"What everyone from around the world who’s not America that I talk to really means is this, by Umair Haque.
Two Kinds of American Idiot: the Dunce and the Fool
"There are two kinds of American Idiot. The dunce, and the fool. The willful one, and the negligent one. There’s the Trumpist — who doesn’t know any better, who’s only known hate, ignorance, fear, and rage: the dunce.
What kind of person votes against healthcare, retirement and education?
"But there’s also the fool. The Democrat who votes against healthcare, retirement, education — and should know better. The sophisticated elite — who doesn’t see that America’s an imploding society in every possible way right about now. The New York Times columnist, the CNN anchor, none of whom ever really question if any of this is vaguely normal."
"Who wants less healthcare while a pandemic is raging? What on earth?"
Endless Brutality, Racism and Cruelty
"Is it the endless brutality and cruelty of American life that’s made Americans Idiots, then? There are the other forms of violence — the more visible ones. School shootings became just another normalized, accepted part of American life. America is the only country — the only country — in the world where masked men burst in, pretend to shoot little kids, and they have to pretend to die. What on earth? This doesn’t happen anywhere else — not even, say, Pakistan or Iraq, places where there’s religious violence, sure, but not regular school shootings.
America has long normalized and accepted mass death
"You see, America has long normalized and accepted mass death on a scale that would have ruined any other society. Can you imagine school shootings regularly in, say, France or Canada? The government would have fallen in weeks. Americans shrug — and make their kids do “active shooter drills.”
"So maybe it’s no surprise that Americans don’t get that this wave of mass death is needless because they live in an ultraviolent society of it anyways, and have become resigned, apathetic, blind. They don’t even see, anymore, that mass death is an aberration — not a thing to be tolerated, normalized, shrugged away.
"That’s what my European and Asian friends hint at — but can’t quite say. Violence of a kind that exists nowhere else in the world by now has left Americans incapable — perhaps genuinely physiologically — of rational thought, of anything but responding in kind, brutality met with brutality, cruelty with cruelty. How else do you get to “lunch debt” and daily school shootings?"
Which Democrats are voting against health care, retirement, and education?
Yes, anyone can pick apart the voting records of any person on Capitol Hill and find some bill they've voted against, and say "A-HA!!! You voted against health care!" etc... because it's a favorite strategy to load a bill with so many unfavorable provisions that one can't vote for it without betraying one's own side. Example- it was Democrats who originally proposed a Department of Homeland Security after 9/11, and who were then maneuvered into voting against it by the withdrawing of Civil Service protections for its employees; so they faced a choice between being "unpatriotic" or betraying one of their core constituencies, career civil servants.
Second- if any school, anywhere, is conducting drills by having "masked men burst in, pretend to shoot little kids, and they have to pretend to die", they're doing it wrong. So, so wrong. I'm not sure where Umair Haque gets this from, but the school drills in my state consist of locking the building down and having everyone shelter in place, very reminiscent of the 1950s bomb drills. And we're hearing that these are going to be discontinued because they create so much disruption and stress for children, and really serve less purpose than just training the staff in how to respond.
Nobody thinks school shootings are "normal". They aren't "daily", or even "weekly" or "monthly". And they may be less frequent than you think. In a CNN article on school shootings, their definition included accidental discharge of a firearm and even injuries sustained from BB guns.
Even one is far too many. But let's not imagine that there's a daily rampage of shootings in American schools. It is far more- vastly more- the exception than the norm. And it's certainly no reason to characterize America as "ultraviolent". The fact that we're still shocked by these incidents speaks for itself.
But we're founded on a Constitution of individual rights as well as responsibilities, and these must be balanced. We're not there yet. The responsibility side needs one or two weights dropped on it. I would be happy to see more stringent background checks, harsher penalties for violating the regulations around selling and buying guns, and stricter enforcement of the laws we already have, along with something mentioned about "open carry of long guns". But I would also be happy to remind everyone that by far the vast majority of gun owners never commit a crime, not even speeding, and are aware of the awesome burden that goes with ownership. Please don't lump us in with those militia idiots who go around with M-4geries on their shoulders "because it's their right". They give us all a bad name.
It's not that rhey're idiots or fools, but we are all like the person brought up with religion who can't imagine that it's not true, in some way. Each culture has it's scotomas and we'll defend these falsities to the death, not even being able to see them for what they are. Some people can step out of the illusion and see the flaws or we can look at you and see yours and if we had any you could see ours.
I find the piece to be very opinionated and outright smug. Sometimes the smartest people aren't as smart as they think the are. I have two questions for Umair Haque. 1. Isn't your attack on American people an act of brutality? 2. I'll prove you right by answering brutality with brutality. What category of idiot do you fit?