Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It was never just Trump

I haven't mentioned this story yet, but at one lunch I was getting asked about some of the more clownish aspects of Trump, and told about an orange reference they use for him.

I am not the best person for this because I don't have any sense of humor about him. Even to the clown thing I pointed out "He is a really dangerous clown" (to which they agreed). Still, I wanted to contribute to the conversation, so I mentioned that some people call him "President Cheeto". Blank stares. I guess Cheetos aren't that popular in Italy. To be fair, the one cousin is really into health food, so she would be less likely to run across them. We eventually found a picture on the internet so it made sense, but any comedic impact was lost.

Anyway, a lot of the conversations were more about impact, and a lot of those conversations were things that were embarrassing before the election.

For example, we were talking about homelessness, and if the issue was that housing was too expensive. Well, that is a contributing factor, and we talked about that (I have some recent specific date, so that was handy), but there is also the lack of treatment for mental health issues, which affects many veterans. That should not be the case, but that is something we have accepted for a long time.

Talking about health care and what is being attempted now is very resonant for my family. One sister has only been able to afford health care since the Affordable Care Act took full effect, as her employer has never wanted to or been required to offer it. There were immediate benefits to having health care already, but an issue that required surgery came up. She could get the treatment she needed because she was covered.

That was happening while I was uncovered. I have some coverage again now, but if the last plan had passed, it would have made it so that I would never be able to afford health care again. The extent to which Republicans are keeping the new plan under wraps does not fill me with confidence.

Why do we do that to our citizens? Why do we do that to people?

Another conversation we had was how he got elected. Again, I do not know how to talk about voter suppression in Italian, but we did talk about racism and we did talk about how much of the expectations for certain behaviors is enforced only by expectations.

It wasn't just Trump who didn't release tax returns; Sanders didn't either. Maybe we didn't make a big enough deal of it when Romney was so selective with his tax returns. Nonetheless, we don't have a rule for it, so when you have someone completely willing to disregard those conventions and all others, and he is rewarded for that, then what happens? We are finding out.

For the racism, I was only able to do this in English, but I talked with one of my cousins about Bacon's rebellion (1676), when Virginians of all races united against their government, and how right after that slavery became defined by race, and racism became enshrined in law. This was in Virginia, the birthplace of presidents. Hundreds of years later, politicians still successfully use race to divide people, reliably finding again and again that white people will screw over people of color if they can still feel superior based on color, despite being poor and sick and screwed over themselves.

It sounds terrible to me, but for him, always being taught that American was built on immigration, it was incredibly sad. He's right. I get jaded from being used to it, which still doesn't make me happy with it, but it was fresh for him.

I know we can be better than this. There's precious little evidence out there right now, but I still have to believe it and work for it.

I have some thoughts on that, but this has been pretty heavy, and I went to a concert Saturday night. So three music reviews this week, and then I hope I have something useful to say Monday.

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