I Can Mock Hobbs with One Hand Tied Behind My Back

1.  Yes, there’s nothing like $51.5 billion dollars in profit when we’re paying $3.80 a gallon in gas to make you feel like helping the oil companies, is there?

Maybe that could be the TNGOP’s new slogan: Helping rich Republicans get richer.

2.  Re: The arugula.  A. Yes, they do.  B. What?  You’re too busy shopping at the fancy-pants Belmont Harris Teeter to know what they sell at Walmart?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

If I Have to Suffer, So Do You

In my efforts to prove that John Rich is a more annoying boil on the butt of Nashville than Kix Brooks, I went to his website.

Where he has a song…

About John McCain.

I don’t know how to tell you about it.  It’s… it’s… well… um… The opening sounds like “All My Rowdy Friends” which makes you think of football and Hank Jr.  So, that’s good.

And… well… it only has one verse, so it’s easy to learn.

And I did spend a good ten minutes looking at McCain’s Wikipedia page trying to decide if one can be “shot down in a Vietnam town” or if one is in a plane, if one is actually shot down over a Vietnam town, so I did spend some time thinking about history and grammar, which is never a waste.

But other than that?

I am, once again, reminded of that old joke in the Beetle Bailey cartoons, where someone, usually Bettle, sometimes the Sarge, will be hanging onto the edge of a cliff by a twig and someone ridiculous will come to “help” them by praying or wanting to talk about their problems, and the punchline is always “Send different help!”

Today, after listening to that song, the first thing that popped into my head was John McCain listening to it and thinking “Send different help!”

Oh, Thank God! Dozens. Honey, We’re Safe. Put the Kids Back Outside!

Tiny Pasture links us to this ridiculous editorial in the City Paper.  I quote for you the best part (and by best, I mean, most painfully funny).

The local application of the 287(g) law flies in the face of that lazy, even dangerous, status quo. Sheriff Daron Hall is getting the brunt of the anger for this program, but he is to be commended. With 3,500 illegal immigrants deported, including dozens of gang members, the local use of this federal law is doing what generations of Washington politicians would not. [Emphasis mine.]

I keep waiting for someone, finally, to see what is so clear.  Daron Hall is a genius.

Since Davidson County became Metro Nashville, there really hasn’t been a whole lot for the Sheriff’s department to do, except run the jail and pick up bulk trash.  Nothing heroic anyway. 

But now?  Now the Sheriff’s Department is saving us from “dangerous” illegal immigrants.

Never mind that most dangerous illegal immigrants we see in Middle Tennessee are either drunk drivers who should have been off the road and in prison years ago or gang members who are pretty damn effectively eluding capture.

I mean, seriously, folks.  Seriously.  We’ve had 287(g) for how long now?  And the best the City Paper can come up with is that we’ve deported dozens of gang members?

I think we all know what dozens means, probably around thirty.  If it were more than that, they’d say “Almost 50” or “almost 100” or hundreds or something that sounded less pathetic to make even more obscure the truth.

But the truth is that, thanks to the Sheriff and his 287(g) program, the police of Nashville now have the most awesome busywork ever. 

They get to go around rounding up and arresting people who are, far and away, non-violent ordinary folks who pose no danger to the community or the police and as long as every once in a while they also manage to round up a “dangerous gang member” (or someone who seems like they maybe might once have been a dangerous gang member) or two (let’s say, one a month, so that in two years we’ve captured “dozens” of dangerous gang members and gotten them deported), they are celebrated as solving the “problem” of illegal immigrants in our community and Hall is a hero.

Everyone looks busy, everyone stays busy, but the job gets a lot less dangerous.

The question you have to ask yourself, Nashville, is this: While the police in this city are busy looking busy, are you actually any safer?

Sweet Revenge

So, this morning, while I was on the toilet, Fred was going on about revenge.  There are two types of revenge, he says.  There’s the almost innate desire to strike out as hard as we can at whatever’s hurting us in an effort to get it to stop hurting us.  This, of course, is of little interest to Fred, except that he acknowledges it to exist and to note that it is about restoring things to how we would like them–us not being hurt.

The second type of revenge, of course, is more interesting, precisely because, on its surface, it doesn’t seem restorative.  If I kill your dog and you plot for months and kill my dog, we are both out a dog.  It doesn’t bring my dog back.  No restoration is possible.  Seemingly.

But what Fred points out (and I hope I’m getting this right, but I’m too lazy to go back upstairs and check.  The Professor can tell me.  I’m sure she’s been through it with him a time or two on this very subject.) is that this second kind of revenge is, in a way, restorative, in that it’s about restoring your honor.

See, when the first person does something to you, what he is saying is “I am not afraid of you; I am not afraid of what you might do to me in return.”  The power balance is such that the person first acting is saying “I am stronger than you.  I can make you afraid of me.”  And, apparently, being afraid is dishonorable (I’m not sure if I agree, but I can see that people do indeed feel this way).

The person seeking revenge then, is not seeking the restoration of things.  He’s seeking the restoration of power.  He’s seeking to say in return “No, I am not afraid of you, either and, in fact, I am willing to do this to make you afraid of me.”

I bring the Professor up because we were at lunch talking about how funny it is that so much racist rhetoric revolves around this weird “They are so much stupider than us that they are not even human but they are able to enact vast conspiracies against us that they are smart enough to keep hidden from most white people” narrative and how the anxieties folks seem to feel towards non-whites involve things we actually do to non-whites.

We come into countries that don’t belong to us and move to wipe out the indiginous culture and replace it with our own.  We rape and steal.  We spread diseases that people die from.  We refuse to learn the local languages and customs.

That’s what Fred got me thinking about, with his talk of revenge.

And it’s interesting to me, because it seems that while racists have to scream loudly “We are not like them,” it’s because they fear that “those” folks are just like “us,” that they will seek revenge by doing to us what’s been done to them.

That is, I think, what we’re afraid of.

It’s funny to me how much work anti-racists do to try to make white people aware of our privilege.  And yet, most white people know how lucky we are, the things we have that most folks in the world don’t get to have, and you can see that when we reveal the things we’re afraid of losing.  How, if everyone had the things we have, could we be so anxious about them being taken from us, about other folks wanting them?

No, we know.  We know damn well.

Not in some upfront way, but in the back of our minds, constantly, we’re reminded of all the things we have that others, even in our own country, don’t have and often don’t have because we took them or made it impossible for them to get in the first place.  We live in towns absent of the people who founded them.  Drive roads absent of the people who first mapped their routes.  Live on land cleared by people who don’t live on it any longer, if they ever did.

And it’s there, every day, way down deep, the thought that if someone took all this from us, we would want revenge.  (And, in fact, we often seek revenge against the people we think are taking or are threatening to take all this from us.)

The trick then, I think, is to recognize two things.  One is that that desire for revenge in the face of being dishonored is not universal, even if it’s common.  And two, that the second type of revenge is not the only type, that our working to move through the world in a less hurtful way does not necessarily open us up to folks needing to do to us like we’ve done to them, but might just lead to folks being relieved that we’ve finally stopped.