Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Welfare Reality

I kill time at a McDonald's once a week as I wait for my daughter at practice. Her practice is in an economically depressed end of town, and there is an eclectic mix of people that come in.


As I'm sitting trying to write my masterpiece (a complex fart joke involving Donald Trump and Sean Hannity), I hear two women loudly talking about the woman's custody situation.


"You gots custody?"


"Yeah, but I can't get no child support from him."


"You got food stamps? They help me."


"Yeah, and medicaid, but still."

I could see the woman sitting across from me staring at the two women as though they were lower than dirt. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't making my own judgments.


"I tell you what, it's tough. Even when you're working."


"Tell me about it."


"And I work two jobs."


"Me too."


And then I realized both women were wearing a McDonald's uniforms. One working. One leaving.


"And they raise your wage and it seems like everything goes up at the same exact time."


Two women, working two jobs. Most likely putting more real effort and work time than people getting paid many more times what they are. Certainly working less flexible schedules with no vacation time, minimal benefits, and little room for advancement. And neither job pays them enough to afford health insurance or to eat, or offers them anything in the way of security.


This is the world we're living in. This is the world where "Christian" politicians cozy up to the wealthy and complain about the lazy people who would rather live on the public dollar than work. In the meantime, the reality is far different.


America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, not the land of 60 hours of McJobs. It's time we stopped pretending that unmitigated greed is somehow benefitting America. It's not what this country was built on, and it's not how we rose to be number one.


So next time you're rolling your eyes at someone on public assistance, realize that they're most likely not sitting at home twirling their thumbs and watching reruns of Maury. They're trying to get by just like you.

Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly, and Frankenstein's Blowhard

While I think Trump's comments about women are and always have been gross and disgusting, and no woman deserves them, it's tough to feel much sympathy for Fox News or Megyn Kelly over his reaction to their line of questioning at the first GOP debate.

Trump is Fox's Frankenstein monster, pieced together with their overt and dog whistle racism, xenophobia, sexism, anger, and blowhard belief in financial success (real or imagined) being the only measure of one's worth. Trump is the representation of Fox and their viewers' id taken to its extreme (although missing the religious piece). Megyn Kelly has been a knowing part of this for years, and she and her fellow Fox reporters have created an environment in which half truths are okay, bigotry is okay, sexism is okay, greed is okay, and anger is more important than rational thought.

So it's impossible to distance Trump's continual glee in being as terrible as possible from the political and social environment that Fox News (and Megyn Kelly as one of its stars) has created. No woman deserves to be treated like Donald Trump treats them. But one question at a debate doesn't mean that Kelly hasn't been complicit in creating the idea that Trump's behavior is okay.

Fox asked the question addressing sexism of the most outspoken sexist jackass in the room to deflect attention away from the sexism of the other "real" candidates. And of course, they hoped to elicit a bombshell Trumpism in response. They got what they wanted. The fact that the debate audience had a favorable response to the garbage Trump had said (and a negative response to Kelly's question) was the only thing that appears to have caught them off guard. In true Fox fashion, rather than risk alienating an audience by pointing out the uncomfortable truth of Trump's awfulness, Roger Ailes and the Fox News team have decided to start kissing Trump's ass in public.

Donald Trump is the candidate the GOP and Fox News deserves. Here's hoping the villagers drive them out of town with pitchforks, fire, and votes.