It’s obvious from my novels and poems, and my blog posts, that I’m a bleeding heart liberal ecologist.
At the same time, many of my readers will have voted for Trump this last week, and I have no wish to offend them – bleeding heart liberals hate offending anyone.
However, I have to admit I wish they ‘d waited this one out – held their noses and let the other candidate have these four years, despite her obvious flaws.
Anyone who loves animals, wildlife and the natural world just can’t accept a president who claims climate change is a Chinese hoax…. the world doesn’t have four years to fuck around with – the eight of George Bush and the congressional blockade of Obama have been bad enough, thanks very much. If that was the only reason for letting Clinton have her way, it was enough.
That didn’t happen, though, and I see why Hillary was so disagreeable to so many voters.
As Jonathon Pie so eloquently said in this video, we need to talk to those who disagree with us politically so we can find out the best way forward for us all.
I’m still confused about some things, though.
So if anyone can politely enlighten me, without ending up blocking me on social media (seriously) I’d be grateful.
For anyone who’s ever watched American Wrestling, you know that it’s all fake, and Trump was so clearly using that playbook for all his campaign. He was rousing the crowd to hate his opponent, but after a few pretend punches, they went out for beers together, counting the box-office take.
Whether or not you think he should be able to say the things he said (and I think many things, like mocking a disabled person should have sent him off the field straight away, no question) we have to ask ourselves if he really meant them.
The one about pussy grabbing is an exception – he said that before he wanted to run for President and had no reason to try shock people, and many women have come forward to say he did just that (and there’s him up in court for some nasty shit next month).
That said, does anyone believe that someone who has such a low opinion of non-drop-dead-gorgeous women really gives a shit if they have to get an abortion or not?
Whether or not you think Trump believes Mexicans are all rapists etc., do you really think a man who uses illegal labour himself is going to build a wall to keep them out? He and his buddies in industries like food processing make too much money.
Did you really think Trump was really going to “lock her up?” She was at his wedding for Christ’s sake! We know that’s bullshit now – he’s been singing her praises since winning and she’s thinking about working with him.
Do you really think that Trump will change the tax codes that Hillary never did – those ones that help out him and his billionaire friends? I agree that she should have done more, if she was really the liberal she claims to be, but Trump is hardly the kind of guy who shoots his own kneecap. He’ll double-down on keeping the rich rich. Otherwise his billionaire friends won’t want to play golf with him.
Do you think Trump is going to throw the dross out of Washington politics? He’s going to ask for their help to run things – since he’s obviously got no clue himself. He already said he wants Obama to help him. Rather than drain the swamp, he’s going to have swimming lessons.
For the sake of many people I know, who are minorities Trump also denigrated, I hope the nasty things he’s said about them were also bullshit. Since they’re powerless, though, he doesn’t really have to back-track there like he does with Clinton, politicians and the rich.
And I hope those of his voters who aren’t racist and xenophobic make clear to the ones who are ( and I don’t think anyone can deny there is a good whack of them) that his election doesn’t give them free reign to persecute their fellow Americans just because they don’t like the kind of America we have today and will have in the future.
Watching the news of the demonstrations and disturbances across American cities, I can’t help but wonder how things would look like if instead of the defeated candidate and the outgoing president telling their supporters to give Trump a chance we had a defeated Trump, who had said the election was rigged, that he might or might not have accepted the result, and who has been inciting violence for the last year.
Photo courtesy of http://wolf-bain.deviantart.com/art/Bonfire-185136996
I’d planned to write a post about Halloween, and this is mostly about that, but this last week is like a bad horror show that won’t end.
I went to Ireland for Halloween this year, the first time in at least a decade. In case you don’t know, Halloween is an Irish festival, called Samhain, which has been carried out since Celtic times. One of the most important parts of the celebration is the huge bonfires we have – which is my favourite part – despite ending up in the hospital ER after doing something stupid when lighting our neighbourhood fire at the age of thirteen.
The local councils always tried to take away our stash of firewood. I heard they are cracking down more nowadays – using drones to investigate the top of roofs and other inaccessible places, which is just plain cheating! It hasn’t happened yet – on my way through the working-class neighbourhood of Tallagh on Halloween afternoon, it seemed there was a bonfire for every twenty houses, and I wondered where the kids had got so much fuel from. There are not enough kids in my own neighbourhood to have a bonfire these days, but I hope the kids are able to outfox the councils and hide their firewood – if they’ve to stash it in their own garden sheds and garages, then I’m sure some will.
Kids building a bonfire in the next housing estate to my home in Ireland.
Without the bonfires, there is a danger that it will dissipate into a simple consumer-oriented excuse to eat sweets, with kids saying trick or treat instead of asking for apples and nuts – not that they get nuts nowadays in the age of sugar over-consumption and peanut allergies.
In my memory, it was always a one-day event. The night of the 31st is when the dead can come back to the world of the living and wreak their havoc. Now, it’s at least a week-long affair, much like it is in America, where houses are decorated in the middle of October.
It was strange to go into the city centre on the Saturday night and see so many people dressed up two days before the traditional day for donning costumes to disguise oneself from roaming spirits. It seemed more serious in the old days – a night to be careful and avoid not only those original enemies of the dark, but the drunken assholes: one of which caused me to visit the ER a second Halloween night – though that guy was an asshole even when sober and got his comeuppance eventually in the form of a knife in the heart.
Which brings me to another new trend – the assholes dressed up as scary clowns jumping out at people with knives and chainsaws and whatnot to frighten the shite out of them. It reminds me of those pricks who film themselves insulting black people and other minorities to see their reaction. Well, a few of those clowns got a reaction they weren’t expecting and ended up in the ER themselves, just like those dickheads got their comeuppance and were given a few punches in exchange for their insults.
Many good people are fed up being harassed, and aren’t going to take it so good-humouredly. People say that the protesters across America are a disappointment to their democracy, but it’s an indication that they’re not going to take this rise of xenophobia lying down.
If Trump had lost, his supporters would be doing a lot worse, I’m sure, and he’d be egging them on.
I’ve a lot of friends in America who are minorities of various sorts. Some of them are military veterans. They’re scared and upset as they ponder the fact that a racist, sexist etc. wanker has been elevated to the position of president, and how much licence that gives the narrow-minded people who voted for him (and I know not everyone who voted for him is an overt racist, but please, they legitimised those who are).
But many of them are also galvanizing themselves for the fight they coming. They say they’re not going to face this hate with civil disobedience and peaceful protest. They’re going to arm themselves and fight back fire with fire.
That could make this bad dream cross the line into a nightmare.
And I apologise for that sentence to those I know are already living a nightmare.
Scary times indeed.
I talked earlier this week about being an ex-pat rather than the emigrant/immigrant I’d always assumed myself to be.
The last day or so in Spain there has been a big news story about an eight year old boy, Abou, who was found in a suitcase crossing the border between Morocco and Spain.
He’d come all the way from the Ivory Coast. His father, legally residing in Spain had tried to get his family visas to join him. He was refused. Why? Because to do that he’d have to be making 1350 Euros a month. Now I know plenty of people here who don’t make that. The average wage is way lower. The father made 1300 euros a month. So for fifty quid a month, he was not allowed to have his family with him. I say made, because he’s in prison now: he could go down for human trafficking. The kid is in care, and the mother and his sister are alone waiting to see what the authorities will do.
Just one story of desperation. And the regulations seem stupid in their ability to take human needs into account.
But of course, that’s exactly how they are designed. Keep out the migrants, whatever their reason for trying to come.
I also learned a couple of weeks that reason people don’t take a plane to Europe to seek asylum, is because Europe doesn’t allow them. Not really. It makes the airlines refuse them because if they don’t, the company will have to pay for the flight back. It’s called EU directive 2001/51/EC. It’s there to stop illegal immigration of economic migrants. That’s “people looking to stay alive on more than a dollar a day in a drought-ridden country” to you and me.
It would actually be cheaper for an immigrant to buy a return ticket than pay the people smugglers, but I guess the airlines aren’t allowed do that.
So they have to sneak in, no matter where they are coming from or what they’re fleeing.
And we all know that’s some pretty bad shit there.
But they’re black, or mostly so. So they don’t matter. Their lives don’t matter, just like in the USA, but less, since they’re not even citizens. So the government of Spain can tell their police to shoot into the water to make some men drown rather than get shot instead of reaching dry land and have to be taken care of and processed, knowing few people will protest. They can take men down off the razor wire fence they’d been sitting on for hours and shove them through a gate back into Morocco without even bothering to tend their cuts, or see if they’ve stopped bleeding.
And they can wring their hands in worry at the plight of thousands drown after falling from boats designed to carry twenty weighted down with hundreds, but do nothing to make such voyages unnecessary.
The British government says they will help fish for survivors, but won’t let those they pick from the sea go anywhere near Britain.
And so we sail on.
We are currently debating marriage equality in Ireland, and in the USA. Meanwhile, inequality of application of Universal Human Rights is blatant in all our societies.
If there were true equality between people, the urge to migrate, or expatriate would vanish in 90% of the people who find themselves outside their own countries. Only those who want to live elsewhere for reasons such as my own (love!) would be bothered to move, to learn a new language, find friends and put down roots in a strange place.
But we don’t have anything near that.
Spaniards flock to Germany and England, or South America. The Irish hit the planes to America (illegally staying on past their tourist visa limits in some cases) or Australia.
And those destination countries do their best to discourage them. The only reason some can’t stop them is because of the “freedom of movement we supposedly have in Europe. If they don’t get a job, they want to send them back.
There are some countries, like Germany and England, who didn’t even allow the citizens of other European countries, like Romania and Bulgaria, to even try get a job until seven years after they’d joined our wonderful union.
All of the European Union is equal? Bollox.
The idea of a European Union is farcical until we have equality of citizens, and that means equality of employment rights and salaries. If the wages in Spain (or Bulgaria, where the minimum wage is six times lower) were the same as those in Germany – the minimum wage, if not the median – Germany would not need to worry about people going on the dole there – what they call benefits tourism and poverty migration (and when I came to Spain I had the right to the dole here). But people in rich countries like to have cheap holidays in Spain, or cheap products from counties where people have low wages. And the governments of poorer countries seem to think it’s good to have their citizens working for low wages to attract companies and tourists.
However, until we have a situation of true equality in this globalised world, there will be an unstoppable flow of lives across borders. Some to sink on the way, or die in the desert, or suffocate in the bottom of a truck or container.
But again, they’re only migrants.
I learned the other day that I am an ex-pat
No, not a former paddy – though my government would no doubt love to take those like me off the list of people they answer to – but a person living outside his own country.
Sorry, that’s white person living outside his country. And living in a less well off one (or at least one further south…)
I always thought I was an immigrant – or an emigrant. I actually thought that ex-pat meant the same as emigrant – one outside his native country, viewed from that country. I’m an Irish ex pat living in Spain; an Irish emigrant living in Spain. Not the same as an immigrant from Ireland living here in Spain.
But migrants and their prefixes only refer to non-whites, it seems. Silly me.
When I lived in the states, I knew I was an immigrant, despite my lily-whiteness. Homeland security was pretty good at getting that message across. There everyone is an immigrant. At least…. the Irish were, since they hardly counted as white back in the day.
And yet, when my former students of colour learned I was an immigrant, they laughed. And now I wonder if it wasn’t because I was not supposed to be called that, being white. I mean, it was obvious I wasn’t American. They asked if I was illegal, and lamented the fact that an illegal immigrant could be a teacher. I patiently explained. But for some, immigrant and illegal were words that were bound together like fried chicken. Can you be an immigrant if you’re not illegal? Can you have chicken if it’s not fried? Sorry, perhaps that’s an inappropriate metaphor, but I can’t think of anything else right now, and they’ll take it the right way – the way I did when I patiently explained that we don’t eat Lucky Charms in Ireland…
But I’d never thought there was anything bad in the word immigrant, despite the ignorance of a few kids. I was wrong. Silly me.
There was a stigma attached to the word, and kids who were obviously not born in America were reluctant to use it. I used to tell them I was an immigrant to how them that it was okay to be one, that immigrants could be “white,” too. But no. Now I realise they were right. Their reality is the truth.
There are those who like the fact that “immigrants” sounds like “illegal immigrants.” People who don’t want those who come to their country to have the same advantages (or luxuries in many cases) that they themselves have when they go to those persons’ countries.
These are the same guys who insist on a tight border control between the USA and UMS, yet like to take a trip to old Mexico now and then. Or the upper- and political-class Europeans who like to travel to the tropics to show how worldly they are, but let thousands drown in the Mediterranean.
They’re only migrants dying, after all.
Like so many, feeling a little sick, very depressed and completely baffled by today’s news that a policeman who killed an unarmed civilian with his bare hands will not be charged.
What we Learnt Today
Well, perhaps we had in inkling,
But it escapes denial today:
Lynching still exists, except now
You can view the event on video,
Streamed by the open-mouthed disbelievers
Beyond the borders of that one nation
Under God; recording
The police does not protect
You from death, and the white man
Will still get away with murder
If draped in blue…
The camera is useless if it won’t stop them
Streets streaming red,
When the focus is black justice:
On the contrary, it sickeningly
Summates to making snuff movies.