Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away! (And the same for our President!)

I have never been a fan of rain.  It gets in the way, and it is only useful for washing away dirt and for nourishment.  But is not something the average person is comfortable wants falling on her. With the "warm" and wet weather we're having today, I didn't feel like getting moving at all. So, I ended up staying in bed most of the day. That doesn't mean I didn't have something to say....

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Last night, I finally heard one of George Carlin's "7 words you can't say on TV" said on a mainstream newscast.  Our Anti-LGBT president, Donald Trump had just labeled several countries "Shit Holes" in public. I am offended, not by the fact that these nations are poor and places that no person wanting greater opportunity would want to remain. Instead, I am offended by the absolute bad taste that this president had in labeling these countries "Shit Holes" in public.

Why am I focusing on bad taste?  Well, America has traditionally prospered by accepting immigrants from the shit holes of the world.  In the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's, we accepted many poor immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  These people were the dregs of their societies, yet they made a good home for themselves here. Later on, came German, Italian, and Slavic immigrants, who were also on the lower rungs of their societies, and they made good homes for themselves here as well. But what still causes many people problems is the fact that America, in part, was built on the exploitation of people of color.

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Sane people should be offended by racism, especially that which still lingers in our society. But there is a class of people who still believe that the lowest white person should be valued higher than the best black person. Since they can't do this, many want to make America a white nation and expel blacks. Others want to restore the "right" to discriminate against people "not from their tribe" and promote hatred of others in the guise of "religious freedom." This is very sad.

What would have happened if we tried to send all the Blacks back to Africa?  How would we have sorted them out, so that they could go back to their ancestral homelands?  Could you imagine an America without the vibrant musical culture that Blacks gave this country (among other contributions)? I can't!  We forcibly imported slaves to America, so we as a nation are socially responsible for seeing that their descendants are fully able to function in our society with all the rights, privileges and duties of other Americans.

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I'm not going to advocate uncontrolled immigration such as what we had in the 1800's for people of European descent. We need to make sure that no group of people become so numerous that they don't need to assimilate into America as a whole. We also need to attract the best and the brightest from our competitors. But we are shunning the most worthy of immigrants because of racist fears. Immigrants tend to work harder than native born Americans and appreciate what we have to offer to people who work hard. They know there is no free ride, but most believe that hard work pays off.

Of all the immigrants of color that I've met, I have found that most are just as conscientious as I am regarding social responsibilities. Yes, there are some people who never assimilate into society. But we should be able to do a better job at keeping these people out before we approve their admission to this country.

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But what about native born Americans?  Years ago, the "Okies" left their Oklahoma homes for better opportunities in California. Today's unemployed blue collar worker lives in towns where the mill closed, the mine has been shut down, or some other calamity made it impossible for the town to have enough work for its workers. They no longer can afford to move from their small towns in search of opportunity. Unlike the Okies, they are stuck where work no longer exists and do not have the skills to find work where there is work to be found.

Some states have dealt with the problem of rural joblessness by building prisons in rural areas and shipping prisoners from their cities to these remote sites. It doesn't solve the underlying problem, but makes things even worse. The people who now have jobs in many rural areas are dependent on government transfers of wealth to maintain their local economies.  This is inefficient, as well as harmful. Rural residents have a strong incentive to promote laws to keep prisons full instead of enacting laws which promote real economic development.  Politicians in these areas also have incentives to keep people too poor to move away, as they lose political power when people leave their districts.

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But back to racism....

Many of our laws were written in ways to benefit whites at the expense of blacks.  For example, many of our drug laws were written to allow whites the mind altering substances of their choice (read: Alcohol) while denying people of color their mind altering substances (read: cannabis, coca, and opiates).  Once minorities were put in prison, they could be kept from competing for jobs with the white populations in many areas. And when finally out of prison, laws kept them from many occupations requiring clean records, reducing competition even more.  In roughly 90 years, we still have yet to address hidden racism in our laws.

When Trump labels nations as shit holes, and labels all Muslims as terrorists, he only feeds the racist base that helped get him elected. Ethical conservatives are offended by his rants, but many are socially powerless to challenge corrupt authority. Yet, there is a sign of hope. Even Fox News couldn't avoid covering Trump's use of the phrase Shit Holes.

Just remember - This too shall pass....

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