It has been pointed out by more than one reader that I appear not to like those in our society who are rich and successful. I rail against them. A good deal of my rants and diatribes are about them. Simply put, I hate 'em!
The problem with this analysis is that it's too simplistic. While I readily will admit that I detest many of their actions and behaviors, this does not mean that I hate them as people. Heck, I don't know most of them personally, so to say that I hate them as unique individuals is a non sequitur.
Over the course of my lifetime, I have known loads of people with whom I do not agree on a sociopolitical basis. Many of these people were/are really nice guys and gals. They are the kind of folks I would have no qualms with sitting in their backyards or mine with a beer (soy milk, for me) in hand and shooting the breeze. There has been many a time when a staunchly conservative neighbor came to my aid or pitched in on a neighborhood project. Some have been the best of neighbors OR relatives.
But few, if any, of these people could be described as close friends. While they may be nice and sweet on an everyday level, the policies and perspective they push are abhorrent to me. Their "us against them" mentality turns my stomach. Their beliefs that Americans or white Americans or wealthy Americans or Christian Americans or white wealthy Christian Americans somehow deserve more than everybody else saddens and upsets me to no end.
Cenk Uygur addresses this overall theme in his recent article about his attendance at this year's annual White House Correspondent's Dinner. (Note: Hamilton Nolan of Gawker is far less charitable in his description of said dinner.)
Then the president spoke at the dinner itself. He was brilliant. It was genuinely funny. It was better than any stand up I have seen in awhile. At every joke and smile, he seemed like the most likeable guy in the world. Here's the problem -- I kept thinking about the drone strikes. I know, I am the world's biggest downer (and hypocrite to boot for laughing at the jokes and generally enjoying the night).What Uygur is expressing is that President Obama genuinely seems like a nice guy. He's smart, charming and funny. He oozes charisma. Yet it is this NICE GUY who is wantonly destroying the civil rights of Americans, going after whistleblowers for exposing government misdeeds, refusing to prosecute anyone connected with foreclosuregate or the financial meltdown AND is signing the death warrants for people who aren't specifically identified!
I kept thinking how could that nice guy be the one who just ordered "signature" drone strikes where we bomb people without even knowing who they are. If you don't know about this program, I know that it seems unbelievable, but it's absolutely true. In Yemen and Pakistan, we can order drone strikes without having any idea who the target is or who the people we are firing at are. The kinds of strikes where we know who we're bombing are now called "personality" strikes. Isn't it amazing that they have a word for that?
How "nice" can a person genuinely be if they can tell jokes about giving the order to kill innumerable civilians guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the sole reason it happened to be the wrong place at the wrong time is that we arbitrarily decided to blow it up?