Archive for April, 2017

Old and Current U.S. Enemies

 

Our Congress is chockablock with Boomers. Alas, as one myself, I had anticipated and hoped that my folk would be smarter and more moral, a.k.a. more American, than the WWII crowd that thrust us into stupid, unnecessary wars, and whistled mindless tunes as federal and state governments took away the rights of millions.

Sure hasn’t happened. Boomer bozos like G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were as bad as their parents’ generation.

A surprising constant has been the ever-shifting them in the us vs. them theater. Frankly, the WWI and WWII folk were more simpleminded and thus kept the enemies clearer. We grew up with the commies under the beds (fantastical and irrational) and vestiges of the Yellow Peril (horde of Asians imagined to be massing for invasion, the racist trope).

What could be simpler than ID’ing Soviets and various Asians as the other, each and all intent on destroying our noble and glorious nation? Surely our lives were superior to those of the other, nefarious groups eager to take our stuff and snuff out our lives.

Somehow Boomers’ parents and grandparents could overlook the likes of:

  • Jailing large numbers of Japanese-Americans and small groups of Italian- and German-Americans in concentration (euphemistically internment) camps
  • Draconian voting laws and shameful economic and educational policies for African Americans
  • Endless and meaningless wars in Asia, Africa and even parts of Europe

Having spent much of my young childhood as a bit player in the Occupation Army in Japan, I had a different view of the alleged Yellow Peril. A few native Japanese chums did have their own baggage, slandering Koreans and Chinese folk, but I came to learn that likely was from long-standing nationalistic and perceived racial vestiges.  For some, awareness of military behavior in those countries surely brought deflective criticism.

Binary Simplicity

Boomers did have a now surprisingly binary upbringing. Not only did we inherit the culture of pre-War movies, but we got the new world of TV and of course literature. There were black hats and white hats, villains and heroes, Allies and Axis armies — us vs. them. Many too bought into puerile lit that munged that binary culture with politics, specifically the likes of Ayn Rand’s addlepated novels. She was best at welding oppressive sexuality to economic theory.

Ah, but it was so clean and easy. You could know who the good and the bad guys were…and what behaviors and words showed you were in the former group.

In contrast, nuance is hard. For example, we really can’t plant Thomas Jefferson entirely at one end of the moral spectrum.  How comforting it must be to live as a religious fundamentalist or political camp-follower. Check your brain at the door and you can always know you are a good guy.

The few current dictators, like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin at least simplify diplomacy in their realms. If Donald Trump had the powers he imagines, free of judicial oversight and with a totally compliant Congress, he could quickly turn our nation into a villain state as well.

I think I can well do without the racist Yellow-Peril and other simpleminded excuses to fear and hate.

 

 

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United’s Bloody Peasant

United/Republic’s tarmac mugging of an aged passenger puts me back on a familiar horse. The bifurcated reactions of viewers and readers say way too much about current Americans.

Visit any online news source and check the comments on the old physician being being bloodied and abused by the Chicago constabulary under Republic’s orders. Moreover, go to one of the sites reporting on United’s CEO on how they had no choice and the victim is solely to blame.

Speaking well of most readers, the vast majority were opposed to and even aghast at the arbitrary brutality. Once they found that the root cause was that United decided it wanted to move four employees, the reactions were stronger. Anyone with the sense God gave lettuce would instead have booked the airline employees on a different flight or chartered a plane for them or even had them driven the four hours to the destination.

Instead United CEO Oscar Munoz publicly and repeatedly said and wrote his lackeys had no choice. This terrible doctor did not obey, did not get out of his assigned, paid-for, settled into seat on demand. Hence, it was his fault he was bloodied and maybe knocked unconscious.

To the point of comments, a small minority agrees:

  • Rules are rules, not matter
  • The fault was the doc’s. He did not do as he was told.

That is so anti-American, anti-liberty, and irrational.

Short-term United’s share price inched up. Long-term, this is most like a multi-million dollar or more PR problem. Whether flyers do organize a boycott, the per-person private boycotts are certain to follow. United and Delta are infamous for poor load management and overbooking, for bumping the highest percentage of passengers.

This may quickly lead to federal legislation protecting flyers. That’s long overdue. Meanwhile, rules-are-rules people, CEOs and commenters alike, live on islands of obeisance, unaware that most of us prefer freedom and rationality.

 

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