Friday
Nov302018

The Fanatic Speaks! (Yet Again)

One of the great things about being a writer is meeting your fellow scribes.

Of course, one of the bad things about being a writer is the unending quest to express your thoughts in an even semi-competent manner… and the soul-crushing drive to hit that daily word count… and the creeping feeling that we are just yelling into a void… and the futile endeavor to preserve some tiny memento of our fleeting existence… plus carpel tunnel syndrome.

OK, I guess that is actually several things. But I digress.

In any case, recently, I met up with my friend and fellow writer Hector Luis Alamo, and microphones happened to be present. 

Yes, we taped an episode of his new podcast Remember the Show, in which Hector interviews writers, politicians, US Marines, stockbrokers, and well, just about anyone he finds interesting.

Somehow, I made the cut, and we talked about — among other topics — novels, Hollywood, Trump, and whether it was more likely that angels or aliens exist (come on, it’s aliens).

In any case, you can listen to our conversation here.

And be sure to subscribe to Hector’s podcast and rate his show. Thanks.


Wednesday
Nov212018

The Wave

It took a while, but it has now become clear that the Democrats had a pretty good midterm election.

They took the House, snagged a few governors’ mansions, and made enormous inroads into red states. In essence, if this was a referendum on Trump, it is clear that most of the country is saying, “You suck, Mr. President.”

Of course, one reason for this welcome development is that Latinos — finally and at long last — expressed their anger at the Republican Party the only way that really counts: by voting.

Yes, voting info from several areas with high Latino populations “indicate record participation compared to previous elections, with hopes of building on that success in 2020.” 

Furthermore, early indications are that Hispanic voters came out in historic numbers, and… this made a difference for Democratic candidates.” In addition, “voting data showed tremendous energy among Latino voters; there was an estimated 174 percent increase in Hispanic early voting.” 

And if you require more proof that Hispanics were fired up for the midterms, consider that “polling showed that Latino interest in this midterm election matched Presidential year election levels.”

Now, keep in mind that “a large majority of Latinos disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job, far more than the general public.” In fact, just 22 percent of Latinos approve of the small-fingered commander in chief, compared with his overall approval rating of 38 percent with the general public.

With numbers like that, it shouldn’t be surprising that many experts say Latino voters, especially young ones, are a key reason that Democrats did so well.

Wow, it’s almost as if Republicans were unwise to have the standard-bearer for their party lacerate, insult, and demean an entire ethnic group — repeatedly — and then expect that group to vote for you. 

I mean, who knew?

Another aspect of increased Latino turnout is increased Hispanic representation. In fact, “the new Congress will have a record number of Latino members.”

Of course, it’s worth noting that for Hispanic representation in Congress to truly be proportional, the number of representatives would have to double, and the number of senators would have to quadruple.

So clearly, there is still work to be done.

Wednesday
Nov142018

Invaders

Good news — the most dangerous hostile force that America ever faced has now been defeated.

That’s right. The infamous immigrant caravan — a bigger threat than the Nazis, the Communists, and Al Qaeda put together — has been destroyed.

I know this is true because the Fox & Friendsmorning show “used the word ‘caravan’ an average 21 times per episode in the six days prior” to the midterms. Yet that same show “only mentioned the topic once on the day after the election.” 

The only logical conclusion is that the immigrant caravan has been turned back… or destroyed… or vanished into thin air — who knows?

The important thing is that we are safe. After all, we’re talking about an invading army here.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: How could a group of impoverished people on foot, presumably unarmed, with absolutely no element of surprise, be a threat to the most powerful nation on Earth, which has built the largest military force in the history of the galaxy? And did we mention that a huge portion of the caravan consists of malnourished children? It’s not exactly an elite killing force that we’re talking about. 

Well, that doesn’t matter. Because in the weeks leading to the midterms, many conservatives insisted that these immigrants were a Soros-funded plot to sway the midterms… although it has never been explained exactly how a group of refugees slowly walking toward the border could be remotely beneficial to the Democrats. If anything, the whole story has been a blessing for the Republican Party, which was briefly able to recapture that old xenophobic spirit of 2016 again.

In any case, these refugees — who apparently are going to reintroduce polio while providing cover for Isis agents — have so alarmed our nation’s right-wing overlords that they are spending taxpayer money to send U.S. troops to guard against bedraggled people fleeing for their lives from drug cartels. So we may soon have “up to 15,000 members of the world’s greatest fighting force, sitting in the desert, watching for poor refugees approaching on foot.”

But you see, it has to be this way. Trump supporters have to believe that the immigrant caravan is an invading army. That’s the only way to justify using military force to threaten people who are following U.S. and international law regarding asylum. Otherwise, these right-wingers might be the kind of people who advocate gunning down thousands of unarmed refugees, including children. 

And that might make it difficult to sleep at night.

Fortunately for Trumpists, they already have a unique worldview that allows them to believe all kinds of factually inaccurate, conspiratorial, logic-defying propositions, including the following: 

“The MAGA bombs were fake (they weren’t). There’s going to be a middle-class tax cut by the end of the year (there isn’t). US steel has opened seven new plants in the US (it hasn’t). The trade tariffs are working (they aren’t). The US is the only country with birthright citizenship (it isn’t).”

To be honest, it must be exhausting to come up with preposterous scenario after preposterous scenario, all designed to reinforce the delusion that Trump knows what he is doing, liberals hate America, scientists are making everything up, and that there is nothing racial about locking Latino kids in cages

Yes, I have to admit that up until now, I have been empathizing with my fellow progressives, who are weary from the almost daily outrages that cascade from the White House. 

But Trump supporters must be even more fatigued, coming up strained explanations, convoluted theories, and secret coded messages that, in the end, add up to no wall on the Mexican border, no locked-up Hillary, and no decrease in the number of pesky minorities in America.

Really, it’s got to be fucking exhausting.

Thursday
Nov082018

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.

Wednesday
Oct312018

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.