The Yucatan Yenta
Most often in the past decade or so, I have felt like a somewhat disgruntled American who moved to another country because it has a more human pace and because the politics, though they are flawed, are not mine. The politics of the US, except for the last 18 months, have made me feel unsafe and and more foreign than I feel in Mexico.
But the mid-term elections this week have put me into a whole other place. I am horrified and disgusted. Disgusted that so many Americans have chosen the path that leads backwards, that clever planners have cashed in on the public’s innate racism and fear, that they are selling their agenda on phrases like, “take back the country.” I have never been so glad that I’ve moved.
I still spend a lot of time in the US, but when I’m there I am insulated by my circle of friends most of whom think like I do, and the rest agree to disagree. At least up until now, that has been enough. In a way, it’s easier than watching CNN International or reading Mexican newspapers and getting the view from outside the US.
Yesterday in the El Diario, Carlos Fuentes, renowned Mexican author and Mexico’s ex-ambassador to France, remarking on the election and on Sarah Palin, called it the “temporada de idiotas,” season of idiots, in America. He is laughing at the US. I imagine this reactions is mirrored by intelligent observers all over the world.
Our international critics had a ball with Bush – there was so much to make fun of, so many ways to show how dumb he was. But Palin pushes ignorance a quantum leap ahead. In his column, Fuentes talked about some blather Palin was uttering about remaining true to “our founding fathers.” A reporter asked her who these founding fathers were and she couldn’t name one. And all she had to do, Fuentes commented was look at all the stuff in the US named Franklin, Washington, etc. but she had no clue – even when give a minute to think about it.
Every time I hear her voice, I feel like screaming.
This temporada of idiocy has a direct correlation to the fine American tradition of voting down educational initiatives in the US all these years, and now we are paying the price with a nation of uneducated citizens.
The new guys want to repeal the health care law. You mean to tell me that the average Joe LIKES having pre-existing conditions bar them from coverage? Does “Joe on Main Street” really want to give back tax advantages to the rich?
The tea party. The only thing good about it is that they are so far off that even the establishment republicans are embarrassed, trying to figure out how to handle them. Well, too late boys – you let them lead you to victory, and now you have to deal with the consequences, which we can only hope result in a complete fragmenting of the repubican party. You can’t even call the tea party right wing. They haven’t thought out their philosophies well enough. They are, as Fuentes says, idiots.
But it’s horrifying that millions of other idiots voted for them.
Yes, times are tough, but who created this? Who gave the finance industry carte blanche to blast its way through the housing industry and much more? Who weakened regulations for the oil companies drilling in the Gulf? Who incorporated “shock and awe” and made it okay for American networks to have theme songs and graphics when the US invaded Iraq? No one in their right minds could think this would all be fixed in 18 months. But they aren’t in their right minds.
Much of this lamentable turnaround is because of the racism that is endemic to America. It’s a fine, old tradition and not easily eradicated. As I’ve said before in this blog, it’s my opinion that President Obama was elected because a lot of people who ordinarily would have voted republican, could not bring themselves to vote for that ridiculous republican ticket. Even they were offended. But since then, they apparently decided that it is truly untenable to them to have this uppity black man in the white house after all.
Hatred of black people in America is a strong thread that will prevail for at least several more generations. It is especially strong during times of national stress, just as naziism gained strength when Germany was quaking from World War I.
The only things that will lessen American racism are that many young white people are growing color blind and that the dreaded immigration, though it causes its own complications, will weaken white supremacy in the United States.
For now, the republican mainstream has been taken over, usurped by a popular movement that defies democracy and civility. These are people who have no intention of compromising, finding a common way. They want to slap that black man right out of the white house as efficiently as they can.
It is a tragedy that Americans can’t see a bit into the distance – to where the President is trying to take us. His own modesty and civility is losing ground for him in the cutthroat world of hatred that is politics. His failure to say bad things about other people is admirable but it isn’t working. (Can’t he find some shills to say this for him?)
If the democrats run Hilary Clinton for president in two years, she might win. She has no compunctions about laying blame on other people. Yes, she’s a woman, but at least she’s white and has kept herself within the establishment, even distanced herself from President Obama. She is smart and knows how to behave. Plus Palin too is a woman (of sorts) so what’s the difference? And the old-school republicans by then will be so thoroughly maddened by Palin that Clinton might prevail.
Hilary Clinton is okay, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Barack Obama in terms of elegance, articulate speech, dignity, integrity, vision, and pure intelligence. I am SO unhappy at the prospect of his possibly being a one-term president.
If Clinton runs for president, this could be the second presidential election that the democrats might win because the republican rivals are untenable. But the next two years, getting there, will be one of the most topsy-turvy political times in the last hundred years. The tea party line of “reasoning” will provide plenty of humorous moments. Drunkenness, undisputed ignorance, etc. will provide entertainment that will help us get through this dark period. The late night comics will have a blast. Jon Stewart will be in heaven.
I will laugh too. But it isn’t funny.
I love my country. At least we are free enough to have these very open elections. We can say what we want and go to the polls without fear. We have the luxury of being indignant and writing crap like this without anyone killing our relatives. And the idiots among us have the right to be idiots. If I lived 100 years from now, I’d look back at this period of American history and see it as colorful.
Note: A reader emailed me this morning that she’s thinking of giving up tea drinking, so as not to give the wrong impression.