Nothing But Chaos

Perhaps you’ve felt the need for speed. 

Or you’ve felt the need for weed.

Or you’ve felt … I don’t know… the need for tweed… ok the wordplay breaks down pretty quickly.

In any case, you most likely never felt the need for chaos, and it’s not just because the phrase doesn’t rhyme.

No, it’s because you probably don’t agree with the following the statements:


I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.

Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.

I think society should be burned to the ground.


Wow, those are pretty crazy inklings, aren’t they?

Well, it might surprise you to know that a “staggering” number of Americans agree with those statements, including 40 percent of Americans who want to torch all of our political and social institutions, and 24 percent who believe society itself should be completely destroyed.

Yes, that probably surprises you.

Now, does it surprise you to know that harboring such dark thoughts is positively correlated with supporting Trump?

OK, that probably doesn’t surprise you.

You see, a new study has shown that “a segment of the American electorate that was once peripheral is drawn to ‘chaos incitement’and that this segment has gained decisive influence through the rise of social media.”

The researchers state that these individuals have a "Need for Chaos” (NFC) that manifests itself in “willingly spreading disinformation… not to advance their own ideology but to undermine political elites, left and right, and to mobilize others against politicians in general.” 

Leaving aside the fact that both Chaos Incitement and Need for Chaos are great names for punk bands, the study found that NFC is a “strategy of last resort by marginalized status-seekers, willing to adopt disruptive tactics.” 

Yeah, this basically means angry people who blame others for their problems. These are the individuals who rant about American carnage and think hordes of “illegals” are murdering citizens in the streets and see no solution other than a Shiva-like destruction of the nation’s foundations.

And this pathology (there is no other word) is “associated with support for Donald Trump.” 

Of course, there are some issues with this analysis. For starters, it discounts racism as a prime motivator among Trump voters, which as we all know, is a well-established link

However, there is little doubt that “NFC can also explain some of Trump's support, as a not insignificant slice of the American electorate seems to be driven by a desire to tear down the system.”

In other words, many of Trump’s biggest fans don’t even believe in the mythical Make America Great Again slogan. They just want to see everybody suffer.These political nihilists do not “share rumors because they believe them to be true. For the core group, hostile political rumors are simply a tool to create havoc.”

And as many experts have noted, Trump himself “has consistently sought to strengthen the perception that America is in chaos, a perception that has enhanced his support.” And this effort has paid off, because many Americans — including a disturbing number of his supporters — fantasize not about peace and prosperity, but about rage and entropy.  

They envision a country — even a world — where everything burns. 

They see bedlam all around them. And it makes them smile.


Implausible Deniability

Hey, remember Ronald Reagan?

Sure you do. He was the devil.

Woops, I meant to say that he was the 40th president of the United States whom many people consider the last great Republican leader. Well, it turns out that he was also an unrepentant bigot.

Hey, remember the Tea Party?

Yeah, they were the band of rabid racists who freaked out because America elected a black man.

Sorry, I meant to say they were the highly principled patriots who protested rampant government spending. Well, it turns out that they were actually hate-filled hypocrites who latched onto a convenient excuse to spew irrational, prejudicial nonsense.

In both cases, present-day conservatives shrug and say, “Who could have known?”

Yet all the clues were there, and even at the time, lots of progressives said Reagan was a racist and the Tea Party were lunatics who hated ethnic minorities.

But today’s GOP insists it’s a left-wing lie that racism has had a cozy home within its party’s confines for, oh, the past 50 years or so. Just ignore the Southern Strategy and Nixon’s anti-Semitism and people hanging Obamain effigy and hard data that shows Trump’s win was fueled by xenophobia more than any other factor and… well, what do you have?

OK, there are real-life Nazis in the Republican Party and GOP congressmen praising white supremacists and nationalistic terrorists gunning down Latinos.

But besides that, what do you have?

Yes, I’ll give you the fact that Trump has hurled racial slurs at members of Congress — insults that would get him fired at any normal job. And it’s true that racial resentment correlates with voting Republican. And yeah, hate crimes have increased since Trump was elected, especially in places where he held campaign rallies. And Fox News spotlights white men who demean immigrants and praise white homogeneity. And more than half of all Americans say the president is flat-out racist.

But really, isn’t all that just coincidence?

No? Not even a little bit?

Um, no.

It is clear to everyone in America that plausible deniability is gone.  You simply can’t say that you don’t know.

At this point, if you support Trump, there are only four possibilities:

  1. You are a racist
  2. You are supportive of a racist in exchange for a bigger tax refund or the achievement of some vague conservative goal (like Supreme Court justices who still think it’s 1959)
  3. You put up with a racist because you’re in too deep, and to admit your error in voting for this corrupt fraud opens yourself up to a flurry of “told ya so” by those damn liberals
  4. You have suffered a grievous brain injury and don’t know what the fuck is going on

But to say the president is not a bigot, or to dispute the cancer of racism that has a chokehold on the modern Republican Party, is to indulge in fantastical thinking that can only lead to more chaos and, eventually, to a searing rendering of the American nation itself.

Because you know the truth. Let’s all stop denying it.


All Over the World

Part of being American is expecting that on any given day, you will be involved in a shootout. 

Hell, most of us just assume that, inevitably, we’ll be crouched under a desk, ducking behind a pew, or sprinting across traffic to flee gunfire. Or maybe we’ll be in active-engagement mode and exchanging shots with a rifle-wielding assailant because there are so many, you know, good guys with guns keeping us safe… yup.

Now, according to our favorite right-wingers, you are most likely to be gunned down by a bloodthirsty Latino “illegal,” or a wild-eyed Muslim immigrant. And if they don’t get you, there are Antifa thugs eager to bash in your head, because we all know that leftists are the most violent people in America.

Oh wait… in truth, only about 3 percent of politically motivated homicides are carried out by leftists. On the other hand, over 70 percent “of U.S. extremist-related murders in the past decade were committed by right-wing extremists, including white supremacists.”

So yeah, a white guy with a gun and an agenda is a lot more dangerous than just about anybody else in this nation. 

In fact, the FBI says that a majority of the domestic-terrorism cases that they’ve investigated “are motivated by some version of what you might call white-supremacist violence.” 

Yeah, we might call it that.

We might also call it a growing threat to the stability of civilization. Because white supremacy is a not just a problem within the United States, but is “part of a global network of white nationalist radicalization and violence.”

Studies show that in many nations, “terrorism does increase with immigration,” just like hardline conservatives insist, but in a murderous irony, this is true only with regard to “homegrown right-wing terrorism.”

And as the shooting in El Paso showed us, there are plenty of homegrown right-wing terrorists eager to enforce their homicidal versions of racial purity. Latinos, in particular, seem to be a popular target at such times.

However, it’s important to note that “recent racist violence in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe is linked by the shared conspiracy that white people are being displaced from their home countries.” All around the world, white supremacists who share this paranoid vision believe the only proper response is “to create a violent societal collapse, that will lead to apocalyptic end times, and a race war, and then eventually to restoration and rebirth.”

In America, that has led to a cavalcade of xenophobic freaks who are“part of a larger ecosystem,” but are united in their desire“to outdo Timothy McVeigh.” And as some experts on white nationalism have proclaimed, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Wow, that’s all pretty grim. But fortunately, our nation’s leaders are determined to fight this growing scourge.

Actually, what I meant to say is “determined to deny that the problem even exists.” Yes, I get those concepts confused sometimes.

It just so happens that “a leaked memo reveals the GOP’s strategy” for fighting militant racism, which is to “point the finger at the left and minimize the role of white supremacy at all costs.”

OK, that’s not quite what we had in mind. 

But you see, it is simply not politically beneficial for Republicans to admit that some of their most enthusiastic followers — white people with a high degree of racial anxiety — may be plotting to shoot up the place. In addition, a long history of “racially inflammatory views blurs the line between conservatism and outright white supremacy, making it very difficult for conservatives to police the boundaries between the two.”

Maybe that’s one reason a conservative can get on television and proclaim that “white supremacy is a hoax,” and “actually not a real problem in America.”

How’s that for bravely confronting a problem head-on?

In summary, let me leave you with this little anecdote. 

Recently, a neo-Nazi was arrested for threatening to murder a Latina and her family, stating in completely unambiguous language that he would “stop at nothing” until the “entire worthless Latin race is racially exterminated.” After pledging allegiance to Hitler, the man declared, “Spanish and all Spanish speaking people illegal.”

He ended his threat by saying, “I thank God every day that President Donald Trumpis president and that he will launch a racial war and crusade to keep all the n-----s, spics, and Muslims and any dangerous non-white or ethnically or culturally foreign group in line.”

Now imagine thousands, perhaps millions, of this guy.

Just imagine it.



I’ve been a lot of things in my life. Among them are the following: 


A son

A quiet kid

An opinionated adult

A husband

A father

A bad guitarist

An aspiring writer

A published author

A sullen Gen Xer

A Monty Python fan

A Latino


And now, thanks to our current president, I can add the following: 

A target


You see, there can be no doubt — if there ever was — that Hispanics are not just objects of derision and scapegoats for America’s problems. In conservative circles, we’ve had those roles covered for decades now.

But in Trump’s America, we are also human bullseyes for paranoid racists with access to heavy firearms. And considering that there are thousands (perhaps millions) of paranoid racists storing up millions (perhaps tens of millions) of guns… well, it is not a time to sit back and get comfortable if your last name ends in Z or if you bare even a slight resemblance to Selma Hayek.

We all know that the El Paso gunman who murdered 22 people carried out the “deadliest attack targeting Latinos in recent American history.” 

The gunman “drove more than 10 hours … specifically to find and kill Latinx people.” He wrote a racist, xenophobic manifesto“posted online minutes before the massacre, in which he warned about aHispanic invasion’ of Texas.”The document also bemoaned the increasing Latino population and included “a decision by its writer to target Hispanicsafter reading a right-wing conspiracy theory asserting Europe’s white population is being replaced with non-Europeans.”

And, oh yeah, the El Paso shooter came right out and told a detective after his arrest “that he was targeting Mexicans when he opened fire at a Walmart.”

But according to conservatives, this is just total coincidence. And also, Trump and Fox News have nothing to do with this despite their constant screeching about immigration and labeling Mexicans as “rapists” and throwing around the exact terms the gunman used and demonizing Latinos every single chance they get. And another thing, I am the real racist for pointing out these facts and why can’t we all just be nice to the president, so there.

However, back in reality, it is clear that right-wing hostility toward Latinos has moved beyond insults and physical assault and threats to deport everyone who is just a little too tan. 

No, we now have white supramicists gunning us down while doing back-to-school shopping.

Indeed, it is “quite a transition from being invisible to being visible in a lethal way,” and hurtling past “the basic darkness of racism” into homicidal rage.

Yes, I know there are those Latino conservatives out there who will insist that this incident does not reflect upon the xenophobia of their cherished GOP. However, their self-loathing fidelity to bigots is no safety net. El Paso shows that in the eyes of rabid nationalists, “it doesn’t have to be you who crossed the border. It just has to be you who are not Anglo.” 

Of course, our fumbling, incoherent president — who cannot even fake his way through a display of basic empathy— addressed the shooting by blaming “the internet, news media, mental health and video games, among others.” But at no point did he “take responsibility for the xenophobic rhetoric that he has frequently used to demonize and dehumanize Hispanic Americans and immigrants over the past four years.”

Hey, it’s not his problem. And his main supporters, the fabled Trump base, will likely never feel the existential stress of being targeted for extermination, for no other reason than the way one looks or speaks.

But for Latinos, “it’s really hard to be alive right now and to not be sick and exhausted.” 

It feels like being hunted.


Be Afraid—Be Perpetually Afraid

My power went out again.

My family lives on an ancient electrical grid in Los Angeles, so every now and then, our lights go out. It happens during heat waves, heavy rain, or if a person sneezes too loudly in the transformer’s general direction.

One would think America would invest a little more in our crumbling infrastructure. After all, a recent report found that the network that underpins our modern way of life “gets a D+ grade,” and that the country “needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country's roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure.”

But we’re not investing in any of that. Nor are we providing affordable healthcare to our citizens, enacting student-debt relief, or spending more cash to combat the homelessness epidemic.

You see, we don’t have a dime to spare, America, because we’ve got a motherfucking wall to build.

Yes, recently, our xenophobe in chief got the US Supreme Court to go along with his fake emergency, and now at least $2.5 billion is being pulled from military programs and launched at the most pointless, ineffectual, counterproductive major project in U.S. history (i.e., Trump’s wall).

Now, the money — which again, could be going to non-racist endeavors that actually help the country — will fund construction for about 100 miles of barriers.

Keep in mind that Trump’s promise was for a “big, beautiful wall” that Mexico would pay for. Needless to say, 100 miles of barricades that American taxpayers will cover is very different from 2,000 miles of wall that a foreign nation will fund.

Apparently, even Trump’s fans — who never met a goalpost they wouldn’t happily move— are lukewarm about this victory for bigotry. Oh, they’re pleased that the president can officially claim success, and if the new barrier keeps out even one undocumented woman and her traumatized child, they’re thrilled.

But yes, they want more. And this is one reason that “the president has not been boasting about the transfer authority he maintains, suggesting he’s still unsatisfied.” 

Apparently, boasting is the only way that Trump can signal satisfaction. So now, “many Republicans are trying to redirect the president to other immigration fights, even if they are just as unwinnable as one over the wall.”

That’s correct. The leaders of a major political party are trying to appease a cantankerous old man by diverting him into a different, less-obnoxious fight, even if it is “unwinnable.” This is similar to the strategy that one employs when attempting to distract an agitated toddler.

In any case, “GOP leaders hope they’ve secured enough releases to keep Trump from picking a border wall fight that ends in another shutdown.” 

However, I can tell you that Trump and his allies will continue to obsess about the wall, and it will get ugly.

And the reason is clear: It will never be enough for them.

For people who live in perpetual fear— like Trump and his hardcore supporters — an enormous wall to keep out all the Latinos is just the beginning, not the end.

Their terror over dark-skinned people, and the changing demographics of the nation, is impervious to logic. Their anxiety is impossible to assuage, and cannot be soothed or vanquished. Their fear is a constant motivator and lifelong companion. It will never go away.

So let’s say that Trump builds his wall — all 2,000 miles of it. What happens then?

Will his supporters stroll about their suburbs and small towns, content that the invading horde is being held back? 

Or will they get uneasy when they see a Hispanic family move in next door? Will they become flustered when they hear Spanish at the supermarket? Will they have heart palpitations when their daughter starts dating some swarthy kid named Gonzalez?

Even if the wall were built, Trump supporters will imagine migrants finding a way over, under, or around it. They will visualize Mexicans and Salvadorans and lord knows what else tunneling and leap-frogging their way into the country. 

At that point, will they advocate for machine guns on top of the wall? How about land mines at strategic locations?

Yes and also yes. But it will still be insufficient.

So will they demand funding for klieg lights that keep night from ever descending on the border? Maybe an enormous moat filled with crocodiles? Lasers that zap any organic life?

It will never end. Because at no point will they feel safe. Never.

It will never be enough for people who live in perpetual fear, and who despise people who are not like them. 

The solution to such unbridled terror and hatred is clear.

Let’s just make a big playground out of the border. It’s a much better use of our money.