Post-Caring Society

I haven’t written much about current events recently, because while a lot of awful things are going on, what can I really say that hasn’t been said many times already? But I’m now going to try to discuss a few political issues from my own viewpoint. One is how people are arguing with self-styled Christians who are okay with the border internment camps, pointing out that this isn’t particularly Christian behavior. It’s true that the Bible says to treat foreigners just as you would treat the native born. It also says that an Ammonite or a Moabite isn’t allowed to enter the Jewish congregation “even unto the tenth generation,” and that Ezra forbade marriage between Jews and the neighboring peoples. And of course there’s all that genocide, rape, and slavekeeping in the story of the conquest of Canaan. Even Jesus compares a Canaanite woman to a dog. The Bible rarely presents a single consistent viewpoint on anything. But then, you don’t need the Bible to know that internment camps are wrong. I’ve thought of the evangelical Christians cozying up to President Trump as essentially making a deal with the Devil, although it’s not like Trump isn’t doing the same thing with Putin and Kim Jong-un. It’s a regular progression of bargaining with the enemy. But I also think many evangelicals are showing their true priorities, that keeping down women and gay people is much more important to them than any of that love of Christ stuff. I think misogyny and homophobia might be the ONLY guiding principles in Mike Pence’s life. And of course you can find support for these positions in the Bible, but even as a non-believer, I never figured they were the main point. But then, even if they’re not Christian, racist and nationalistic beliefs have to be based on SOME kind of faith, right? I mean, it’s not like they’re based on evidence. There really isn’t any particular reason for someone to get special treatment because of the circumstances of your birth unless you think those circumstances weren’t just the result of chance, right? I don’t know that people really think it through, though.

Recently, Trump made some really blatantly racist tweets that are getting a lot of attention. He told four freshman Congresswomen of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Only one of these four was born outside the United States (Omar, who’s from Somalia), which many people were quick to point out. I’m pretty sure Trump knows this, and doesn’t care. I’ll admit that I’m not always that good at noticing coded racism. The people who use the code know it, and I suppose the victims have to as well, but I’m a naive white guy. I found a link on Twitter to this thread from two years ago, about how pretty much nothing Trump says makes any logical sense, but his followers fill in the gaps with their own prejudices. It’s presumably not supposed to make sense to the rest of us. Trump’s modern political career basically started with the Birther Movement, which never made much sense to me. Surely even the most racist person knows that not every black person is born in Africa. From what I’ve heard, though, the point was more to say that the Birthers considered Obama to not be a REAL American regardless of where he’s actually from. This is presumably also how someone whose campaign slogan was “make American great again” can also say people who don’t think America is great should leave, why a guy whose mother was an immigrant can say he’s not sure he believes in birthright citizenship, and how someone who’s most likely committed numerous crimes can say he supports “law and order.” He contradicts himself all the time anyway, but these particular cases are likely more where he thinks the rules should work differently for him, and for white people in general. The laws are for minorities, I guess. I’m not even sure what the rules are for MAGA-style racism. Like, they’re against Muslims, but not Saudis? Trump has significant advisors who are Jewish, but I understand he makes antisemitic remarks in private. It wasn’t even private with that one guy he called “my African-American.” And I’m not sure about the people who say Trump is being “divisive,” not because he isn’t, but because what ISN’T divisive? Civil rights and gay marriage are also divisive. I worry that the desire by some Democrats to not be divisive is what leads to their trying to appeal to everybody, including people who would never vote for them, instead of actually aiming to do the right thing.

Another thing I’ve been thinking of recently is how many disgraced people just don’t know when to shut up. At least that’s how I see it; I’m not sure it’s really doing them any harm. I saw mentions of how that Bagel Boss guy (and it’s not really fair to the store to call him “the Bagel Boss guy,” although I also don’t want to give him the dignity of using his real name) is selling T-shirts and planning a fight with some unidentified Internet celebrity. It’s like he’s saying, “Hey, I’m in on the joke!”, when it was never a joke. This isn’t Robert Pattinson making fun of Twilight or Dick Van Dyke laughing at how bad his accent was in Mary Poppins. He showed up, acted violent for no reason, and terrified some people. I don’t know whether he did it on purpose, but he certainly shouldn’t be profiting from it. I mentioned this sort of thing before in relation to Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. I remember at the Oscars a few years ago, Gibson showed up for some good-natured ribbing about how he loves to drink, as if he’s the lovable drunk in an old movie instead of someone who threatened and harassed people. And there’s O.J. Simpson putting that video on Twitter about how he wants to get even with people, as if that’s a joking matter with him. I still come across a tweet from Bill O’Reilly on occasion, and Bill Cosby has tweeted from prison, neither of them seeming to care much that they’ve been outed as scumbags. Of course, they’re still maintaining their innocence instead of trying to own their misdeeds, but it’s much the same principle. Why not lay low for a while, guys? But I guess they must still have fans.

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