Home

A Marginal Sociologist’s Take On America IV: Politics As Sport? Stark Divisions Hinder the Ability to Address Real Societal Problems

Comments Off on A Marginal Sociologist’s Take On America IV: Politics As Sport? Stark Divisions Hinder the Ability to Address Real Societal Problems

sokid.jpg

Just a Little Humor: Image Courtesy Of: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/27/1492361/-A-Thought-About-Politics-as-Sport

As the rumblings regarding Donald Trump’s election victory continue, I am still shocked to see how base the level of discourse is; it is much more reminiscent of an argument about sports than one about politics. It is one driven by emotion and not fact, knee jerk reactions rather than contemplation or serious thought. Aides for Mr. Trump and erstwhile rival Hillary Clinton engaged in an unprecedented shouting match at Harvard University and when “chosen” people (such as campaign aides) are unable to engage in civilized debate it is no wonder that debate amongst us connection-less “mere mortals” (the masses) is of equally low quality.

For me, the fact that “race” was the main point of contention between the aides was the most interesting part of the exchange:

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned [Trump campaign chief executive Stephen] Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart, a news site popular with the alt-right, a small movement known for espousing racist views.

‘If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,’ she said. ‘I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.’

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”

‘You did, Kellyanne. You did’ interjected Palmieri, who choked up at various points of the session.

‘Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?’ Conway asked. ‘How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?’

 

We must try to look past the language of state media (the Washington Post). Ms. Palmieri is depicted as having “choked up”. Of course, in a country where cry-ins were organized post-election, this kind of emotional response is accepted—dare I say expected—from Ms. Clinton’s supporters (and Mr. Trump’s detractors). On the other hand, looking at this from a feminist perspective, I would say that this is a glaring example of portraying women, like Ms. Palmieri, as weak and emotional (typical stereotypes of women in American society). State media’s decision to add the “choking up” detail, which is utterly meaningless in the context of the story, is troublesome since it is offensive to women.

Then again, some segments of America might be thinking “state media would never insult feminists or women,” right? Because state media’s opponent, Mr. Trump, is the misogynist and sexist, right? Perhaps…but this misses an important point. Just because someone says they aren’t racist or sexist or anything else, it doesn’t mean that they are—actually—what they claim to be.

In a conversation with fellow sociology graduate students earlier this week I pointed out how minority groups are continually disadvantaged by ostensibly “progressive” forces. I argued that it is a form of social control, designed to divide people so as to prevent opposition to the dominant narrative. After all, the ghettoization of African-Americans in American cities is most glaring in the major urban centers of “progressive” and liberal states, just look at Chicago, Boston, or New York. Erica Lehrer’s study Jewish Poland Revisited explains how many American Jews are taught that all Polish people are anti-Semitic, creating an unhealthy “Us versus Them” narrative. This is sustained because many American Jews never have meaningful interactions with Poles during their visits. It is the same in the United States; northern “progressives” have never actually interacted with African-Americans because they have been ghettoized (and demonized). In my own education, a private high school in New England, I was basically taught that all Southerners are racist bigots. In reality, having lived in the deep south, I have learned that there is far more interaction between Whites and African-Americans—most of which is overwhelmingly positive—in the south then there even could be in the liberal and progressive north.

In our discussion, a student told me that sociologists do research to benefit society and create equality. I asked the student what “benefiting society” even means? From my perspective, I have seen sociology often further divide people—such as the working class—by emphasizing arbitrary dividing lines. A chapter in a book I’m currently reading for my research about sports and politics says “whereas class has virtually disappeared from much of the sociological writing on sport, there is no shortage of references to gender, sexuality, ‘race’, ethnicity, national identity, disability, and so on” (Alan Bairner in Marxism, Cultural Studies and Sports, Ben Carrington and Ian Mcdonald, eds.: 207). I don’t think that the sociology of sport is alone among fields of sociological inquiry in experiencing a phenomenon where class is continually ignored in favor of smaller, compartmentalized, differences. I also have no doubt that many of these divisions cross-cut class, and that emphasis on these differences only serves to further fragment society.

We live in a society where many academics have been co-opted by the culture industry; they agree with the dominant media narrative. Of course, this is dangerous for democratic society. The “educated” must think independently and speak up when there is exploitation and not just pay it lip service. A friend in my department told me that some research results that portray minority groups in negative lights are being suppressed in academia, since it could have “detrimental consequences”. Does this mean that academics are purposefully censoring themselves in the name of “racial equality”? I would say it does, and that is very problematic. To me, that is inherently racist, belying the “progressive” ideals of so many U.S. academics.

Race, Sports, and Politics in the United States: The Case of College Football

2 Comments

As my “About Me” page states, I attended the University of Texas for my Master’s degree. As is the case with many of those who attended UT, I too was indoctrinated (!) into following the Texas Longhorns (American) football team—Hook ‘em Horns. Since my days at UT, I have continually followed my team’s fortunes. These days they aren’t doing so well and could be headed for a third-straight losing season, something unheard of in Austin, which has led to rumors that the coach, Charlie Strong, could be fired. Since this is a football blog and not an (American) football blog I will not go into specificities about sport; rather I will focus on politics.

457160830-800x500.jpg

As the Article States, Charlie Strong Is Undoubtedly a Good Man. Unfortunately, The Bottom Line Is What Matters in (Extreme) Capitalist Sports–and Societies. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/want-texas-keep-charlie-strong/

 

Mr. Strong is an African-American, and for an (American) football coach that is a rare quality. But it is also a quality that can lead to a lot of—perhaps—undue controversy. The Houston Chronicle, on 20 November 2016, came out with a story claiming that the low number of African-American coaches in college football is due to racism. This is an interesting assessment of the situation, but the president of Texas A&M University said, in reference to the lack of minority coaches, “I don’t think anyone would deny that it looks like a significant under-representation”. The Houston Chronicle’s story says that 11.7 percent of the Football Bowl Subdivision (the highest tier of college football in the United States) schools have African-American coaches. According to another story, however, this figure is close to U.S. Census data that says 13.3 percent of the American population is African-American. The 11.7 percent of African-American coaches, then, means that the number of African-American coaches is actually nearly proportionate to the number of African-Americans in U.S. Society. So…where is the problem?

Unfortunately, the problem is historical since the heinous history of institutionalized racism in American society looms behind many aspects of American culture, sports included. What’s worse is that it creates an inequality that fails to address the true problems, and a troublesome double standard emerges. When, in late October 2016, a fan at a college football game in Wisconsin depicted current president Barack Obama in a noose state media (the Washington Post) called it a “racist incident”. On the other hand, following Donald Trump’s election victory, when protestors in Los Angeles burned President-elect Donald Trump’s head in effigy and a Houston haunted house showed Mr. Trump hanging from a noose and when, in New York, Mr. Trump was hung in effigy outside his residence there was no similar outcry. Even when, in the New York incident, American flags were burned there was no outcry—state media didn’t even report it! To a neutral observer this is very odd and it begs the troubling question: Is it because Mr. Obama is African-American but Mr. Trump is white?

Screen Shot 2016-11-25 at 3.53.20 AM.png

Uproar In Madison, WI. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/10/29/fan-in-trump-mask-holds-noose-around-fan-in-obama-mask-at-wisconsin-game/

Screen Shot 2016-11-25 at 3.48.08 AM.png

But None In New York. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/11/hillary-supporters-hang-trump-effigy-outside-his-nyc-home/

 

Given the uproar at a simple college football game in the small town of Madison, Wisconsin—where fans of the University of Wisconsin heaped shame upon the (admittedly) poor taste of the fans who disparaged the current President of the United States—it is interesting (not to mention shocking) that the burning of the American flag on 5th Avenue, the heart of “America”, was not similarly condemned.

It is the product of a society that has been—continually—unable to come to terms with its racist past which creates a worrisome double standard not only in society, but sport as well. Sage Steele, an anchor for America’s largest sports network ESPN, sent a good message to America when she said:

As a self-proclaimed, proud bi-racial woman — my father is black and my mother is white — the word “diversity” is fascinating. These days, I call it “the D word”. Why? Because everyone likes to say it. At work, at home, at the podium, at colleges and universities. Diversity. EMBRACE DIVERSITY! Fortunately, millions of Americans of all races, religions and cultures do just that. But, how many of us actually mean it? Specifically, how many people of color actually mean it? Or is it simply a socially acceptable, politically correct term that just sounds good, and feels good to say, or to demand? Unfortunately for way too many African-Americans and people of color, I believe it’s the latter. I’ve actually believed this for years and have spoken publicly about it a few times recently, contemplating when the best time would be to fully “go there”. In light of recent events around the country and personally, I feel the time is now.

[…]

 You don’t get a hall-pass just because you’re a minority. Racism is racism, no matter what color your skin is.

 […]

Believe it or not, we can disagree and still be civil. Respectful. Kind. Accepting of our differences. Isn’t that what DIVERSITY is all about? EMBRACE DIVERSITY…but mean it. All the time, not just when it’s convenient for you. I pray that we can all begin to have more open-minded, non-judgmental, healthy conversations to ensure that diversity applies to ALL Americans, all of the time.

I could not have said it better myself, and it is remarkable that we miss out on how counterproductive this refusal to embrace diversity really can be. The reason for the dearth of African-American coaches in college football is just one small example of the issue. As the article states:

Given the history of major institutions hiring black coaches, the problem is not a resistance to hiring, but rather that a black coach is extremely difficult to fire because groups such as TIDES and people such as Ty Willingham might call you a racist.

The only color that college boosters and alumni care about is green, the color of money that flows into the school as the result of a winning program with sustained success over a long period of time. Schools such as Texas and Texas A&M have given the “power” to black coaches they believe will deliver that kind of success.

If the media and former head coaches-turned-activists wouldn’t launch inquisitions and hurl accusations of racism, more would do it [coach college football teams].

As is the case with industrial football, money is all that matters to those in charge of sports teams; all they want is success on the field so as to line their pockets. Understandably, that means having the power to hire people who can bring success. Unfortunately, the flip side of that means having the power to fire people who don’t bring success and teams will become more reluctant to hire African-American coaches if firing them leads to controversy. To cloud such issues with race only serves to miss the point entirely, and it unfortunately supports a dangerous and divisive double standard in society that helps neither whites nor African-Americans. Rather than fomenting race-related controversies where none exist American society would be better served focusing on how to alleviate the poverty and violence in African-American communities, the kind depicted in ScHoolboy Q’s poignant video for the song John Muir. Just a bit of perspective from a marginal sociologist with a multi-cultural background.

Protest in the Stadium Vs. Protest in the Theater

Comments Off on Protest in the Stadium Vs. Protest in the Theater

I have written earlier about Turkey’s controversial proposal to legalize statutory rape. Today we saw a response to this heinous proposal on the football field. The players of Kocaelispor appeared on the field carrying a banner that read “Children Also Have Rights”. In a polarized country like Turkey it is refreshing to see footballers stand up for what is—undeniably—right. Unfortunately, on the same weekend of matches, we saw examples of violence against children when the Sivasspor goalkeeper inexplicably attempted to attack a ball boy during a second division match and when football hooligans in the southern city of Adana attacked a car driven by a man wearing a Besiktas jersey that was carrying a three year old child ahead of a clash between Besiktas and Adanaspor. In a social climate like this, we should thank the footballers for standing up for children, who are all too often voiceless.

 

cocuk.jpg

Footballers Do What Is Right. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/futbol/632950/Kocaelisporlu_futbolcular__Kizilcabolukspor_macina__Cocuklarin_da_haklari_var__pankartiyla_cikti.html

 

Interestingly, this weekend saw political protest in the United States as well, albeit in a very different venue. Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed when attending the Broadway show “Hamilton”, before being addressed by the actors themselves. During the curtain call, a cast member of the play made this address to Mr. Pence:

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

 While the cast’s message is of course valid, it raises the question of where political messages should be voiced; is the stadium or the theater a more reasonable place to voice political protest? Personally I am of the belief that art should be separated from overt political displays. After all, no one came to the show to hear a political message, and there should be a certain level of decorum regarding a Vice President-elect. Mr. Pence was gracious in praising the show while acknowledging that the venue may not have been the most appropriate place for a political protest (Mr. Pence would know, since he has been booed in a stadium as well).

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 3.49.12 AM.png

Mr. Pence Has Faced The Boo-Birds In a Stadium as Well. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/11/20/mike-pence-has-been-here-before-booed-at-an-indiana-baseball-game-then-hamilton/

 

The difference here, perhaps, is more than one between the “low-culture” of the stadium and the “high-culture” of the theater. The difference is that one protest is based on opinion while the other is based on fundamental human rights. I’m not sure that actors have a right to grandstand in a theater in order to profess their personal views, but I am sure that any attempt to legalize pedophilia and rape should be stopped. And therein lies the difference between these two protests. Still, the situation is one worth watching since it shows that, all over the world, people are growing more politically conscious in both “high” and “low” culture. Hopefully, governments in both countries become more responsive to their people since that is—after all—the goal of democracy.

A Marginal Sociologist’s Thoughts On Why Perspective is Important: Americans Are Terrified About Donald Trump’s Views About Muslims…While I’m Terrified About Turkey’s Views About Rape

1 Comment

The election of Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States has sparked fear in the hearts of many Americans. Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of it in my own university. One of the fears—along the lines of those pertaining to immigration and diversity—regards Muslims. As a Turkish-American this is a subject that I pay attention to every day. Today, I was not happy with what I saw.

 

Ibtihaj-Muhammad.jpg

The Position of Muslim-Americans–Even Those Who Represent the United States in Sports–Is Difficult. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Was Discriminated Against In The Ultra-Liberal City of Austin, Texas, Of All Places. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/sxsw-south-by-southwest-us-olympian-ibtihaj-muhammad-donald-trump-a6928471.html

 

The first story I read was a response to Mr. Trump’s plan to “register” Muslims in the United States. One response to this proposed plan by Americans is one where

 

citizen allies of the community have been increasingly stepping up on social media and offering to register themselves instead. The goal is to confuse ICE officials — the more names on the list, the harder they will be to identify, the argument goes  —  and to establish ties of solidarity. A website that has since gone viral, known as Register.us, allows allies to sign a pledge to register themselves in the event of a Muslim registry.

 

As with most issues in the current political climate there was a reference to the Holocaust, designed to horrify rather than stimulate debate: Benjamin Gladstone wrote that, “All Jews should should register as Muslims because we know the horrors of religious registration all too well […] The new American president-elect, Donald Trump, whose Islamophobia, misogyny, ableism, racism, and anti-Semitism have brought protesters out into the streets, has also announced a plan to ‘register’ Muslim Americans, just as the Nazis once did the Jews.” The comparison is disgusting—and that is where critical thinking needs to come in.

I think that this visceral reaction comes for two reasons: The first is a misinterpretation (or misunderstanding) of Mr. Trump’s position, mainly because he has not articulated it very well. The second comes from the fact that vast numbers of Americans have never visited or lived in a Muslim country, and that the few—if any—Muslims they may have met are most likely to be Americanized. In response to the first point, I must say that racist/bigoted policies in the West towards Muslims are not new. Just look at Turkey’s (failed) bid to join the European Union. The country—if Europe had wanted it to—could have (and, given the state of Turkey now, probably should have) joined the European Union long ago, before the current government even came in. The main obstacle was that Turkey was too big; Christian Europe did not want a Muslim majority country to be the second largest country (after Germany) in the European Union. Now, had they allowed Turkey to join, we may have now been living in a very interesting world—but that hypothetical is a job for the alternative historians.

In response to the second point, I really do wonder what Americans would think about living in a Muslim country. Having lived half my life in the United States and half my life in a Muslim country (and an officially secular Muslim country at that) I must say “it isn’t easy”. But American ignorance of things international is nothing new. I look at one Tweet featured in the article outlining Americans’ response to Mr. Trump’s proposed registry, which claims that “allies of the Muslim community offered to step up and be registered first, arguing they could use their privilege to help others”. I have never known what the term “white privilege” actually means, but perhaps the Tweet featured below might give me a hint:

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 6.58.59 PM.png

Image Courtesy Of: http://mashable.com/2016/11/17/ways-to-fight-muslim-registry/#vGMJkwBaM5qQ

 

The user cited in the article, “liam and the bees” (https://twitter.com/liamandthebees?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw , vows to “stand with Muslim-Americans” as a “LGBTQ citizen”. The irony here is palpable, since the sentiment expressed is one that could only be expressed by someone with “white privilege” who lives in the West. An article in The Independent regarding the international status of LGBT relationships notes that according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA):

 

In 13 countries, being gay or bisexual is punishable by death. These are; Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE, parts of Nigeria, parts of Somalia, parts of Syria and parts of Iraq.

In 17 countries, bans are in place to prohibit ‘propaganda’ interpreted as promoting LGBT communities or identities. These are; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lithuania and Russia.

 

 lgbt.jpeg

Image Courtesy Of: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/gay-lesbian-bisexual-relationships-illegal-in-74-countries-a7033666.html

 

Of all these countries, only Russia, Lithuania, and Nigeria are not majority Muslim countries. And that makes me think: What do Americans really know about Muslim countries? Does “liam and the bees” know that, in many Muslim countries, it would not be possible to express being a member of the LGBTQ community? Probably not, and the reason I’m terrified for Turkey’s future should be indicative of why all Americans should do a little more research on what goes on in Muslim countries before taking such bold stances.

In Turkey, my other country, there will be a historic vote on Tuesday. The result could be far more terrifying than the result of the American Presidential election could ever have been. The vote will decide if men can be cleared of statutory rape as long they marry their victims. This is obviously a stomach-turning proposal, which, if passed, “will likely quash the convictions of some 3,000 men accused of assaulting an under-18-year-old”. For some background on a motion that states: “in the case of sexual abuse of a minor committed before November 11, if the act was committed without ‘force, threat, or any other restriction on consent’ and if the aggressor ‘marries the victim’ the sentence will be postponed”, we can look at some pieces from Al Jazeera:

 

Under current law, the age of consent in Turkey is 18 years old, meaning individuals aged 17 or younger are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.

Turkey’s statutory rape law is violated when an individual has consensual sexual contact with a person under the age of 18, but sexual contact with minors between the ages of 15-17 can only be prosecuted upon complaint.

[Turkish Prime Minister Binali] Yildirim said the motion will be a “one-off” pardon for people who violated the law “unknowingly”.

 

In a country where child marriage is widespread, this is clearly a troubling motion since it will allow the rape of young girls “as long as they consent to marry”. How a twelve-year old girl can consent to anything like marriage is mind-boggling. If it is passed, Turkey will be moved back hundreds of years. Yilmaz Ozdil, a Turkish political commentator, listed a number of offenses committed against underage girls in Turkey which will be legalized if this heinous motion passes in his recent column, noting that as long as the Imam—or religious leader—accepts the marriage on religious (Islamic) grounds, the rape is acceptable.

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 7.31.00 PM.png

Many In Turkey Are Coming Out Against The Government’s Stomach-Turning Proposal. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38030182

a7771cad06b74f8997034893e5f86b4b_18.jpg

Women From All Walks of Life Protest The Government’s New Proposal in Turkey. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/turkey-motion-protecting-child-marriage-draws-debate-161118124734306.html

 

The reason this is important is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who is seeking to change the laws so as to rule until 2029 (he has been in power since 2002), was backed for many years by the United States during Barack Obama’s presidency with Mr. Obama claiming Mr. Erdogan as one of his best buddies among world leaders. With Mr. Trump now pushing a harder line on Muslims in the United States, we have seen the domestic backlash I described earlier. Still, state media is pushing the idea that—somehow—Mr. Erdogan is delighted at Trump’s victory. I am not sure that I can see any reason that Mr. Erdogan would be enthused about Mr. Trump’s victory but, as I have said earlier, state media in the U.S. have an agenda to push and mendacious stories are not totally unexpected. Even state media’s (Bloomberg’s) piece mentions an Op-Ed (that I have cited in an earlier piece) written by Trump advisor Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.), former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and they note that Flynn’s “language was deliberate. He said he wanted to provide Erdogan a choice to move away from the Islamist ideology of his own party”. This sounds like more of a threat than an endorsement, and that is why I see things differently, in the vein of Brookings’ more nuanced analysis.

The Mr. Obama who supported Mr. Erdogan so whole-heartedly is the same Mr. Obama who could not utter the words “radical Islamist terrorism,” during his years in office. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, was quick to state that “Turkey looks to be on ISIS’ side” (something I have also written about). This is, obviously, not something Mr. Obama could say since his administration did, arguably, have a hand in the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” through the funding of various shady “opposition” groups in a bid to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Now that Mr. Trump is shaping his new administration, fears have arisen since  “’President-elect Trump’s first appointments and nominations display a troubling Islamophobic trend that is of concern to American Muslims and should be of concern to all Americans,’ Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement”.

What the media frames as “Islamophobic” is merely realist geopolitics (even state media can admit it) —and given the hard line stances that Mr. Trump and his possible cabinet member Mr. Flynn have expressed—I cannot imagine that it will be free sailing for Mr. Erdogan. Perhaps that is why he is attempting to push openly-Islamist legislation (like the one mentioned earlier regarding child rape) before a possible threat to his hold on power stemming from the changes in Washington.

Given what I have seen in Turkey, rising from the rhetoric of a strongman leader who has stated that “to lead people one must understand the philosophy and psychology of a shepherd”, I am (unlike most Americans) not overly concerned about the hardline rhetoric emanating from President-elect Trump. Just two weeks ago, before the recent proposal to legalize statutory rape, an art show was attacked in Istanbul by those objecting to the presentation of an Ottoman Sultan’s image on a female body. The growing misogyny and repression of women in Turkish society is worrying and it needs to stop, and I think one way would be a concerted effort to confront ISIS/ISIL/DAESH.

 

ekran_resmi_2016-11-03_22.09.14.png.jpeg

The Sculpture in Question. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/625771/Contemporary_istanbul_acilisina_gerici_saldiri.html

 

Politico.com points out that Mr. Obama refused “to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic extremism’ for fear of alienating moderate Muslims who might hear in those words an attack on their religion”. I, as someone who has lived half of his life in a Muslim country, see things differently. I have met many completely peace-loving people who are also observant Muslims. Traveling in Egypt I met some of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege to meet in my life; even though the country was in turmoil they were excited to help a foreign visitor since they were (rightly) proud of their country. That’s why the term “radical Islamic extremism” should not be offensive to Muslims since it serves to separate the small number of “radicals” from the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims. The world is a difficult place, and most people just want to live out their days in peace without having to worry about violence. Unfortunately for many in the Middle East—especially those who are not “radicals”—the “radical Islamic extremists” of ISIS/ISIL/DAESH and their ilk are not allowing the majority to live in peace. If we need to use “bad words” to wake people up to the threat that radical Islamic extremists pose to the world—whether the United States, Turkey, Syria, or anywhere else—then so be it.

But I believe that, first and foremost, the small number of bad must be separated from the vast numbers of “good”. I am speaking from experience: Mr. Erdogan was seen as a “moderate Muslim” when he was first elected, but the term offended him back in 2007. “Moderate Islam” was seen to not be offensive in the West (even though it implies that there are non-moderate Muslims, as Mr. Erdogan showed), yet “radical Islamist” is now offensive? If we want to truly show Muslims that they are respected and accepted, then we must do our best to single out those Muslims who give the entire religion a bad name first. No one wants art shows to be disrupted or statutory rape to be legalized, any more than people want concerts or airports to be bombed, and I think that is something both Muslims and non-Muslims can agree on. That’s why those in the United States—many of whom have never even visited a Muslim country—should try to step back for a minute before balking at everything that “offends” their refined sensibilities, and hope that the United States can develop a more positive policy towards Muslims in the future.

 

Commentary Over Los Angeles’s Election Bid Focuses on Concerns Over U.S. Elections But Misses Intersection of Sports, Race, Politics, and Money

Comments Off on Commentary Over Los Angeles’s Election Bid Focuses on Concerns Over U.S. Elections But Misses Intersection of Sports, Race, Politics, and Money

olympic-flag.jpg

Image Courtesy Of: https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-sanctions-16-athletes-for-failing-anti-doping-tests-at-beijing-2008

The recent presidential election in the United States has sparked some very interesting fears. The most common one is a feeling of danger; “I don’t feel safe” is a term that is often repeated, characteristic of a country that sometimes needs something to happen just to relieve the monotony of extreme capitalism: Work-Eat-Shop-Eat-Sleep-Repeat. In order to assuage some of the international concerns over Donald Trump’s election the U.S. Olympic Committee has made some interesting claims that highlight some of the major concerns.

The delegation for Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2024 made their first presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), an organization (like FIFA) that is “representative of a corrupt global power structure” in the words of Forbes. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made one of the strangest comments  I have ever heard uttered about the U.S. in August when he claimed that if Mr. Trump won IOC members would say, “Wait a second, can we go to a country like that, where we’ve heard things that we take offense to?” In many ways, the words “a country like that” mirrors the rhetoric that some Americans use when describing “other” countries: “I heard it’s really bad there”. Behind this over-the-top rhetoric, of course, there lies a relationship between sports and politics. As Bloomberg notes, Mr. Garcetti was a supporter of Mr. Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and the LA bid’s chairman Casey Wasserman not only donated “millions to the Clinton Foundation through his charitable organization” but he also held a fundraiser for Ms. Clinton at his home.

Alex Reimer, writing for Forbes, believes that Mr. Trump could be an “ardent critic” of the Olympics coming to the United States due to this corruption:

Trump fixated on the pay-for-play accusations surrounding Clinton’s time in the State Department. But perhaps nothing represents the culture of patronage more than the Olympic bidding process. The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, for example, were ripe with scandal. Members of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee bribed certain IOC members, paying for luxuries such as family vacations, plastic surgery and Super Bowl tickets. Several IOC officials also walked away with cash bribes between $3 million and $7 million.

Corruption is endemic when sports and (big) money converge, but unfortunately state media in the United States miss the point (as they so often do, perhaps intentionally). ABC news highlighted the words of the bid’s key speaker Allyson Felix who emphasized that “America’s diversity is our greatest strength”. Ms. Felix added “We’re also a nation with individuals like me, descendants of people who came to America, not of their own free will but against it. But we’re not a nation that clings to our past, no matter how glorious – or how painful. Americans rush toward the future”. While Ms. Felix’s words regarding America are re-assuring, unfortunately they do not really reflect reality. In many cases, in fact, the United States does “cling to its past”.

Americans’ obsession with race stems directly from an inability to come to terms with the fact that slavery was an essential component of early America’s industrial development. One example of this inability to come to terms with the fact came when students and faculty at the University of Virginia were “offended” when the president of the University quoted the school’s founder Thomas Jefferson in an email to the student body. In a typically American response, Assistant Professor of Psychology Noelle Hurd drafted an open letter saying “We are incredibly disappointed in the use of Thomas Jefferson as a moral compass. Thomas Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves”. Apparently Ms. Hurd—despite being able to successfully obtain a PhD—never learned to think critically during her education and is evidently unaware of what the social structure was during Thomas Jefferson’s time. No one can ever say that it was a good or a just system, but to judge people from 200 years ago on the standards of today is fairly absurd. The president of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education went so far as to call for all schools named after slave owners to be re-named. In particular, he asked that George Washington high school be renamed as Maya Angelou high school.

Of course this is a slippery slope. Names are powerful, and Turkey’s renaming of stadiums is part of a similar process of rewriting the national narrative. In this case, however, it is indicative of America’s obsession with the past: There is a lot of guilt but very little improvement. Instead of actually trying to better the lives of African Americans in the country, the Democratic party (which most African Americans vote for) has only entrenched them in a form of political slavery by taking their votes for granted and giving them little in return in terms of tangible improvements in quality of life. After all, if their economic situation improved then they would have little reason to vote for a party that runs campaigns based on improving their lives. The party therefore has little interest in improving anything since it would mean lost votes.  African Americans in the United States deserve to have better lives and more opportunities; renaming schools for famous African Americans is just a pathetic attempt to pander without providing real improvement. This means that the exploitation of a long suffering group of Americans continues on.

The delegation for LA’s Olympic bid is also complicit in this system. While I wish that the United States could, as Ms. Felix says, “rush towards the future”, her very presence in the delegation as an African American athlete is indicative of these flawed policies. If LA succeeds in winning the bid, the beneficiaries in the (corrupt) system will likely be mostly White, even if the key speaker is not. It is just another job of window dressing that fails to address the root causes of African Americans’ marginalization in U.S. society and fails to offer real avenues for improving the situation. Remember the last Olympic games held in the United States. After the 1996 Olympics, held in the largely African American city of Atlanta, Georgia, it was the same: the poorest communities did not benefit at all from the development boom surrounding the games.

LA_2024_Olympic_Bid_Logo.svg.png

Will the U.S.–and Los Angeles–Rush Towards the Future? Image Courtesy Of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_bid_for_the_2024_Summer_Olympics

A Marginal Sociologist’s Take On America II: U.S. Election Reveals Parallels Between the United States and Turkey

1 Comment

As protestors continue to struggle to come to terms with Donald Trump’s election victory, I can only chuckle. Its almost as if these people, mostly millennials it seems, have read about the romantic notions of “revolution” and “people power” in other countries that they want to have their own similar moment in the sun, snapping selfies while they are at it. Of course, since they live in the sanitized world of the United States—and not, say, somewhere like Turkey—it is all “safe”. No one will be shot, no one will become a political prisoner. It will just be another social media topic of the day.

Some on the left have begun to provide reasons for why Mr. Trump’s improbable victory happened. One article published in state media’s Washington Post says that “This [election] is an indictment of the monolithic, insulated political culture in the vast majority our colleges and universities.” As someone who has spent a lot of time in higher education in the United States, I would have to agree. Colleges and universities tend to show only one way of looking at things, which is unfortunate because ideally education should be about a “broadening” of the mind—not a “narrowing” of the mind in one direction. Of course, by “narrowing” the mind of college-educated people it ensures that a vast swathe of the population will think in a certain way; that is a very useful thing for the power elite when it comes to engineering elections since it virtually assures that a vast segment of the electorate will vote along a certain party line.

One admittedly humorous piece that also appeared in the Washington Post was written by the famous Garrison Keillor. Some of his better lines bear repeating below (complete with bolding!):

The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch.

We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses.

I like Republicans. I used to spend Sunday afternoons with a bunch of them, drinking Scotch and soda and trying to care about NFL football. [Author’s Note: Liking sports is not a bad thing] It was fun. I tried to think like them. (Life is what you make it. People are people. When the going gets tough, tough noogies.) But I came back to liberal elitism.

Clearly, these are some very humorous passages. According to them, many supporters of Mr. Trump will be “grab[bing] a crotch or two” before jumping into RVs with six-packs while supporters of Ms. Clinton—who can count among themselves “people who make their own pasta” and “people who keep books on their shelves”— will spend the next four years “reading Jane Austen” and “tasting artisan beers”. I honestly hope that people can do these pleasant things—but they would first need to finish their cry-ins before enjoying said beers and Jane Austen. [Author’s Note: This is the second time in history that “Jane Austen” has been mentioned in the same breath as “artisan beer”; the first time was in Mr. Keillor’s piece cited above. Enjoy it].

As someone who tries to take as close to a neutral stance as possible—but who has no love lost for Ms. Clinton due to her involvement in meddling with Turkish affairs and wider Middle Eastern affairs—I can assure readers that I do not want to grab even one crotch, let alone two, and that I actually do have (too)many books on my shelves. On the other hand, I also don’t make my own pasta (it’s a lot of work, instead I buy Barilla at Publix when it’s on sale) and I don’t care much for Jane Austen (I’m more a James Salter and Hemingway man). And artisan beer? No thanks, I like to sip Grant’s. All jokes aside, the problem with Mr. Keillor’s kind of perspective (as sarcastically exaggerated as I hope it is supposed to be) is that it is just so divisive. Of course, since division serves the power elite, it is understandable why these things get published (in state media, no less). This kind of division, however, is not good for American politics in the real (as in for the people—not the elite) sense.

Hemingway, Salter, and Grant’s. In The Current Environment I’m Sure A Few People Might Interpret This Trifecta As Being Too “Masculine”…But It’s Just What I Like. (Top Left; Image Courtesy Of: https://67.media.tumblr.com/05e5e37167c5232e40478e5218c73a58/tumblr_njuau20lKS1qmmlfco1_500.jpg. Top Right; Image Courtesy Of: http://www.historynet.com/online-extra-james-salter-gallery.htm. Bottom; Image Courtesy Of: http://www.brayleino.co.uk/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1109/grants-whiskey-find-your-past-campaign.jpg)

In Turkey similar things happened. The supporters of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) that ruled Turkey for so long were viewed as elitists—intellectuals sipping wine on the shores of the Turkish Riviera, never taking any interest in things beyond the capital of Ankara. Many had never been past central Anatolia, and never visited the struggling Kurdish areas of the southeast. This elitism caught up to them in 2002, when the (now) ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, led by the uneducated former footballer Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Fourteen years later, the AKP is still in power and the (now) opposition CHP supporters are still seen as the same old elitists. They’re still sipping wine—albeit at much higher prices—and they still haven’t gone past Ankara (for the most part). If you really want to be a party that represents your people and your country, you just cannot be an elitist. Some people are lucky enough to afford an education—and others are not so lucky. Just because you are one of the lucky ones does not mean you can look down on those who have not been so lucky. Instead, do your best to try and understand where they are coming from, instead of denigrating them as “racist”, “sexist”, “ignorant”, or “bigoted”. I have seen how such misconceptions led Turkey down a very bad road.

A second similarity this election has pointed out is the prevalence of the “deep state” in both countries. Given that they are taking election results so seriously, clearly the millennials currently protesting in the streets are too young to know what it is and Mr. Keillor might be too blind to know what it is. But I digress. In both the United States and Turkey (Derin Devlet) there is a “deep state”. In the United States, it is a nexus of Wall Street, the intelligence community, and the military-industrial complex. It means that public policy is controlled behind the scenes by unelected interest groups; regardless of the political party in power the status quo continues unabated, essentially. This is related to the concept of sociologist C. Wright Mills’ “Power Elite” that I have mentioned before, and it is no coincidence that it came to the fore post-WWII (when most of the U.S. intelligence community was formed). As this video from the Rutherford Institute mentions, when JFK expressed a desire to end the secrecy in government…well, we know the rest, don’t we? It remains to be see if Mr. Trump’s election is a true populist movement challenging the status quo, or if it falls by the wayside.

kennedy_dulles-620x412.jpg

JFK and Dulles. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.salon.com/2015/10/15/every_president_has_been_manipulated_national_security_officials_david_talbot_investigates_americas_deep_state/

One positive result from this election has come regarding Turkey however. It has come out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked to expand his influence in U.S. politics through donations to the Democratic party and now this might finally be recognized. An advisor to Mr. Trump, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (ret.), came out and said what current President Barack Obama and Ms. Clinton have consistently failed to say as Turkey spirals further out of control—that Turkey is a U.S. ally that needs support. Lt. General Flynn compares the alleged mastermind of the attempted coup of July 15, Fethullah Gulen, to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama Bin Ladin. This is refreshing to hear, given that Ms. Clinton received donations from Mr. Gulen. Hopefully statements like these portend an end to some of the disastrous meddling in the Middle East that many American administrations, Obama’s included, have engaged in—and that Ms. Clinton openly planned to continue.

A Marginal Sociologist’s Take On America: Burning New Balance Shoes and American Flags—“Third World” Solutions to First World Problems

1 Comment

It seemed that things couldn’t get more ridiculous in the United States. But they do. I was told today at the University that “the era of free speech in the United States is over”. It seemed odd to me, given that the candidate with the most inflammatory rhetoric among the two—Donald Trump—actually won the election. But then I saw that after the sportswear brand New Balance said “The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction” they were absolutely savaged. New Balance is an American sportswear brand based in New England that recently entered the football shirt market, manufacturing kits for Liverpool, Porto, and Sevilla among others. In a response to the savaging, the company released a statement:

“As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today. We believe in community. We believe in humanity. From the people who make our shoes to the people who wear them, we believe in acting with the utmost integrity and we welcome all walks of life. Since 1906, we have carved our own path in being passionately committed to making things at our five factories in New England, even when nobody else did. New Balance and our thousands of employees around the world constantly strive to better our local communities. We always have and we always will.”

LFC_HOME_MASTER-ARTWORK_LANDSCAPES_COMP_2-960x480.jpg

Liverpool’s New Balance Kits, Complete With Inspirational Message. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.soccer.com/guide/ynwa-liverpool-new-balance-launch-first-home-jersey-together/

The company’s response seems fairly normal; they would like to make as many of their products in the United States as they can. And that really isn’t discriminatory. Contrast their statement with Nike’s, another major sportswear manufacturer that is very active in the football shirt world.

Cw2Gh6BWIAAR9DN.jpg

Of Course Nike Supports the TPP–It Means More Money, After All. Image Courtesy Of: https://twitter.com/germanotes/status/796440633175113732

Nike’s support of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (that Trump criticizes) may seem well and good for supporters of neo-liberal policies, but it also means there could be more—not less—exploitation. Remember the days of child laborers making Nike’s footballs?  We used to have critical discourse like this:

Only a boycott by the United States and other nations will have any impact on slavery and child-based industries. Futhermore [sic] the U.S constitution states that child labor is an illegal and inhumane practice and any U.S. company found guilty practicing and encouraging it will be prosecuted. GATT and WTO prohibits member nations, like the United States, from discriminating against the importation of goods made by children. Are dolphins becoming more important than children?

As recently as 2012 we saw outrage at Nike’s use of child labor in the making of their products. Yet now we see people protesting because another U.S. sportswear company, New Balance, is asking to return jobs to the United States, away from the exploitative practices born out of outsourcing production.

fanike1.jpg

But What If the Shoe Was On the Other (Western) Foot? Image Courtesy Of: http://www1.american.edu/ted/nike.htm

11991935.jpg

nike_child_labor_big.jpg

A Pakistani Child Makes Footballs and Lives In Poverty So the Rich in Paris Can Play With a Paris St. Germain Ball. Please Tell Me Again How Global Free Trade Benefits Everyone Equally? Masking These Global Inequalities By Pretending to Address Local Inequalities Is What Has Driven–Not Resisted–The Rise of Extreme Capitalism in the West and Global North. Images Courtesy Of: https://globalpeaceandconflict.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/nike-and-modern-day-slavery/

What I suspect to be millenials in the United States have actually taken to burning—or throwing away—their New Balance shoes because the company dared recognize that outsourcing production hurts both Americans in the global north and others in the global south equally. It is a nod to a slightly more humane capitalism as opposed to extreme capitalism. But I guess the millenials are too young to remember the days when the American left protested Nike’s sponsorship of many universities due to their exploitative practices in the name of profits; when I was in college from 2004-2008 I saw it myself in Boulder. What is worse, however, is that this kind of behavior is reflective of the conceited superiority that many in the United States have when it comes to global issues. These people believe that their moral superiority allows them to burn or throw away their perfectly good shoes. Do they not realize that they are lucky to even have shoes—let alone quality ones like New Balance—when so much of the world goes without even these small luxuries? It is the epitome of a “First World Problem” when rich Americans—who can afford another pair of shoes—burn their own to send some sort of political “message”.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 7.52.53 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-11-10 at 7.53.18 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-11-10 at 7.53.30 PM.png

Please Note the Ridiculousness of These Images. It Is One Thing to Take a Picture of a Lit Lighter Hovering Above Your 90 USD Shoes…It Is A Whole Other Thing to Actually Burn Them. Even If they Did Not Follow Through (I Doubt They Could) The Sentiment of Privilege is Still Stomach Turning. Images Courtesy Of: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/11/donald-trump-new-balance-burning-shoes-tpp

These actions are part of a wider trend where the supporters of Hillary Clinton, the ostensibly “liberal” candidate, are violently protesting the election results that didn’t go their way after believing that Mr. Trump’s supporters would be the ones to engage in such un-democratic actions. (This is why I use the term “third world solutions” in the title of this article. I do not aim to insult; rather, I try to point out that violent protests—including tear gas and wounded police—are generally not associated with the transfer of power in democratic American society). The irony, as I have noted before, is palpable. Indeed, it was a Latina supporter of Ms. Clinton who threatened escalated violence saying “people have to die to make a change in this world” while the portended crash of markets failed to materialize. Maybe this is why Trump backer Rudy Giuliani has called the protesters “a bunch of spoiled crybabies.”

Anti-Trump-Protest-Columbus-Circle-New-York-USA-09-Nov-2016.jpg

Reaction-to-the-US-Election-Oakland-USA-09-Nov-2016.jpg

Screen-Shot-2016-11-09-at-112538.jpg

According to Ms. Clinton the Trump Supporters Were “Baskets of Deplorables” But I Don’t Know How Anyone Can Condone These Scenes. Images Courtesy Of: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/trump-win-sparks-riots-across-9225317

Unfortunately, in a bid to create more division state media (this time NBC) has turned to reporting about attacks on Muslim women, tying it into Trump’s victory. It is obvious that such actions are unacceptable; it is obvious that these attacks are carried out by fringe elements but—for some reason—they are used to distract people from the real issues of violent protests. It is also striking that the ostensibly “liberal” side has extended the attacks on free speech to … Muslims, of all people. The physical attacks come from the far “right”, the psychological from the far “left”.

Asra Q. Nomani, a “a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement” wrote a useful piece on the opinion pages of state media’s (!) Washington Post. In it, she explains why she—a female Muslim (two strikes against her in this election) voted for Mr. Trump. Like a post-ideological voter, she supports the “Democratic Party’s position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change” but she cannot afford Obamacare, and she “as a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, [is] opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the ‘Islam’ in Islamic State”. In the end, she offers a reasonable explanation for why she voted for Mr. Trump:

The revelations of multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation from Qatar and Saudi Arabia killed my support for Clinton. Yes, I want equal pay. No, I reject Trump’s “locker room” banter, the idea of a “wall” between the United States and Mexico and a plan to “ban” Muslims. But I trust the United States and don’t buy the political hyperbole — agenda-driven identity politics of its own — that demonized Trump and his supporters.

She takes some things from Mr. Trump that she likes and leaves others she does not like—it’s what a voter in any democratic society should strive to do. Unfortunately, she—like New Balance—was also savaged in an era where free speech is, apparently, no longer valued. It’s almost as if free speech is good if it’s what people want to hear but isn’t if it is something they do not want to hear. It’s like the American outlook on foreign policy and democratic regimes; some–those who follow the U.S. line, are “good” democracies (like Saudi Arabia” while others who do not (like Syria) are “bad” democracies…even though neither is–or was–ever a democracy.

Some of the language used to demean Ms. Nomani is, quite honestly, horrific. Dare I say (to use a word I detest) “offensive”. And it is certainly not befitting of people who cried because their candidate lost an election. Just look at a few of the screenshots below, taken from state media’s New York Times:

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 8.42.23 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 8.43.08 PM.png

The language is startling, from insulting Ms. Nomani’s intelligence: “puts moron into oxymoron” to public shaming: “shame on you” to downright hate: “go fuck herself” and “self-hating sellout”. Third Wave feminists would cringe at this kind of language and it is really not befitting of any “left” leaning party in history, supporting my theory that we may be watching a sea change in U.S. Politics, something that many of the old “left” have not yet noticed.

Amid the chaos it was refreshing to see that at least Forbes published one piece designed to cool people down; the fact that it was written by a graduate student and not either a career journalist beholden to his career or a Professor waiting on tenure is in itself telling; it allows for a (maybe) independent voice. Carlo Jose Vicente Caro rightly explains—in clear prose—what he thinks is necessary:

People need to both support and pressure Donald J. Trump to be an inclusive president. If he faults, then you protest. You do not need Bernie Sanders in order to create a political revolution. And he was right about that. Democracy is about being active and putting your leaders in check. You won’t be able to put them in check if they do not feel pressured.

As Mr. Caro reminds readers, “one thing was certain and that is that we will not see Hillary’s dangerous foreign policies again,” and it is a relief to see Mr. Caro’s words appear in a wide-reaching publication like Forbes:

the loss of Hillary Clinton means fewer weapons, training and finances to the allies of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. Many of the groups that are being aided under the Obama administration and which were supported when Clinton was Secretary of State have cooperated tactically with Jabhat al Nusra (I refuse to call it by its “new name”) and many have salafi ideologies akin to ISIS or al-Qaeda’s affiliate. These groups would have continued to receive support under a Clinton presidency, thereby making the threat of terrorism bigger for the entire world. Since the Soviet invasion to Afghanistan, the establishment in Washington D.C has failed to understand that it does not make sense to create an “ISIS” in order to defeat another ISIS. So believe it or not, the world (at least in terms of terrorism) will be a safer place with Trump in the White House.

As I have argued, a Trump presidency may (I emphasize it) mean “that the U.S will stop engaging in overthrowing dictators (Bashar al Assad was on Hillary Clinton’s list)” and “that the U.S will worry more about its hemispheric security rather than entangling themselves longer in conflicts that cost trillions of dollars in remote regions, and which are far worse than ever before”. This is part of the “Empire Endgame” thesis I outlined in my previous post; if President Donald Trump’s ideas are to be taken at face value it suggests that the United States will finally try to distance itself from the military-industrial complex that has led it into far too many wars in far too many far-away places that have only resulted in lost lives both in the United States as well as in the global south. I just hope that people can spare more time reading writing like mine and Mr. Caro’s in order to get a broader perspective instead of spending time crying, burning flags and New Balances, or engaging in social media shaming. This isn’t all about YOU, its about YOUR COUNTRY and the WORLD.

bald_eagle_head_and_american_flag1.jpg

A Piece Of Banal Nationalism, In Response To the Aforementioned Flag Burners Above. Image Courtesy Of: http://aflags.blogspot.com/2012/06/american-flag.html

Older Entries