Nobody claim 2022 as “your year”

please don’t suck

2022 asA friend of mine posted this graphic on their Facebook feed. Nobody claim 2022 as “your year”. And I get it.

I got to sing in my church’s Christmas Eve service for the first time in two years, which was great. Now, I felt rusty but that was OK. In 2020, the church had audio and video of the choir’s prior performances shown on the Facebook feed. Listening to the sounds of our voices was OK; I’d been doing so almost every week for months of the regular service. but watching the film of me, and others, singing made me EXTREMELY melancholy.

The Boston Globe readers commented on the past year. The intro: “If 2020 felt like a year like no other, then 2021 felt like more of the same. One step forward and two steps back, or vice versa? It depended on the day. We saw vaccines rolled out, then resisted. Bitter partisanship kept its grip on our politics.”

I love the word hegemony

If I read this article, The Respite Is Coming to an End. “All around us we can see the forces of white nationalist authoritarianism engaged in a second, far more methodical, far better coordinated, and already more successful attempt to do what they failed to do on January 6, 2021. If matters continue on this path, the Biden administration will prove only a brief respite before those forces snuff out the grand American experiment and secure a permanent, counter-majoritarian chokehold on the erstwhile republic.” And it’s a compelling argument.

And Foreign Affairs had a piece, The Real Crisis of Global Order. Illiberalism on the Rise. It addresses, among other things, the collapse of US hegemony, which Trump’s election helped to create and Biden’s election almost certainly can’t fix. For instance, as the Daily Show illustrated, Why China Is in Africa.

Rodgers and Hammerstein

I’m already exhausted from 2022, like Sinatra or Gordon MacRae singing Soliloquy from Carousel, musing what “my boy Bill” will be like. “Say, why am I carrying on like this? My kid ain’t even been born yet.” And neither has 2022. Well, maybe in New Zealand.

Perhaps I need more humour and a stiff upper lip, like Queen Elizabeth who lost her husband, Prince Philip, in 2021, who she’d only been married to since 1947, before I was born.

So I’m going to decide that 2022 will be great! Of course, I will also retreat to the ‘trust but verify” position about the new year, which is a quote Ronald Reagan cleverly pilfered.

What IS racist, anyway?

a long history of bigotry

Richard Nixon.Ronald ReaganITEM: – I suggested stated clearly that I thought a certain orange-haired man was racist. Someone I do not know on Facebook wrote: “Evidence for racism?” Well, it was noted throughout the piece.

Still, I thought I’d try to further explain his long history of bigotry going back to the 1970s and an oral history.

My decision to engage was based on a conversation at the Triennium conference I attended, to try to understand a different POV. I knew he was trolling or sealioning me. But I let it run its course until it inevitably became pointless.

ITEM: Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon in 1971 when RWR was governor of California.

“Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: ‘To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!’ Nixon gave a huge laugh.”

Yet some folks on FOX “News” swear up and down that RWR was not racist. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you refer to black people as another primate, THAT IS RACIST. Prima facia racist.

At the very end of a recent Daily Show With Trevor Noah, you can hear what a stand-up guy Ronnie was. FINDING A BLACK PERSON TO SAY IT’S NOT RACIST DOES NOT MAKE IT NOT RACIST.

Maybe one needs to parse a racist action, which could be of the moment, from a pattern of racism.

“Whenever a person is accused of racism… they instinctively search for any example to bolster their ‘non-racist credentials’, which can be a low bar. When people are motivated to find evidence that they’re not prejudiced, they’re more likely to think having a black friend is really strong evidence.”

Secretary of HUD Ben Carson held a press conference to defend djt’s long-standing racism, and a Baltimore church rightly kicked him off the property.

ITEM: An article in The Atlantic – “We’re All Tired of Being Called Racists”. At a recent pep rally, Brandon Straka, a gay djt supporter, said “Insinuations of bigotry and racism are divisive tactics.” Don’t fall for the classic rubber and glue tactic. POINTING OUT RACISM DOESN’T MAKE YOU RACIST.

ITEM: When traditionally conservative media point out racism, PAY ATTENTION. From Foreign Policy: How Does Online Racism Spawn Mass Shooters?

ITEM: ONE SPEECH DOES NOT NEGATE DECADES OF RACISM. A Teleprompter speech on mass shootings was Completely Inconsistent With Everything He’s Ever Said and Done. The Boston Globe calls him the hypocrite in chief. Here’s what a real president says.

Ronald Reagan in Labor’s Hall of Honor

America once had at least an implicit norm guiding wages

hall of honorAbout a year ago, the induction of the late President Ronald Reagan into the US Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor frankly shocked many working people.

As the New York Times wrote in 2011: “More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity.”

Ironically, PATCO had refused to endorse the Democratic Party because of “poor labor relations with the FAA (the employer of PATCO members) under the Carter administration and Ronald Reagan’s endorsement of the union and its struggle for better conditions during the 1980 election campaign.”

But when the union declared a strike in August 1981, “seeking better working conditions, better pay, and a 32-hour workweek, …Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft–Hartley Act.

“On August 5, following the PATCO workers’ refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order, and banned them from federal service for life…” [Bill Clinton ended the lifetime ban.]

“The FAA had initially claimed that staffing levels would be restored within two years; however, it would take closer to ten years before the overall staffing levels returned to normal.

“In 2003, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, noted: ‘far more importantly his action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.'”

“On March 1, 2018, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta inducted President Ronald Reagan ” – the “only president to lead a major union”, the Screen Actors Guild – “into the… Hall of Honor, which was established in 1988 to honor Americans whose distinctive contributions have elevated working conditions, wages, and overall quality of life for American families.

“As a worker, an advocate, and a public official, President Ronald Reagan worked to unleash opportunity and prosperity for all Americans… As President of the United States, he returned a sense of economic optimism to our nation that resulted in the creation of millions of jobs for the American people.”

This Brookings article suggests that the Reagan economic policy was at best a mixed bag. Fortune’s Labor Day 2015 story was more explicit:

“America once had at least an implicit norm guiding wages… From roughly the end of World War II through much of the 1970s, real (cost of living-adjusted) wages increased in tandem with gains in productivity.

“More recently, analysts have begun to recognize that the long-term decline in unions and worker bargaining power accounts for a sizable portion of the problem [of stagnant wages].

“It is no coincidence that the gap between wages and productivity began to expand dramatically around 1980, a turning point for collective bargaining.” Clearly, there were other factors, but the decline of unions, championed by the Labor Department’s honoree, Ronald Reagan, certainly contributed to that.

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is”

“At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones.”

Occasionally, reading conservative websites is a fruitful endeavor. For instance, Sarah Quinlan wrote in Red State, “Laura Ingraham’s Comments Were Wrong In Every Way.” Fox News host Ingraham “lamented ‘massive demographic changes’ that have caused the end of the “America we know and love.”

While Quinlan loves the United States, she is not blind to the “shameful events — from the savagery of our early history, to slavery, to extrajudicial lynchings and implementing legal discrimination, to women being treated as second-class citizens.” She goes on at length about this.

“During Ingraham’s lifetime” – Laura was born in 1963 – “Americans of color have been repeatedly denied justice and forced to fight to receive the rights they were due. During Ingraham’s lifetime, women have had to demand to be treated as human beings in their own right…

“Is that the America that Ingraham wishes still existed? I find it utterly baffling that people express nostalgia for a pleasant, untroubled past in American history, because that has never truly existed…

“Ronald Reagan once promoted the belief that anyone can come to this country and become an American — which is possible here because America is an idea, not an ethnicity, and no American is more American than another based on birth, wealth, religion, political party, or race.”

It’s noteworthy that Ingraham criticizes “legal immigration and disparagingly refers to it as something that ‘of course progressives love.’ Since when did Republicans turn against legal immigration? Since when are Republicans against the idea of people legally coming to America in pursuit of a better life and the American Dream?

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is. And America endures because of the core American values that guide us, not because of what her people look like.”

“According to Pew [Research], 58% of Americans consistently say increasing diversity makes America a better place to live…Alex Nowrasteh, Senior Immigration Policy Analyst at Cato Institute says that “recent immigrants’ assimilation to American culture and values is doing ‘as well as or [on] a better pace of assimilation than previous immigrant waves….’

“Laura Ingraham’s comments…were despicable, and it is not virtue-signaling for me to point that out but rather simply standing up for what I believe is right; such comments should not be treated as normal or acceptable. When former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke is cheering on Ingraham’s comments, that’s a side that I do not want to be on.”

Unsurprisingly, other Red State contributors supported Ingraham. But as the Weekly Sift noted: Anti-immigrant rhetoric is an insult to your ancestors.

The timelessness of xenophobia. But there’s a strange thing about that rhetoric: It’s been part of American discourse forever. And most of us here today — including most of the white supremacists — are descended from those darker immigrants who supposedly would never assimilate…

The elasticity of Americanism. At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones. At every point, there has been a clear line between Them and Us, and every time the issues seemed totally different than what we had seen before.

Of course, it is White House adviser Stephen Miller who is the hand behind the regime’s current offensive policy “to make it impossible for many legal immigrants to become citizens or lawful permanent residents (green-card holders).”

Their offenses? Using public benefits to which they are entitled: Enrolling in Obamacare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or using food stamps or other social welfare programs.

David S. Glosser wrote Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. “If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

Ironically, The regime has denounced what he calls “chain migration.” His in-laws just became U.S. citizens by taking advantage of that program.

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.

N is for nativism versus immigration

“Illegal” immigration has always been a red herring.

There have have always been nativism movements in the United States. Seldom has been as blatant as it’s been the past year and a quarter. In February 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna announced that the agency changed its mission statement from:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

To now:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

The aspirational angle has been lost.

By contrast, “During the 1940s, America basically underwent a nationwide sensitivity training program. Zoe Burkholder, a historian of education, writes… that a ‘forced tolerance’ movement had begun frothing a decade earlier as educators feared that scientific racism—the pseudoscientific ‘Master Race’ theories brewing in Germany—could waft overseas.” A reasonable worry, evidently.

Thus the story about the Superman pic shown. (Hey, wasn’t he an illegal alien?) What I do know is that the current regime’s attitude is troublesome.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn notes: “The part where Jesus says to welcome the stranger is not a suggestion, it is a directive.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein writes that Ronald Reagan “not only celebrating the concept of welcoming people from all sorts of places during his kickoff of the fall campaign, but arguing that it was immigrants who helped build the country and it was the dream that they embodied that was what made America great.” The GOP icon didn’t believe in nativism.

In other words, the US Needs ‘sh*thole’ countries, not the other way around. “America’s prosperity and security are greatly dependent on the goodwill and cooperation of other nations, developed and emerging markets alike.”

That would include chain migration, or family reunification.

Read former President Obama on immigration from September 2017

A pastor friend of mine noted recently, “I am thinking this morning of good people, great Americans I know, who have come here from Haiti, [various African countries], Pakistan, Philippines. These Americans contribute to the greater good of the US… [they] have worked hard, learned to live in an often-less-than-friendly new place, raised strong families, and sent their kids to college so they can also contribute to society… You ARE the American People.”

As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting.

The Weekly Sift guy nailed it when he wrote about The Real Immigration Issue: “‘Illegal’ immigration has always been a red herring. The more fundamental question is whether the United States will continue to be a country dominated by English-speaking white Christians.” Will nativism continue to push back?

For a brief historic perspective, read Becoming a Citizen: Naturalization Records, 1850 – 1930

For ABC Wednesday

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