Note to self – subtlety is not an option with Donald TrumpPosted: April 8, 2017
Just yesterday, I wrote Donald Trump is not a dumb guy. In that missive I was telling myself not to be fooled into the mass hypnosis that Donald Trump is currently performing on the world. But, alas, someone I actually respect posted a comment questioning my beliefs, and suggesting that I was ok with mass murder.
Well, I am by no means a trump supporter, nor a war monger. I’m a great many things, but probably none of the things that this person now believes about me. It’s worth being more direct, so here it is.
Thoughts on Donald Trump. First of all, it’s probably worth me describing myself in terms of nationality, ethnicity, political and religious leanings. I am a 52 year old black man born and raised in the United States of America. I grew up in the very conservative Orange County in California. Home of John Wayne, and the John Birch society, if you know what that is. I grew up in a time when my father, who repaired typewriters in schools, had to suffer the indignity of being called a nigger by children in the schools where he worked. In my home, we were born Christian and while my father was alive, we went to church regularly.
My neighborhood was just a bunch of working class Mexicans and some blacks. The barrio by any other name. A place rough enough for the police to only show up in twos if they knew what was good for them. Migrant workers (“wet backs”), just working people trying to raise their families.
My dad died when I was 7. At age 10, my mom decided we’d had enough of the Mexican upbringing, and we cast our eyes on a new housing development a couple miles down Orangethorpe. A new 2 story 4 bedroom house, surrounded by respectable white folks! Gee, we were moving on up. So, I went through middle and high school like that, still as Christian as ever, although we didn’t go to church after dad died. Mom was probably mad and disillusioned with god. At any rate, I made it through high school, went to Berkeley to study electrical engineering, and eventually started my first company, Adamation.
I did software that was off the beaten path. Yah, there was this Microsoft thing out there, but these were the days of Mac, NeXT, Taligent, BeOS, and that fledgling Linux thing.
I married a woman I met in college (she was from Goa India), we had a child, we eventually got divorced. I did not become a hindu during this time, but I was certainly immersed in a lot of hindu ritual and culture. I’ve read the Bhagavad Gita, and various other Hindu texts. They seemed quite alright, and offered up a more ancient view of how the world works from a religious perspective.
Roll forward some more years, and I made the move to Microsoft (1998). The heady days of the birth of XML (which I helped drive for 5 years), and the birth of the CLR and .net frameworks. And then, 9/11. I went to work to see panic in the halls. Colleagues with vague middle-eastern or southeast Asian ancestry or looks, scurrying into my office with reports of their friends being beat up in other parts of the country. My own fiduciary responsibility driving me to tell close friends that I would have to fire them if they continue to distribute incendiary emails imploring people to route out the terrorists and get rid of them.
Very challenging times.
Roll forward a few more years, 2005, I find myself moving to India to create the Engineering Excellence group in Hyderabad, a relatively new development center for Microsoft. Somehow, drawn to India again. This time around, I fall in love with a woman who is muslim. So, I read for the first time the Quran. What an eye opener for a Christian such as myself. Turns out, we (jews, Christians, muslims) are all praying to the same god. Go figure. Men have created the dogma around killing each other in the name of this god. And so, I wanted to marry this woman. And to do so, I needed to be a muslim man. Lucky for me, I was already circumcised…
And so, I’m now married to a muslim woman, I consider myself to be a muslim, and we have two beautiful children who are also muslim.
My journey back to the US was less than positive. My wife had a 10 year visa, but on one of our returns (2009), the border agents at the airport pulled us aside, and into the dreaded interrogation room. We’re not going to let you into the country until you have a green card, even though you have a valid visitors visa… Yep, we flew back to India the next morning. But why? This is my wife? “Sorry sir, we don’t know who this alien is, and once she enters the country, she may not leave”. So, even though we were married, in process of obtaining a green card, and all that, we could not enter the country.
Roll forward to 2016. Donald Trump, that figure from my past who had always been there, as an entertainer, but never any real significance in my life, is tearing up the Republican party. They are nothing but deer in the headlights of his red neck hick mobile fueled by bigotry, misogyny, racism, and all the other things that tear apart civil society. He is tearing back the curtain of political correctness, and essentially relieving the pressure that a set of Americans feel has kept them bottled up far too long. They made, and they’re somewhat active. His opponent, an ineffective democrat who did not have the pulse of the people in the way that President Obama did before her. All excuses aside, I’m not sure having Hillary in office would have been that effective with a house and senate controlled by republicans. But, I digress.
Donald trump using a series of tactics that are so obvious from an outside observers perspective that I’m always surprised (becoming less so) that they work. Like Penn and Teller (magicians), he tells you exactly how he’s deceiving you, how he’s using misdirection, how he’s manipulating your emotions, appearing to join your perspective, and then he pulls the wool over your eyes and you still can’t believe how he’s pulled that off. It’s just sickening.
His first few months in office have been typical for someone full of bluster, but little political experience. First he shocks the world by essentially saying “all bets are off. You can throw out all your past assumptions, there’s a new sheriff in town”. That’s a tactic. Now everyone is on pause. Is he as racist, isolationist, bigoted, misogynistic as his bluster portrays, or is he simply the best Democrat that could be elected at this time to deal with the Republic controlled house and senate.
And so, he bombs Syria. Now, it strikes me as a lifelong pacifist that bombing people is nothing to be proud of. Every time a building of “collateral damage” is destroyed, every time a truck plows into a crowd of people, every time a government chooses to gas its own, every time we shoot a petty dictactor in a hidey hole, my heart sinks. We should never be proud of our ability to hunt down and destroy human beings. It’s sad that we have people we believe horrible enough to have this done to them, and it’s sad that we’re horrible enough people to do this.
For ever cop that kills a black man, I’m scared for my safety. For every muslim identified terrorist that pulls off an atrocity, I’m scared for the safety of myself, and my family. For every executive order issued by my own government, I afraid I will be rounded up and placed in an internment camp or worse.
I live in a world now where I have a contingency plan for rapidly departing my own country as soon as the “muslim registry” rears its ugly head. Fleeing the country may be no solice, nor refuge though. Our next best stop is India, and they have a tolerance, but not love for muslims. Anywhere else is a dice role with an American passport, and a family with mixed heritage.
And so, to rephrase my previous post on the subject. Donald Trump is not dumb. He just blew up a Syrian air base in response to the Syrian government using chemical weapons on its own people. Using chemical weapons is an international crime easily deplored by all countries. The Syrian government should be held accountable for this action.
Donald Trump has gained enough political saavy to exploit this situation to his own gains. I doubt he cares much about the loss of life in Syria, but he does care about getting China to deal with North Korea. He will use his bombing of the Syrian air base to show that he’s got big guns and is not afraid to use them. He will say this in plain word’s to China’s president, as he has him sitting in his own private resort, sitting on his own patio, drinking from his own wine glasses. This is big dog diplomacy 101.
So, in short, to my colleagues who might question where I stand on subjects of Donald Trump, muslims, war, and the like. I would rather go to jail than go to war (never registered for the draft, got three threating letters from the government on the same). And for those who think I’m a hypocrite for such a stance, I guess I’m the worst kind of conservative. I will defend my family til the death, but for a country that would just as easily shoot me at a traffic stop, or stick me in an internment camp, or call me nigger and equate me to the lowest of animals, I say “fuck you”, I’m surviving as best I can, and I’m going to do right by mine, to survive and thrive, and raise my kids to build a better society that doesn’t suffer from all this nonsense.