See a Little Light

According to certain individuals of a more conservative mindset, this week’s midterms were actually a big win for the Republican Party — so impressive, in fact, that it was“very close to a complete victory.”

Hey, who says the GOP is delusional? Certainly not me.

In any case, the fact is that the Democrats have captured the House, which means they will be able, in theory at least, to launch investigations into the most corrupt administration in history and slow down, if not stop, the freight train of disaster that Trump has sent hurtling toward the American people.

Of course, if they could just protect the Mueller investigation, we would all be pretty happy about that. 

The new Congress set to take office in January “is slated to be the most racially diverse in history,” and “record numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and women of color will serve in the next legislative session.”

Within just a few weeks, Congress will be full of young Latinas and Muslims and Native Americans, with some states having the absolute chutzpah to send all-minority delegations. It’s a white nationalist nightmare.

It’s undeniable that this is a major political and cultural development for America. And it has the potential to be a much-needed course correction to our nation’s recent detour into overt xenophobia, fear-based hatemongering, and rambling insanity. 

Of course, white supremacists are still getting reelected to Congress, so it’s not all pride flags and wins for la raza. 

But for the first time in two horrific years, there is a spark of hope.


Fait Accompli

One thing I admire about conservatives is their adherence to a narrow set of principles, as well as their political consistency.

Ha, just warming things up with a little joke there, people.

But seriously folks, the GOP, which once believed in “forceful moral leadership of the world, promotion of the free market and fiscal conservatism,” abandoned those silly ideas the second that Trump became president, and conservatives realized that they could pass tax cuts for millionaires and intimidate ethnic minorities, which are, when you think about it, the only things that the Republican Party currently stands for.

And now another supposed GOP value is quite dead. That would be the questionable virtue of demanding a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. You see, our very conservative president “claims he can defy the Constitution and end birthright citizenship.”

I bet you thought something as well-established and bedrock ingrained as the 14thAmendment could not be altered just because a president signs an executive order. Well, this shows how little you know. Trumpism, which has supplanted conservatism, means that a president can do whatever he wants — as long as he’s a Republican. 

In this case,Trump can do away with any pesky Constitutional rights that he dislikes. And the man dislikes nothing more than immigrants, particularly Latino ones.

So that section in the Constitution that says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States”? Yeah, he can just end it with the stroke of a pen and, if he likes, the snap of his tiny fingers.

And who knows — he just might get his buddies on the Supreme Court (at least one of whom apparently owes him one) to uphold his dictatorial edicts.

Of course, Trump’s promise to end birthright citizenship most likely reflects his complete ignorance — and total indifference — to the laws of this nation. And it has even less chance of happening than his idiotic wall does of being built.

One more time: there will be no wall constructed on the Mexican border.

However, Trump’s offhand musings about crushing our legal system and throwing the entire citizenship process into absolute chaos are really designed to fire up his base. It is “about the midterm elections and the desire of the president and his team to change the channel, grab the news cycle by the throat and talk about immigration rather than the domestic terrorism that we've seen in the last week."

Yes, if there is one thing that will convince an elderly bigot to pull the lever for the Republicans again, it is the idea that no more Hispanics will become citizens, ever ever ever.

The fact that Trump’s ramblings are “a pure political stunt” that is “offensive, deeply troubling, racist, and unconstitutional” is of little concern to a voter who views Latino newborns “not as a source for society's renewal but as threats.”

And even though that voter could most likely not even pass the U.S. citizenship test himself, he will still support a decrepit, unhinged political movement that can offer nothing but fear, hatred, denial, and a dark, pessimistic view of our changing world.



Asleep at the Wheel?

As you know, the Democrats are poised to win 5,698 congressional seats (more or less) next month, and there is nothing on Earth that can stop the vengeful cleansing of the mighty Blue Wave. 

Well, there is one thing: maybe the Democrats won’t get enough votes.

How can that be? 

You are correct to ask such a seemingly naïve question.

After all, for months now, just about every analysis has shown that Democrats are heavily favoredto win back the House, and maybe even snag the Senate while they’re at it. In addition, while the president’s approval rating has improved from “abysmal” to “very bad,” this is not enough of a turnaround to cause the GOP to swell with confidence.

However, while “Democratic voters are revved up for November. There is one exception to that rule: Latinos.”

Yes, my fellow Hispanics don't seem terribly enthusiastic about the midterms. On the one hand, this is difficult to comprehend. After all, what more proof do we Latinos need that Trump, if he had his way, would deport every person whose last name ends in Z and/or seems just a little too tan? And let’s face it, the rest of the GOP is clearly not enthralled with us as well.

But there are multiple reasons why so many Latinos are poised to perform that most American of behaviors (i.e., skipping election day). 

For starters, the Democratic outreach toward Latinos has been pathetic. Regardless of whether Democrats are ignorant, incompetent, or possess a misguided feeling that everything is in the bag, they have sucked at talking to Hispanic voters. In fact, “nationally,55 percent of Latinos said they have not yet been contacted by a political campaign this year.”

In addition, many Latino voters say “they felt disempowered rather than emboldened; they expressed feelings of cynicism, apathy and fear fueled by the highly fraught political moment.

OK, that makes sense.

Another fact is that Hispanics are younger than other demographics. And it’s well established that young people like, totally space on, like, voting, you know…

Add it all up, and it becomes apparent that we are not talking about a sleeping giant. No, this is a hibernating, heavily medicated goliath who is so deeply zoned-out that he’s practically in a coma.

What will it take to snap him out of his stupor?



Exactly Backwards

As our illustrious leader has informed us, these are dangerous times for men… particularly white ones… particularly straight, rich, conservative ones…

Yeah, that’s right. It’s an absolute horror show for privileged males today.

Of course, common sense and a basic understanding of math reveals that the odds that an American women will be raped in her lifetime is about 1 in 6, while the odds that an American man will be accused of rape is way, way, way lower. And the odds that an American man will be falsely accused is lower still. 

So why — besides Trump’s nauseating predilection for misogyny — is the president advocating for the plight of men?

Well, there is a long history of the most powerful among us presenting themselves as the real victims. It is an effective method for retaining control, even if the hypocrisy and blatant mendacity of the tactic make it apparent to anyone who is the slightest bit non-partisan and/or has the cognitive ability of a ten-year-old.

In any case, this approach goes beyond simple sexism. It is at the core of the whole battle against the nefarious forces of political correctness, which an overwhelming 80 percent of Americans think is a problem in our country.

I’ve written before about how calling something PC is usually shorthand for dismissing the concerns of marginalized groups, and how there is nothing the slightest bit edgy about being non-PC, an ambiguous standard that often signifies a high level of fear and loathing about our changing society.

But is PC a legitimate concern, or is it just an overblown attempt by conservatives to claim victimhood and, in this way, their own political “safe spaces”?

Well, I don’t know of any scientific studies that have analyzed the toxic effects of political correctness. So we’re reduced to looking at anecdotal evidence.

For example, many white people have been caught on tape accosting black people who are minding their own business and posing no threat. Some of these paranoid individuals have been fired or publicly shamed for their actions. Now, let’s assume that it is mere political correctness to call out a white person for, say, calling the cops on an African American who is watching his kid play soccer.

I would call it being a bigoted asshole, but let’s go with the right-wing definition, and say that it’s PC to fire someone for preventing a black man from entering his own apartment.

In that case, yes, I guess you could say that PC has harmed a handful of Americans. But for the most part, this is only when aggressive jerks display extremely prejudicial behavior that happens to be caught on video. Otherwise, they can just go around chanting, “Jews will not replace us” and cracking racist jokes with impunity.

Clearly, PC is a bit toothless if that is the extent of its cultural power.

Now let’s look at the other side.  

Have there been examples of liberals — you know, the PC people — who have been bullied into submission?

Well, there is theblack Vermont lawmaker who “first suspended her re-election campaign before resigning altogether from her post following racist attacks against her and her family.” That’s correct — bigoted trolls attacked an elected representative, and PC did not come to her rescue. In fact, the alt-right abusers got their way.

And then there iswriter Chuck Wendig, who has been the object of many online attacks from conservatives. Wendig was fired from Marvel “after posting a number of explicit tweets attacking Republicans and the GOP over the confirmation of Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”

Once again, the alt-right suffered no consequences for their fusillade on Wendig, who said that his firing “is really quite chilling,” leaving him “very sad, and worried for the country I live in, and the world.”

Why didn’t PC, with its monumental powers, prevent Wendig from losing his job? And why are his alt-right attackers, rather than being chastened, now overjoyed with yet another victory? 

That’s because it is the alt-right that is punishing people for their language and opinions, not the so-called PC police. And it is the Republican Party that is cultivating this surrealistic environment, in that they cry about their oppression and issue a “call for civility as the PA GOP candidate threatens [his opponent] with a golf cleat stomping.”

No, a black lawmaker can lose her job due to alt-right attacks. But a white man who may have committed a felony can get belligerent and still nab a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Clearly, it doesn’t sound like privileged white men are suffering too much under the hideous yoke of political correctness. 

In fact, I’m tempted to say that much of the whining about America being too PC is just another pathetic, knee-jerk reaction from unimaginative, self-righteous hypocrites. 

But I don’t want to offend anyone.


Mixed Messages

In defiance of all odds, the U.S. economy continues to perform well, even if a lunatic who knows nothing about basic economic laws is at the nation’s helm.

Latinos have noticed the prosperity, relatively mild as it is. In fact, consumer confidence among Hispanics has improved “asoptimism has grownabout their financial situation as well as the U.S. economy as a whole,” according to a new study.

The Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index — which I for one, never knew existed — is rising, although it continues to trail the overall U.S. population. About 62 percent of Hispanics say they are “financially better off today than a year ago,” and 72 percent of Latinos say, “they will be better off over the next year.” The report adds that 58 percent of Hispanics expect “good times for the country as a whole over the next five years.”

Well, that all sounds pretty rosy. However, one group does not share Latinos’ optimism for America’s continued economic health. That would be our old friends, the super wealthy. A different report finds that “75 percent of ultra-high net worth investors predict America will hit a recession by 2020.” 

Wow, that’s quite a different take on things. 

In fact, 21 percent of rich people believe that a recession “will begin in 2019, and 50 percent expect the next recession to start in 2020.” And remember, these are individuals who obsess over the economy and financial markets, and there are very few Latinos among them.

So is Hispanic faith in the economy misplaced?

Well, I’ve written before about the Latino tendency to be optimistic. While this is definitely a positive trait, it can on occasion lead to irrational conclusions.

For example, if the above statistics are true, then over half of Latinos think the economy will be solid for the next half decade, at least.

But how does that align with the results of a different study that found“Latino families are strugglingwith paying down debt and are the least prepared for financial emergencies”?

That study found that over one-third (38 percent) of Latinos “believe the American Dream is disappearing,” and about a quarter (24 percent) worry about being able to care for their families.

The study reiterated that “Latinos have relatively lower accumulated wealth,” and that many Hispanics are looking at a wicked trifecta of debt. That would be the following grim stats

64% of Latinos have credit card debt. The average credit card debt is $9,652. 

63% of Latinos have a mortgage. The average mortgage debt is $181,292. 

27% of Latinos have student loan debt. The average student loan debt is $32,650.

In addition, the study found that Latinos are “less prepared than other consumer populations surveyed for a financial emergency, with 19 percent having less than a month of monthly expenses saved.” 

What about these numbers leads Hispanics to think that the good times will just keep coming?

Well, the study states the obvious when it points out that “Latino households are more likely to have a broader definition of family that includes extended family” and that Hispanics have “strong family and cultural values.”

The fact that your family has your back may cause many Latinos to worry less about the future. But even that positive value has a dark side, because according to the report, “Latino families are juggling multiple financial priorities, such as a future caregiver role for elderly parents.”

Again, the economy is definitely doing well. But it can’t last much longer, even if we didn’t have an impulsive, ignorant racist calling the shots. Sooner or later — and most likely, sooner — a crash is coming.

Maybe we should brace ourselves for that inevitability, rather than just hoping and feeling good about our bright, shiny futures.