In keeping with the theme of venturing into/ranting about political and societal issues, I decided to make a post about something that's really been pissing me off for a while now: the comments MSNBC's readers make on their news articles. Because this is probably the most liberal of the big news sources, I can't say I even want to know what extremist conservatives think (presuming they do in the first place).
This first example is from March, and when I came across the second one the other day, I decided to make this post to see if these comments make anyone else simultaneously angry and afraid.
My first reaction to the highest rated comments on this article was shock, followed immediately by rage (as I'm sure you expected if you know me). The article does not have a feminist, man-hating tone - Google it and read it yourself if you don't believe me.
It points out that women earn more college degrees than men and do better in school in general, hold more managerial positions and can be better at them because of their ability to communicate/coordinate and lack of tyrannical tendencies, and finally, that they make the overwhelming majority of all household purchasing decisions. It also pointed out that women aren't expected to make the same salary men do for the same job until 2056, according to a study funded by MSNBC. Sure this study could be biased, but any girl who's ever worked in an office (or anywhere else for that matter) is abundantly aware of the glass ceiling above her, and that the men who're in charge despite the fact that they're often totally inept look at her the same way they would look at the Xerox machine if it had tits. I'd say the biggest thing that's changed since the days depicted in Mad Men is the fact that you can't smoke in the building anymore.
What this reaffirms for me is that men cannot handle powerful independent women, because it turns the miserable patriarchal societies that have existed since the dawn of civilisation on their heads. The most frequently cited reasons for divorce are monetary problems, and the problem of the wife being the primary breadwinner has become more predominant ever since the economy tanked. Sounds to me like someone is feeling a little small. I would stay at home barefoot in the kitchen all day, make you sandwiches and provide you with constant pity sex to reaffirm your ego and masculinity, but I have work to do, kids to raise and a house to keep up. Alone, apparently.
So you're not filled with the fiery rage of a thousand dying stars yet... but wait, are you Mexican? Oh, good! Because you will be in a minute, then.
I fully expected the comments on this one to be about our military budget and how we should probably be policing our borders and combating drug cartels instead of starting a bunch of pointless political squabbles in the Middle East, but much to my chagrin, I did another well-deserved facepalm after reading them.
Let's talk about scapegoating Mexicans.
It's what conservatives do.
Your state is broke? Blame Mexicans. Your medical insurance is expensive? Blame Mexicans. Your kid's not doing as well as he should in school? Your lawn won't grow evenly? That's right, blame the foreign hordes defiling the pristine land your ancestors raped and pillaged and stole as a foreign horde a few hundred years back. (Thought I was going to make a landscaping joke, didn't you?)
And I'm not going to take the "I didn't cross the border, the border crossed me" stance because I think it's ridiculous; if someone took your land, you were obviously incapable of defending and managing it yourself. Mexico is a huge country and now it's a huge narco-state: case in point. I'm not saying I think it's ok to kill people and take their land just because you're in an imperialistic sort of mood, but it's also definitely not ok to saunter across a legal border and demand automatic citizenship and equal rights without even bothering to learn English because Tucson and San Diego belonged to your distant ancestors at one point. Come on now.
I might as well say right now that the only thing I personally blame on Mexicans (or Hondurans or Guatemalans, etc.) are the car wrecks caused by people who are here illegally and who are driving illegally without a license or insurance. I'm pretty sure the guy who hit my mom several years back and sped away was illegal, and that car crash I witnessed last year where I stopped to help the unconscious guy was caused by a guy who was here illegally and ran a red light while driving his friend's truck without a license or insurance. It happens all the time. I used to work with a woman named Gloria who even told me that she's ashamed of her people because of these kids who come up from small villages and have never even driven before causing accidents like these. This is a legitimate problem. Maybe if the Phoenix PD wasn't spread so thin and had time to pull people over for traffic violations between shootings people here would suck it up and learn how to drive. But the Phoenix PD and gun violence are another story.
Ok, I digress. The comment that really struck me as disturbing is the second one. First of all, this person is educated: he knows what stone fish are, which sharks cause the most human fatalities and can use colourful sciencey words like "eviscerate". Actually, maybe he just watches the Discovery Channel a lot. I don't know.
Secondly, he is extremely specific and graphic about what he wants to happen to these people. So that only "their poisoned upper torsos would make it across"? Really? Most of the people who have to swim the Rio Grande are just drug mules and sex slaves, the people in charge of the people who forced them into crossing are the ones causing the problems.
This response is completely emotional; just reading this brief article about drug violence didn't trigger these very particular feelings and drive him to post a comment full of gory details. What did? Well, I believe it was the media, the economy, or both. What I said in the last lengthy post about the psychology of economics causing people to freak out about things you wouldn't think were immediately related to their personal financial situations is a big factor. People are so full of anger and frustration that they need to vent and blame it on an easy and readily-available source. In this and many other cases, it's Mexicans. The media does their part in vilifying Mexicans every night when average folks come home from work and turn on the news. Maybe he's tired of the elevated crime rate in his area. Maybe someone stole his car a while back. Maybe he's just a bigoted marine biologist.
The ignorance of these people, their refusal to learn about things and accept them as they are or try to change them in constructive ways never ceases to amaze. Women are just as smart and capable as men but have the added benefit of not being driven by ego and testosterone, get over it. Most of the people who cross the border illegally are just trying to find a job that doesn't necessarily involve criminal activity, they're not costing you anything and it's not like you'd accept $5 an hour under the table to wash dishes in the back of the Mexican restaurant anyway. Get over it.