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Red, White & Blues

INTO THE second week now and only a handful of people remain as shocked as I am that we’re actually using the word “President” and that jackass’ name joined together, though I still can’t bring myself to even write the words down; and if I’m in the Nile, it’s the one with the blues, brought on by the whites.

Not everyone who voted for him was a racist, as ersatz English TV news reporter Jonathan Pie said, in his tragic, hilarious – and, depressingly accurate – rant, “Trump: How & Why”

but although Pie is right about the need to persuade people to humanist perspectives rather than bludgeon them into submission with leftist righteousness, the lion’s share of this tragedy really was brought on by white folks in the US who didn’t want to lose the last thing they had, that old Confederate pride that, no matter how poor or ignorant they might be, at least they weren’t black.

Even without reading William Faulkner, every West Indian – we, who put a new meaning to “shades of difference” – could identify with that. If you’re white, you’re all right, if you’re brown, stick around – but if you’re black, get back!

But black folks did this, too, by not getting back to the polling booths and voting for the Democrat, whoever the firetruck he or she might have been – ah, but Bernie Sanders would have sent the Republican nominee snivelling and tweeting furiously right back to his ivory trumped up tower; American voters would have got the change they craved; and capital would have got the kick in the pants it needs every century or so, to remind it that it requires for and measures its development in human suffering.

The simplest form of capitalism, usury – charging interest on a loan – gave religious thinkers great trouble back when religions used to be moral, too, because you don’t need Jesus Christ or Jah Rastafari to tell you it’s wrong to enrich yourself on other people’s misfortune. Capitalism, though – or, if you want the term the church used when it had the integrity to call a deadly sin by name, greed – will not restrain itself for something so easily snuffed or bought out as principle. Like all the other mortal sins before it, usury became permissible, if done in God’s name and the manner approved by his earthly bureaucracy: you can’t “murder” a two-week old missed period but you can crucify a blasphemer with glee. Wait long enough and market forces will bring about a posterity ministry preached by a black pastor who sells out totally– and even changes his name – to the “dollar” for which his forefathers were sold.

If you had a hundred words to describe, “capitalism”, compassionate wouldn’t make the list. The most that can be said for all trade and industry being in private hands with no limitations or controls whatsoever is that, in the fulness of time, the market will indeed find the best solution to any social problem; over the last 400 years, e.g., the market has found out that outright chattel slavery is not as efficient as wage slavery; in another 400 years, with luck, capitalism might very well stumble upon the notion that a blend of work and personal life might be best for itself as well as its human stepping stones. The problem with capitalism is not a problem for capital at all, but for the unlucky Negroes caught in any stage of its development: what is fun for schoolboy is death for crapaud; and what is slavery for African is enrichment for European.

You could go on and on: what is malnutrition and child labour for Manchester is Industrial Revolution for capital; what is loss of manufacturing and poverty for America is free trade zone for Bangladesh and globalization for capital; what is destruction of habitat for wildlife and global warming for tree-huggers is a Chinese hoax for capital; the response of capital to an American president who cares about nothing as much as making a profit will be unrestrained delight.

And what is delight for markets is punishment for unmarried women who get pregnant: with the Donald in the Oval Office, the government can grab your pussy anytime.

But, in the US, they’d rather elect a sexist, racist bigot than a declared socialist; even one who lives in Vermont.

President Obama, the greatest living illustration of our species’ grace, since Nelson Mandela, for many of us – a nigra in the White House for others – on his last official foreign tour, repeated in Greece this Tuesday what he said to the people of Europe in April: “If you had to choose a moment in time to be born, any time in human history, and you didn't know what nationality or what gender or what your economic status might be, you'd choose today”. It’s the truth: if you couldn’t be sure you’d be a white male in the West at any time in the past, you would choose to be born in our time: with all its challenges, including our ability to poison it, this world has never been a better place to live; it has never been wealthier, freer or more open. More people live healthier and better lives now than ever before. Even with global warming likely to arrive on our doorsteps in the lifetime of people now living, bringing the Gulf of Paria to Moka Golf Course, there has not been a better time to be alive; and the best parts of it have come, not through, but despite capitalism. (Left to itself, capital’s dental plan for you would be to knock out all your teeth; and your medical plan would be to suck salt.)

So there may be hope for us yet.

Even if we have to suffer through Trump in the White House.

And even if we know that caterpillars may become butterflies but pit latrines will only ever turn into cesspools.

BC Pires must be a Democrat because Republicans don’t know the meaning of the word, “doubt”
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