Updated: May 11, 2020
I often get asked, “Why are you so political?” Simply put, I have been most of my life. Even when I was younger and playing in bands, and later comedy, many a night was spent discussing history and the human condition.
Everything from how schools and rescue are funded to what corporate dirt wars we send our kids to die in, and who we have them kill, to the economy and jobs is political. The “non-political” are the spoiled, the elite, whose mantra is, “Let them eat cake,” whether they know it or not.
Of course, we can ignore this. Alas, we then can’t bitch and we can’t be shocked. The burlesque, we call news, are a planned distraction, not intended to inform.
In a lawsuit brought by conservative OAN last fall, against MSNBC and Rachel Maddow, her own lawyer Theodore J. “Ted” Boutrous Jr. argued that the "liberal" host was clearly offering up her “own unique expression” of her views to capture what she saw as the “ridiculous” nature of the undisputed facts. He continued, “Her comment, therefore, is a quintessential statement ‘of rhetorical hyperbole, incapable of being proved true or false,’” he said. So…not point in fact or news. Roger that.
More American Idol, American Gladiators or American Idiots is not helping us evolve at all. The talking heads shouting about which party tea bags the most strippers or which congress person is tearing up speeches like a twelve year old, drives that even further. They’re pseudo-events, not driven by tariffs, war or even the tax code.
Before the internet, we had "underground press," long since defunct or co-opted. I have been dubious of the mainstream press since at least April Glaspie ended up on page 17 of the L.A. Times C section. No pun intended…
My point in this post? I’m not sure, exactly. I just know that us kids were lucky to have been raised how we were in L.A. Definitely not a perfect upbringing, but it made us who we were. My dad is Palestinian, and my mom is from Brazil. I watched them learn and adapt. They came here with nothing. Spent their last $300 on Green Cards in 1962. They landed in L.A., my mom was pregnant with me and at 22 (dad was 23), they were basically kids themselves. They both speak four languages; Arabic, Portuguese, English, and Spanish. The main point here, is that they did not come from money. They were raised on farms with each coming from families of 13 and 14 kids. I saw how they were treated, compared to us kids. They looked and sounded “foreign” and we looked and sounded “white.” Night and day difference in response. Taught me how people can be; some wonderful and some not so much.
I got a different perspective on the world from the old man when he still cared. He taught me about Iran in the 50s, explained how we were visited by the FBI, when I was little, and why he had a Jordanian passport as there was no Palestine and Israel would not call him an “Arab Israeli.” He was from a little town outside of Ramallah, in the West Bank leaving in 1957. So, like many Palestinians, he got a Jordanian passport. The Six Day War, the RFK assassination and the Munich Olympics in 1972, all earned us an FBI visit. For example, we lived about 25 minutes from the Ambassador Hotel and Sirhan Sirhan was Palestinian.
I remember 1972. My mom made coffee.
After high school, to avoid any hassles, I claimed I was “half Jordanian” until my mid-twenties. My 1970s were a continual fist fight and I had just about enough…then I stopped giving a shit and appreciated the shock value of saying Palestinian. Not even being half Brazilian tempered that, especially with the feeble minded.
By the way, none of this is about “fair.”
The world is not fair, nor is it expected to be. Our perspective must be about dignity. Without that, we’re animals. We have been ugly a long time and we have been taking advantage of that our entire history as nation. It is only being exposed now, because we don’t like the president’s tweets.
Little of the up roar over Trump’s thumbs has to do with pushing the Empire’s agenda.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that without social and economic justice, we will never have true equality. More than fifty years after his death, it seems we’ve only ignored his advice even more.
The insistence on shit science and psychology and “magical thinking” in the face of suffering is abhorrent. Our reaction to pain we cause is, “Well then leave, if you don’t like it!” Well, fuck you! I was born here, and much our culture and advances came from immigrants and victims of slavery and genocide. It also came from demand; abolition, labor, civil rights and women voting are but a few examples. Your party is not country. These people are not your friends. Our rights came from demand or the laws would not have changed…
Nationalism is lie. Patriotism is a short cut to thinking. Goebbels would weep with joy over our lapdog media who have all the push back of a three year old with a toy Thor hammer.
What does this all mean? We help our own. We make peace with our enemies and deals with our friends.
It is the hateful and ignorant who insist everything is splendid, while believing that John Wayne and the Easter Bunny were real. American Exceptionalism exists on all sides of the aisle, no matter the background.
John Wayne was an asshole and Red Dawn is not a documentary.
James Baldwin said that the psychosis of the United States is that we cannot reconcile our ideals with our sins. Until we do, we will kill our children needlessly, allow more corporate greed to suck the marrow out the treasury and be tricked into more endless wars and famine. Being led by C minus brains of dubious ethics, is not working.
So when people ask, “Why are you so angry, I usually ask back, “Why aren’t you?”