Sunday, October 07, 2012

Little Boy Brown

I want to say a few words about the debate.  No, the other debate, the first encounter between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, candidates for the Senate in Massachusetts.  I thought it was more enlightening than the over-hyped bout in Denver.  That thing was like a Superbowl -- by the time it started, I was tired of it.

Straight off the bat, Brown ignored the economy, the war, the sorry season of the Red Sox, and went after Warren's ethnicity.  Apparently she's part Native American but lacks glossy black hair and war paint.  In other words, she's lying about her mother's Delaware and Cherokee ancestry.  This is old news in Massachusetts -- when Warren revealed her family background, one right-wing paper dubbed her "Fauxcohontas."  Everybody knows what Indians look like, and she doesn't.  QED

At first I thought Brown was making a subtle and important point about the absurdity of racial categories -- what's the point of having them when you can't tell what people are until they tell you?  This is not exactly news, either.  Mark Twain wrote a novel about it.  It's a subplot in Show Boat.  We're a seriously mixed-up people, and always have been.  On reflection, a little too subtle, too cerebral for a member of the Mad Tea Party.  So what was going on? 

A week later I read a magazine article about the Senate race and there it was.

Scott Brown went to Tufts.

I'm no expert but people tell me that when you apply to Harvard, Tufts is your safety school.  Nothing wrong with Tufts, but it's not Harvard.  It must have been infuriating that this...this squaw was appointed to the faculty of the Harvard Law School when Scottie couldn't get past the director of admissions.  Couldn't be that she earned it by becoming a nationally recognized expert in consumer debt law, by co-writing a book about it, by helping to craft legislation.  She must have "checked the box," thus reaping the cornucopia of benefits which America has showered on undeserving minorities (and women) for the last half century.

This is a constant gripe of the right, and not just the Archie Bunkers, the working class Americans for whom I actually have a lot of sympathy, the ones who are competing with more people for a smaller piece of the pie.  It goes all the way up to the one percent.  In the course of the infamous "forty-seven percent" chat, Mitt Romney made a sort of joke (for him) about how much easier his life would have been if only his father had been an ethnic Mexican instead of an American born in Mexico.  The $50,000-a-platers chortled, thinking of their highly-paid maids and gardeners, I suppose.  The 47 percent think they're victims, said Romney, but you and I, we're the real victims.  They are obsessed with the idea that somewhere, some eight-year-old is getting a free hot breakfast at school and they have to pay for it and it just isn't right.  Scott Brown is a Senator, a member of what has been called "the world's most exclusive club," and he's still pissed because he didn't get into Harvard.  It wasn't because he wasn't good enough -- it was because Harvard, in the name of multi-cultural affirmative action (a string of obscenities on the right), gave his place to a disabled Micronesian lesbian.  And now the world makes sense.

I remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when several hundred people from New Orleans were being sheltered in the Houston Astrodome.  Someone asked Barbara Bush what she thought of it all, and she gave that same chortle and said, "Well, these people are underprivileged, so it's working out well for them."  Because there's nothing the poor like better than sleeping on cots in an abandoned baseball stadium.  It's their version of sailing around the Greek islands.  They get everything -- food, water, blankets, even donated clothing -- and all it costs is everything they had in the world.

It's almost funny.  They can't accumulate enough.  They start fake populist "parties" to knock their tax bills down to zero.  They're surrounded by moochers and redistributors and socialist demagogues and nobody is grateful for all the jobs they create, if only for maids and gardeners. 

They want their country back.   




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