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Saturday, December 12, 2015

War of Memes

What happened to this world?

It has turned into a cruel, mean-spirited, place where anyone can trump someone else's feelings with their own indignation, righteous or otherwise. Trump is part of the problem. Not that he started it, but he so ingloriously illustrates everything that is twisted and sick in the human heart, something I didn't see in my fellow Americans until a few weeks ago.

We have had bullies here forever. There are bullies every where. There always has been. I would like to think that there will be a time when there are not. With American politics polarizing around a bully pulpit, a thing that used to just be a descriptive term, a catchy euphemism for an overly strong opinion... it is shocking to see that there really is a pulpit for bullies in the Republican platform. And that pulpit has a preacher... America actually has a living breathing Bully Pastor in its Bully Pulpit. He preaches things that are anti American, anti Christ, anti HUMANITY.

So many people are buying the snake oil he is peddling. People whom I had grown up with who were always kind, who sometimes bore the brunt of the bully's anger, but who were still kind... they have lost their peace. I don't recognize them anymore. The things they share are antagonistic. The things they like and reshare are hateful. Their arguments are mean and illogical, exercises in hate disguised as word play and jokes. I don't recognize my friends any more.

I wonder if that it what it was like for my Grandmother's family when Hitler started his anti semetic rhetoric. And then again for all of my German ancestors who had begun immigrating here in the 1800s, born here to naturalized citizens when WWI & II broke out. I can see from George Takei's story that it was much the same for Japanese Americans as it was for African Americans. And THEY didn't even come here by choice! I wonder if that is what it is like for Muslims being persecuted by there own people. And then by the west. All of these people who have had hatred aimed at them for no good reason.

Everyone of a certain kind is not responsible for the actions of a few of a kind. I am no more responsible for what happened to Native Americans when white men got here in 1602 than I am responsible for slavery. I was born after the fact. I was born in 1970 but I seem to be lumped into a group of people who are blamed for all of that. My family was in Hungary, Germany and most likely someone was left in what was left of Carpathia in 1602. How is it my fault? It isn't.

How is it the fault of a kid born in Dearborn in 1970 that there are extremists in the Middle East? It isn't. How is it a modern Jew's fault Christ was crucified? It isn't. But people in power keep making us retroactively accountable for things done generations ago. Whose fault is it that you have extremism in the Middle East?

How stupid is that question?
The better question, how do you get rid of a pogrom of hate?

You surely can't follow it as so many Germans followed Hitler. That was just a colossal waste of life and resources. You can't fight the KKK & the NeoNazi's with hate. Fight one weapon with your own weapon and they just keep getting bigger and faster guns. You can not fight hate with hate. You can hit back once, hard enough to jar your attacker and make an escape. But you can't keep fighting with your own hatred.

You can't throw latkes, Turkish delight, baklava, southern pecan pie and sweet potato casserole at your enemy and expect them to feel the love that went into Gramma's recipe. That is just a lot of Kumbaya nonsense. I know John Lennon said "Love is all you need." But Teddy Roosevelt said "Walk tall and carry a big stick." So who do you listen to? Both were good and wise men. Both clearly had differing methods. Gandhi and Mother Theresa's examples don't seem to amount to a hill of beans. There are so many talking heads that all of the conversations in America amount to lobbing  talking points like hand grenades. It is a war of extreme Memes.

Trump fuels hate. Farwell jr fuels hate. Pat Robertson has spewed so much hate in his "illustrious" career that I am surprised he hasn't been struck by lightening. And somehow, that God hasn't shut him up by knocking him off of his own ass, he makes me think that Saul was never converted to Paul and God might not exist after all.Trump is calling on hate and fear to solidify his position as if it is his righteous duty to do so even though no one could call him a worshipper of anything but Baal. This whole election, from the Republican perspective, seems to be about pointing at all the things that are being taken away from you by people who are different, "Pay no attention to the bankers behind the curtains who are manipulating the tax code to shelter their own gains from taxes that support the country." No, instead, focus on all the foreigners who are taking your jobs.

You mean the jobs that you shifted overseas with NAFTA, KAFTA and the new TPP? Or do you mean the jobs you eliminated when you liquidated the companies that you bankrupted to pad your own bank accounts? Are those the jobs you mean? Or do you mean the jobs that you eliminated to downsize any number of companies who had to pay off massive amounts of legal debt and restitution (ENRONN comes to mind) for mismanagement and illegal activity? Those must be the jobs you mean. Because you certainly aren't talking about Hassim and Jose taking away the choice WallStreet jobs, the middle level wheelers and dealers that keep costing the average American chunks of their salaries to recover losses incurred by overzealous and unscrupulous trade deals. You don't seem worried at all about engineering jobs, real estate, hospitality, or port security companies.

If they aren't squawking about the jobs they sold to their overseas business partners so they could subsidize their own corporations with American tax money then they preach the loss of freedom. When you let Muslims in you give them the gun to shoot you in the back. Really? Cause I thought the laughable attempts at seizing illegal arms was what put guns in the hands of ANYONE who would shoot me in the back. And correct me if I am wrong but... wasn't that an IRAN-CONTRA gun you found in the San Bernadino mess? Correct me on this point as well.... statistically aren't most shootings in America still committed by AMERICANS against AMERICANS with that cute AMERICAN PSYCHO thing you won't let be a reason to keep guns away from them in the first place? Seriously, on a very personal level I am far less terrified of a random Muslim in my neighborhood than I am of my American neighbors becoming  radicalized rednecks and deciding that I will give what little I have by force. I am less afraid of a hijab than I am the red, white or blue  kerchief, traditional head covering of rednecks who don't want to sweat on a ball cap.

I am more afraid of my fellow Americans than any foreigner because we have collectively lost our minds. Everyone is right. No one is wrong. Only the strongest opinion with the heaviest firepower wins an argument anymore.

What happened to my sweet friends? The writers and college professors, sadly lacking in numbers on my facebook list, seem to have a balanced view of things. They have gone out into the world, met people where they live, and brought their adventures back to share with those of us who are bound to our menial work. Their stories have fallen on deaf ears. The balance is gone from America. The melting pot has boiled over and charred in the bottom of the stove. We are an unappealing mass of miserable goo that no one would want to touch.

How do you ever clean that up?

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