Trump is a racist. When will people (especially White people) stop making excuses for him?

White people hate to be called racists. Calling a white person racist, or just implying that something they may have said or done which may be seen as racist makes them very nervous and agitated and they immediately go on the defensive as to why they are absolutely not racists and are willing cite reasons as long as their arm. The favorite line of defense is I have a ______ friend, therefore I am not (I, by virtue of logic,) cannot under any circumstance be racist. Even White nationalists subscribe to this logic, because more often then we like, there are just enough self-loathing half-Whites and half-Something else’s who fall for white supremacy playbook hook, line and sinker.

These are some of the comments from my piece published yesterday, Antifragile and White Nationalism, it warrants commenting on the comments because it’s a very realistic and unguarded look and racism and what constitutes as racism in White America:

 

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If I must hear about how White Southerners are lovely friendly people one more time…

And I don’t mean to crap on the White folks, I really don’t. I am white-ish myself, I am half-White and half-Chinese. One half of my family consists of these well meaning, non-racist white people. But I’ve been around enough ‘diversity’ in my life and have developed a finely tuned snout to snuff out overt, covert and coded racism. Most White people today aren’t overt racists anymore, they are too smart for that; because, remember, even amongst white nationalists, to be called a ‘racist’ is an insult to their integrity; they are merely ‘preserving’ white culture from becoming extinct by this huge massive invasion of black, brown and mix raced peoples.

I’d agree that most white people are decent good people, they mean well, they certainly don’t mean to come across as racist. But the person we are talking about here is Donald Trump, not the average White person you meet, Trump is an avowed racist. So comments like the one below not only confounds but baffles me:

While I hardly think he has any nazi empathies himself, he does seem to attract such white supremacist feelings simply because he himself is so way out in left field (or “right” field) in his political approach. I would NEVER attribute Trump to knowingly have understood some pulse of the nation.

A person without Nazi sympathies will not attract white supremacists and other Nazis. Full stop. White supremacists and Nazis have their own antennas and speak in their own ‘codes’ in which they detect each other in public social settings. Except Donald Trump didn’t even use codes, he flat out called Mexicans rapists and murderers. And there are two groups of them, the likes of Trump and his ilk to present a ‘legitimate and presentable’ front to the public, where they put on an expensive suit and use a few big words which will then convince mainstream media that they are legit and then you have the basement Nazis, those who cover their bodies with Swastika and other white nationalist tattoos and greet each other with the Nazi salute. Donald Trump kicked off his campaign calling Mexicans “murderers and rapists”, short of that, they are here to steal American jobs and depress the wages of ‘real working Americans'(read: White Americans). Next he called a total ban on all Muslims, even American citizens (except for those serving in the military), after the tragic shootings in San Bernardino, California and the gay nightclub PULSE in Florida. How is this not categorically racist (and Islamophobic)? And while he was going about the Muslim ban and the two crimes he’s referring to are gun crimes, he failed to address the other violent gun crimes committed in this country by White people and the police. Some of those who voted for Trump voted for his economic and foreign policies and overlooked his racism, those same voters and supporters cannot use that reason to deny that Trump is a racist. And just because millions of people agree with Trump and his views, it doesn’t mean those same views have any validity.

Donald Trump called fat women slobs, and people who have any grievance against him ‘losers’. He’s sexually harassed women, threatened to fire women who didn’t respond to his sexual advances, threatened to fire a pregnant woman because he didn’t like how she looked pregnant. Trump has divided the population into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. The ‘winners’ are very obviously people who are like him, who resemble him, and the losers are everyone else, which is a big group. Trump clearly understood “some pulse of the nation”. Why does this person feel the need to excuse Donald Trump? Why are White people so afraid of calling Trump what he is without the buts, exceptions and excuses. Trump is a bona fide and unashamed racist (and eugenicist) – he doesn’t even have a problem with being a racist, so why do other white people? It’s not just in 2016 he’s been revealed as a racist and bigot but in the 1980s, he took out a full page ad in the New York Times, calling for the execution of the five black teenagers for the attempted murder and rape of the Central Park jogger, who were later found to be innocent. When pressed on it, he said why where these five teenagers doing in Central Park at that hour? Shouldn’t they be home? So, after hours Central Park is only for White people like himself? Racism is not open to some arbitrary ‘interpretation’. Some may be subtle, some more overt, but we all know it when we hear it. For those who belong to minority groups feel it when they hear it and see it.

People who being their sentence with “People make way too much of the race issue. I speak as a Southerner who believes the whole world is friendly to friendly people. The urban media’s constant stoking of the hatred flames only generates needless paranoia” is an immediate red flag. This person has either never been out of the town in the South they were born or must have a very low threshold on what’s considered racist. I am not talking about ‘micro-aggressions’ here, people who drone on about how they are micro-aggressed daily bore me too and too much focus on the ‘micro’ things deter from the bigger picture. But again, we are talking about Donald Trump, a proven racist; not the nice Southern lady next door who attends church every Sunday and volunteers at the local soup kitchen and accidentally drops a racial slur. This is a man who received the endorsement of the KKK and white nationalist groups, and a whole group of supporters called the “alt-right” are out in support of him and he didn’t denounce them nor reject their support until AFTER he got elected. Most racists today no longer wear hoods and burn crosses at night on the lawn of black homes or black churches, they’ve evolved (the theories of antifragile are at work here too).

Because I am half-White and half-something else but appear more White than the something else, many people have mistakenly aired their racist views towards Asians in my presence and hearing. This has happened even when I was working in corporate America, the place of neoliberal utopia, where everything is supposedly a meritocracy. I’ve heard all the jokes and the mocking and white people just love to mock our parent’s accents. And the jokes are lame as fuck: “where did you go this weekend?”, “Chinatown”, then some lame-ass frat boy man baby breaks out mocking Chinese accent of a waiter trying to get these white frat boys orders right. But the irony is the manager (and she manages over 100 people) of these privileged UCLA frat boys is a tough as nails Vietnamese woman barely standing at 5 feet tall without her heels and they revoltingly kiss her ass and brow nose her in her presence. These will be the same frat boys complaining about reverse discrimination should their daddies not be rich enough to contribute to the alumni endowment and all but guarantee their college entry.

Racism towards Asians is more sneaky, more passive aggressive, more micro-aggressing than maybe some of the racism towards other minorities (for example, it was acceptable for the frat boys I worked with to mock Asians than to be overtly racist against Black people or Latinos). Racism toward Asians is turning our academic achievements into mockeries and jokes (frog eyed, spectacle wearing geeks who can’t toss a football), our appearance (we all look the same, lizard eyed, yellow tone skin), our accents, our faulty English grammar, our parents accents, professions (dry cleaners, liquor store owners, restaurant owners) are mocked. The only thing that shields some Asian children at school from total outright bullying is they have perfected the game white people invented. Getting good grades, perfect SAT scores and getting into top universities and joining the middle and upper middle class within a generation ,or in a word: upward mobility; which from the last statistics is going in the opposite direction for some white communities.

All of the lecturing on “personal responsibility” the conservatives and Clinton neoliberals love to preach to black people, many Asians already do and do it very well, they do “personal responsibility” better than Rand Paul and all of the Republican lawmakers of both the House and Senate combined.

So, White people: do not tell me that Trump isn’t ‘categorically’ a racist, because he hasn’t been caught in a white hood burning crosses. He is. He begun his campaign on a call to deport, ban, harass and detain Mexicans. Or that minorities and people of color are just too sensitive and are imagining things which aren’t there, they are. And believe me, the majority of people of color ignore the micro-aggressions and racist comments and situations hurled at them (except the Hilbots on Twitter). Many people of color (those that have a real life and not live online) do not speak out and complain until it’s overly egregious where ignoring it would be one step short of self-denigration. Most people do not have the time of day (nor energy) to be so sensitive to every slight (perceived or real) and respond to it. Most people of color just get on with their days.

One of my best friends cried when she heard Donald Trump won the election. If I am to be very honest, my first reaction was ‘well, that’s a bit dramatic and overboard’; but then I was never called a “chink” in broad daylight as I am crossing the street. Another friend of mine, who stands at just over five feet two inches, doesn’t look a day over 25, is routinely patronized, talked down to, dismissed or mistaken as the secretary and told to go bring some coffee for everyone while attending her own startup investor’s meeting; she is on her third or fourth startup (I lost count) and she gives seminars and talks on weekends mentoring other people how to do a startup. This could never happen to me because I am just not that awesome or capable.

I don’t care if Donald Trump has Black, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, First American, LGBTQ friends and tomorrow he appoints a transgender person to be his Secretary of State and all the other cabinet members and high level positions represent every minority and marginalized group. I don’t care how many Black people, Latinos, Asians voted for Trump. He is still a filthy racist, sexist and misogynist. His actions have proven that, his words confirms it.

Antifragile and White Nationalism

No sooner has the election results were formally announced on the night of November 8, the normalization of Trump has begun in full force. The days and weeks after the election, true to form, Trump has appointed a motley crew of neo-fascists, neoconservatives, anti-semites, the conventional hawkish military conservatives, with a few token conservative women and minorities thrown in the mix. Almost all of them subscribe to his world view of white superiority and within that, only a certain group of white men of exceptional intelligence are fit to run this country, him being one of them.

But this is not the worst of it. This was to be expected. What did people think when they voted Trump into White House? He’ll suddenly do an about face and appoint a bunch of socialists to occupy cabinet seats? No. The worst is mainstream media giving “alt-right” (which is a grossly misleading name, they should be referred to as what they are, neo-Nazis) Trump supporters a legitimate media platform to air their disgusting and abhorrent views. They include a self-hating “half-Jew” who is angry at his parents for daring to procreate a waste of space like him. A former Z-list reality TV star doing the Nazi salute, and this Z-lister is woman of color. An assortment of other white men and an occasional woman who subscribe to pseudo racial genetic theory who know not the difference between what’s someone of Arab origin or someone who follows the Islamic faith. These people do not need to be speaking to the press and mainstream media providing link backs to their deplorable racially coded blogs. These people should visit a therapist first. This level of self-hating surely cannot be healthy.

Along the theme of ‘fake news’; there has been a lot of ‘reported’ increase in racist abuse and hate crimes since election night. The media wants us to believe that since the night of November 8, the number of racists in this country multiplied many times over. But it doesn’t work like that. No one becomes a racist overnight. Becoming a racist is a conditioning over one’s lifetime. All of these racists and hateful people already existed before Trump was elected, and a non racist person will not suddenly become racist just because Trump got elected, the only difference is with Trump’s white nationalist hateful agenda, these people who expressed their disgusting views in their basements with their friends are out into the open. Trump gave these people a legitimate platform to air these racist views. It gave overt racists permission to perform their heil sieg in public. It gave latent racists cover to air their racists views using legitimate issues such as the economy, jobs and crime. It gave self-hating minorities, who really should be visiting their therapist a legitimate platform to identify with their oppressors or with who they perceive as the superior race or group.

The poison that is Trump is not just the orange ferret himself. It’s that he, using the political process, has fomented a fascist movement. He has found a way using the most base and ugliest factors to unite his political base. He outdid Richard Nixon and his ‘Southern Strategy’ (that was at least dog whistling and somewhat covert) and brought out the ugly to the national platform and every closet racist, white nationalist, white supremacists, KKK, former Klansmen went wild. Donald Trump said in public what they dare not say: Mexicans are criminals, they steal our jobs, they use public assistance, the Chinese manipulate currency and that’s why their factories are closing and going overseas etc. Trump used ‘political correctness’ as his ace card. He knew everyone on every political spectrum was sick of being ‘politically correct’, it’s what spineless liberals do, and so he used that to rail against women, minorities even people with disabilities.

So, what to do about fascists? There are really just two options, you take away their platform or you beat their asses with baseball bats. Fascism is also what Dr. Nassim Taleb calls antifragile:

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.

Things which are antifragile thrive on disorder and shock. Every time when fascists rise to power is usually a time of economic distress and social disorder which arises from that. Dr. Taleb also describes terrorism as antifragile, and when negative things are antifragile, there are only 2 things one can do: totally ignore terrorists and soon they realize their terrorizing ways don’t scare people anymore or you obliterate them totally, leave no man standing. Doing anything in between those two extremes will only feed the beast (8 years of President Obama’s ‘surgical drone strikes’ on supposed terrorist cells have not weakened terrorism around the world). The same can be applied to fascism, and as Dr. Taleb pointed out, it’s near impossible to totally ignore fascists or terrorist due to presence of 24 hour news, only the second option is left.

When some neo-Nazi openly muses if Jews are really people or just a bunch soulless golems, instead of shutting down the debate, CNN convenes a panel and ‘debates’ whether if Jews are really people. Liberals, in the name of ‘being liberals’ have allowed any and all debate on national television on grotesque subjects, such as pussy grabbing, the qualifying metrics of anti-semitism, racism, sexism and misogyny. We all know instinctively when speech goes from offensive to hateful, there needs no debate on whether if pussy grabbing is is misogynistic, of if Trump ‘has a point’ in his abhorrent beliefs because he has so many supporters, therefore he must be a little bit right. No. Many will cite freedom of speech rights to allow these white nationalists and neo-Nazis to have a platform on television or print, or that some producer at CNN or MSNBC decided that they need better ratings and so they want to have neo-Nazis come on their show and ‘debate’ their point of view. Freedom of speech also goes the other way, actively removing a platform from people which don’t deserve to have one. National television and print media aside, neo-Nazis and white nationalists have plenty of places to spew their hate. They can get blogs for free, they can self-publish, they are free to hold gatherings in their smelly basements and they are also free to gather at public places per the constitution, but then it’s up to everyone else to make sure they don’t hold hateful public rallies; this is when you beat them back to that shitty basement whence they came. They are antifragile. They thrive on disorder, mayhem and attention; if society at large can’t withhold the attention, then there leaves only one other option; shut them down by all means necessary.

If the students of Rutgers University can protest and force the cancellation of Condoleezza Rice’s speech; then professional adults who are in charge of mainstream media can ban Nazis from coming onto their programs.

10 Cent Bags: Another Gimmick of the Liberal Elite

There was a ballot measure on the California ballot this past election requiring grocery stores to charge 10 cents for every bag a customer uses, every time. Customers may bring their own bags and get a 5 cent credit per bag every time. Many grocery stores anticipating this measure may pass already got reusable grocery bags made and are selling them for 99 cents – $1.50 per bag. The ballot measure passed. Of course it did. Laws like these are the wet dreams of city and suburban dwelling bourgeois liberals, they think they are saving the planet every time they go to Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s to buy their organic, gluten free, soy free, non-GMO, fairly traded kefir.

The intention of this law is an attempt to slowly and in every way possible reduce the carbon footprint and reduce global warming in the long run. Reducing global warming while is a collective effort and everyone needs to participate, inconveniencing the poor while they do their grocery shop is again misplacing the burden on to the wrong people. It’s not the poor who is lobbying for fracking rights, who wants to build North Dakota Pipeline or drive big guzzling SUVs. Grocery shopping is something one must do every week, if not every two weeks, the 10 cent bags will add up. Further, anything that is not food related cannot be paid for with SNAP (food stamps) benefits. California currently has 4.2 million people on SNAP benefits. For those that want to purchase reusable bags, the one time cost aside, you’d have to remember to keep a couple of bags in your car or on your person so that if you need to make last minute trips to the grocery store, you have bags to use to carry out your groceries. For those that do not drive and rely on public transport, carrying extra bags for just in case runs to the grocery store is cumbersome. And the negligible cost of 10 cents aside, why would any rational person, rich or poor, pay 10 cents for a bag which may be converted into a trash bag at home and thrown out later. It’s literally throwing money in the garbage.

Ballot measures like these assumes that everyone either drives or lives close to grocery stores. There are people in California whose only mode of transportation is our very unreliable buses and rail systems. Unreliable and expensive, especially the trains. The trains in California are reserved for corporate professionals who live too far from their high-rise corporate office and must take a train to Downtown and then catch a taxi or Uber from the station to their office. Daily round trip fare for those trains are between $30-40 and monthly passes are in the hundreds of dollars. Not something a working class Californian can even begin to contemplate, never mind one on public assistance.

These are the kind of laws and ‘values’ that elite liberals love to shove down the throats of the working class that is both inconveniencing and insulting. It’s also the kind of thing that handed Donald Trump and Republicans their wins. This small but seemingly insignificant ballot measure symbolizes the culture policing of liberals. It’s not about the 10 cents, it’s forcing everyone to adapt and adhere to a certain set of values which makes no sense for a large number of Californians.  Saving the planet and protecting the environment is a noble thing and it’s now become an imperative which everyone needs to participate. Everyone knows that, especially the working class and the poor, as they are the ones most affected by pollution caused by global warming and greed. The residents of Flint, Michigan can tell you just how global warming, pollution and greed as a result of capitalism affects their lives. They were deliberately being fed rancid, poisoned water tainted with toxic industrial waste from nearby factories, only to save the state of Michigan a few million dollars a year, which doesn’t even make a dent in the budget deficit and Detroit went bankrupt anyways.

Will charging everyone 10 cents for every grocery bag used make a dent in the larger problem? Even if every California resident switched to reusable grocery bags tomorrow, will it stop the South Dakota Pipeline from being constructed? Or underwater oil drilling, or fracking or drilling in the Arctic seas? Will it stop China and its manic need to consume coal, oil and other natural resources in its tracks? Will it stop people from illegally logging in the Amazon rainforest? Or destruction of the Sumatran forests (and its animals which reside in it) to grow that palm oil to put in our processed foods?  These are actions of global corporations, capitalists, not the world’s working poor. How is charging everyone 10 cents for a grocery bag going to stop any of this from happening? How will making everyone put solar panels on their homes change the larger picture or encouraging people to keep their homes at 75 degrees and above reverse what capitalists are doing all over the world?

See this clip from George Carlin. He can illustrate my larger point about bourgeois environmentalism better than me. It’s not about the earth, the soil, the water, the environment, it’s about them having a ‘clean and safe place to live’. The bourgeois environmentalists are not the Native Americans fighting for their land in obstructing and protesting the North Dakota Pipeline, which for them is a battle of life and death. The bourgeois just want to feel better about themselves by making everyone pay a fine or penalty for doing the most mundane of things, such as grocery shopping.

The Four Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

“I told you so.” – The four most beautiful words in the English language according to Gore Vidal

I feel liberated. After the election of a neo-fascist as the president of the United States I feel liberated. Why? Because I finally have proof of what I always knew to be true: neoliberalism and Liberal Elitism and all the values it espouses are poisonous, soul destroying and tears apart the fabric of society despite its stated aims of doing the opposite.

I was born the year before Ronald Reagan became president. The year is unremarkable, I am unclear if I am a very late Generation X or a very early Millennial, it doesn’t really matter. I was born of a time after Richard Nixon destroyed the radical movements of the 1960s with FBI infiltration, brute force, murder and flooding the urban black neighborhoods with illegal drugs and then commenced the war on drugs, which Ronald Reagan proudly carried on and is ongoing until today. The Baby Boomers by the 1980s had become disillusioned, they left their youthful radical activism behind, put on a suit, cut their hair, shaved their beards and went to work for corporate America, the women got married and became ‘respectable’ wives and working women who formed ‘respectable’ families and joined the Reagan tent of Republicans. Ronald Reagan with his second rate acting skills was able to convince most of America that ‘we are all conservatives now.’ The era of big unions controlling corporations was over, it was time to let the good times roll by spending, spending and more spending. I was informed by many who were of age during this era that the 1980s was the most reactionary as the Establishment set to undo all of the social progress made in the 1960s and 1970s. The Reagan Establishment tried to convince Americans that the radicalism of the 60s and 70s was in the rear view mirror, all of it was a big misunderstanding and everyone is pro-establishment again.

The definition of neoliberalism is:

[A] policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. It takes from the basic principles of neoclassical economics, suggesting that governments must limit subsidies, make reforms to tax law in order to expand the tax base, reduce deficit spending, limit protectionism, and open markets up to trade. It also seeks to abolish fixed exchange rates, back deregulation, permit private property, and privatize businesses run by the state.

Liberalism, in economics, refers to a freeing of the economy by eliminating regulations and barriers that restrict what actors can do. Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic development.

Neoliberalism was the governing creed of Ronald Reagan and his British counterpart Margaret Thatcher. These two political figures almost single handedly destroyed the safety net of two of the most advanced economies in the world. On each side of the Atlantic, they destroyed unions, shut down whole industries, privatized public utility (or as the British called it ‘selling the family silver’), inflated the stock market and then caused arbitrary crashes to create unease and inflict economic anxiety to the working classes. Those who adapted and participated in the exploitation of the vulnerable did exceptionally well. Those whose livelihoods were destroyed begun to join the ranks of the precariat and the unneccesariat.

Those of us forty years old and under, we’ve been sold a pack of lies. We’ve been told that neoliberalism and capitalism is our salvation. Look at Facebook, Netflix, Uber, the iPhone and all the other gadgets, applications and services which we need to get on in our daily lives all owe their existence to capitalism and freedom to innovate. When the government gets out of the way of ordinary people, they flourished. Newsflash: the technology sector employs about 11% of the total workforce in the United States, what about the rest of the 89%? Socialism doesn’t stifle innovation and creativity, economic insecurity does. When you have to worry about your next meal or how to pay the rent, you mind has no room to create or innovate. It’s not a coincidence that many of these ‘innovators’ (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg et al) came from stable middle class families. They didn’t have to see their parents struggle with joblessness and providing for the family.

My conservative family (a double whammy of conservative politics and conservative social values) rammed into us that in order to succeed in life, one must get good grades, go to college and get a good job. And even in college, we are advised to study subjects which will lead to lucrative jobs. Subjects in liberal arts and humanities are nice, but no one needs history or English majors. I was straightjacketed into this belief. I followed the neoliberal blueprint and it made me and countless others miserable. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, neoliberalism should have sounded its death knell right then and there. But then we elected a fake progressive president in the form of Barack Obama who ran on a progressive platform but decided to bail out Wall Street instead of Main Street when he was handed the keys to the White House.

Obama had in spades what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t have; the ability to repackage neoliberalism (just like how Wall Street bankers repackaged bad loans to sell as grade A loans) and re-sell it to his loyal supporters who voted him into office as a good thing in the end for everyone. He was going to have to bail out Wall Street instead of the average Joe the Plumber because prevailing economic principles (the ruling class, the real people that run the country) dictate that he must; he has no choice. He bailed out the auto industry in Michigan but the autoworkers didn’t feel the impact of that bail out either. They were told that their wages would be cut, pensions and health insurance will be slashed, some up to 60% but don’t worry, this is necessary to ensure the viability of the auto industry. Having a crappy job with scant benefits is better than having no job at all. Wall Street got a get out of jail free card plus golden parachutes and average Americans were left with nothing. Less than nothing, no homes, no jobs, broken families, broken lives – all in the name of neoliberalism, because the basic tenet of neoliberalism is “transfer[ing] control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector.” When Obama’s sales pitch didn’t work with the former factory workers in the auto industry and Rust Belt and begun to criticize his policies and point out their declining standard of living, instead of admitting his mistakes, he scolded them instead: unions jobs are gone, that you can graduate from high school at 18 barely literate and able to string two sentences together but get a factory job and union card and earn a comfortable living, those days are over. You need to get more education, better training, learn computer skills, get a vocation if you can’t find a job in the factory floor – basically, quit whining. These people revolted. They may have revolted against their own interest after years of being ignored and belittled. But revolt they did.

After years of failed policies and declining wages and standards of living, the American people woke up to the con. Wall Street is booming again. The people that inflicted the horror on the American people got away with it all. In that wake, in a critical election, the Democratic establishment chose Hillary Rodham Clinton as their nominee. A corrupt, warmongering ‘good friend’ of the Saudi and Qatari royal families. The Democratic establishment along with the mainstream media colluded to push Bernie Sanders out of the race. And when push came to shove, the people voted for Donald Trump as our next president. The Liberal Elites, through their own actions (or inaction), realized the result they dreaded the most: that orange troll Donald Trump is our next president. Clinton’s sneering contempt and arrogance towards the working class or anyone who wasn’t ‘with her’ was odious enough to make people change their votes or stay away from the voting booth or write in Harambe for president. Anti-Clintons did anything to not have to cast a ballot for her. The Clinton Machine underestimated the voter’s rage against her and the establishment and ruling class interests she represents. Voters would rather roll the dice with an orange troll who is an admitted misogynist, racist, Islamophobe and homophobe than to have another Clinton as our president. I told you so.

But this is good news for those on the Left. The first best thing is we don’t have to hear or see another Clinton in public life for a long time and if anyone attempts to float Chelsea Clinton’s name out there for public office, the left will put a stop to it. The Clintons are done. Hillary had her chance, not once but twice. It is the perfect time to rebuild a true progressive worker’s party that the Democratic Establishment can’t co-opt to get elected into office and then abandon once they are in. We don’t have to hear the babbling rants of the liberal elites anymore. We don’t have to hear them lecture to us from their ivory towers on how to live our lives and organize our politics. They’ve lost all credibility. Neoliberalism has failed. Capitalism has failed. Socialism is the way forward to combat multinational corporations which collude with corrupt governments. The voters have spoken. Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables”, a serious case of teapot calling the kettle black. We don’t yet know all the motivations for Trump voters. There’s no question that some people voted for Trump because he seeks to restore the power of the straight white male ego and make the lives of minorities and women miserable, to which we can tell them to fuck off and go back to the cave they came from. For the other Trump voters who voted for him hoping that he’d bring back good jobs and rip up the shady trade agreements, they’ll be in for a shock. Trump is a self-described ‘businessman’, and not a very good one at that. Like all fascists, he only cares about himself. He’s already wavering on the ‘big beautiful wall’ on the southern border because he realized that the US economy cannot function without exploiting undocumented immigrants. Trump’s own companies can’t function without the exploitation of undocumented workers.  Trump is a conman who would say and do anything to get into the White House and he’s been successful not because he’s a very good conman, but because his opponent was so weak.

There is no telling if Bernie Sanders could have won the Democratic nomination if the DNC supported him, but Bernie Sanders appealed to the economic interest of the voters (not the lazy racism, xenophobia and sexism), and he didn’t blame black people, undocumented immigrants or women for the demise of their livelihoods, he blamed the unsustainable system of capitalism, free trade agreements which only benefit the corporations and not the workers and inadequate safety net from the government, which he made clear that there was more than enough money to provide free tuition, free health care and subsidize $15 per hour living wage if we can spend trillions on illegal wars overseas. Had Bernie Sanders won the nomination, he will be able to get a significant cut of the working class vote, the bloc of working class voters who aren’t racist or sexist but feel they cannot vote for Clinton and would rather take their chances with Trump. But we never got the chance to find out.

Whatever reasons the Clintonites want to give and whomever they want to blame for her loss in the general election, they cannot get away from the fact that if with all of their  money, corporate support, Military Industrial Complex support, teams of ‘experts’, pollsters, ‘Ada’ the robot software and Clinton still can’t beat Donald Trump, who by comparison is operating on a shoestring budget, then you don’t deserve occupy the West Wing. That. Is. All. On. You. There is no one to blame but the inept, over bloated Clinton campaign machine.

And for a funny take on all of this, enjoy this video:

 

 

The election shitshow is over, now it’s time to unite.

The election is over. Hallelujah. The Hillbots can retreat back to their caves and to the days where no one has to read or hear their ‘analysis’ on their ill-chosen savior. The pro-Trump trolls, white nationalists and other assortment of supporters can rejoice and savor in their victory for a short while, until they realize exactly what they voted for. The Democrats and liberals, with all that time, resources and energy they wasted on writing and speaking on behalf of their chosen messiah has all been for nought. They will spend the next few months spewing even more vitriol at the demise of the Clinton Machine and they will blame it on the men, specifically working class white men (who the liberals consider just a tad more advanced than cavemen), women who didn’t support her, minorities who didn’t support her. In fact, they’ll blame it on everyone and their grandma except to acknowledge the fact that when you choose a shitty candidate, you get shitty results.

This election was a case of two shitty candidates and the electorate gets to choose from the pile they hate less or not choose at all, and from this, we have Donald J. Trump (aka Fuckface Von Clownstick) as our next president. It makes you rethink how America was ever ‘great’.

If there’s one thing I gained from this election is all new words in my lexicon. ‘White privilege’, ‘cishet privilege’, ‘male privilege’, ‘hetero-normative privilege’, ‘psycho-normative privilege’. The word ‘privilege’ has been bandied around and used so many times that it’s lost its real meaning. And then you realize, the word ‘privilege’ is just replacing the word ‘rights’. You can take away people’s privileges but you can’t take away people’s rights. So, if you convert rights into privileges, your rights can be then taken away. Now that the oppression olympics (a phrase I stole from someone else) and privilege scorekeeping is over, we can all get back to the real issues: how to stop the ruling class and their ilk from taking over our economic system and our lives. How can we mount a real worker’s movement where all workers of the world are included. It’s no longer enough to mount workers movements in one geographic location because corporations are multinational now. If they don’t like the rules and workers union of one country, they can up sticks and move to another country (NAFTA made this possible). But if workers of the world is united internationally, corporations have less places to run and hide their ill gotten profits.

The Clinton campaign, instead of addressing the very real issues of workers being scammed out of their labor and wages, they chose to instead to focus on ‘privilege’, with its own cascading scale and scorekeeping. White working class people are not the true victims of globalization and shady trade deals because they are white and with it comes inherent privileges which are not available to people of color. Their grievances are just complaints, they are treated like overgrown man babies who didn’t get what he wanted at the candy store. They are just angry that they have to share the economic pie which used to be exclusively theirs with other people and women. That the Rust Belt of the United States has literally rusted out of existence and with it their livelihood  which is largely in part because of NAFTA is not a valid grievance. They should have ‘gone back to school and retrained in another profession’ is one of the favorite refrains of the liberal elite. The ruling class, which includes the Democratic Establishment, assisted with the ruin of working class America is a fact we are supposed to ignore and not bring into public discourse because it doesn’t coalesce with the message of Hillary Clinton . As a result, the working class has been oppressed, suppressed, bitterly divided and they turned on each other and punched down instead of the ruling elite. There is a competition of a race to the bottom. They are competing to see who is worse off instead of unionizing to make everyone better off as they’ve been told the unionizing days are gone and they believe it. The elites are loving this. They are loving the fact that the working class and downwardly mobile middle class are blaming each other, minorities, women and immigrants for their plight instead of focusing on the real culprit; capitalism and those who rule it are the real cause of all of the suffering of not just Americans but workers all over the world. The ruling class wants us to fight over scraps. Is there really much difference between someone making $12 an hour and $15 an hour if the underlying reasons why they are making a pittance in wages isn’t solved? If all the profits still go to the top and the CEO of a corporation is making twenty-three times what his average employee makes, whatever income that employee makes is inadequate.

Bernie Sanders’s minimum living wage of $15 is a start but it’s by no means a solution to the larger problem. Why are wages so depressed when the corporations are earning millions and billions in profits? Why do those profits only go to the top? Why are people’s labor, which is really their time, blood, sweat and tears, treated like it’s disposable and replaceable. Workers spend over 8 hours a day at their jobs, which amounts to one-quarter of their day, most of their adult life is spent working, why is that not valued? One doesn’t need to be a student of Marxism to know that their life (in the form of labor, time and wages) are being stolen from them.

All of the ‘privilege’ mocking aside, I am fully aware the misogyny and sexism that women in power or women who seek power face. I don’t deny that Hillary Clinton has suffered misogynistic attacks and sexism, all of which I abhor and really distracts from the real issues. I know that racism, latent or overt is alive and well and they need to be part of public discourse and addressed (not just in relation to police shootings but in all areas). But when the whole discourse becomes about privilege checking in relation to sexism, racism and all the other -isms, we lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to fight for equality for all people. Real equality. Not the means tested neoliberal bullshit the Democrats love to shove down our throats and then tell us that it’s as good as it’s ever going to get. Free college tuition – yes, for those whose combined earnings are under x dollars, so it’s not really everyone. Universal health coverage – yes, but you can’t make more than 150% than federal poverty guidelines (which are ridiculously low to begin with), so again, you will have people who fall through the cracks. You need housing assistance, of course it’s available, the waiting list is 10 years long and due to the long wait, they aren’t taking any more names but there are thousands of vacant homes, buildings and apartments that Wall Street wants to sell and rent at market premium rather than subsidize the rent to ‘those people’. Those who are poor enough to qualify for government assistance are shamed and humiliated the whole way and are reminded at every turn that it’s the ‘taxpayer’s money’ and they better not waste it. People wax lyrical about just what kind of food should food stamp recipients purchase and eat, while the Republicans openly vilify purchases they don’t approve of (as in the grocery checkout line) and create outright lies of people on food stamps buying steaks and lobsters, liberals are more subtle with their insults, turning the topic to ‘healthy food choices’ (which is combination of poor shaming and fat shaming at the same time). And note to upper middle class clueless liberals – it is very expensive to eat ‘healthy’, i.e. the FDA recommended of  5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and cut out processed foods and carbonated drinks. Processed food loaded with unhealthy chemicals and ‘non-foods’ is much cheaper to buy than fresh fruits and vegetables. Questions like should a mother on food stamps be buying a cake from the grocery store to celebrate her child’s birthday or reward her child with cupcakes? And if you can use your supposedly paltry food stamp allotment on sweets, then how hungry are you really? Are all subtle ways the liberals shame and keep food stamp recipients in their place.

Lastly, when you hear anyone tell you that ‘we can’t afford it’ on whatever social programs the people need and demand; don’t believe them, they are lying. If the US can spend trillions destroying the Middle East, Afghanistan and Libya, arming ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria and elsewhere, indiscriminately violate the sovereignty of other nations and drone their civilians, they can damn well make sure that every American has plenty to eat, a roof over their heads, access to good health care and good education. The latter costs a fraction of what these overseas illegal wars cost.

The US is the richest nation in the world, supposedly the most innovative, it’s the proof of the triumph of capitalism. But homelessness has skyrocketed, good jobs are scarce, worker’s wages are depressed, families are going hungry, many see no way out. Neoliberalism is done. Capitalism is a failure. But it took an election of choosing between two shitty candidates for us to realize that. But there is a silver lining; with the bloviating liberals in retreat and temporarily out of the way (it’s like playing whack-a-mole with these liberals), the Left has a real chance at organizing and putting a stop to Trump just like the Republicans obstructed Obama at every turn for eight years.

November 8, 2016: The Elites Rue the Day

The results are in, Donald J. Trump, a racist, sexist, misogynist, someone who has assaulted women, fat shamed women, called for a ban on all Muslims, promised to build a wall on the southern border and deport all Mexicans, will be our next president of the United States.

The question which will be discussed ad nauseum for the next four years (please don’t let it be eight) is ‘how did this happen?’ How did a charlatan who talks about grabbing a woman’s nether regions con his way into the presidency of the United States?

I will tell you how.

When his opponent is an arrogant, elitist, corporate bought and paid for politician insisting on ramming her brand of politics down people’s throats. Those who reject her brand of politics are branded as racist and sexist.

When the Democratic Party chooses a corrupt, criminal, warmongering, murdering, wealthy elite with ties to Wall Street, big Pharma, oil and gas companies to represent the working people of America during one of the most economically uncertain times the world has ever seen and the alternative is Donald Trump; Donald Trump and his ilk will win. An angry electorate can overlook a lot, but they will not tolerate an elite ruling class thumbing their noses down at them and blaming them for their own misfortunes or minimizing their misfortunes and calling it ‘privilege’.

Elections are about common denominators. A candidate chooses an issue or issues which many people can identify with, which then would hopefully propel them into elected office. Donald Trump chose racism, bigotry and sexism and united the disgruntled white base (even some white women jumped on his sexism and misogyny train). Bernie Sanders tried to cut into that base by trying to unite everyone’s economic interests against the ruling elite as he correctly figured out, a large part of people’s anger is mainly due to the economic situation and not illegal immigrants. Had he garnered Democratic Establishment’s support, no doubt he’d successful. Hillary Clinton’s uniting base is her group of ‘diversified elites’, Ivy League graduates of every stripe and persuasion, she was hoping to use those people to bring along all the other Ivy League aspirants, not realizing that it’s the Ivy League do-gooders that the average American hates right now.

The Democratic Establishment took its base and support not only for granted, but stepped on and crapped all over it when the people dare challenge the establishment. They decided that the white working class male is an obsolete category and all of their grievances and concerns are condensed into racism, bitterness at the gradual betterment of women and minorities and most importantly, up until now, they’ve skated by on ‘white privilege’ and that privilege needs to be taken away so they know how it feels to have none. I defy anyone to tell an unemployed coal miner living in a rundown shack with his wife and children in West Virginia that he has white privilege and that his failures are his fault, he will probably risk going to jail and punch you in the face.

The Democratic Establishment lied to us over and over again about how Hillary Clinton is the only choice to save this country. She is most qualified, she has the most experience and more importantly, it’s her turn and America is due for a female president. She is it. The DNC, mainstream media all threw in their lot with Hillary Clinton. Their job is to make sure she becomes the party’s nominee and the ultimate victor in the General Election.

Except Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only qualified candidate to run for president in the Democratic Party. There was Bernie Sanders who started a grassroots campaign on the ground, bypassing the DNC machine. He addressed the immediate economic concerns of everyone, growing income inequality, inadequate access to quality and affordable healthcare, student loan debt and a basic restructure of the government to serve the people not the ruling class. The fact that Bernie Sanders even dared to challenge Clinton for the nomination was seen as an abomination of the first order by Clinton and her supporters. He was stealing her thunder, ruining her moment, making her look bad because she can’t get that same kind of response from her most desirable voting demographic: young people and women. No amount celebrity endorsement can change that. Bernie Sanders was seen as deliberately antagonizing Hillary Clinton and he was using his white male cishet privilege to do it. Bernie Sanders didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to stay clear out of the way for the queen so she can ascend her throne.

For over twenty years the Democratic base have believed the lies of the Clintons. They’ve cheered the Clintons on regardless of their lies, deceptions, corruption and scandals (some are frivolous some are legitimate). The Clintons, bolstered by their diverse group of elites which support them, and that support is handsomely rewarded with money and access to their foundation, they were able to keep the charade going. Their biggest mistake in this election cycle is the divide and conquer of the working class and marginalized people. They took their support base for fools. All of her operatives and supporters with fancy degrees from Ivy League schools took it upon themselves to school their less fortunate brethren. The country saw through the lies of the Democratic establishment and went elsewhere with their votes (or not bothered to vote at all).

The election of 2016 is a choice of between two rotten candidates with no room for a third alternative. Just because Clinton is rotten it doesn’t mean Donald Trump is the answer. He may be an alternative, but alternatives aren’t always better. While the Clintons are corrupt, Trump is an outright fraud. There’s no need to list all the misdeeds and lies of Donald Trump, they are well documented. But in spite of all that, he was elected as this nation’s president. While people are angry and have every right to be angry, those same angry people often vote against their own interests. There is lots wrong with this country but it is not the fault of immigrants, black people, women or minorities. Jobs are going overseas but it’s not the people overseas who are ‘stealing’ them. Most overseas factory workers work in appalling conditions. The Mexicans didn’t undercut the wages of Americans, it’s the whole rotten capitalist system along with neoliberalism that has caused the state we are in today. It’s what caused the Great Recession and financial crash of 2007-2008, but Trump is telling us it’s the fault of the illegal immigrants and his way to solve it is to build a wall between US and Mexico and have the Mexican government pay for it with the trade deficit.

As many already noted, if a Trump win over Clinton means we don’t have to see another Clinton in elected public office ever again, he has accomplished at least one good thing. As for all of the other bad things that come with a Trump presidency, it is now the perfect opportunity for the Left to rise up and demand a real socialist government. Once Trump’s voters get a taste of what Trump’s really intending for this country, which is to make it a neo-fascist haven for white nationalists and not better jobs with good wages; those that voted for him hoping for better jobs will hopefully see the con of Donald Trump.

If the ‘Clinton machine’ with all of its experts and data analysts, all that money from super pacs and major corporate donations can’t come up with a strategy to defeat Donald Trump, can’t even eke out a 51% win; which by comparison, Trump is operating on a shoestring budget; then Clinton doesn’t deserve to win. This is her second go at this, that she lost to Obama who was an exceptional candidate and campaigner is one thing, but to lose to Donald Trump, a guy who speaks on auto loop, maybe she isn’t as qualified as she thinks she is.

The Trump presidency probably won’t affect my life in any significant way. It doesn’t matter to me who wins this election. I don’t belong to a marginalized group but millions of Americans do. And for those Americans we can’t look the other way. For those individuals, those of us who are in a position to fight back, not only should, but must.

 

 

Voting is a Right, not a Privilege.

Hillary Clinton supporters have taken a rather long leave of their senses. They’ve brooked no criticism against their candidate. They’ve rejected and dismissed all of the criticisms against their candidate as either sexism, misogyny or ‘privilege’ – as someone having such a privileged life to be able to choose a Third Party candidate and not suffer the consequences of such a choice. They’ve been intransigent to the point of hilarity and as Wikileaks and other sources revealed more and more unsavory details about the Democratic Party’s chosen messiah, her supporters have constructed more and more preposterous responses to each of the allegations.

And as if it were written in the stars, the FBI while investing Anthony Weiner to see if he tweeted his dick to an underage girl, they found over 650 thousand of Hillary Clinton’s emails backed up on the Abedin-Weiner hard drives. This is problematic because Huma Abedin swore under oath that she didn’t have backup copies of her boss’s emails anywhere. It is further complicated by the fact that the Weiners are about to divorce. Anthony Weiner probably feels no compunction about protecting his soon to be ex-wife and the Clintons. One of the world’s most powerful woman may be brought down by Anthony Weiner’s … well, weiner. A Hollywood writer couldn’t write this script, no one would believe it to be remotely possible.

The Democratic primary was not meant to be a contest at all. It was to serve as a coronation for the ascension of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the  highest office of the land: the presidency of the United States of America. Anyone standing in her way is considered a hateful sexist who is denying the most qualified woman her rightful place in history. She’s earned it by being First Lady to one of the sleaziest men to occupy the West Wing, she paid her dues by knowing her place as a junior senator from New York, then she served as Secretary of State under president Obama. Now it’s her Turn at the top job. No one will stand in her way.

There comes Bernie Sanders from left field, who connected with Millennials and young people in a way Hillary Clinton can only dream of (including younger women). He directly addressed the fears and anxieties of America’s middle and working classes and he offered what appeared to be direct and simple solutions. Institute a living wage of $15 an hour, re-examine all trade agreements to make sure it benefits all workers, free college for all public institutions, expand Medicare to cover everyone, not just those over 65 years old. His foreign policy is far less hawkish, though still very problematic, especially when he praised Saudi Arabia as being a good friend to the U.S., it’s far more palatable to the 40 and under crowd. When it looked like Bernie Sanders was about to surpass Hillary Clinton in popularity, Sanders supporters were immediately categorized as ‘privileged’, sexist and racist because many of them are white and male. From the imaginary ‘Berniebros’ (a privileged white male who doesn’t want to see a woman in the White House) to young people who’ve never had a real job and live in their parent’s basements, to grown adults but are far too idealistic to know how the real world works. Bernie Sanders didn’t have the support of Southern Democrats, he was never going to win the nomination, but he didn’t lose it “fair and square” as Sen. Harry Reid lamented. Sanders biggest mistake was not willing to get down and dirty and expose the corruption of the Clintons.

Fast forward to today, the eve before the election. Hillary Clinton’s Republican opponent is none other than the neo-fascist Donald Trump. The ferret haired, orange faced buffoon, who has proclaimed himself as one of the smartest men in the world, who will ‘Make America Great Again’; and they are neck and neck in the polls. The supposed most qualified person (man or woman) to run for the president of the United States is neck and neck with a charlatan. She is furiously getting the vote out. Her supporters are on social media scaring the anti-Clintons and the undecideds into voting for Hillary Clinton, because if we don’t, America will meet its apocalypse with Donald Trump as president; not realizing that we are already there. We’ve been there, since her husband Bill Clinton turned the Democratic Party right in the 1990s to save his own behind because he can’t keep his pants zipped up and so he caved to Newt Gingrich and his demands. Bill Clinton introduced all kinds of coded racist vocabulary that have been in popular circulation ever since. Words like ‘personal responsibility’, making good life choices, having ‘consequences’ for bad personal behavior (incarceration); all pointing to the supposed poor choices of black people and welfare claimants.

Hillary Clinton has come to accept the fact that she’s not popular and not well liked by younger people and especially younger women, so she’s marketing herself as the ‘lesser evil’. The poll numbers suggest that those who will be voting for Clinton will be with great reluctance. There will be no expectations of her and her presidency except to not fuck it up too much, to maintain the status quo of the Obama presidency.

The Clinton liberals have turned ‘rights’ into ‘privilege’. Voting is a privilege. No it’s not, it’s a right, which by definition, can’t be taken away or criticized for not voting a certain way. Voting is one the most private decisions anyone can make, cameras are not allowed in voting booths, no one is supposed to know who you vote for, yet there are millions of Hillary Clinton supporters on social media, scolding, insulting, admonishing those who won’t vote for her. When did an election turn a candidate’s supporters into such busy bodies?

If Hillary Clinton loses the the election tomorrow, there will be a whole new school of punditry as to why and who to blame. A new ‘Ralph Nader’ will be chosen and forever scapegoated for denying a woman the presidency of the United States. Clinton supporters and surrogates will blame everyone and everything except the candidate herself, who is one of the most unpopular and unsuitable to the mood of the times and voters. The mood of country is changing from neoliberal to more socialist – gross income inequality is no longer tolerated, from hawk to dove, from interventionism to non-interventionism, but Hillary Clinton embodies all of the former and none of the latter. She may become the first woman to be elected to the presidency of the United States, but it is not a step forward for progressivism or even feminism. She’s just another wealthy, corrupt, well-connected elite elected to the country’s highest office.

Meditations on Moving House and Consumerism

“We buy shit we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” — George Carlin

I’ve spent the last two excruciating weeks moving. I spent hours upon hours going through the detritus of the last eight years of my life. I consider myself rather frugal, though like most people, there are times I splurge on things I’ve no business buying. I don’t compulsively shop at sales just because an item that I may need in the future is on sale so I buy bulk quantities of it. I am not a hoarder and I generally don’t like to ‘collect’ things. I don’t have expensive habits such as horseback riding or motorcycling and I even got over the handbag and shoe craze of my youth.  Yet, I still have tons and tons of shit I don’t know what to do with and worse, I don’t even know how I got possession of them in the first place.

The dilemma of going through my belongings is not deciding whether I should keep something or donate it to charity or haul it to the dumpster. I already know what I’d rather do: donate the usable items and take the rest to the nearest dumpster. The dilemma is what if I need this item again in the near future but I already gave it away or threw it away. Going through your belongings has economic ramifications. Giving away perfectly good and usable items because you can’t be bothered to pack it and unpack it but then having to come up with the money to replace it down the line when you need it may cause economic hardship is a headache. The more time I spent deciding what to do with  my things, the more I realized how poisonous the consumerism culture is.

We have lost sight of what we need versus what we want. Many of the things we supposedly ‘need’ are just stuff we want but are told we need them to function. The late comedian George Carlin’s famous quip “We buy shit we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like” resonates with all of us because we think we all know someone like that. Someone who relentlessly keeps up with the Joneses not realizing the Joneses don’t exist or if they do, they don’t give a fuck. Our things become a literal burden on our backs. It’s our emotional burdens and hangups manifested into all of the shit we buy because we are convinced that we need them to function.

I had to hire two sets of movers and both of my movers expressed the same sentiment: they don’t have personal belongings which doesn’t all neatly fit into one of their trucks. My first mover, an older Chinese man from Taiwan said he’s been in the United States for thirty-eight years. During these thirty-eight years he’s only moved once, and after that experience he never wanted to move ever again. He bought a modest home and has lived there ever since. He’s perfectly happy in his small starter home. He’s got no desire to upgrade to a new home though he has the means and the longer he operates his moving business, the more he’s convinced that his decision of living a life of simple contentment is the right one.

This is not the first time I’ve ever moved in my life. But as the years wore on, every move became more burdensome. My first apartment out of college, I was able to hire one small truck and I unpacked all of my things in one day. It was minimal disruption to my life. When I bought my first home I had to fill a 1500 square foot home with furniture. Up until then, my furniture consisted of a bed, my desk, a bookshelf and a small second hand sofa set. A two car garage was my downfall, I was able to fill it with all sorts stuff without realizing I was stockpiling a bunch of things I don’t need and eight years later, I am paying for it. We decided to downsize and so we had to make decisions on what to keep and what to give away. Putting excess crap in storage is just throwing away good money after bad, I was adamantly against it. A decision will be made now on what to do with our stuff: donate, keep or the trash bin. A fourth option would be to sell some items but I was too lazy to organize a moving sale where I’d be getting pennies on the dollar for my belongings. I’d rather donate them to charities.

This move has led me to reevaluate myself. I think of myself as a sensible person who isn’t prone to compulsive buying or overspending. Most of the purchases I’ve made in the last few years were more for my children than for  myself and even then, I only purchase what then need. I don’t have rows and rows of dresses for my daughter and I don’t purchase one toy after another for them. But if that’s the case, how did I end up with a garage full of shit I don’t know what to do with? Did I really need a 5 set chafing dish, which I only used twice a year if that? I had three different sets of flatware and three different sets of wine glasses so that I have a variety of options to choose from when I am hosting a party. When we finally moved into a home our own, I fancied myself an amateur Martha Stewart where I’d throw impromptu get togethers a la shabby chic style, not realizing that I am not into nor am I am very good at throwing parties (I like attending them). I attempted a few; it was tedious and tiring and everyone seemed to have fun except me. I was too highly strung to be a casual and fun hostess and I work myself into such an anxiety making sure all my guests had fun and was well looked after that I forgot to make sure I had fun. And of course don’t get me started on the clean up after everyone leaves.

As Americans and as people who live under capitalism, our status is defined by money and by extension the things we can buy with that money. Where we live, what car we drive, where we go for entertainment and dining and how we entertain all give clues to our social status and how much money we have (or don’t have). Even for those who aren’t keeping up with the Joneses, there is a pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle (or at least a facade of a lifestyle) so that one feels like respectable member of society. If you throw all of your disposable income into paying your mortgage and maintaining your home, one surely can’t accept having unfurnished rooms or a messy lawn.

We are sold the idea that part of achieving the American Dream is achieving home ownership. Owning a home and having in your possession a piece of paper which says you own a piece of real property is worth its weight in gold. Even the financial crash of 2008 can’t deter Americans from the myth of homeownership. Any self-respecting aspiring middle class person in America dreams of homeownership, if you achieve everything else but owing your own home, the dream is incomplete. Prior to 2008, owning your home besides having a sense of security and establishing wealth, is also a source of pride and in some cases vanity. Post financial crash of 2008, owning a home became an urgent imperative to hedge against rising rents, being priced out of affordable neighborhoods because companies like Berkshire Hathaway are buying up vacant homes at rock bottom prices, refurbishing them to either resell at higher price or leasing them out at premium rents.

When I was a homeowner, there was a sense of satisfaction and security that I own my home and I can do with it what I please. And when you walk through the front door you can say ‘it’s mine’. But the burdens were also immense. Property taxes and its financial obligations aside, the maintenance of one’s home is like having another full time job. The decision of whether to fix the faucet or pay the electric bill first can take the fun and enjoyment out of owning a home. Anticipating the next thing to break or needing an upgrade can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. A simple thing such as owning a home or housing security, again, in this fractured and highly unequal society, has become out of reach for a large number of people.