Tuesday, October 9, 2012

They Became What They Beheld

A Reprint, Kind Of

So, it looks like we're on track to a Mitzy and Paulie kind of America -- you know, where Mitzy calls you into his office and says, in a very matter-of-fact tone, that your service has been appreciated, and it's very very very hard to tell you this -- but America has to let you go.

It isn't that you did anything wrong -- necessarily; we're just moving in a new direction and have to reallocate; we have to lower our expectations today so we can aim for the stars later (not literally, or course; we can't pay for NASA any more).  But we just can't keep you on. Sorry.

Well, there's food stamps, Mitzy says; and Little Paulie grins that lopsided grin of his and says Nope. Oh Yeah Right, Mitzy says; we cut that program. And there's no unemployment insurance, either, Paulie adds helpfully. We cut that, too.

And it's nothing personal, Mitzy says; just the Business Of America.  He glances at his watch; mumbles something about "having a meeting in here in a few minutes", and with the envelope that contains your final check, Mitzy offers you a handshake. Because he's compassionate. He says Bye-bye, and adds, "I know you're going to be okay" -- but what he really means is Don't make a scene. Don't spoil my day.

And Little Paulie is the one who takes your badge and company phone and your desk keys -- before walking you to the elevator, where he gives you that soulful, Doe-eyed Altar-Boy look when he says good-bye... and just as the elevator doors start to close, you see the beginnings of that creepy smile creasing his face. The doors close; you're fired.

Welcome to Mitzy and Paulie's America.

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Here's a reprint of a post from August of 2010, which sketches the kind of Volk that are waiting for Mitzy's election, the kind of person who will be ascendent in the Mitzy's New America.

You already know them. They were riding high while we lived under eight years of Lil' Boots, their know-nothing, proud-of-his-ignorance, stuff rolled-up socks in his crotch wartimey leader. The kind of person who tried to play a guitar, and ate a birthday cake, while bodies floated face-down in the flooded streets of New Orleans, and his mother chuckled about how well things had worked out for the peasantry.

A place where the extremely wealthy, hidden behind smoked glass in limos and gated estates, run things through political surrogates and lobbyists, while the peasantry are manipulated through the miracle of Little Rupert's NewsCorp and the caperings of jesters like Lard Boy or Little Glenn Beck.

It will be a place of Austerity, where unemployment maintains a pool of desperate contract workers, ready to do anything to be able to eat. It will be an America of shabby cities which can't afford road repair or clean streets -- and plenty of poor and homeless, because State governments will be responsible for allocating what assistance there is. Republican Governors like Little Scottie Walker will make sure only crony conservatives and non-union shops deserving.programs receive funding

PBS may still be around -- in a reduced form, and with more programs funded by individual donors -- like Little David Koch, who will want to see less of Big Bird or shows about FDR, and more ten-hour documentaries about Ayn Rand by Dinesh D'Souza. And The News Hour (never very balanced to begin with) will more resemble Fox and Friends.

It will be an America where Roe v. Wade may as well have never existed, and a place where textbooks, part of education "modules" created by a News Corp subsidiary, tell children the sun revolves around the earth, which is only 6,000 years old, and teach them about heroic conservatives in our wonderful country's fabled past. And there will be prayer; lots of prayer. And lots of money for the Megachurch pastors, too; but that's just a sign of god's favor.

That's the America waiting for you. And the people in the post below are the kinds who will run it -- not lead, but manage -- because Mitzy's America will be handled more like a business, and not like a nation.

And the most interesting thing about these leaders in waiting is that they don't just hate the different lifestyles, or politics, or opinions which other people have. They hate the people who have those differences.

It isn't just about differing ideas.  They hate the people ... you should think about that.

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Red Land
August, 2010

Dinner With Bill, Sean, Mikey, Glenn, And Zeppo

A very mildly liberal christian friend, who had spent most of her formative years in Texas, just returned to California after a visit there, feeling bewildered and a little frightened.

At a restaurant dinner with the family of a close childhood friend, people around the table began questioning her about living in "that California": Wasn't there a lot of crime? Wasn't all that gay marriage stuff just terrible? So against god? What about "your illegals"; didn't she think we should do something about that?

Most of the people around the table had known my friend for at least a decade as she grew up in Texas and went to college. They lived in the same neighborhood. Their daughter and my friend have remained close over the twenty-plus years since; my friend is not a stranger to these people, and they're aware she's a christian.

My friend has also been unemployed for more than a year, raising three teenagers as a single parent, slowly spending her savings. She had nervously spent money to travel with her eldest son to see him ready to attend college this Fall (which he could do only because he had received a scholarship). Everyone at the table knew all of this, too.

She was a little nonplussed by their questions about California, and tried to answer noncommittally -- but it seemed that asking her these questions was just the family's way of introducing topics to monologue over:

>> Obama is "turning the country socialist", and "wants to build that mosque"; "Somebody should do something."

>> Obama "is Muslim";

>> Many people on long-term unemployment are "lazy", and any extensions of benefits are just "coddling" them;

>> One of the women around the table told my friend Europe will be overrun by hordes of Islamists while the rest of the world stands by, paralyzed by liberal softness: The woman had been reading America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, a book by Rightist author Mark Steyn published in 2006. (Little Rupert's Fox hearts Steyn and his book.). In all seriousness, the woman told my friend, "He [Steyn] is the finest writer I've ever read";

(My friend [who had married a man from Jakarta, Indonesia, and has lived and worked abroad] asked the people around the table if they had traveled in Europe; the father in the family replied, "I've never been outside the United States".)

>> The threat of illegal immigrants is very real -- "They think Texas and the Southwest is still their land, and they'll try taking it back if we don't do something," a man said.
My friend had sat uncomfortably at the table, and said little in response. Finally, the grandmother in the family stood up, looked archly at my friend and said (as if it were a rebuke), "Yesterday I went to my first Tea Party meeting" -- then abruptly walked out of the room.

My friend has a number of health issues, and takes several medications (currently paid for through an expensive COBRA plan, which she will lose as it's too expensive), and one side effect is a decreased appetite. The father in the family paid for everyone's meal; when handing the bill and a credit card to the waiter, he turned to my friend and said, "S'that why you didn't order any food? 'cause you don't have any money?" And, he was in no way kind when he said it.

What dismayed and frightened my friend was how angry her friend's family seemed. "I'm not all that liberal, but the more they talked, the angrier they got -- I was from California, so to them I had to be some kind of hippie radical.

"What was really frightening was their ignorance," my friend told me. "They weren't thinking for themselves; they didn't want to listen to anything except the kind of right-wing radio junk they were regurgitating."

Remember: Most of the family around the table had known my friend for at least a decade as she grew up and went to college. Their daughter and my friend have remained close in the twenty-plus years since; my friend is not a stranger -- but these people went out of their way to demean and insult her over perceived and assumed matters of ideology.

They thought she was a "California liberal", and treated her according to their own code of conduct. My friend, committed to her faith, did not protest. That would not have been my choice of response.

As she recounted what she'd heard said around the table in a public restaurant, my friend also remembered these people kept repeating phrases like, if we don't do something... somebody needs to do something... we'd better do something.

I have a very, very bad feeling about the future.

(NOTE: This post was edited on August 20, 8:07AM PDST)