Matches for: “anger in america” …

Anger in America

Lizza-Scaramucci

“Angry” is the word used to characterize Trump’s base. Collectively, these voters had long been fed up with feeling marginalized, left behind, left out, and laid off. Then Trump rose up to give voice to their anger, pointing fingers of blame all over the place (but especially at “the Dems” and “Crooked Hillary”). There’s a funny New Yorker piece called “Don’t Blame Yourself,” enumerating all the things that are no one’s fault (but especially not the fault of the guileless “you” in the piece): “Your teeth were fine until that dentist said you had a bunch of cavities,” and so on.

When Hillary Clinton played into Trump’s narrative with her regrettable “basket of deplorables” remark, she further evoked the ire of the angry populace who, during campaign season, had been given permission to be angry and loudly so. No longer do they have to suffer in silence. The reaction is parallel to that of the stereotypical redneck who now feels emboldened to mock people who are educated. Or bigots who now feel it is OK to disparage “liberals” as “PC.” America no longer has a prevailing “live and let live” or “agree to disagree” culture. People are dug into their anger, hardened by their grudges, and, seemingly, would rather see their country fall apart than make progress toward a shared goal. Because the divide between Trump and his supporters and everyone else is too great. We don’t, actually, share anything. We don’t have anything in common, or so it seems.

I am thinking of this on the train, where I find myself sighing overly loudly in the direction of a woman on her cell phone, loudly conversing about this and that. When I catch her eye she gives me the finger.

Anger in America.

And, finally, I’m remembering a little incident at a recent Zara sale. The cashiers’ line was long and slow. A woman asks, loudly, if she might go to the front of the line because she is illegally parked outside and needs to return clothing right away because the 30-day return window ends today. No one speaks up. I say “I’m sorry, I’ve got to say ‘no,’ to that. We’ve all been waiting at least for 20 minutes.” The woman grumbles something like: “Well that’s a New Yorker for you.” I say, “Well you did ask. And it’s not like it’s a medical emergency.” To which she says: “Not everything’s a medical emergency, lady.” Which is a stupid retort and I stupidly replied “can’t argue with that.”

Anger in America.

I wrote all this before Anthony Scaramucci unloaded onto The New Yorker an expletive-laced tirade against Reince Priebus. It’s getting worse.

 

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Merry Christmas

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The most striking images over yet another politically contentious weekend came from Pensacola, Florida, where Trump was campaigning for Roy Moore, an accused pedophile and candidate for a Senate seat in Alabama, some 30 miles away. (Why the coy choice of an out-of-state rally? No idea, but so much doesn’t make sense these days that I didn’t bother to try to understand it.)

“Merry Christmas” read the signs hoisted by Trump’s supporters, who were also clad in Christmas garb. Trump took the stage with that same emphatic greeting, congratulating himself and the sanctimonious souls in attendance for their “making it safe” to say Merry Christmas. He—and they—believe it’s overly PC to say “Happy Holidays” and/or assume everyone they’d ever meet, or care to meet, would Christian.

To put such a fine, fine point on “Christmas” and to use it to insult non-Christians and, more to the point, the kinds of liberals who tend toward “holiday” greetings struck me as aggressive—a sarcastic, bigoted perversion of both Christmas and Christian principles.

Aggression in America, then, as a follow up to my thoughts on “anger in America.”

On Sunday, I bought narcissus bulbs at a garden shop owned by a man from Lebanon. “Merry Christmas,” he said, as did the cashier and the salesperson in the aisle. Sorting out matters of religious identity can’t be easy for a Lebanese Christian. But after the Trump rally, I felt suspicious of their well wishes.

“Happy Holidays,” I replied. A little bit aggressively.

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