I met a
Twitler Trump supporter today and because I like to preserve my brain cells for more worthwhile endeavors, I initially decided to not bother discussing politics with him. The Super Bowl, on the other hand, seemed like a worthy and safe topic of interest. When I mentioned that I was underwhelmed by Lady Gaga’s performance, however, that’s when things began to go awry.
This Trump supporter said, “I thought it was good” because it wasn’t political. As if that wasn’t enough, he decided to go on (in his good old southern accent) about how he was tired of everything being so “political.”
From this point on, something clicked in my brain and as much as Good Kermit-me was telling me to just smile and avoid a deeper discussion, Bad Kermit-me was mumbling, “Fuck it. Let him have this young, angry, melanated magic today, whether he wants it or not.”
Bad Kermit-me won.
Bad Kermit-me won.
Let me skip ahead because this was a long-ass conversation that went from ridiculous to more ridiculous with every passing moment…I told him that everything is political. The way we dispose of our trash is political. Water is political. Healthcare is political. My body as a woman is political.
Of course, this southern whyte gennelman remained stuck in his precious whyte feelings and somehow managed to veer off into how he didn’t believe in government at all and in regulation but that he believes only in “the economy.”
I said, “Well, the idea of a national economy is derived from the notion of a nation-state (e.g. a national government), so you actually do believe in government. You can’t believe in the American economy without actually believing in the American government. The two are interwoven ideas.”
I kid you not when I say that his response was nothing short of fucking stunning: “What’s a nation-state?” he asked.
I wonder what my face looked like when he said that. I’m sure I looked at him like, “Dude, are you fucking for real?” Here I was thinking we were at least somewhat on the same intellectual level. Nope. This good old boy didn’t even know the meaning of “nation-state.”
Here I was thinking we were at least somewhat on the same intellectual level. Nope. This good old boy didn’t even know the meaning of “nation-state.”
Well, I explained nation-state to him, but (apparently annoyed that this black girl had outsmarted him) he went on to say that Africa (which he spoke of as though it was a country) was “a mess.” Although I wondered how we’d even gotten to the subject of Africa, I rolled with the punches. After all, I’m a fucking lawyer. If I don’t know how to do anything else, I know how to keep an argument and conversation moving along (particularly in the direction I desire).
So I said to him, “Well, continued outside influence and exploitation of the resources of various African countries–by western nations, especially–has a lot to do with that.”
His response? “If you have resources, sell them. What’s the problem with that?”
Now, I was at the end of my rope with this red-faced good old boy. I replied (as patiently as a black grandmother trying not to lose her patience with her grandchilren who keep letting all her “good air out the house”): “Well, those resources are finite, so it’s a bad idea to build your economy on finite resources anyway. That’s a recipe for a shaky economy. And just because you can sell something, that doesn’t mean you should.”
He flashed me a good old boy smile now and looked at me the way I’ve seen many a racist whyte man condescendingly look down on a person of color. It was more of a sneer than a smile. He disagreed with me and said, “If you can sell something, sell it.”
Thinking I would bring him to his senses with my next comeback, I said, “Okay. Let me give you an example. A person can sell her children. That doesn’t mean she should.”
I swear I cannot make this up…this is what he said, with a red-faced good old boy grin and a thick southern accent: “Why not?”
When I tell you all I was done with this Cheeto-supporting cretin…trust me, I was done. I left off the conversation at that because there was no more to say, and our exchange had been loud enough for everyone in the room to hear him. If I had still been practicing law and having this exchange with a witness on the stand in a court of law, I would’ve fallen silent, turned to the judge and said, “Your Honor, I rest my muthafucking case” or “No further muthafucking questions, Your Honor.” (Well, I would’ve left off the “muthafucking,” but you get my drift.)
So, yeah, that was my Tuesday in Mango Mussolini’s America.