Heyyyy everybody! I’m a star by association. Not close association mind you, but I was in a bookstore with Glen Beck. Glen who? The darling of the right-wing religious nutcases. No I didn’t speak with him, shake his hands or ask for an autograph. It didn’t appeal to me to even want to see him. The moment I walked into the bookstore, I should have known. The atmosphere was weird… the kind you of oddness you get when you put a couple hundred believers in one room (Hey. I did my stint at Bellevue, Jamaica, so I know what a ward full of crazies feel like, ok).
When I walked in the place I was greeted by a banner and people cajoling me, “We want you, we are not just for white people”. Bad sign… run Louis run.
Beck was in Ft Lauderdale for a book signing which really is just another way of milking the poor cows. Inside and even outside for that matter, I didn’t see any black people, not even the usual black conservatives. Obviously I was the only black man not to have gotten the memo, “Staaaay awaaay”.
That was apparently good advice, ‘cause the tea-partyers wanted me. They didn’t respect me, but they wanted me. I was as popular as a turkey at Thanksgiving. Actually, that might not be the best analogy… though I did feel that if I made the wrong movement or said the wrong thing my goose would have been cooked. It was that kinda crowd. Get a piece of rope and soon everyone would think that I’m Barack Obama or his stand-in.
So there they were, wanting me to join the cult. Naaa, I don’t think so.
But I did try to dialogue. Aaah, an imperfect idea with crazies.
One guy waving a flag with a snake on it (someone should tell these so-called Christians that a viper is not the best representation of themselves, but then again it may be perfect) tried to enlist me in this all-American flag waving, flag kissing party. He was shocked that I knew who Glen Beck was but that I didn’t worship him. Actually I told him that Beck was nothing but a shyster. What do you expect, he headlines Fox “News”?
I have seen Beck when he was on CNN. Couldn’t stand his brand of ‘opinions news’… knew it could only be worse at Fox. Beck cares only for the truth when he is not speaking it. He routinely misinforms, distorts and riles up the ignorant massives. If I want that, I go to church.
Still my viper tried to soldier on, but like all whackos, it wasn’t long before he was frothing. Dialogue, you say. Well, he spoke, I just looked around for the nearest cop, the H1N1 vaccine and a spittle guard. Never stand in front of a speaking crazy without a towel. And afterwards dump it. It can’t be disinfected.
Thankfully, my lack of enthusiasm for his ranting inexplicably caused him to seek more fertile ground. It is usually my experience that the longer the rant, the closer they get to your face. At least he didn’t and so I saved a towel from disposal.
Beck trades on hate, ignorance and fear (aaah “the power of fear”- the new movie starring George Bush) and I did see some of those on that evening. It was quite clear that in America, fear and ignorance (and perhaps a large dose of racism) overrides commonsense.
None stopped to think that despite ‘radically’ electing a black man to lead the party, the current democrats are not the types to do anything extreme as inviting socialism (omg) into the USA. These ignoramuses don’t even remember the basics of their civics classes which is that the country’s power doesn’t reside in the hands of one man. Obama is not forcing his ideology on congress, congress is forcing their shit on him.
I bet that several of the crowd have firsthand experience of the corrupt, ‘gravalicious’ nature of health insurance companies… yet they don’t want to see a change in the system. Imbeciles.
I recently watched a program where the host was speaking to a guest in a diner-style setting, saying that funding for health care would come from additional taxes on those making over $250,000 a year. Why didn’t she like health care reform? Additional taxes. Lady, if I may be so kind, you eat in a diner! You have no chance of making a $1/4m unless you win the lottery! How do you reason with such stupidity.
The only things that will save Obama for re-election is the now infamous American attention span, and turning around the economy in a couple years. Two months of success and many will forget the current hardships. Look how quickly they forget that this was a holdover from the Bush regime.
Ironically, the very people that Obama is distancing himself from, remains his truest loyalists. The blacks. Not many are gonna be buying Glen Beck’s book soon.
Another sign that Obama must play the role given to him is his making it clear that there will be a troop increase in Afghanistan. Certainly, this is a trade-off for health care votes. I understand Obama’s plight, he is indeed between Sarah Palin’s mouth and a septic pit. If he missteps, he is dead. Likely he is dead anyway, metaphorically speaking.
Let’s not go over this. Afghanistan cannot be won.
It’s not only in America that fear is paralysing the nation… chalk up Jamaica. And I’m not talking crime. That’s an issue yes.
In my recent visit, I figured that Bruce Golding was trading on the fear that the PNP could once again lead the country. No one’s ready for that, and Golding is getting away with non-performance.
I spoke with people in the tourism sector and found what I had long suspected would eventually happen in Jamaica… the Americanisation of corporate practices.
Many blame Omar Davies and the PNP for the failure of the indigenous banking sector in the early ‘90’s. The government was partly to blame particularly as they took so long to take action. But the sector was crashing because the banks had adopted US banking (mal)practices.
The fiscal system we inherited from Britain is to treat the customers money like something holy… don’t eff with it! The new banks with youngsters trained in America think that customers money to play with… take chances, roll the dice, reward your top people with immoral perks.
It was only a matter of time before other industries got infected. Not that there isn’t anything good coming out of the American system, it was just that Americans, like ourselves, when given the opportunity to do the wrong thing, always corrupt the system by enriching ourselves first.
Jamaican companies have forgone the principle of traditional 40% profit, for mega-profits, on the backs of the consumers and their workers. This is the tourism sector today. Workers and worker rights are abused. And while it has been there for some time, it is more noticeable with this recession because management is more prone to harassment and exploitation when there is a scarcity of employment opportunities in an industry. Workers are being forced to work unlimited hours and be on call at all times, without additional compensation. The threat of losing their jobs loom large over them. Dissension is not an option.
But even keeping quiet, and being a top performer is no longer protection from redundancy. Managers are firing at whim, sometimes just on ego trips, at other times to instill fear. Worker morale is diminishing at a fast pace.
Health insurance benefits are also on the line. Either the corporation plays footloose with the worker’s premiums (eg use the funds to pay for something else), or the insurance companies put the worker through the ringer to get their claims accepted. It’s clearly a mirror image of what has and is still happening in the United States… and the results will be the same.
Jamaica “No Problem” is gone. The carefree Jamaicans who takes things in stride is fast vanishing, and what is left behind is a shell of a people, paralysed by fear and stress. Throughout all that Jamaicans have gone through, they have held on to their spirit. When that goes, then everything truly crash.