Legacies’ Laments

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” The preceding originates from the drama Julius Caesar. Cassius’ line impels what follows.

Our Trump Error presents Americans a litany of such failings they would’ve bowed the backs of ancient Greek dramatists as well as William Shakespeare’s. Nearly half of us have become comfortable with weakness and shame thanks to the disgraceful real estate fraud now soiling the Oval Office.

Not only is Donald Trump so flawed he’s defective, but he’s lulled the bulk of his misguided MAGA cap wearing mongrel supporters that after decades of clear superiority they’re now the disadvantaged. The vile pig’s contagion has also even managed infecting the successors to the strivers.

By strivers I mean prior generations of minorities who used the system to gain fuller measures of the rights all Americans are guaranteed though had been denied as citizens. Persuasion and perseverance enabled the formerly excluded to approach Anglos’ societal equality. This is did not transpire overnight.

And we’ve had to fight like hell to stay near there ever since.

Whites believing themselves left behind and minorities seeing themselves left out unite these two divergent groups in separate but equal pity parties. Those salts of the earth populating less dynamic America accept they are post-industrial American dregs. Black and Latino America, having forgotten or never learning earlier rises were achieved through deliberate efforts, are of the increasing conviction general society owes them welcomes into higher echelons despite lacking the true goods.

Seeking relief from their particular alleged abandonment, lower class/low-income Anglo men, or as they’ve been semantically perfumed through political correctness, aggrieved white males, throughout less dynamic America have found succor in opioids. This resorting to the comfortably numb as an alternative to shoulder to the wheel and nose against the grindstone isn’t what made America great.

The antithesis to Horatio Alger and hustling to get ahead, no?

Aggrieved white men ingesting downers by the handfuls has become so profound it’s been declared an epidemic. It has compelled caring, thoughtful, and decent responses by governing officials towards curtailing drug abuses.

Society means well. However, five or six decades ago when heroin the scourge of urban America and tough on crime advocates couldn’t wait to top one another’s Draconian suggestions of punishing junkies, lock ‘em up and throw away the keys/throw ‘em under the jail that problem’s popular solutions. While those responses failed then, the coddling extended to current junkies will be just as futile. Perhaps the previous answer will work better on aggrieved white men.

We should give it a try.

But then the question becomes can today’s Anglo America bear watching aggrieved white men incarcerated at rates identical to that of non-whites in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Rather than a corrective process, might they regard it as repayment?

Why is our society pampering these self-pitying losers? After generations of espousing their superiority over anybody non-white and female only a relative few have bothered rising from the sump.

The American ideal has always been to build on advantages, not rest on laurels. Amid their little whiny bitch complaints about the formerly inferior only vaulting ahead of them because of a rigged system, aggrieved white men must understand people they once disdained have excelled through the old-fashioned way: hard work, single-mindedness, and desire.

Instead, the aggrieved white man has taken for granted he’d always be top dog. He has lost the need, the urgency if he ever possessed that sense, of competing. Once pursued, now he’s been caught and passed on the way to being lapped. The poor fellow has succumbed to complacency.

And the wages of complacency are lower than those of sin. The reward of complacency is resentment. As a candidate, President Scalawag did an excellent job of stroking aggrieved white males’ bleak feelings of anger. Not at their own indolence, but through fabricating alibis absolving them of their own culpability.

A true Republican, a true conservative, say, Barry Goldwater, would’ve told these 21st century also-rans in the global economics sweepstakes they are the reasons behind their regressions. But Der Trump, a master at recognizing suckers, easily convinced the criminals they were victims of their own crimes.

He was who they desired to hear.

Honest politicians across less dynamic America would’ve done their constituents great services by telling them plain truths. That progress was inexorable; that unless they made radical shifts little could break their lives’ downward spirals. In order to thrive they needed learning new lessons and applying them or expect to whither.

The old industries, those that sustained pappy and grandpappy and their pappies and grandpappies, are being inexorably erased through obsolescence or improved by innovation. Either way the old skills are becoming useless. Conditions demand they either adapt, or, again, whither.

Yet done right maybe aggrieved white males and the women they love abusing could populate Colonial Williamsburg-like reenactment parks. Ones focusing on post-Second World War lifestyles in less dynamic America instead of pre-Revolutionary interpretations of life.

In them, Millennials could learn how lax labor standards compelled long working hours under often inhumane conditions for low pay and at-best grudging benefits. Circumstances the more observant among them might realize mirror their own lives. And once the factory whistle finally blew, the tour ends with following workers into their shacks and doublewides to hear resentful strophes and antistrophes.

Rather than cling stubbornly to Faulknerian versions of the past, perhaps aggrieved white males who’ve been sold on their hereditary sturdiness and heartiness should investigate taking the boldest step possible. Migrating. These leaps of faith have been done. They’re continuing.

Their ancestors sailed from the Old World to the New. Blacks left the rural South for the Industrial North. Latinos from Hispanic lands continue seeking opportunity on this side of the line.

Each knew or knows that to have remained or remain means or meant little to no chance of advancing. While there are no guarantees moving will improve one’s fortunes, there is surety that life will stay mired if bound to the retrograde familiar.

Indeed, the truth is hard to hear and harder to accept. Such is the reluctant and resistant nature of humans. Absolute comfort with where one has been rooted makes recalculation and necessary change difficult in people previously unchallenged.

While one segment of America leads laggard lives, another agitates against those doing their utmost to realize the American Dream.

With dismay I read black and Latino New York City school parents are angry their children aren’t proportionally represented in the city’s prestige public high schools. In fact these mothers and fathers are distraught that those student bodies heavily consist of students with Asian heritage.

For those of us who came of age during the civil rights movement, the parents’ complaint is embarrassing. The best result of school desegregation was disproving doubters; that students who’d been regarded as interlopers could make the educational cut; that given the opportunity we wouldn’t lower standards, indeed we’d maintain if not exceed them.

Furthermore, that was the basis behind affirmative action. Left to ignorant whites, affirmative action became a “quota system.” Done right, it was nothing of the sort. Affirmative action eliminated barriers discrimination erected that hindered eligible applicants from the slots they’d qualified.

And those applicants were any complexion other than white.

In the early going at least, it wasn’t enough to have the chops. To overcome ingrained institutional and societal skepticism, a black or brown or yellow aspirant had to be two or three times better than his or her white counterpart. Adding stress, perfection needed to be sought continually. Leeway whites received after committing minor mistakes, these habitually forgiven, was seldom extended to “the others.”

Therefore, American minorities of certain ages might exhibit outsized pride at members who’ve reached once unimaginable heights. He or she just wasn’t exceptional, but also someone who’d persevered through obstacles no white ever needed negotiating.

Which of course is the finest of way of proving one’s merit.

However, as exemplified by the Gotham parents expedience now presides over the sterling standard. Today a younger generation has somehow convinced itself that its children are entitled to desks despite the inability to fulfill the criteria.

Entry into New York City prestige public high schools is straightforward. No jumping through hoops. No cleaning the Augean Stables. Just arrive smart. Be capable of performing the assignments. That’s what the entrance exams determine.

Simply put if the student can’t pass the entrance exams, he or she doesn’t belong. That’s not discrimination. That’s winnowing and it’s perfectly acceptable.

If the complaint is an overrepresentation of one group over others, the question should be what qualifies such a high percentage of them? It’s not voodoo. It’s not juju. It’s cracking books for hours on end. It’s burning the midnight oil. Yes, it’s hard work, preparation, and sacrifice.

There are no shortcuts. Rarely are there ever any effective shortcuts. Neither are there absolutes the hard commitment will pay off. Yet it is likelier to award industrious students than parents caterwauling for unworthy applicants.