UPDATE: Miami Herald is reporting that the FBI now thinks yesterday’s bomb packages were sent from Opa-locka, which is in Miami Dade County. If you have never heard of this rink dink town, this Miami New Times article might be helpful. Unless you have been living on Mars since the 2000 election, you probably have a pretty good notion already as to how deeply twisted this state is, from top to bottom. Whatever possessed me to move here in 2001 is a question that I will never figure out. If you ever catch yourself thinking for a second about moving here to retire, take my word for it: don’t repeat what was the biggest mistake of my life. unless of course you are comfortable in the presence of Klan fans, meth heads, and outright con men — from the doctors you go to, to the real estate agents you will deal with, to the guy at the Ford dealership who will fix your car then screw you one way or another every time. Let me repeat this: avoid Florida like the plague; if you buy now while the market is frothy again, you will be stuck here for the rest of your life when it turns next year and it’s 2008 all over again. For sure you will turn into an alcoholic, or worse, which is the fate of many of the sorry ass losers who end up here.
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Against my better judgement, I am (briefly) reopening this blog for another post — for those Americans who, like me, are horrified by what the United States is becoming.
Here’s a comment in the evolving story in yesterday’s NY Times about the pipe bombs that were mailed to President Obama, et. al., around the country:
It has only been a week since returning from Portugal — where my wife and I spent a month in the Algarve — to our home in Florida.
The venom and hate spewing out of the mouths of Republican politicians and their supporters around the country has been nothing short of outright scary to witness.
It is even worse than when we left in mid-Sept.
This is not normal, in any sense of the word. I was a kid during the 60s, when the Vietnam war, race riots, and the almost serial murder of various political figures tore this country apart — until a deeply misguided pol named Richard Nixon promised a “silent majority” that he would end the war and bring back “law and order” — which ultimately translated into the Watergate break-in. I was in 11th grade when I wrote a story called “Kindred Asunder.” It wasn’t very good; but I think I was on to something — however naive and imperfect my understanding of America was as teen. I thought that Bobby, or Clean Gene (if you think he was nothing more than an irrelevant has-been, you may be interested in reading the last bit of this), or even McGovern might be elected and really change things — but I had no idea, then, as to the vicious depths and Mafia-like tropes to which Republicans and the American Right were willing to eventually succumb to by perverting American democracy in order to sate — almost like heroin addicts — their nearly unquenchable thirst for power.
Let’s flip to the here and now.
I am certain that America — unless the Dems win back the House and possibly the Senate, and then the Presidency in 2020, while mending their own corrupt ways — is inexorably drifting toward a full-scale civil war — whether all out, as happened before in 1860; or ISIS-style, with assassinations, public bombings, mass shootings, and so on, becoming the norm: in other words, the world’s foremost democracy devolving into a prolonged state of guerrilla warfare between fascists and what is left of the Liberal Order, both here and abroad, that will unquestionably bring unmitigated chaos to this planet.
I do not believe there is a viable political solution, as there once was when we were a more civilized nation.
Wringing our hands is not going to cut it, anymore.
There are too many stains on America’s young history, too many wounds that have never healed, and, most importantly, too many gullible, quasi-literate people who think they are better than others because of the color of their skin or the brand of religion they adhere to.
But there’s something else.
Something new, that was never there before.
Sadly, there is an insidious viciousness that has come to roost in Red State America — exacerbated by tech savvy young anarchists; pols with no conscience who see nothing wrong in falsely claiming to their supporters that pipe bombs sent to ex Presidents are hoaxes; state-supported foreign provocateurs who desire nothing more than the destruction of the United States; and avaricious media properties owners out to make a buck off sowing divisions in this country — that may not be stanched unless the sort of wild accusations depicted in the political flyers my wife and I received in the mail this week (see pic up top) actually take place.
These people mean business; does anyone seriously believe that voting in a despicably rigged system will work? Or should we simply turn the other cheek and trust that one day the meek shall inherit the earth?
My wife and I wish America well. This is, after all, the country that saved the world from global fascism in the 40s. This is the country that once said, give me your poor and hungry; and people around the world heard that siren call of freedom and economic opportunity.
My own family did, too. I am, after all, an immigrant — electing to leave the vileness of the Nasser regime, and an Egypt that to this day — more than 50 years after we emigrated to NY — remains ensnared by a murderous military dictatorship.
But now America has seemingly also lost its way, reduced to a horrible caricature of what is once was.
And so, as things go from bad to worse, my wife and I — she a direct Mayflower descendant, me a rather more recent off-the-boat kind of dude — both choosing not to remain here any longer than is necessary.
I am in my late 60s now, and I refuse to spend the last decade or so of my life in a place that is so filled with hate — particularly since I am part of one of those vulnerable minorities that are constantly belittled and attacked by demagogues in the American political space.
We are wrapping up our business here, and by next Spring — unless Mueller and November produce results that give us hope — we are moving to Portugal.
We do not plan to return, until this madness blows over, if it ever does.
We choose to live our lives in a place that has not gone mad, and Portugal is tolerant as a nation, affordable, and quite beautiful — despite the snarky comments I have made about Tavira during this past month in this blog.
Peace to all sane Americans who believe that we as a nation are better than this.
The road ahead is going to be extremely dangerous, but it does seem that certain things — primarily revolving around the issue of what kind of a people are we? — need to be settled once and for all.
And that resolution, I am afraid, will not happen in a nation where a 30-40% minority, who, by the way, are armed to the teeth, will seemingly stop at nothing to have things their way.
At the risk of echoing the words of the star-crossed Rodney King, does there really have to be an all-out war, where the last one left standing “wins”?
What would be left to rule? A country, or terminally scorched earth?
Is there any sane way where we can fix the present system, such that we have a truly representative democracy? Where politicians are not bought and sold by the NRA and the lobbyists and the immensely rich who nevertheless wish to game the system and pay nothing in taxes for the privilege of living here? Where we stop engaging in endless wars overseas, while polluting our air and rivers and the sea until the entire planet no longer has a chance to recover from global warming? Where no president, thanks to, let us say, 10 year term limits, can permanently tilt the Supreme Court such that it rulings reflect the grotesque biases of some long gone politician that continue to be inflicted on future generations?
I guess America is going to decide much of that pretty soon.
Me, I’m already packed and ready to go, to a safe country where you can’t be Googled — don’t you wish the US had those EU privacy laws? — by some insane madman who then shows up at your doorstep with an AR-15. I don’t know about you, but unlike some of those who were sent yesterday’s pipe bomb packages, I don’t have a staff of explosive sniffing experts guarding my mailbox 24 x 7.
Anyone, whether I like it or not, can google my name and find out in a split second exactly where my wife and I live. That is one of the many assaults on personal freedom in this country that needs to end. Immediately. Ah; but for that, you would have to take on and squash the DMA as well the numerous personal data gathering roaches that infest the Internet, not to mention having Congress — that righteous posse of Platonic sages — expressly forbidding every state in the union, phone company, utility provider, consumer goods business, or even Trump’s own band of merry election database golem from making a cheap buck by selling or “renting” your personal info to any Tom, Dick or Harriet that comes along with enough cash to get you killed.
For example, just because I need a license to drive a car does not mean I’m compelled to risk the Unabomber blowing my house up and killing me and my family. States in this case are the worst offenders in that regard; they are the bad actors who profit from putting your life at risk every day of the week.
Does anyone get that, in America? Spare me those tired arguments of the greater good, please. Bombs are bombs, and bullets are bullets, not specious constitutional debates.
So, come Spring, it looks like tchau Florida, and hello again, Portugal — where silly notions like privacy are not punch lines. Don’t quote me, but I believe that’s known as voting with your feet.