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Est. April 5, 2002
June 28, 2018 - Issue 748

American Indifference:
Are You Yelling Yet?

"We should be moving toward no borders.
No walls. But America, now is a country
where Trump supporters sit praying and
aiting, banking on Trump to build walls
and reinforce borders - and establish,
in the process, totalitarianism as the norm."

I’m starting to find annoying all these impervious invitations to

‘take life on the bright side.’ On every poster, everyone shows

their white teeth in a grin that seems to me like tetanus. On

the subway, in the streets, in every magazine, those obsessive

smiles are chasing me. It is a system. Optimism is necessary to

social peace and economic prosperity based on consumption and credit.

Simone de Beauvoir, on a visit to the US, 1947

We are seeing images of children within a fenced cage. It’s real. Over thousand children separated from their parents. And, worse, most of the parents have been deported or will be deported! Something about children the Department of Homeland Security fears. Homeland Security isn’t alone. The Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III tells us to count on more. He has a sinister grin on his face. God, he says, ordains this behavior, and he announces to the world - while continuing to quote scripture with all righteous indignation of a Southern - to remember the “great days” when “colored” folk were mindful of their superiors and their place in society. If you didn’t hear this message, fine. Forty-five percent of Americans, your neighbors, hear this message whenever Trump or one of his trolls in the White House or in the media speaks on their behalf. Forty-five percent, and rising!

The head of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen assures the world that the children are enjoying themselves, with plenty of toys in comfortable accommodations. What more could these children asks for?

For most human beings anywhere on the planet, these images of children caged and crying - and we saw crying children, Neilsen - had many shaking their heads in disbelief or even screaming at that their television screens.

In how many languages and dialects, last week, did humanity ask, Who are these people?

I was thinking about these parents and their children, debating whether or not to write something, express, if nothing else, my anger, when a neighbor invites me to her house. I had mixed feelings when I said yes, but there’s a crisis. Children! This neighbor is a mother with grown children.

In the living room, the television is pride of place as it is in many apartments and homes throughout the US. One of the first times I encountered her, she made sure I recognized she’s a mother, with grown sons, and she states the obvious: she is older, by ten years. But age matters, exclusively, that is, in lieu of any other credentials. And when age matters, I’ve learned in recent years, it destabilizes. Disarms.

I hear the large screen television, and I see the Fox News logo at the bottom of the screen. I wouldn’t expect otherwise. She invites me to sit, and I sit and see a reporter and behind him an image of a young police officer in uniform. He’s been shot dead.

Isn’t that a shame!

She assumes I watch the local Fox News network for the reportage on crime in Milwaukee or Chicago. In this case Milwaukee, our neighbors to the north. I don’t know what’s a shame because I don’t know the whole story. Behind me on her balcony are least ten little American flags and, from where I’m sitting, I see at least two Christian crosses facing me.

You would think that there’s nothing fragile here in this home.

I turn away from the television screen. I’m not insensitive to the death of this young white man. This human being. But as I write this, there is yet another shooting of a young black child, 17-year old Antwon Rose. Does she think police shootings of black children is shameful? In just over a year, she’s never said one word regarding these tragic deaths.

I do hear in her tone something of an accusation, encircling me, a member of that community of criminal perpetrators.

I have too much to say. And, ironically, I shouldn’t, I feel waste time.

And the children in cages! I thinking! Does she have a compassionate word for those children separated from their mothers?

She turns the television off with the remote because, I guess, I’m not listening to the story about the police officer. And only a minute or two has passed.

I remind her about the shooting of black children by the police. Average Americans (and I mean white Americans) don’t care. (Maybe Melanie Trump was relaying this message too - with her jacket in Washington D.C.’s heat!). I see in her posture, tall and authoritative, the righteous indignation of the Jefferson Beauregard or Kirstjen looking down at, what they perceive as a strangely pathetic obsession with racism.

Last year, she showed me a picture of her friends, which included a black woman, smiling from the edge of the photo; a picture of her sons, very grown and successful; and a picture of her, last years, on that “historical” day last year, according to her, when Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin.

I should leave. The subject changes.

She has a jeep but nonetheless wants to know about a local store here that delivers groceries. (Not for empathizing with me). Possibly for someone else. You sign up, a store clerk, young male, calls you once a week or once a month, whenever you please. He takes your grocery list. Your order is delivered to your home the next day, for a small fee, of course.

I’m sure she’s heard me or heard from a neighbor who has heard me on the phone, once every month. Because, one every month, one or more items isn’t what I requested. I have to make a trip to the store (that seems to employ far more whites than people of color) and return the items. This month, a good many items were foods I can’t eat as a cancer patient. What is going on? You wait for the call one day and wait for the delivery the next. No set time for either days. I’ve had to work around oncologist appointments and blood tests and other errands I have to run. In two years, I’ve objected to the attitude that those who use the service, car-less seniors and the disabled, must accept the policy. Deal with it! Or not! We don’t care!

This month, when I walked some 20 blocks to exchanged the product with the woman at the customer service counter, she referred to me as “young lady.” Young lady! She, with her hair dyed blond, might be younger. Or we’re around the same age. Older women. Mature women. Not young ladies. For a moment, our eyes lock, and I see that familiar smug expression. Chin up, lips tight. Eyes daring you in a sea of white to challenge the one permitted to speak.

I now find myself trying to express how I felt at that moment when I hear…

“Oh, she’s complimenting you!” Period!

Between the crosses and the flags, are the thousand daily cuts.

It’s not a compliment, I say. For what it’s worth.

Oh, well gesture, from her. Oh, the insolence.

It’s exasperating. For both of us.

I should leave.

I talk loud, I say because I catch myself. I can’t seem to stop caring. I’m human! I’m alive! I refuse to turn away.

The sun’s setting. It’s dark. So out of the space where she sits, I hear, Yes, you do! You yell!

What did you say? You do! You yell!

I look at her. I wasn’t conscious of yelling. But she has to win. Trump talks about winning. It’s about winners and losers. She’s calling on the traditional defense and justification for not only not listening but for perpetuating cruel policies.

The black woman is angry!

They are always angry, these leftists! Why can’t we just be happy? Like in the old days when America was great. When no one yelled about snatching children from their mothers!

Well, today, anti-freeze laces the Kool Aid!

The other day, a Republican representative, speaking to the media, refers to the Democrats, those who want no borders, as “extremists.” To work for a world with no walls, no borders, people united for the good of all life on earth, is to think like an extremist!

You can only yell when you’re alive and angry at the overwhelming ignorance and cruelty that has always been a part of America - but now indicates the country isn’t bothering to think about moving forward.

We should be moving toward no borders. No walls. But America, now is a country where Trump supporters sit praying and waiting, banking on Trump to build walls and reinforce borders - and establish, in the process, totalitarianism as the norm.

We had better be doing more than just yelling! Editorial Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Contact Dr. Daniels.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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