All posts by rexmerritt

Tidying Ancestry

Who knew reactionary Anglo-America was so afraid?

From where did that segment of our population derive its fright? What scares them so?

Since a good portion of my family lineage alien to the highly-mythicized “immigrant experience,” we really don’t have a side in the current argument roiling descendants of Americans who arrived after us with the successors of Americans who got here after them. But good citizens as we are, as we’ve constantly proven despite authority’s and by extension our lesser evolved fellow Americans’ attempts to keep us second class and suppress our desires to live decently and excel, this American issue demands we stand on the right side.

If you’re an American comprised of Colonial stock, really, does the Statue of Liberty mean much? After all, Emma Lazarus wasn’t describing us, but those who came long afterwards. That Golden Door millions of migrants squeezed through? We built that.

You’re welcome.

Seen from this perspective, the Statue of Liberty is a terrific gift from France (our Republic’s oldest ally, by the way) that reminds America has promised a lot of checks which have yet been written. And at the current rate probably won’t be. Freedom, equality, and opportunity are marvelous concepts. We’ve made certain they’re enshrined all over the place. The only problem is each is distributed on a sliding scale.

Often the more worthy get meager amounts, while those less deserving stagger under the whole magillah.

A terrific example of this clear disparity emerges from the nation’s immigration debate. Well, until less dynamic America absolutely fell asleep at the switch and mistakenly allowed Donald Trump’s installation into the Oval Office, it was a debate. Now the matter has devolved into verbal brawls.

An issue key to the future of the United States, one requiring deliberate discussion, has plummeted down to the short-fingered vulgarian’s playground name-calling level. What the vile pig has wrought insults intellect.

If it isn’t Der Trump who sinks and seeps beneath the bottom of the barrel, then it’s one of his fellow red-the-the face Make America White Again screamers driving discourse down. One wonders how low the whole bunch can descend. After all, hasn’t this mob already demonstrated they have no decency?

Until learning some right-wingers erroneously believe the Lazarus’ verses defining the Statue of Liberty only approved of white migrants, wasn’t the worst bit of gringo begrudging that which castigated Central American parents who brought their children along on the perilous journey towards El Norte? One or two of the more prominent rightist provocateurs accused those mothers and fathers of “child abuse.”

For those unaware, in several Central American nations civil control has surrendered almost completely to amorality. These states’ apparatuses are dysfunctional even when they operate. The void left by governing institutions has been supplanted and exploited by all sorts of criminal elements. Drug dealers. Human traffickers. Thieves. Robbers. Contract murders. A good number are in cahoots with the duly elected and appointed officials charged with maintaining standards and order.

Populations in these countries have become no more than pawns and prey. Unless the citizen resides at some protected rarefied height, he or she, their possessions, are ready victims for the maws grinding hope and life from the people.

Seeing their survival limited, the residents rightly only see one way out. The United States. The beacon.

Earlier such migrants would’ve been Europeans motivated by certainly often less dire straits. Although their perils were nowhere near as ominous as today’s Central Americans, their reasons for forsaking the Old World were almost as fervid.

Improved economic opportunities. Better prospects for their children. Aspects Americans take for granted and evangelicals wish to pervert, like religious freedom; or abandon altogether, the ability to lead lives without vicious community condemnation.

Perhaps native reactionaries have become so Americanized, ergo, forgetful, ignorant of their own ancestry the plights of the new seekers pluck none of the heartstrings that launch paeans to the Old Country now five or six generations distant. How long until Anglo ethnic identity fades and the hyphen finally gets erased?

When do we all simply become “Americans”?

What right-wingers willfully don’t see yet accuse Central American parents of is much the same mothers and fathers from throughout much of formerly sovereign-ruled Europe subjected their own progeny – arduous voyages. Maybe there were even treks before reaching the ship crossing the Atlantic. For the era, those journeys were just as likely danger-filled as uneventful.

Somehow too many American brown shirts have lulled themselves into seeing “the good immigrants” merely booking steerage passage on a Hamburg Line steamer and sailing into an East Coast harbor. Maybe at the very end of our nation’s Era of Immigration did transportation and safety apprehensions ease.

But few of those braying American bona fides in order to do the utmost to deny desperate people succor can acknowledge current similarities with those of voluminously idolized ancestors. Millions more Americans have ascended into society from familial lines that began in conditions akin to feudalism than royalty itself; the campesinos seeking escape from Central America bring that same capability to thrive and rise.

However, the initiative we once lionized and have memorialized has now in Der Trump’s funhouse mirror America become a menace.

Know what the true menace is? Our policies are being dictated by a man who summons the least in us. His edicts going against the grain of true American virtues are supported by weaklings whose baseless anxieties are further stoked by opportunists of the racist kind.

It is most telling that Der Trump’s appeals find easiest purchase and nestle deepest the vapid minds of sodden Americans marooned in less dynamic America. They allowed the modern world to pass them by. Blaming themselves for such voluntary sloth is beyond their ken.

Instead they gulp opioids as if these were interior crutches.

Nonetheless when conscious they urgently need scapegoats. Fortunately for them, and sadly for real Americans, Der Trump recognized their poverty of purpose. Forget sustaining the malady. Cadet Bone Spurs enlarges it.

He not only feeds disorder but in further fomenting this one he also fattens it.

Survey Says

Technology is intrusive when it comes to mining consumers.

In the old days, sales pretty much determined products’ favorability along with foot traffic recorded in the establishment itself. Who would bother denying the success of a crowded store whose merchandise flew out the doors accompanied by a cacophony of cash registers?

Today, what is as simple as it was before? Continue reading Survey Says

Keeping True

On Father’s Day 2019, I performed an act my own late father might’ve considered sacrilegious. I attended a Dodgers game in Chavez Ravine.

To mitigate my baseball transgression I cheered for the visitors not the home nine.

Father was a Brooklyn Dodgers man through and through. The Los Angeles Dodgers could never have engaged his rooting interest. Continue reading Keeping True

Antipodes: Aftermath and End

Party people milled throughout Axman’s house. Then, he and an assemblage of housemates rented a structure only a cheery paint job saved from being judged Gothic.

This event occurred on a December 2009 night, in Quarropas. Our host had convened what we’d come to call “a gathering.” He scheduled “gatherings” once or twice a month.

From about the late 90s into the farthest aughts, how many party Friday and Saturday nights slid into late next morning inside his house? Looking back from June 2019? Too few and not damned near enough! Continue reading Antipodes: Aftermath and End

Antipodes: The Amethyst Twins

Annegreth and Lieslotte weren’t twins. An instant or two dedicated to closer inspection revealed this.

Yet thanks to same shaggy blonde manes, blue eyes, clear, sun-blessed complexions, and manners of smiling that made each tall though not lanky woman appear uncannily similar, clearer observations rescinded the quick judgment. Neither Uruguayan was truly indistinguishable from another. Yet that’s how most undiscerning strangers like MacDiarmid saw them. Continue reading Antipodes: The Amethyst Twins

Antipodes: The Shamrock

Looking back on the months of March in 2004, 2005, and 2009, didn’t I spend an almost inordinate amount of time in Buenos Aires inside the Shamrock? Why, yes I did.

Spent properly, those hours could’ve been devoted to visiting vineyards west towards the Andes or even venturing south into Patagonia. There, I might’ve investigated cities along the South Atlantic coast and waited to witness whales breaching the ocean’s surface.

But urban creature as I most surely am, and one who traveled alone then, louche comforts lured and guided me.

Perhaps “louche” a harsh judgment for the Shamrock. Let’s direct that upon its clientele. Continue reading Antipodes: The Shamrock

Antipodes: Dark Places

Dissolute excursions inside the Shamrock or the Shannon did not fill my every waking evening hour in Argentina and Uruguay. The principal cities offered plenty of cosmopolitan attractions, particularly Buenos Aires.

Maybe having grown up in Metropolitan New York made it easy or easier. But setting out to investigate rumored addresses never unnerved me. Most of those places were merry and bright; a precious few turned out being among the darkest recesses imaginable. Continue reading Antipodes: Dark Places

Antipodes

In March 2009, I stood in the terraces of La Bombonera, a k a “The Chocolate Box,” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the home field of the Boca Juniors, one of the country’s most idolized teams. In the nearly vacant stadium, on my 50th birthday I hoisted a retired Copa Libertadores trophy.

The Copa is one of the most prestigious soccer tournaments encompassing Latin America.

Looking at the span which that particular piece of hardware had been bestowed, it had been raised by Pele and Diego Maradona, each a deity in short pants for his respective nation, Brazil and Argentina. Immodest of me as it was, I lifted that thing and preened as if I’d somehow contributed on the pitch towards its acquisition.

I wasn’t the only one there that sunny afternoon fantasizing. Plenty of aficionados, dyed-in-the-wool soccer fans, were in attendance summoning the echoes of past contests be they championship caliber or regularly scheduled Boca tilts.

The indulgent Porteña accompanying me looked on with pity and benevolence. She could’ve mocked me or rolled her eyes at my undeserved and unearned basking. But she understood the importance of futbol. Despite being a norteamericano, I at least displayed an appreciable measure of reverence for pursuits purists often believe holds no less meaning than life and death.

That demonstration hopefully also compensated for much of my lousy Spanish. Continue reading Antipodes