Friday, November 10, 2017

Ugly Oldster Conversations Overheard Over A BK Breakfast This A.M.

Occasionally I speed walk to the local Burger King, about a half mile or so away, to have a simple economy breakfast: sausage and egg croissanwich, coffee, and small hash browns. I usually eat while poring over the Business & Investing Section of the WSJ to see what topics might make for blog post fare. I was in the midst of a lengthy article on Monsanto's broad spectrum herbicide (dicamba) shriveling 3.6 million acres of crops in Arkansas, e.g.

And a suit filed by over 300 farmers (on account of the herbicide's drift to their crops),  when a quartet of codgers (average age maybe 80) to the side of me erupted in guffaws at a comment one of them made about Chelsea Clinton. Evidently one of the four, in either a Texas or Georgia accent,  insisted she could "chew corn through a picket fence" while another chimed in that "yeah, and her husband hates the United States, you best believe it."

How did he know that? He didn't say, he merely popped it off the top of his gray -haired mop.  So, it didn't take long to process that these four were part of the elderly retired  Reep-conservo enclave that live in the Springs.  (Most of them retired veterans.)

Of course,  we all know our mothers taught us never to eavesdrop on others' conversations. But let's get real: that's pretty damned difficult to avoid when you're seated in smallish booths that are barely feet apart from each other. And especially if one person or group is babbling at the top of their lungs while you are trying to focus on an important article for a future blog post.

Anyway, their next topic was Puerto Ricans who they actually blamed for coming into our beloved county and skewing the vote toward "tax and spend' bond issues.  "Ya know, I heard that hundreds of 'em come in at Fort Carson and other bases, most military families - and that they voted in this past 'lection. I am sure they along with them millunals tossed the vote to higher taxes."

Barely catching their breaths one of them with a raspy voice then belched on about Catholics and swore to the others that "I tell yuh I have seen them things, statues and such, Catholics have in their homes and churches. And most of 'em got little swastikas on 'em!"  Not able to stop himself he then yapped on: "And then these librul troublemakers  wearing ski masks and all black want to say the Alt Right got all kind of Nazis!"

Moments later another of the group (I was seated with my back basically at "8 o'clock"  to them, i.e. they were seated about 4'  behind me and to the left) lambasted the South Koreans for being ingrates. He lashed out at them, blabbing:

"Them South Koreans say they won't buy any weapons or take any nukes 'cause they don't want no war.  Well I say let them North Korean commies blow 'em all to hell then! See who cares!"

Obviously not processing that the South Koreans are geographically directly in harm's way, with over 10,000 pieces of North Korean artillery directed at them - barely 20 miles away- and bearing shells loaded with chemical agents (e.g. Sarin) and bio agents (anthrax, cholera, smallpox etc.)   So these old duffers had no clue what they were talking about.

But the experience was salutary in a way, answering a question wifey and I asked ourselves since Tuesday night's election when we saw more than 60 percent of the over -65 age group went for Ed Gillespie in Virginia.  We questioned why such seniors would cut their own throats voting against their own interests - since for sure Medicare will be on the Right's tax reform chopping block very soon.

Now we know it's all about identity politics. These elderly white guys all identified with Trump and his policies and had prejudiced views against any who were unlike them  - whether brown (or black) people, Catholics or "libruls". This is also likely why Naomi Klein in her recent book, 'NO Is Not Enough - Resisting Trump's Shock Politics'), argued that, pp. 90-91:

"Ir is short-sighted,  not to mention dangerous, for liberals  and progressives to abandon their own focus on identity politics",


"To a terrifying degree, skin color and gender conformity are determining who is physically safe in the hands of the state, who is at risk from vigilante violence, who can express themselves without constant harassment and who can cross a border without terror."

Bottom line? As these codgers proved to me today, so long as the Right embrace identity politics we on the left must do likewise.

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