"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Keep Those Nasty Immigrants Out - Biden's Craven Election Year Volte Face

'Let 'em in', said the President to his senior staff on Inauguration Day 2021. 'Diversity is good for America', and with that fell swoop, the doors to all comers on the southern border were thrown open. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  The President had been elected on a rush of good feeling - at last the country would be out from under the yoke of The Demon Of Fleet Street, the bloodletting barber of Washington, the former President, Donald Trump. It was not only Joe Biden who was being inaugurated but  a new era of compassion, ethnic and racial collegiality, and a bright new future. The country would be filled with brown- and black-skinned people seeking a new home and a new life in the land of opportunity. 

 

It turned out to be a bit less of a rosy state of affairs when tens of thousands of free riders crossed the Rio Grande to El Norte where, their cousins had told them, accommodation in four-star hotels, all expenses paid, and the finest amenities awaited them. 

The Border Patrol was incidental as all conditions, codicils, and caveat were lifted by presidential order.  A few bad apples might be rolling around loose in the bottom of the freedom busses headed north, but how rotten could they be? All in all, the waves of immigration would flood the land with deserving people, eager for a chance to live life as it should be led, not in the abject poverty forced on them by corrupt political regimes. 

Of course this was all nonsense.  Immigrants from the worst, rat-infested, drug-running, pestilential slums, ex-combatants from bloody civil wars, gang-bangers from Managua and San Salvadoran slums, on-the-run Amazon terrorists from Brazil, crooked Argentinian Bernie Madoffs, and Quechua Indian thugs all came running. The Biden policy was the best thing that ever happened to wannabee wetbacks who could now cross over without fear of La Migra.  It was a free lunch with all the fixin's. 

The mayors of sanctuary cities called foul.  We never intended to be everybody's soup kitchen. Compassion has its limits.  Few New Yorkers wanted to house Mara Salvatrucha gang members, and when tacos, beans, and rice were elbowing out pastrami, lox, barley soup, and onion rolls, enough was enough.

The economy showed some upward blips - fast food chains had a limitless supply of cheap labor, and upscale neighborhoods saw prices drop for nannies, leaf-blowers, and house-painters - but the cost of housing the undocumented thousands far exceeded the minor economic boon to the service industry. 

Then came the election year, and the President was hurried to the border.  The American people, in a shameful display of retrograde right wing behavior was turning its back on the needy, the desperate, and the hopeless, and they needed their president now.  Even dyed in the wool Upper West Side Jewish liberals were having second thoughts. They now wanted no more brown-skinned freeloaders in their necks of the woods. 

'We love you', the President said, waving his arms in an air-kiss gesture from El Paso across the Rio Grande to the Latino homeland.  His closing of the border was only temporary to give time to prepare more properly for new arrivals.  It had nothing to do with tacos or enchiladas, but logistical order.  

'You will always be welcome here', the President went on, 'today, tomorrow, and forever'; but nonetheless the border doors once again clanged shut, KEEP OUT! signs replaced rainbow ones, and Dobermans and Pit Bulls patrolled the lines in place of Labs and Portuguese Water Dogs. 'We mean business', the President said, 'but not necessarily you'. 

 

Politics is a venal business in the best of times.  Promises are made and never kept, assurances go by the wayside, and good intentions are left on the curb; but this volte face, this complete turnabout in policy was stretching the limits of disbelief.  Was the most enthusiastic, committed supporter of open immigration now ready to turn the Pit Bulls on the crowd? let them founder and drown, turned back by jackbooted American storm troopers? 

Anything to get re-elected; anything to turn the tide and to reverse abysmal poll numbers; yet this time the American electorate was not falling for such bald election year tomfoolery.  The man is nuts, more and more Americans were saying.  Time for the old coot to go. 

Biden's handlers knew that spinning the border reversal would be a challenge, but after all, 'temporary restraining orders' were well known to abusive husbands and stalkers, and so in play here.  Good people in need of some vetting, they said, sifting the best and the brightest from the chaff, finding the diamonds in the rough.  

The Vice President, named by the President to be his chief interlocutor and Border advisor on immigration policy cackled her way to a park bench while she dithered and demurred; but his advisors thought that now was her time.  A Biden re-election meant an automatic Harris presidency no more than a year into office, so all the more reason to tout her credentials.  

"I am one of you", the Vice President said to that invisible caravan coming north to the border.  "I am a woman of color, child of immigrants, a person on the march, a doer, a shaker, and an American of the people".  Here she spread her arms in an airy embrace of all those comers, still in the Sonoran desert but soon to arrive. 'Solidarity! Solidarity! Solidarity', she shouted, laughing, smiling, and nodding.  "La lucha continua" and with that she was shuttled off stage and back into the anteroom of power 'where she belongs' said one advisor, suspicious and disbelieving of her airhead performances and disingenuous people talk. 

So the Kammy and Joe Show lit up the lights for a while until he stumbled and she veered and wandered into some melancholy, diverse landscape.  'Get them both out of sight', another handler suggested with more vim than ever before; but like battery-powered toys they kept on talking, making no sense, fooling no one, and paving way for a second Trump presidency 

"They are not immigrants", said the President.  "They are already Americans in hope and spirit, and we welcome them....although not right now and not immediately, but certainly" and before those last words had drifted off into the soft Texas breeze, the election was lost.  The doddering old fool was history. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

No To The Other Side Of The Tracks - Diversity Is Just A Casual Affair

'What's over there?', Betty Jane asked her mother about Wofford Square, a no-no neighborhood across the tracks of the B&O railroad.  "It's not for you, dear", her mother replied. 'A lot of ticky-tacky, ramshackle houses, all cinder blocks and unpleasant things.  Stay on this side'; and so it was, of course, that Betty Jane in time crossed the tracks and met up with Angelo Pozzi, son of a factory worker and because of him spent nine months at the Convent of the Little Sisters of Mercy in Middletown until her ratty, dark-haired baby was born. 

'I told you so', said her mother.  'Now, what are we going to do with it?', meaning the baby whom nobody seemed to want.  Perhaps if it had been blonde and blue-eyed like her daughter, she might feel differently, but this...this darky...was unconscionable.  'Her wonderful husband is fighting the Japs', was the mother's story, and one day he would be lost in Mindanao and Betty Jane would begin her life again. 

The other side of the tracks was not a bad place, lots of garlic and yelling, people trying to make a go of their new life in America.  There were of course good reasons why it was a no-fly zone for girls from the West End, country day school girls off to Miss Porters and Vassar. They would never find their Paddington Harris III of the Vineyard Haven and Beacon Hill Harrises there, have blonde, blue-eyed children, and live on the North Shore. 

As it turned out, the child turned out all right.  There must have been some decent Etruscan genes in Angelo's DNA to match Betty Jane's patrician, English ones.  She had found good social cover for him in a marriage to a confirmed bachelor, a good man happy to be free at last from a hectoring mother and maiden aunts, and indifferent to the nature and origins of young Potter. 

It all should have never happened in the first place.  'Stick to your own kind' were the wise words of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, and had young Betty Jane realized that there was no future across the tracks, no possible cross-cultural accommodation in the cards, and no reason whatsoever to leave her people, she would have been better off.  There is always trouble brewing when you stir someone else's pot. 

The remake of Bernstein’s original, faithful to theme, music, and lyrics attempted to make the story one of today – all traces of racial and ethnic stereotypes removed and the upbeat, happy ending emphasized.  Although we may cling to outdated notions of cultural and racial separatism, we will eventually realize our common humanity and such divisions will disappear.

Nor in a coon's age – history records the persistent identity of tribes, clans, religious sects, communities, states, and nations. Although recent DNA analysis has shown that homo sapiens did interbreed with Neanderthals, the two ‘racial’ groups tried to kill each other off.

Why is this lesson so hard to accept? Don’t birds of a feather flock together? Don’t they peck at the intruder until he leaves?

American Indian tribes fought each other to the death. African tribes slaughtered each other and used captured warriors as currency. Chinese dynasties rose to power after battles with pretenders and likely enemies.

Yet stirring the pot and sampling the soup has always been tempting.  Thomas Jefferson was not just anxious to get out of the hen house for while, but was curious.  What would sex be like with a girl who just a few years ago had been toting water in an African jungle and sold on the block for more than able field hands because of her native charm and beauty.  Who wouldn't jump at the chance? 

Romans loved the taste of Nubian women, Louis XIV favored peasant girls from Bretagne, and the alliances of Imperial Europe were not just for political reasons but sexual curiosity. A little on the side has been a staple forever - a tasty smorgasbord far more inviting than coq au vin no matter how well prepared. 

 

Yet these kings, courtiers, and American presidents, for all their dalliances and sexual curiosity, stuck with the program, followed the script, and assured the purity of their line.  We think of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, not the concubines and mistresses of the Low Country and New Orleans. 

Of course such sexual libertinage has never been a one-way street.  Women have been just as tempted by sexual curiosity and appeal as men.  Adulteresses are common literary fodder. Emma Bovary married well but unhappily, and yet she only thought she knew the balletic moves of the aristocracy.  Lady Chatterley's desire for sexual mutuality was satisfied by Mellors, but it was their milieux that divided them in the end.  Anna Karenina got her comeuppance for straying, as satisfying as the relationship with her Don Juan had been. 

 

The point is of course not that well-to-do-women find sexual allure in strange places, but that all women do, and they are only more limited than men in their adventures because of a persistent lack of social countenance for their sexual energy.

Everyone sticks together – white people, black people, gay people, professionals, wealthy people – but as long as they are productive, responsible members of the community at large, there is no reason to disrupt this natural, millennia-old tendency of likes to group with likes. There is no demonstrable advantage, profit, or gain from forcing socio-cultural integration.  Too much has been made of sharing experiences of unlike people – encouraging white, wealthy residents to look into the lives of dysfunctional black ones makes no sense at all. 

Raves were popular in the 90s because they brought all types together.  Private school girls from Georgetown and Spring Valley danced with yobs from Gaithersburg but married boys from Yale. Diversity is only a casual affair. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bidenesque - Being Not Quite President While Little Miss Muffet Waits In The Wings

'God knows he's suffered enough', said Jill Biden to her aide-de-camp, concerned about the constant press reminders of her husband's mental health; but there was nothing she could do about his lapses, stumbles, and losing his way.  She tried - even sudoku and crossword puzzles - but nothing seemed to work.  He wandered, wanted to be read to, and was helped through his day by an attentive staff, teleprompters, and a clean desk. 

 

That last item was a godsend, for the President, when faced with sheafs of briefing papers just stared at them, shuffled them from one corner of the Lincoln, polished mahogany desk to the other, knowing there was something in them he had to look at but without the get-up-and-go to do so.  'Just remove them', Jill suggested to the President's Chief of Staff.  

Although she hesitated to make the allusion, she remembered how Ronald Reagan always had a clean desk.  His litany - patriotism, a small government, a strong military, private enterprise, and God - had earned him two terms and the love of the American people. 'A Shining City On A Hill' was what people remembered when they thought of the President and his reference to the Bible and the greatness of the Republic. One unique selling point.  Advertisers since snake oil salesmen knew this. 

But of course Joe had no such a succinct vision.  He was for the black man, gays, the environment, women; and a hundred other causes and issues - one big potpourri - with no real focus.  Adlai Stevenson was on the right track.  He was for the 'little man', and Herbert Hoover promised 'a chicken in every pot', but Joe got all tangled up when he began to speak, transgender this, pipeline that, Black History Month and Ukraine, and everything came out blah and indistinct. 

Oh, how he tried, but he raised his voice at exactly the wrong times.  His cadence did not match his words.  'If, when, but, and however' got the drumbeat and Putin, Kim, and oil got lost in a garbled mumble. No matter how everyone tried, they simply could not get the President to focus. 

He was becoming 'Bidenesque' a loose assemblage of old memories and past causes.  He meant well, and did have some of the compassion he talked about, but that was somehow linked to puppies and lost kittens; and he could never gin up the same feelings for The Black Man whom he knew he was to praise, reflecting on his tribal innocence, natural wisdom, and racial purity but could not.  

He simply couldn't shake the image of bling, Uzis, and the empty storefronts of the inner city, and each time he started in on the Black Man's position at the top of the human pyramid, he got lost 'in the sands of time', at the real pyramids, the Nile, and Nefertiti - the beautiful Nefertiti, now there was a woman! 

'He's only being Bidenesque' was the meme around the White House, the kindest, gentlest way of referring to the empty suit that sat in the Oval Office, 'a well-meaning, kind, elderly man with a poor memory', the characterization of the Special Counsel who referred to him in a document meant to exonerate him for wrongdoing in the misplacement of Top Secret files. 

'Let him be', said his Vice President, a greedily ambitious woman who knew that as long as she could prop up the old man for another few months, he would be re-elected, drop dead in his second term, and the Presidency would be hers.  As long as Biden was asleep in the Oval Office and not making matters worse by trying to make sense in public, she was safe. 

Out and about she was as toadying as could be.  Mr. President this, Mr. President that, holding chairs for him like a zoot-suited waiter at a fancy restaurant, fawning over him, loving him to death while all the while plotting like Clytemnestra and Tamora to get rid of him.  

She had long ago begun to form her own shadow campaign staff, young men and women with absolute faith in her ability speak for the nation, as a black woman  the embodiment of the progressivism the President could only talk about.  She would be the new Black Athena, a racial and gender firebrand putting the likes of Uncle Tom Obama far in the rear view mirror.  Hers would be the first real revolutionary presidency which would put diversity and inclusivity aside in favor of radical street justice.  She would shed her straight locks and goofy smile and go ghetto. Oh, what she would do! 

Yet closeting the President for the final eight months of the campaign year was not going to be easy, and even 'being Bidenesque' was far too dangerous.  There had to be a way to completely shut the fool up, but how?

The first move was to go toe to toe with Jill Biden who refused to acknowledge the President's dementia and wanted him out front and strong.  She needed to be put in her place.  After all she was a political non-entity, a cipher, a nothing in the dog-eat-dog world of Washington; and here she was pushing the old man off a cliff.  She meant well - the perks of First Lady would be nice for another four years - but what about the country?  She was too dumb to think beyond the wooden desks of her one-room schoolhouse Doctor Biden mentality. 

The President left the Oval Office sans retinue, escaped without handlers, alone and waving to no one in particular until an aide caught him in mid-stride and shepherded him into the cloak room, holding him firmly by the elbow until help arrived.  'How are you this morning, Mr. President', she said. 

'Which President?', Joe replied thinking she was referring to Washington or Lincoln just honored on the three-day weekend just past, and she buzzed for help, but even White House aides needed a break and forgot in their chatter to look up at the monitors in the cafeteria which would have shown grandpa wandering down the halls.

'This is not good', the Vice President said to her staff while thinking of baby tethers and car seats, anything to keep the man in place only for a few months.  And all this concern about a wayward President took time and effort away from her own plans for her future Presidency.  'Why can't the bloody fool sit still?', she yelled to the Ladies Room mirror. 

Now, ambition in a severely limited woman is not a pretty sight, and she couldn't see how wobbly and unhinged she was becoming She cackled at everything, bullied her way onto one-on-one television interviews where she made no sense at all, just cackling and meandering until the thankful end of the hour.  Even her most ardent supporters began to question her prospects.  While they would never admit this publicly, what on earth were they doing behind such a clueless clown?

So the West Wing was a mess - a dotty, doddering President, a crazy-as-a-loon, desperately ambitious Vice President, and a dimwitted First Lady. 

In Washington nothing stays private for long, and the conservative press quickly got wind of the Kamala-Jill catfights, the growing dementia of the President, and the Goneril and Regan plotting of the Vice President to send old Joe out on the heath to die.  They had a field day, and the American public, despite fear of Donald Trump, voted No Mas and the Biden era happily and finally came to an end. 

It all goes to show that power doesn't so much corrupt but only makes men act silly; and the Grand Guignol, Punch and Judy, vaudevillian show at 1700 was a jolly affair indeed.  It all ended on January 20, 2025 with the inauguration of Donald Trump.