Politics is moral philosophy in action* and that’s why around Thanksgiving of 2016 I cut ties with a lot of my family, some of the people I’ve loved the most in my life, because I am so ashamed of them for voting for that garbagio in the White House. They were like you’re going to give up your family because of politics?? As if that were a trivial thing. But I had no idea how ashamed I was really going to get until this weekend.
My family are Cuban, and a bunch of us are Mexican as well as Cuban. Which is to say that I have relatives, who voted for Trump, whose parents are literal Mexican immigrants, born in Mexico. And so Saturday some Trumpish cretin, inspired just like these relatives were by the stirring rhetoric of their sorry, shitty, bad-trip lowlife joke of a reality-show president, went into a Walmart in El Paso and tried to kill as many Mexicans, or Hispanics, whatever, people like my family—people like themselves!—as he could.
Today, the garbage person in the White House is blaming the media and videogames for the whirlwind of grief the Republicans have unleashed on the world. Chomsky is right; they are villains on a world-altering scale. It’s not possible to ignore the magnitude of this disaster any longer, to excuse them or apologize for them or to pretend that Ronald Reagan wasn’t one of them. Or for me to ignore that they have permanently ruined my family, that there’s no waking up from this bad dream.
Every day I grieve the loss of my cousin who taught me to read, when she was like ten and I was like four or five. I thought she hung the moon when we were little, and when we grew up too. I looked at her and saw only beauty, generosity, kindness. How could she have become such a twisted wreck, so full of false superiority and fake Christianity? And pills. But that is what happened, it’s not a temporary aberration, something that will magically go away. It won’t.
The sick atmosphere that broke my immigrant family is now spread over 350 million people in the United States, all touched in one way or another by the malevolence and ugliness of this administration. We’ve arrived at the place where this was headed even back in the days of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew: What I mean by an “American” and what my Republican ex-relatives mean by an “American” are two entirely different things now. I mean everyone, including even them, including even Trump supporters. But they stopped including me and other critics of Republicanism a long time ago, starting I think back in the Reagan years, when Republicans began trying to own even the flag as a Republicans-only thing.
In part because there is not even the pretense of demonstrating democratic or egalitarian values in the United States any longer, the thuggishness and violence are multiplying unchecked everywhere, right this minute, in Kashmir, Xinjiang, in Moscow, Rio, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg.
Grotesques like Steve Bannon and Stephen “Spray-hair” Miller like to say that they are “protecting” “Western civilization,” which they seem to think is the only civilization, like Reagan did, “civilization” wearing shoes.
But real civilization, the part worth preserving, is not “Western,” even though some of its principles were realized and written down in the West, particularly in the Enlightenment; real civilization, human civilization, is the global inheritance of egalitarianism, probity, and peace. It isn’t “Western” and it sure as hell isn’t Republican but it’s a real thing, and it’s worth rescuing here in the United States, if that’s still possible.
*sure Nietzsche is right (as I understand him), there’s no personal virtue in morality, I only mean what Rorty says—as I understand him—viz., a way of being alive that won’t make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge. Admittedly I am poorly read in philosophy so I invite you to school me, maria |at| popula punto-com.