complex at the root. I think this inferiority complex is what can make the second and third generation Mexican Americans “act out”. We’ve gotten used to just writing them off as losers and troublemakers, but I think I understand them much better now, and especially in the light of BLM discussions. They have the right to be pissid off, and probably vow that they won’t be exploited like their parents,

    Before I dated my Colombian husband, my sister and I double dated with a couple of Mexican buddies for about a year or so. They were both from wealthy, well-connected families. Eventually my sister and I went to Mexico, went to their homes, met their parents etc. The thing that absolutely *shocked* me, was not just how entitled they were, but how SERVILE the working class Mexicans were–how they bowed and scraped. It’s unhealthy. The other thing that strikes me as gross is how they judge *themselves* on how much American Indian they have in them. (When my MIL’s DNA report came in she refused to accept the results!).

    I don’t know, it’s almost like Hispanics need collective therapy to help them get through all of the crap they’ve been victims of. I’ve seen my husband racially profiled in too many ways to count–even by his own father who favored his fair skinned sons more, even though he was the one who had the African blood. Once, when my husband had his first corporate job, he was at an industry convention where he happened to chat with a man from Spain. At the end of their conversation, the guy wanted to pay him a compliment and parted ways saying, “you have such fine manners for a Jibaro.” (My husband’s mother went to Swiss finishing school!)

  6. @Neko:

    I recall, during the George Floyd mess, someone on the news saying that the police needed to change their image from warriors to protectors. I thought that encapsulated things perfectly.

    In our recent election, the leader of the National Party had been, in a previous government, Minister of Police. In her campaigns, she was proposing a ‘strike force’ against drugs, a whole bunch of similar things. The solution to crime is punishment? No! Much of any solution to crime has to be correcting underlying conditions that foster crime.

    National lost – indeed, they lost a lot of seats that had hitherto been safe National seats. Of course, much of that was Covid – but I think that she came across as that same ‘get tough on crime’ approach that didn’t sell.

    jj

    1. Thank you, I’d not heard that expression of the need for change from warriors to protectors. Yes, that’s it! Residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods usually want more policing, not less, but neither do they want to blown away for one perceived false move.

      Your country was right to reject zero-tolerance measures against crime, which has been a disaster in the US and a major contributor to systemic racism in the criminal justice system. (Some of us have looked longingly at your superb Jacinda Ardern lo these terrible four years.)

      The problems of poverty and crime in the US are entrenched and difficult to address. I’ve been pondering this for years and have a little experience working with the inner-city poor, as well as enough mobility for exposure to the gamut of socioeconomic classes in America. The rich have incredible advantages in every conceivable way; the poor have little hope of escaping their lot. This is the injustice the Catholic Church in America should’ve devoted its lavish resources and political clout to addressing instead of abortion and gay marriage during a time when income inequality became and continues to become increasingly pronounced. But the unwashed masses ain’t gonna pay to renovate St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or even the archdiocese’s legal bills for that matter.

  7. @ jj

    I used to be in law-enforcement. I concluded 40 years ago that the war on drugs was a waste of money. The only reason I continues to exist is because a lot of people make a lot of money from it. Like the anti-abortion industry and the anti-gay industry, there is also an anti-drug industry that has been selling the public a bill of goods for century.

    I have taken a lot of drugs in my day, and yet I’ve been an upstanding citizen the whole time— other than using drugs that some people don’t think i should use. So it’s clearly not a criminal problem, as we in America are beginning to understand as we legalize marijuana.

    I’m not saying that some drugs are not dangerous. Alcohol and tobacco come to mind especially in terms of the public health effects. That’s the point! It is a public health problem not a criminal problem. And if we would teach people about responsible drug use, which is a broad field of the how, the why, the why not, and the when, I don’t think it would even be that much of a public health problem.

    1. The American demand for drugs is the source of violence and destabilization both in and outside the country. I also indulged when I was young and was complicit. I agree that recreational drugs should be legalized and managed as a public health issue.

      Meanwhile Nancy Regan was right: Just say no. Because someone somewhere just got murdered because you needed your line of coke.

  8. So I guess my question is this: how does being the right answer in a choice against trump make them anything but the best of bad choices. I agree with you that trump is a rapid force for destruction, but these two are supporters, recent supporters of.a maniacal police state that feasted on the poor. VP Harris was an absolute nightmare for the poor as AG and a total lackey for silicon valley. When confronted with those wrongfully convicted she fought tooth and nail to keep innocent POC people locked up. Biden’s destructive support of the war on drugs and other tuff on crime measures, cloaked by his good man image, has decimated those brown people you so kindly want to take lessons from. Well here’s a lesson: for once show just a touch of skepticism for the men and women you supported.
    Radiation may be needed to cure cancer, but its still a toxin. I guess what jarred me reading this is how in your own absolutely confident way you are ready to baptize radiation poisoning as good because it isn’t Trump cancer. Where’s your skepticism of those in power. Their errors may be different, and even less deadly, but they are deadly nonetheless, and articles like this worry me that instead of the blind Trump bro I’ve been putting up with for the last few years I’m now facing eight years of the same myopia just affecting a different group.

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