Wake Up America!
We Aren’t a Bunch of Idiots, but We Can and We Must Change for the Better
Umair went on yet another, America is so f*cked up rant; and in this one he basically accused all Americans of being psychopaths…every…single..one of us. In his latests piece, Donald Trump, American Idiot, not only does he go after Donald Trump with a ferocity, (what left leaning journalist wouldn’t after the whole rambling, UV ray, disinfectant lung cleanse rambling commentary); he also rants against America, and all Americans in a particularly hostile and accusatory demeanor.
Even the good and smart among Americans tend to be mostly idiots, too. They tend to think in ways that are not just profoundly ignorant and empirically obviously false, because they’re selfish, self-absorbed, self-concerned, narcissistic.
Wow. I felt slapped across the face. So I responded,
You do realize that this is a country of 330 million people? And there is, I’d estimate, a good 270 million of us, who are pretty decent, just trying to make it through each day…just holding on for dear life.
Basically, he turned us all into cartoons…all of us. He labeled all 330 million of us as a certain type of clueless idiots, living in la la land, pretending that we aren’t facing seemingly insurmountable problems daily. Really Umair? Really? How can any allegedly critically thinking individual paint all Americans, with dare I say it, such an idiotically broad brush! I mean, Umair doesn’t even live here. And when he decides to visit, he is hob-nobbing with that 1% that he directs so much of his rants against (while failing to call them out directly.) Oh, the hypocrisy.
And, I’m not even surprised. It’s almost like Umair is controlled opposition. Someone has given him a megaphone and platform, to say the absolutely worst things imaginable, about America and now Americans. To what end? For daring to hope that we could have a democracy?To completely shut those hopes down. Umair certainly has an ax to grind with American politics (and I could blame no foreigner for that especially not of late, and given all of the insane American political antics the entire world has been subjected to these past 4 years.) But, his rants accomplish nothing, except to make us all feel bad about who we are. We’re not bad people. (Most of us aren’t anyway.) So what’s Umair’s end game? What’s the end game? To blame us for the sad state of affairs we are currently in? To make sure that we all know we deserve whatever horrible things are coming our way? It kinda seems like it.
The Most Dangerous of American Idiots
Umair’s basic premise is all American’s are idiots; and that there are certain types of American idiots, but some are more dangerous than others. First he explains the philosophy of our idiocy.
The American idiot, then, is a certain kind of person, who believes in a certain kind of quasi-philosophy. That quasi-philosophy is just the above: greed is good, brutality is better, cruelty is excellent. I am in a contest to dominate and subjugate everyone else. Sure, I must play by the legal rules, perhaps — but the point is to exploit before I’m exploited, to prey on before I’m preyed on.
Now this is fair…this is America. This is the 1% of America that has used it’s power and privilege that it has maintained over centuries, with a certain brutality, dating back to 1616 with slavery, earlier even than that with the murder death kill philosophy directed at the Native Americans, who were here first. While the predation has transformed, expanded, and become extremely bloated and corrupted over time, its intent is the same - the destruction of human life. Umair describes current predatory America like this:
It’s Ivy League kids swooning over Wall St jobs — where they’ll never do a damned thing useful with their lives. It’s Red States jeering at Blue States — while, ironically, living off the public purse. It’s HMOs and stock markets. It’s Jeff Bezos and every aspiring Silicon Valley magnate. It’s elites inside the Beltway, cackling as the country falls apart. Maybe that’s not you, but it’s certainly vast swathes of America.
Indeed it is. He’s not lying. But he actually doesn’t call the one percenters American idiots. He conflates them with Trumpsters (and these are actually two very different kinds of American idiots, but hey! Umair ain’t crazy. He isn’t going to directly attack our ruling class. They’re crazy powerful. Instead he describes Trumpsters this way:
The Trumpist — is a lost cause. They’re so mentally broken, regressed to an infantile state where they need a Daddy to protect them, that it’d take years of therapy to even begin to approach reality with anything but violence and tantrums.
According to Umair, they are harmless American idiots. (Does he not realize how well armed this component of America is? They are far from harmless!) And while they have their issues, Umair seems completely uninterested in why the Trumpsters are who they are.
They have their reasons. They know, even if only subconsciously, how predatory America is, and they don’t want to be prey. This is what most Trumpsters fear. Umair refuses to acknowledge that through no fault of their own, their fears are valid. Where have lost their way, is in their desperate clutching to this crazy idea that Trump can save them. Trump absolutely cannot save them. They can only save themselves; and a good many of them are going to try. I wish them well with that, even though I disagree with 80% of method/madness.
With regard to the Trumpster’s and Umair’s take on them, I said this:
I’m going to keep pointing out that 60 million people voted for Trump…there are 330 million people in this country. At least 100 million of those are too disenfranchised to even be able TO VOTE and/or actively have their votes suppressed. I understand your frustration with AMERICAN politics, but consider how frustrated WE ARE (the American people who keep voting for change we cannot get.) We are very frustrated…and your long diatribes labeling us all idiot psychopaths are not helpful. It’s just super depressing. With everything that’s going down, we’re already super down and you are kicking us like crazy.
But, if this were a conversation, Umair would have simply ignored that, (which he does, as he never once responds to a single comment made on any of his articles, where he goes on long American-bashing rants.) He had a point to make and the point was that we are all idiots. When he came for the for the rest of us (who aren’t Trumpsters, but just a whole lot of other stuff, basically, many of us formerly known as Democrats), he says this:
But the second kind isn’t mentally broken yet. In my estimation — and this is going to hurt — they’re either cowards, or fools. That’s a deeper kind of American idiot. The well-meaning person who’s busy desperately pretending that everything’s OK. That a country in a situation this dire doesn’t need to ask fundamental questions about its values and beliefs, about what the hell went wrong to end up like this. That second kind of American idiot is the dangerous one because the power to change lies in their hands.
Cowards or fools! Just who in the hell does Umair think he is! He also accuses us of being the most dangerous! THIS GUY!!
So far as I can see, nobody — and I mean nobody — in American public life challenges the way of thinking above. Even calls it out for what it is. Instead, Americans play a strange game. They pretend. They pretend that their society hasn’t become a predatory machine run by sociopaths, that exploitation is the force which rules life, that it’s gone to the absurd degree of “active shooter drills” and Presidents putting kids in camps run by giant corporations. They sanitize all that, whitewash it, pretend it away, with Hallmark stories of white picket fences and romances in small towns that somehow never had a post-industrial implosion into drugs, gangs, crime, and chaos.
These are lies! This absolutely is NOT true about most Americans! So in response, I said this:
This isn’t true. The majority of us do, in some way shape or form, challenge the predatory American way of life all the damn time. But we get outmaneuvered, by nefarious forces constantly. And this is not just happening in America! All that you described above happens globally, (clean your own house in that crazy UK! Projection much?) America’s economic system is intertwined with and connected to almost every economy on the globe because every major and minor country wanted a piece of American style capitalism. They all have taken on certain parts of it.
Real Americans Have Worked Hard for a Better America
I get your issues with America, but America doesn’t = all Americans. There are Americans (African-Americans such as myself) who are well aware of the fact that they have been exploited the whole time we’ve been here. African-American women (whom I sure you interact very little with, and know very little about because of the American Koolaid you drank) have carried this nation on their backs for centuries.
As for African-Americans, this nation was literally built on our blood and bones. We are well aware, and have done so many things to try and change this…marched in the streets, gotten lynched, gotten our homes burned down, gotten laws passed, gotten educated, run for President even…you can’t insult entire groups of people with this Anti-American hyperbole!
Also, there are the native Americans. These people just love the land. They have been here for thousands of years (and say no matter what America throws at them, they are sticking around.) I believe them! They’re playing the long game, and plan to weather the current insanity, and bounce back and be around for another 10,000 years at least.
Nevertheless, America (the power structure not the people) has criminalized them and killed them off just because they love the land. They are American too, and they are here, putting their blood and bones on the line to to stop pointless pipelines from poisoning us all. True, they haven’t succeeded yet, and have taken nothing but grief, for attesting to the fact that water is life, which is a truism that no one can deny. But the oil though! Yeah that’s predatory 1% of America, it sure isn’t the native Americans destroying the earth that we all live on, they are trying to save it; and they don’t deserve your venomous contempt. They have nothing to do with any of these games the American power structure is running now. Nothing.
Most Americans don’t. American politicians trick us and distract us with their personalities…and quite a few of them are decent people. But they all get corrupted pretty quickly. They all get told they will run the game the 1% wants, and if they don’t their careers will be over. Some refuse to play the game. But they don’t get to stick around for long with that kind of integrity. They are Americans who have tried desperately to do the right thing. America (the power structure) hates those people and loves the sell outs, and makes it nearly impossible not to sell out. But the sell outs are the exception and not the rule.
Most Americans are pretty decent people, even the white ones. Not all that self-aware, I’ll give you that, but decent when you get to know them. Even the ones with guns at Starbucks which, I’ve never seen…but yeah, it probably happens in New York City or Dallas.
When you talk about the top 1% of America…you have your valid points, and by all means make them. But you need to stop reporting that every single American co-signs all that agenda.
Every single American is not a sociopath or an idiot. Although, there are a tremendous amount of ignorant Americans, it is not entirely any one American’s fault. Our media systems have always been rife with brainwashing and propaganda, especially with regard to the advertising industry.
When television and social media programming stopped being as effective as intended, the brainwashing moved into the educational systems. And you know who fought hard against that? Everyday Americans, (primarily white ones) teaching at the liberal arts at community colleges (as well as I’m sure, through-out the K-12 education systems. Educators are good people, generally.
But my community college colleagues fought HARD against corporate dumbed-down-brainwashed curriculums. I was there. I saw the whole thing go down, in the Virginia Community College system. In 2012, they rolled out a program, called something like: A Better Way For All!
Of course, it was the exact opposite. Big corporate money came in and ordered:
This is how and what we want you to teach at your community colleges. Don’t teach them to think…we don’t want that. Teach them how to follow our instructions. Teach them how to talk and dress according to these guidelines. And, while doing this, nonstop tell them how wonderful corporations are for coming into their schools and teaching them what they really need to know. If they prove themselves, we will give them jobs. (Not well paying jobs, mind you, but jobs nonetheless.)
Oh and also…Stop spending all those resources trying to uplift marginalized black and brown kids…screw them. They’re useless to us educated, because they’re already hip to the reality of our systems. If they can’t dance, or play ball, we will use them as slaves in our industrial prison complex, pawns in the military industrial complex, (this goes for the poor white ones too). Lock them out of the educational systems. Keep them in their place.
Okay, no one actually said this…but the A Better Way for All program, effectively shut down any opportunity marginalized black and brown and white kids had to access the community college system.
All the liberal Art teachers (the critical thinkers who saw through this) fought so hard against all of this, cause they knew this wasn’t right. And they knew all the good in the world they were doing by correctly educating even the least privileged among us.
And, I should have fought with them (to be fair, I was only an adjunct); but I declined to join their fight, because I also knew the average American would not win…because money. We were overpowered, we were outgunned, we were up against these deceptive highly predatory systems, and oh how slick they have become in these last 20 years, due to these advanced IT technologies, in their operations and algorithms. They implemented a near perfect formula for human degradation of all kinds.
And yet, those very well-meaning average white Americans fought very hard against all of this…and lost.
It is hard for the average white American to grasp what’s really going on in this country. (And they are the most empowered, and the most able to do anything at all.) Unlike black and brown Americans they have always imbined that American exceptionalism koolaid. Generally, they do not believe that America is not a predatory machine, coming for them as well. If you look at it from their perspective, it is very hard to believe this. But even if, they are ahead of the curve, even if they realize what’s really up and what’s really going down, (like those community college teachers), it’s still very hard to change any of it. Still, all of us, all of us everyday Americans, try, every single day to make our lives better, and in doing so build better communities.
We are not all psychopaths. It’s just not true; and it’s insulting to millions of Americans just trying to get by the best we can.
And after that long response, (which apparently a lot of people liked! I got a lot of claps for that!) I invited Umair to engage in real dialogue about Americans, instead of ranting at us, about what 1% of the country does and blaming us for all of it:
Umair, how about you talk to some real Americans, for once? Cover things from our perspective? See what we actually think of America? Or is it only the Harvard frat boy, (a type you know very well, as you describe him quite aptly, as you attribute his views to all everyday Americans ) whose perspective matters?
Though you claim to be so opposed to the ways of the 1%, you also seem to be pretty cozy with them. And much like them, you have written off entire populations as being beneath your slightest consideration.
Will Umair take me up on this. It’s highly doubtful. I feel like Umair has an agenda, and it’s to put us idiotic Americans in our place. But here is the thing, he doesn’t get to decide.
He called us out. He said, quite emphatically,
I’m sorry if that sounds harsh. But someone has to be a little bit ruthlessly honest with Americans right about now.
To this my gut response is: Umair is a disingenuous jerk. But maybe he’s not. Maybe Umair meant to piss is all off. Maybe he is trying to do us all a favor. Maybe he is calling us out, because he wants us to wake the hell up.
Things are bad…things are really, really, really bad. What are we going to do? First we have to acknowledge the truth about these problems; and then after that, we can begin to work on our consciousness.
YES OUR CONSCIOUSNESS. Let’s give it a try at least! We’ve tried everything else! We have tried voting and marching and protesting. We’ve contacted elected officials and our schools and our churches.
WE have just about DONE, everything we know how to DO. Maybe we need to stop DOING and start BEING, at a different level of consciousness.
Because Einstein is right. We can’t solve these problems at the level of consciousness that created them. We can figure this stuff out, by getting to a higher level of consciousness. We can change for the better, but it’s going to take all of us working together; and work together at a new level of consciousness. Enough of the infighting. Enough of the blame game. Enough, Dems v. Pub BS. Love your neighbor and save yourself. We can do this. After all: this is America, and we’re all Americans. We just really need to wake up.