Tuesday, August 4, 2015

No Class. No Compassion. No Brains. The "Take Us Seriously" Circus Mocks America and God

What a waste of the public's time. So when will they let us get down to serious business?

Probably never.

I've often said that while you can take away any of America's rights, you cannot take away its right to be entertained. Politicians know that. And that's why politicians - the intelligent ones - make a point of being entertaining. The unintelligent ones don't have to work at it: they're naturals.

But there comes a point when the entertainment becomes mockery. It might seem to be a form of self-parody, but really, it's not. It's just...


Huffington Post (Geoffrey Dunn) nailed it:

Donald Trump is many things -- a demagogue and a pompous blowhard, a braggart and a race baiter -- but in the end, he's nobody's fool, except perhaps his own. Thus, his recent lauding of Sarah Palin and his hiring of her former Chief of Staff reveal that Trump's campaign for the presidency is, ultimately, more of a circus act than it is a serious endeavor for the White House. If Trump were really serious, he'd be keeping the quitter governor at bay.
Sarah Palin has responded to Trump's flattery with flattery of her own: 
Palin penned an op-ed Friday for the conservative Breitbart news site, slamming Trump's critics and writing that "The elites are shocked by Trump's dominance, but everyday Americans aren't."
"Trump diagnoses our problems as incompetent leadership. Who can argue with that? How many politicians promised to secure our borders? So, why aren't they secured?" Palin wrote.
Now Ann Coulter, the queen of mockery and derision, has jumped on the Trump train:

Coulter (at Eagle Forum’s Collegian Summit:

I would like to be the head of Donald Trump’s Homeland Security,” Coulter said, adding, “I’ll get it all done before breakfast” because she “could kind of guess who the criminals are going to be at least 50 percent of the time.”
And, of course, on immigration:
“We’re assimilating you, you’re here and you’re going to be an American. There will be no celebration of Cinco de Mayo, there will be no Ramadan, in fact there won’t even be a Feast of the Immaculate Conception – we are an Anglo-Protestant country, and you will learn about the Battle of Valley Forge.”
In her typical, backhanded way, Coulter got a dig into previous generations of immigrants, saying they were more suitable because: “people proved their heartiness [sic] to get here by vomiting all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.”

In other words, she managed to mock my grandmother who came across the Atlantic from (the old) Bohemia on the Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse.* 

She sidestepped the sentiment of the Statue of Liberty's "Give me your tired, your poor ..." Desperation to survive fueled these immigrants just as much as today's, but Coulter wants you to know that GOOD immigrants come here to enthusiastically remake themselves in Coulter's image (!?!). 

The Mockery Of The 4Rs

By relegating "everyday Americans" to the rednecks, rubes and the religious right (the 4Rs), Palin, Trump and Coulter are mocking America in a way that shows their disingenuousness. The 4 Rs care nothing for other mindsets, religions or cultures in the way that America was meant to. In fact, the three are so horribly contentious when it comes to foreign relations (and cultures) that they mockingly glorify the "ugly American" with his crude attitude and imperiousness. The "voice" that they give to "America's dissatisfied and disenfranchised" is merely a show of contempt for everything and everyone not "true blue" American (read: WASP).

Trump in particular plays upon the gullibility of the 4Rs with his dazzling display of ostentation, and America looks the more foolish for allowing his ostentation to become a selling point in his bid for the Presidency. He's playing the billionaire counterpart of Lonesome Rhodes, with loud snippets of rage mixed with matter-of-fact "wisdom" and "honesty" - a facade that paints middle America as a country devoid of sophistication (such as his). 

It's a publicity ploy that has worked in the past, and Trump may be laughing that America has little memory of Lonesome Rhodes-like manipulators. 

Trump and God

The circus trio flies in the face of God's tenets of Faith, Hope and Charity.

 I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion. 

That seems to sum up Trump's faith: no specifics, no hard stances (he's waffled on abortion), no profundities. He goes to church "when he can" (evidently God knows he's busier than God).

Trump, The Philanthropist is also a joke: his contributions to charity are so convoluted that it seems the money goes back to Trump himself. The charities he supposedly donates to, by the way, are not very faith-based, giving the lie to his support of religion. The Christian Right conveniently overlooks his Scrooge attitude because it sees in Trump a wedge for "social conservative" issues like same-sex marriage. 

And, just like prosperity gospel preachers, Trump's lifestyle promotes greed on the basest level.

Coulter's Christianity

Ann Coulter, the uber-Christian (in her eyes) mocks God through her righteous arrogance. Her eschatology:
She then mocked "the message of Jesus...according to liberals", summarizing it as "something along the lines of 'be nice to people,'" which, in turn, she said "is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity". 
Incidental enough for Coulter to mock people, make them miserable, and still go to heaven apparently. 

Her attitude towards evangelism is one of bludgeoning non-believers (especially Jews - she calls it "perfecting" them) into conversion and if gunpoint is needed, so be it. Coulter's religion is one of the Queen Isabella/Thomas de Torquemada kind: believe what I believe or be tortured or kicked out of "Ann Coulter's America."

The Clueless Christian Opportunist

As with everything she attempts, Sarah Palin doesn't know that her actions are mocking anyone or anything: her "Christmas" book (along with her upcoming book of "meditations") only serves as a reminder that Sarah Palin is a struggling opportunist of the Tea Party variety, grabbing at snippets of the spotlight with religion as a prop.

The woman who was "blessed" publicly by a visiting witch hunter never seems to know just how her very mention of religion is an affront to reasoning people ... and God. Her devotion to God is just as shallow as Trump's and Coulter's - she just doesn't know it.

Is It A Race Or A Cartoon?

The run for President has always been entertaining: it is an intense debate of issues, a series of political attacks, a scrutiny of personal lives all rolled into one enormous (and overly long) stream of consciousness presented to voters. It strives for some sort of decorum but rarely achieves it. But through it all, the voters hope that the candidates are at least somewhat sincere. 

Let's face it - the Trump circus train is anything but sincere: with people like Palin and Coulter pandering to a publicity-starved billionaire, sincerity becomes a non-issue, sidestepped by shallow bombast. These three know for a fact that they will never make a significant dent in the scheme of the race. The talk of a third-party syphoning enough votes to skew the election has been rendered moot during the years. These three are poking, prodding the electorate for fun.

Not nice, but then look at them:

Trump. Palin. Coulter. The future of America. You could laugh yourself sick with the very idea of them together trying to cure America's ills. But they do get attention, so I guess the laugh's on us. They are sincere ... in their

* In 1911, this was the largest immigrant ship afloat. My grandmother never talked about the horrors of Ellis Island, the "heartiness" inflicted on immigrants which would make Coulter proud. She came here to get married - at the age of 15 - to someone she didn't know. She signed the ship's manifest "Mrs. Frank Vojir" (illegally). In her own way, however, she eventually got back at the misogyny that prompted her crossing:
"He said I was only good for cooking and cleaning and taking care of young Frank. He had woman on the side. Then when I got what you call, ah, tuberculosis, he sent me and Frank to go live back on the farm in Plzen. He gave me tree tousant dollars to live for three years without to work. He did not know that I knew how to play - how you say - black market. Woman who was only good for cooking and cleaning came back with tirty-five hundred dollars. Then I divorce him."
(taken from the play, The Two Mrs. M's, by Dan Vojir)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sanctuary Cities Are Necessary - But For Whom?

Sanctuary. It means to be in the midst of a safe haven where no one can castigate you, criminalize you, harm you. In no other form of media has the word been so emotionally charged than in Charles Laughton's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (indeed, it was the first thing that came to my mind when thinking of the word). 

Please view this 4-minute clip before reading my puny thoughts on the matter of sanctuary cities.

It is ironic that an accused "witch" is given sanctuary, while today's Christian Right is asking to have "Sanctuary Cities" established so that they can practice as much bigotry as possible while excoriating cities that give succor to illegal aliens.

Likening the fight against Obergefell v. Hodges to that of the fight against Dred Scott v. Sandford, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver wondered aloud on Christian radio last week why there aren’t any “sanctuary cities” that protect people from abortion and gay marriage like they do for “illegal aliens.”

And on the other side of the coin:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is calling on mayors of sanctuary cities to be arrested as accomplices to the crimes illegal aliens receiving special treatment in their cities commit.

From The Daily Beast:
In the immigration debate, sanctuary cities are unicorns, mermaids, and Bigfoot all wrapped into one. 
Of course, it all started in San Francisco:

The rationale for the policy was that if an illegal immigrant was arrested on a non-immigration offense, and there was no federal warrant, local authorities could use their discretion to decide whether to alert their neighborhood office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But, in the last 26 years, San Francisco’s sanctuary policy has been repeatedly modified and become less lenient. These days, local law enforcement will hand over to federal immigration agents undocumented immigrants who haven’t even gone before a judge.

So the Christian Right hates mythical sanctuary cities, but loves the idea of actual sanctuary cities for themselves.

Looking at the Hunchback clip again, something is very definitely wrong when it comes to today's idea of sanctuary ... and who should be given sanctuary.