#274 US Melting Pot. Discussion: Should We Rethink Assimilation? (Part 10 of 10)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.  This entry is a bit longer because the topic is a bit more complex.

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC: “So we all agree…as did most of the public except the one percenters and Republicans inside the Beltway…that the Trump so-called tax reform act was not tax reform. It was a giveaway to the rich. The tax bill also gave extra special help, of course, to the downtrodden Trump family. Bless their little hearts.”

Greenie: “My, my, Miss Daisy, aren’t we cynical today?”

JC: “There’s no cynicism. The GOP, aka Gutless Old Politicians, took out their souls and donated them to King Donald. Then the King proceeded to humiliate his very supporters whenever his Twitter brain took control.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “Alright, alright, let’s ratchet back to why we started this conversation. And what I’m trying to write about.”

Jordan: “You mean, as ethnic groups assimilated over time, did political parties become defacto ethnic groups, substituting for the ethnic tribes?”

JC: “And shouldn’t we also ask if one or both political parties forced assimilation…or at least accelerated assimilation?”

IndianGreenie: “Interesting question — to what extent was assimilation forced? We know from Wolf Man Native Americans were forced to give up native culture. What’s worse is even though much of the culture is gone today, many native tribes never assimilated. The culture disappeared and the Indians have nothing to show for it. Not a good combination.”

JC: “What about forced assimilation of other ethnic groups? Did Democrats or Republicans or both parties effectively force assimilation? Jordan, you’ve been quiet so far. Whadda you think?”

1960s Equal RightsJordan: “I’d say yes, the parties did force assimilation. Let’s start with recent history. The fourth US Revolution, aka Cultural Revolution, took place in 1960’s, early 1970’s. During that period Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and some other anti-discrimination laws. Plus, the courts started to force compliance with Brown vs. Board of Education. The question for Greenie’s articles, ‘did those laws somehow force assimilation’?”

Greenie: “If I remember history correctly, the votes for most of the civil-rights-related legislation were along philosophical lines and not party lines, correct?”

confederate-flag-steev-stamfordJordan: “Correct. The legislation had strong support among Republicans and Democrats…but only Republicans and Democrats from northern and western states. Southern Democrats and the then rare Southern Republicans were nearly unanimously opposed.”

Greenie: “So, if we look at the political ramifications of the civil-rights legislation, Southern Democrats who opposed the legislation migrated in mass to the Republican Party. During the migration, most of the southern Republicans who one might consider moderate were replaced. Some replaced by a Democrat and the balance by conservative Republicans.”

Dictionary2Jordan: “Parallel with the migration of southern Democrats to Republicans was creation of new a new definition for the word ‘conservative’. So-called conservative Republicans were not really conservatives, either by the dictionary definition or by the traditional political definition.”

JC: “If not conservative, then how would you label them?”

Jordan: “Radical, as in Radical Republicans. The approach the Republicans took during the Obama Administration, then with Trump and right up to the Revenge Revolution…was the antithesis of what was defined as conservative governance. The Radical Republicans disregarded conserving the environment, disregarded conserving citizens’ 50_cal_rifle_by_bebop953rights, except of course, the right for even the mentally ill to own a 50-calibre assault weapon, and disregarded fiscal conservatism.  Reagan, Bush 43 and Trump all proposed legislation that resulted in huge deficits.”

Greenie: “I’m going to turn the tables about who’s calling the kettle black. Aren’t you being a bit radical? Many of us didn’t like the Republicans’ policies but why do you think they were radical?”

US Debt Percent GDPJordan: “We can go through the details if you  want.  I think one of the best indicators why I labeled Republicans radical is debt as a percent of GDP.  I carry this chart around to remind my Republican colleagues that Reagan and Bush were not really fiscal conservatives.”

JC: “I thought Trump was even worse.”

Jordan: ” He was and I need to update this chart for the Trump tax giveaway.  Just look at the line turn up under Reagan and again under Bush 43. And, oops, the line comes down under Clinton. This chart disputes Republicans claims about trickle-down economics…really voodoo economics.”

PoliceGreenie: “Don’t you think just as important was how Republicans behaved? During the Obama Administration, Republicans bragged about blocking every effort by Obama to govern, no matter what the issue. The net effect of Republicans was a negative effect on growing societal wealth, not positive.”

JC: “Under Trump the GOP rightfully earned a reputation for selling their souls. The Trump craziness, which the Republicans enabled, was to try to break everything that worked. If something needed fixing, smash it rather than trying to repair it. Throw what worked out regardless of the consequences.”

Trump KingGreenie: “Maybe the baby got thrown out with the bath water because Republicans either didn’t understand what they were doing…gee, that seems rhetorical…or had no kahunas to stand up to King Donald…or both. But how did actions by Trump and the kahuna-less Republicans affect assimilation? Was assimilation affected positively or negatively?”

Jordan: “Trump’s focus on targeting immigrants from non-Western European countries forced many immigrants, even those who’d been in the US a long time legally or were citizens, either to assimilate quickly or hide. So, I’d say Trump’s actions accelerated forced assimilation.”

JC: “Least we not forget Trumps’ endorsement of hate groups. Nothing like the president supporting actions by the alt-right. I really appreciated the resurgence anti-Semitism. Thanks a lot Donald.”

Swastika Ballantyne 2017

Jordan: “A neighbor of ours had a swastika painted on their garage door. Look, I agree that Trump’s behavior was way over the top. But Trump didn’t start this behavior. Trump was a product of the post-Reagan Republican party.”

Greenie: “If we go back and analyze the effects of the anti-discrimination laws passed in the 1960’s, these laws seemed to reduce discrimination. Let me correct myself, these laws seemed to reduce overt discrimination…for a while anyway. Then along came Reagan and his claim of some Reaganwelfare queen driving a new Cadillac…unproven, of course…and his constant harping that government was the problem and not the solution. Dear Ronnie’s rhetoric caused an uptick in discrimination. Discrimination seemed to bounce along until Trump opened the floodgates. I still shake my head over his remarks about Charlottesville.”

Jordan: “Another change was enforcement of Federal anti-discrimination laws. When Department of Justice was a real enforcement agency, the states complied with the laws. At the same time certain states became experts in a new kind of discrimination…gerrymandering. Gerrymandering was designed to give one political party control of state legislatures.”

JC: “Jordan, you know Republicans will counter and claim by stating the state reps were elected fairly. C’mon, now be nice.”

1 1 3Greenie: “If the elections were fair, then why were there states, including Jordan’s home state of NC, where somehow the total number of votes favored Democrats…and sometimes overwhelmingly…yet the Republicans managed to control the state House and Senate, occasionally with veto-proof margins. That math doesn’t work, unless of course, districts are gerrymandered.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Please, my home state is not North Carolina.”

Greenie: “I know, but I like to pick on you.”

JC: “Those ‘gerrymandered’ legislators then enacted all kinds of restrictions on voting. For many southern states, the restrictions became a modern-day poll tax. All the restrictions were implemented under the guise of preventing voter fraud…even though no valid evidence of fraud was ever presented.”

Supreme CourtGreenie: “While we’re talking about legal discrimination, let’s not forget the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case about the wedding cake. A bakery owner in Colorado claimed religious rights allowed him to discriminate against gays…and I suppose anyone else he didn’t like. Just by taking the case, SCOTUS showed how far the hard right had infiltrated every branch of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. I must hand it to Republicans, they did a masterful job of implementing a hard-right, white Christian agenda. Anyone who didn’t fit their profile was SOL. The approach worked until Trump got too out of control. At that point, many people who thought they were in the Republican circle found themselves on the outside…and screwed.”

ScrewedJC: “You mean outside on who really got the tax breaks. Outside when Trump stated that voters in Alabama should support a pedophile so Trump could be assured of a majority in the Senate? You mean outside when they realized Republicans in Congress were going to pay for the tax giveaway to the wealthy by cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits of everyone else? You mean when Trump supporters realized Trump gave oil-and-gas companies and mining companies carte blanche approval to basically destroy public land and keep all the profits? You want me to keep going?”

Greenie: “I’ve got more than enough info for the articles. If we address the basic question, then yes as ethnic groups assimilated, political parties became defacto tribes, replacing ethnic groups. What also got left behind in the assimilation was the core identity of the ethnic groups. What also seemed to occur is forced assimilation accelerated under Reagan and reach a pinnacle around Trump, when covert actions of the Federal government strongly discouraged maintaining separate cultural identity.”

Greektown DTWJordan: “I’m hopeful that the Revenge Revolution ends the Trump vision and encourages members of ethnic groups to…what would you call that…dis-assimilate. Whatever the right term, I hope ethnic groups begin clustering again. Remember places that used to be known by their cultural heritage – Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown? Somehow we’ve got to keep working to reduce discrimination and to encourage people to display their cultural heritage. Am I crazy to suggest that?”

Greenie: “No crazier than usual.  Now we need to get out of here so I can start writing.”



#273 Unintended Consequence of the Pinocchio Tax Plan (Part 9 of Series about US Melting Pot and Ethnic Groups)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.

Jordan:  “Just before the break, we were discussing how members of political parties seem to be brainwashed.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Let me add something.  Before the Revenge Revolution, I think many elected representatives were brainwashed.”

JC:  “You talking about state and local elected reps?  Some of those guys have always been off in the weeds.  Or you talking about reps to the Federal House and Senate…or both?”

Greenie:  “Both but especially the national reps.  The House had….and maybe still has some…a bunch of wackos from both parties.  And at times the behavior of these wackos is very strange.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Like during the Obama Administration, the Republican-led House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act what 50-60 times?  It was some ridiculous number I remember that.”

Greenie:  “Exactly my point.  But to me what really went haywire was the Senate…at least before the Revenge Revolution.”

JC:  “You think many of the Senators were brainwashed?”

Greenie:  “Unfortunately, yes.  What still sticks in my mind is how the Senate drafted the so-called tax reform legislation.  Virtually every major claim the Republicans made about the plan was a bold-faced lie.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Greenie, did you smoke some funny weed when we were on break?  All lies….well, almost all lies?”

Greenie:  “You know I’m right Jordan.  Hey, you’ve studied this stuff a lot more than I have.”

Jordan:  “OK, what’s on your list of lies?”

Greenie:  “First, the idea that corporations would pass along money saved on taxes to employees was laughable.  What an absolutely sick joke.  The second big lie was that corporations would expand their businesses and hire more people because of the tax cut.  That’s the trickle-down economics BS theory.”

voodoo-2015958Jordan:  “You’re right and so was George Bush senior.  It really is voodoo economics.  Read my lips, there is no, zero, nada empirical evidence supporting the trickle-down theory.  In fact, the empirical evidence indicates what actually happens when trickle-down plans are implemented is exactly the opposite of what the Republicans claimed.

Greenie:  “It seems so simple to understand.  If you’re a business owner, the only time you spend money to expand the business and hire more employees is when you expect demand to increase.  The tax cut might increase demand for Tiffany’s jewelry but companies selling to the average Joe, what part of the tax plan was going to give them more money?  If workers don’t get much extra cash, where’s the demand going to come from?  Duh, folks.  This is not rocket science.”

Assembly LineJC:  “You know who did understand…and more than 100 years ago?  Henry Ford.  One of America’s greatest industrialists and a one-tenth of one percenter if there ever were one.  He understood more about what creates demand than the Republican clowns in Congress who passed the give-to-the-wealthy act disguised as a tax reform.  Ford increased wages to $5/day for two reasons: (i) stabilize the work force; (ii) increase worker take-home pay so they could afford to buy his cars.  Did he benefit?  Yep.  He made even more money.  I agree with you Greenie, what is so hard to understand about basic economics?”

Jordan:  “Greenie, what about taxes for individuals?  Weren’t the tax rates for middle class wage earners lowered?”

092615_2031_Characters12.gifGreenie:  “Technically, yes, some taxes for individuals were scheduled to go down for a couple of years.  But then lower-wage earners got the finger.  Cuts for individuals were temporary…unlike the cuts for corporations which were permanent.  You want me to continue with the list of lies?  It’s a very long list.”

Jordan:  “I know we could be here all day.  Just a couple more.”

HorseGreenie:  “The claim that the tax revenue associated with the additional growth in GDP would offset the deficit caused by the wealthy welfare program.  Another big, fat horse-pucky lie.”

Jordan:  “I know you’re on a roll but just one more on your list of lies and then I have an idea.”

Greenie:  “What do I think was the biggest lie of all?”

JC:  “You mean aside from Trump claiming he would be hurt by the so-called tax plan and actually pay more taxes?”

Greenie:  “Wasn’t that another crock of you know what.  The biggest lie of all was the real reason for the tax give away to the wealthy.”

Jordan:  “You don’t expect politicians to be truthful, do you?  I mean, c’mon.”

pants-on-fire Greenie:  “I do expect people, and especially those in the Senate, to at least have some moral character.  The biggest pants-on-fire lie was the intent to not offset the added deficit…even the Tooth Fairy knew the deficit was going to happen…to not offset the deficits with reductions to Social Security and Medicare.”

JC:  “You’re painting a picture that the Republicans knew all along the tax plan would screw the people who voted for Trump…and in many cases the very people that could least afford the cuts in support.”

Jordan:  “What Republicans overlooked with their goal of cutting so-called entitlements was one very big and unintended consequence…the Revenge Revolution.  The Republican leadership, especially Pinocchio…I mean Mitch McConnell, was so beholden to key supporters…Koch brothers, Adelson and the boys…that he and the other Republiocan senators forgot a fundamental rule.”

fat-personGreenie:  “You mean, if you’re going to steal from the masses, make sure the peon’s bellies are full before you start stealing?  Otherwise they get pissed.  And they did get pissed.”

Jordan:  “What also struck me about Republican’s arrogance when drafting the tax bill was how contrary their actions were to fundamental religious principles.  I’m not naïve enough to think these guys were all religious zealots, despite some of their claims.  But just look at what the tax bill did.”

JC:  “You mean like the Republicans forgot about some basics…like don’t steal, don’t lie, and care for the disadvantaged?  Where were all the evangelicals?  Why weren’t they up in arms?  I don’t recall any kind of protest from so-called religious-right senators.”

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515Jordan:  “And then these same a-hole Senators claimed to be members of the party of Lincoln.  Party of Lincoln, my ass.  Lincoln Republicans were a whole lot more ethical than McConnell’s crop of Republican bandits.”

Greenie:  “Gee, Jordan, you still seem to be a bit upset.  That fiasco was not too many years ago…but still.  Anyway, in the end it worked out.  The greedy Republican Senators were too blind or too stupid to see it coming.  As much as disruption as it caused, I thought the Revenge Revolution was the perfect retort to the self-centered SOB’s.  Now, I’m upset.  Let’s break.”



#272 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Role of Political Parties (Part 8)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.

Jordan:  “Alright, guys, have my coffee refilled so let’s get back to the topic at hand.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Well, Jordan, you have two friends…maybe more…who pledged loyalty to Trump regardless of the situation.  They stuck with him even after he was taken out.  Are these two the norm or outliers?”

JC:  “My guess is they’re not outliers.  Maybe outliers for Jordan’s friends but not among Republicans.”

Jordan:  “What makes you believe that?”

JC:  “How many Republicans supported your idol, Judge Roy Moore?”

Greenie:  “Hardly Jordan’s idol.  But what group makes you think these guys were not outliers?”

JC:092615_2031_Characters1.jpg  “Evangelicals.  Moore was a pedophile and…”

Jordan:  “…Pardon me, an alleged pedophile at the time of the special election…”

JC:  “…alleged, smedged, the guy was a pedophile, which is about the worst behavior possible whether you’re an evangelical or not.  So what do evangelicals do?”

Greenie:  “Support Moore, and so did Trump.”

JC:  “Why would evangelicals make such a bizarre choice?”

Trump KingGreenie:  “Because they pledged the Trump-is-king fraternity/sorority.  Do whatever Trump wanted.  And, with Moore, Trump wanted a sure vote for his tax cut for the rich…and more importantly, a tax gift for himself.  The tax proposal failed in the end but so did a lot of Trump’s programs.”

Jordan:  “Maybe there’s a different angle.  What about the evangelical’s concern over Roe v. Wade?  Didn’t evangelicals want Moore for the senate seat to ensure a conservative judge for SCOTUS?”

Supreme CourtGreenie:  “Here’s the flaw in that argument.  The decision in Roe v. Wade has never forced any woman to get an abortion, period.   If you cut through all the phony arguments about Roe v. Wade, the only conclusion is that evangelicals want to cram their religious beliefs down everyone’s throat.  The same is true for most of their other constitutional claims.”

Jordan:  “Whoa, Bubbette, aren’t you being a bit harsh?  Forcing their beliefs down everyone’s throat?”

Greenie:  “No, I’m not being harsh.  Evangelicals captured a substantial portion of the Republican Party.  Just analyze actions by Republicans during Trump.  I admit I still can’t understand why evangelicals supported Trump in the first place.”

PreachJordan:  “You mean supporting him despite all the facts about lying, cheating and the abuse of women.”

JC:  “Hardly stuff that evangelical’s support.  But evangelicals seemed to rationalize supporting Trump because, in their eyes, Bill Clinton was worse than Trump.”

Greenie:  “So, tell me old wise one, was Bill Clinton running against Trump…or was Hillary Clinton the opponent?”

fox-news-logo bJC:  “Greenie, now, now.  To be a good evangelical you must believe in alternative facts.  What you read in the New York Times and Washington Post – all lies.  You must believe in the only righteous network – Fox News…and believe, of course, in Breitbart.”

Jordan:  “C’mon guys, aren’t we getting off track?  Back to the discussion whether political parties became a defacto tribe for people, replacing tribes based on ethnic groups or culture.”

U TurnGreenie:  “Jordan, with all due respect, I think you’re wrong and we are on track.  For example, the personal behavior of Trump and Moore was the polar opposite of evangelical values.  It’s as if evangelicals did a U-turn.  Yet the vast majority of evangelicals appeared to continue to support Trump.”

JC:  “At least white evangelicals.  Fair to say more black evangelicals voted for Democrats than Republicans.”

Greenie:  “Point well taken.  Why was religion the overriding issue with white evangelicals and not with black evangelicals?”

ComplicatedJordan:  “This might sound stupid, but is there a difference in religious beliefs between black and white evangelicals?”

JC:  “There must be something different.  Or, if there is no difference in beliefs, then the argument is stronger that political parties have become a tribe for many people.”

Greenie:  “Tell you what would be an interesting test.  Give the same list of religious-based questions to a group of evangelicals, both white and black.  The questions would be answered anonymously with the only coding being whether the respondent was white or black.  Then compare the responses.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And what do you think the differences would be?”

Greenie:  “If it were truly a blind test, the answers probably would be about the same.  However, if the questions were asked in a public forum, the answers likely would be different.”

JC:  “You’re supposing pressure from within the tribe…the tribe being the political party…would influences responses?”

Greenie:  “Think so.  Remember what Wolf Man said why so many Native Americans had a difficult time becoming successful?”

CrabJC:  “The crab-barrel effect?”

Greenie:  “Exactly.  Every time one of the members of the Indian tribe tried to become more successful, the other members pulled him or her back in the crab barrel.”

Jordan:  “What I’m hearing is when one makes a political party one’s defacto tribe, then one is subject to the crab barrel effect.  Follow the wishes of the tribal leader.  Not everyone joining a political party is subject to the crab effect, obviously, but a very large percentage of party members seems to be.”

Greenie:  “Members who join the political-party tribe go along with the party leadership rather than thinking for themselves.  Joining the party provides camaraderie and takes away the pressure to think for one’s self.”

BrainwashedJordan:  “Political party leaders seem to understand that party members are subject to…in the most polite terms…brainwashing.  And the leaders exploit that opportunity.”

JC:  “The brainwashing is effective until one day a bunch of brainwashees realize how bad they’ve been screwed…and voila, we have a revolution, like our very own Revenge Revolution.  Now I need a break, please.”

#271 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Role of Political Parties (Part 7)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #262.

Greenie and JC in unison: “Good morning, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Morning guys.  Have a fun evening?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Fun not being around you.”

Greenie:  “JC, let’s not start so early.  Give Little Jordan a break.  Can’t hurt his feelings at this hour.”

Jordan:  “You guys never let up.”

JC:  “But you love it.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Yes, we did have a good time last night.  Ordered in and had some wine.”

JC:  “We also had an idea we’d like to discuss.  First, did you talk to Rock Man after we left the office?”

Jordan:  “No.  I’ll poke him later today.”

JC:  “OK, then we’d like to discuss another aspect of how much a culture or ethnic group should melt in the US melting pot.  That’s a mouthful.”

Greenie:  “Here’s the question.  As cultures or ethnic groups assimilate and lose identity as a tribe, do the members seek to identify with another tribe?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Give me an example, please.”

JC:  “Take what was at one time a strong ethnic group, or a tribe.  Let’s say Italian Americans.  We can pick most any group but stick with Italian Americans for the moment.”

Greenie:  “So as the Italian-Americans began to lose identity as a group, did they seek another tribe for identity?”

Jordan:  “Well, if they sought another tribe we know Italian-Americans can’t become Polish or Chinese or Koreans.  So what tribe do you think they joined?  What are you thinking about?”

JC:  “Thinking like, ah, a political party.”

Tin Can PhoneGreenie:  “People like to belong to a group or groups because it helps them with their identity.  By joining you can be ‘this’ or ‘that’ rather than just some individual.  Plus, belonging to a group and just talking to other group members can make life easier to understand…at least some of the members think it can.  Group think can take away much of the pressure to think as an individual.”

Jordan:  “Mmm, your idea or question is whether political parties have become defacto tribes?”

JC:  “Yes, and have the political parties replaced the cultural heritage tribe for many people?”

122913_1337_14BringingU2.pngGreenie:  “The conclusion seems logical but this idea was birthed last night after a couple of glasses of wine.  We’ve done no research.”

Jordan:  “On the surface, the conclusion seems logical.  Did you guys try at all to test the hypothesis?”

JC:  “We asked ourselves why in the last 20-30 years many Democrats and Republicans seem so loyal to an idea…even if the idea is contrary to their own best interests.”

ScrewedGreenie:  “Go Back to Trump’s proposals.  His hard-core supporters were going to get screwed if the Affordable Care Act was cancelled.  They were going to get screwed even more under the proposed so-called plan to reform taxes.”

JC:  “Did they rebel?  No, they stuck with the Donald, then complained about senators who frankly saved their ass…pardon my French.”

Jordan:  “What about people who have been hard-core Republicans or Democrats forever?  Think about the yellow-dog Democrats.”

Greenie:  “True, but we think…and we think the data will support us…that a greater percentage of the population puts a higher priority on party affiliation than any time since WWII and probably longer.”

Number ListJC:  “One issue we have to address…and it shouldn’t be that difficult to determine…is whether the rank-order of affiliations has changed over time.”

Greenie:  “For example, 100 years ago Italian-Americans might have placed being of Italian decent higher on the list, and therefore more important, than say being a Democrat or Republican.  Now Italian-Americans might place a political party higher on the affiliation list than their cultural identity.”

Trump KingJordan:  “The phenomenon might apply to more than just ethnic groups.  People seem to crave some type of affiliation.  I still shake my head over a college fraternity brother.  At some point in life he pledged another fraternity…the Trump-is-king fraternity.  Once he joined, he supported his fraternity brother no matter how bizarre King Trump’s behavior or decision.  He stuck with Trump when Trump denied campaign cooperation with the Russians; when he denied any hanky-panky with beauty contestants; and when he denied illegal financial transactions.  Whatever King Donald claimed or did he supported.”

Greenie:  “Even after Mueller’s report?  Really?”

Jordan:  “Stuck with King Trump to the bitter end.  Even after Trump was taken out, he was a supporter.”

Temper TantrumJC:  “Jordan, what about your buddy…I think he was a former high-school history teacher…who called you a liar for asking for data to support some outlandish claim he made.  At some point he pledged the Trump fraternity.  Some friend.”

Jordan:  “Former friend, please.  The incident of calling me a liar when I asked for data was the last time we ever met.  Those are two good examples of party loyalty no matter the circumstance.  But let’s be real — two data points don’t make a trend or prove a hypothesis…”

JC:  “…except in Washington.”

Jordan:  “True.  Really, you two might be on to something.  Let’s explore this idea more…after I get a refill.”


#270 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Regional Cultures (Part 6)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation about “culture” starts Entry #262

JC:  “We ready to start the discussion again?”

Jordan:  “Yes, but still waiting to hear back from Rock Man about his perspective on black culture.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “OK, in the meantime, I’ve got a culture we might want to explore…or at least I think it qualifies as a culture.”

Jordan:  “And that is?”

Greenie:  “Well, we’ve talked about how much of a culture should blend into US melting pot and how much should not.  Most of the subjects so far could be defined either as an ‘ethic group’ or an organization…the military.  But what about non-ethnic group cultures?  Say regional cultures in the US?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “You mean how much should regional cultures sorta blend in versus how much should these regional cultures should stay specific to the geographic area?”

Greenie:  “Yes, but more importantly, how much did regional cultures contribute to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan:  “Do you really think regional differences might have been a contributing factor?”

JC:  “Do I think so?  Yes.  And Jordan, sometimes I wonder what world you live in.  You, of all people, should know about regional cultures.”

Greenie:  “JC’s right.  Think about it, Jordan.  You’ve lived all over the country – East Coast, Midwest and both nations of California…Northern and Southern.  Plus, haven’t you spent time in just about every state?”

JC:  “So now what’s your take on regional cultures, Mr. Expert?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I’m hardly an expert.  My take is there are marked differences in cultures among East, Midwest and West and even differences within a region – the Northeast is a good example.  As for Hawaii and Alaska…different still.  But to me these differences seem more cosmetic than substantive.  Yes, some areas are more liberal or more conservative than others but the differences don’t seem to alter the fundamental principles in how the region or the country should be governed.”

Greenie:  “Okay…but one region was conspicuously absent.  What about the South?”

US Map Civil WarJordan:  “The South is a different animal.”

JC:  “In what way?”

Jordan:  “Underneath all the phony niceties is deep resentment.”

Greenie:  “JC, meet Mr. Diplomat, himself.  Resentment of what or about what?”

Jordan:  “Having lost the Civil War…excuse me the War of Northern Aggression…and having the economy being dominated by outsiders…excuse me carpetbaggers.”

JC:  “C’mon.  I know you’ve got a cynical streak but do really think there’s that much resentment?  The Civil War was over 150 years ago.”

Clark GableJordan:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn what you think.  Actually, the resentment is probably much greater and deeper than any of us can understand.”

Greenie:  “If I get your take on the South…not everyone, of course…there is some percentage still reeling over the Civil War?  I’m with JC.  That seems like ancient history”

Jordan:  “When we first moved to Charlotte, which like most of Florida is not considered the real south by the hard-core, I viewed as jesting the snide remarks about being a Yankee and being the wrong religion.”

JC:  “Then something or someone changed your mind?”

Greenie:  “Let me guess what changed it.  The election of the Donald.”

trump-scowlJordan:  “Spot on, Greenie.  His election and his rhetoric as president made perfectly acceptable any type of public display of resentment or even hatred of ‘non-true Southerners’.  Look back at Trump’s public support of hate groups in Charlottesville.”

JC:  “Then he claimed statues of Confederate generals were part of American heritage.  Excuse me Donald, in case you didn’t know it, General Robert E. Lee fought against the Union.  Like he was a traitor.  Not a stock trader like you might think but one of those ‘t-r-a-i-t-o-r-s’.  Remember when you claimed all the Muslims in the US were traitors?  Robert E Lee was one of those kind of traitors.”

blameGreenie:  “You know what I find ironic about ironic about the hard-core Southerners supporting the Donald?  Many in the South still blame the North for lots of problems…and they really dislike people from New York.  So who do they support?  The Donald who was born and raised in NY.  The Donald who dodged the draft, claiming bone spurs.  The Donald who proposed policies as president that hurt rather than helped his supporters.  The guy should have been despised by the people in the south.  But no, they adored him.”

RE LeeJC:  “To the hard-core Southerner, he must have been considered a born-again Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee rolled into one.  His supporters believed he was going to overthrow the very establishment that the hard-core blamed for destroying the Old South.”

Greenie:  “Maybe even more ironic – the Donald was the ultimate carpetbagger.  He took campaign donations from his supporters and then managed to enrich himself at the expense of his supporters.”

JC:  “Until he got taken out.”

Greenie:  “So why didn’t the South finally turn against him when all the shenanigans came to light?  Forget the financial stuff.  The dealings with Russia were like treason.”

Jordan:  “The hard-core Southerners stuck with him for the same reason they still refuse to acknowledge the facts of the Civil War.  Hard-core Southerners still blame Lincoln when they should be thankful he was nice to them.  Lincoln could have tried for treason and then executed each southern general.”

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515JC:  “Lincoln tried to set the stage for the country to heal.  He might have been too accommodating.  The hard-core Southerners still don’t understand and still can’t get out of the blame stage.”

Greenie:  “So now, I guess the next question is ‘Now that we’re past the Revenge Revolution, will the south continue to deny reality and blame the north…or finally join the rest of the country?’”

Jordan: “Listen, I need to call it a day.  Could we continue this conversation over coffee tomorrow morning, please?”

Greenie: “Of course.  JC and I are outta here.”


#269 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: US Military (Part 5)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation about “culture” starts Entry #262

Gelly:  “Jordan, during the break, JC called.  She’d like to stop by.”

Jordan:  “She must have called from downstairs.  Look who’s here.”

JC:  “Hi guys.  Thanks for letting me join you.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “JC, I’ll get you some coffee, then I need to get back and work on a project.”

JC:  “Thanks.  Gelly said you’ve been talking about cultures in America.  Something about how much a particular culture should blend into the US melting pot…and how much should not blend.  Is that about right?”

Greenie:  “Yes.  We’ve talked to Wolf Man about culture of Native Americans.  And no I didn’t slip and call him Two Dogs.  Jordan also called Rock Man to discuss African-American culture but he hasn’t called back.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Greenie, is this info for your articles about the causes of the Revenge Revolution?”

Greenie:  “Yep.”

JC:  “I know I just walked in the door…and really have no idea what all’s been discussed…”

Jordan:  “…So what else is new?  That was too easy to let pass.”

JC:  “As I was saying, a culture that rarely seems to get talked about other than on the surface is the US military.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Mmm, you thinking the military culture is that much different?

Jordan, you were in the military, right?  Does it have a separate culture?”

Jordan:  “I was in a long time ago.  But I think JC’s question is a good one.”

Greenie:  “What prompted you to mention the military?  That’s unlike you.”

JC:  “I keep hearing people still talking about how they thought the military culture got out of whack before the Revenge Revolution.  Trump was enamored with the military.  In his eyes, the generals could do no wrong.  According to the Trumpsters, the generals were somehow super warriors.”

Military GeneralGreenie:  “What still gnaws at me is the behavior of John Kelly when he was chief of staff for Trump.”

JC:  “You mean his lying about the Congresswoman from Florida and supporting Trump’s lies about her?  What was her name?”

Greenie:  “You mean what is her name…she’s still around you know.  And her name is Representative Frederika Wilson.”

JC:  “That’s who I mean.  How stupid could Kelly have been?  He lied about the contents of a press conference that he knew was on tape.  Did he think he could just state her commenbts were “fake news” and everyone would salute the general and say ‘Yes, sir.’”

bossy-motherGreenie:  “What galls me even more is Trump’s press secretary Ms. Congeniality Susan Huckabee told the press they should not challenge a 4-star Marine general.  BS Sarah.”

Jordan:  “Kelly also made some babbling remarks that the military being some kind of elite organization that was superior to the rest of the population.  Hitler said that about the SS troops and we know what happened there.”

JC:  “Kelly’s remarks and this constant murmuring are why I asked if you’d considered looking the influence of the military culture.”

Greenie:  “Actually I haven’t considered it but maybe I should.  But is there any difference in the military culture today than say 25, or even 50 years ago?  If the culture hasn’t changed, then why would the influence have changed?”

Jordan:  “From my perspective there’s been a major change in the military culture.”

JC:  “You were a major?  Army or Marines?  Just some payback, Jordan.”

Uncle SamJordan:  “OK, we’re even.  I think the military culture started to change with the elimination of the draft.”

Greenie:  “From what I understand the military became much more professional when everyone volunteered compared to when people were drafted.  That claim seems to counter your argument.”

Jordan:  “’More professional’ in my opinion is PR hype.  Eliminating the draft resulted in a military with more professional thugs.”

Greenie:  “That seems awfully harsh.  Why do you say more professional thugs?”

Chicken HawkJordan:  “With the draft there was a reasonably good cross-section of ethnic groups, backgrounds and education.  Yes, some wealthier guys chickened out of the draft and bought off doctors to get an exemption…”

JC:  “…You mean like ‘bone-spur Trump’?  Mr. Chicken Hawk himself?”

Jordan:  “Good example.  But a lot of the draftees were highly educated.  Case in point – the battalion in my advanced infantry training unit had a median education of…wanna guess?”

college degreeGreenie:  “I’ll go with 13 years…finished one year college.”

JC:  “I’ll go with 15 years…finished three years college.”

Jordan:  “You’re both low.  The median education in that battalion was 15.5 years.  Not bad, huh?”

Greenie:  “Were these guys all…whadda call them, officer-candidate something or others?”

military-clip-art--military-clipart-8Jordan:  “Nope.  Just regular guys like me.  I don’t recall many of us being really gung-ho, rah-rah types.  We were in the Army doing our time.”

Greenie:  “What’s the difference in the military now?”

Jordan:  “The all-volunteer military has resulted in a mix of enlistees heavily weighted toward the rah-rah types.  Some of the enlistees are truly dedicated and feel obligated to serve their country…”

JC:  “…and the other enlistees like guns and want to do crazy stuff?”

Jordan:  “That’s a good description for many people in today’s infantry – whether Army or Marines.”

SealsGreenie:  “What about the SEALS and those Special Forces guys?  Aren’t they really professional?”

Jordan:  “They are extremely well trained…to kill.  But whether they’re the right people for the military is an open question.”

JC:  “Seriously?  The SEALS and the special-forces guys seem so patriotic.”

Jordan:  “A lot of them are patriotic.  But let me tell you my experience the last few years with some members of the military.  Of the three SEALS I know, one was a convicted felon – for running drugs, and not just a few drugs.  The other two SEALS were brothers, who then became lawyers post military, and who then became extortionists.”

bully-clip-artGreenie:  “Yikes.  Not good.  Know anyone else?”

Jordan:  “The Special Forces guy stole hardware and very expensive software from a company I was consulting for…and had, what I surmise based on his comments, an illegal stash of firearms.”

JC:  “Any other friends we should know about?”

Jordan:  “Friends, hardly.  A guy I helped fund for a business was a colonel in the Army Reserve.  He got called up and low and behold sometime later I saw an article in the NY Times about a colonel in the Army being convicted of stealing at least $600,000 cash and shaking down military suppliers for cars and other goodies.  Guess who it was?”

FighterGreenie:  “Your pal?  Well, your something or other.  But let’s be fair.  You know some other guys in the military, right?  I mean your top-gun buddy and some other guys in the group that designed those jet fighters.”

Jordan:  “Yes, all those guys were top-notch and highly ethical.  But my point is with an all-volunteer military there is a disproportionately high percentage of people who frankly should not be in the military.  Without a draft, military recruiters find it difficult to fill quotas.  As a result, the military accepts recruits that often are less than ideal.”

Bow DownGreenie:  “So the quality of recruits is so-so.  Let’s go back and talk about the big-dog generals…specifically General John Kelly.  When chief of staff for Trump, Kelly claimed that military personnel were superior and the general population should, in effect, bow down to them.”

JC:  “And, Jordan, you don’t buy that argument…if nothing else based on your own experience.”

Jordan:  “You got it.”

Scales BalancedGreenie:  “So do you think to make the culture of the military more like the US population as a whole, we should reinstitute conscription?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Bring back the draft to help balance the military.  Not a popular idea, I know, but necessary to avoid another Revenge Revolution.  And now I feel conscripted to get another coffee.”


#268 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Native Americans (Part 4)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation starts Entry #265.

Gelly:  “I’m not sure I really understood what Wolf Man was talking about.”

CrabGreenie:  “You mean about the crab barrel?”

Gelly:  “Yes.  Why would anyone have that kind of attitude?  Why wouldn’t you want someone else from your tribe to succeed?  I mean, if one of the tribal members succeeds, doesn’t that eventually help everyone…or at least give everyone hope?”

Greenie:  “I don’t understand that kind of attitude either.  The crab-barrel attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy…for failure.”

Jordan:  “Agreed.  So what went wrong along the way with the attitudes of the tribes?  Think about it, the tribes never could have survived for all these centuries with a crab-barrel attitude?  What caused the crab-barrel to happen?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Your question might be the answer?”

Jordan:  “Whadda mean?”

Gelly:  “Let me try.  Before losing the wars to the white man, the tribes were…well, tribes.  A collection of people working together.”

Greenie:  “After the white man, the tribes became a collection of individuals.  Really, no longer tribes.”

Jordan:  “So, you guys are saying the culture of the tribes…in effect, the essence of the tribes…melted away when the tribes were moved to the reservations?”

IndianGelly:  “The tribes experienced more than just moving.  If I understood Wolf Man correctly, he said the tribes on the reservations…apparently for many years…were prohibited from practicing many of the customs and ceremonies central to the respective tribes.”

Jordan:  “But couldn’t they just start building a new culture?  Why not?”

Greenie:  “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.  Build a new culture?  How?”

Jordan:  “Why not?”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “If they built a new culture, would they still have a tribe?”

Greenie:  “Let me ask you something, Jordan?  Are you a member of a tribe?”

Jordan:  “Not an Indian tribe but you know I am.  Where are you headed with this?”

Greenie:  “Where I’m headed is that tribes remain tribes when key parts of the culture remain intact.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And you have an example?”

Greenie:  “The old axiom, ‘More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.’”

Jordan:  “I’ll buy that.”

Gelly:  “What that says to me is even when Jews left the old country, by keeping Shabbat and all the traditions, or at least many of the traditions of Shabbat, they kept the essence of their culture.  Keeping Shabbat became the glue that held the Jews together as a tribe.”

GlueJordan:  “But why didn’t Indians keep their traditions…the glue…that held them together.”

Gelly:  “Wolf Man said they couldn’t keep the traditions.  His understanding is his ancestors and other Native Americans on the reservations were prohibited, sometimes forcibly, from keeping the traditions.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, that was what 140-150 years ago?  I think Native Americans need to ask, ‘What’s stopping our different tribes from re-initiating at least part of their traditional culture?  Why can’t the tribes regroup, as it were?”

Gelly:  “Maybe some of them are.  But now is their base-point really a new culture?  Is the new culture more of dependency rather than independency?  By the way, is ‘independency’ a real word?”

ScreamGreenie:  “Yes, independency is a real word.   And your point is well taken.  Have we…the victors in the Indian Wars…so restricted the tribes that the original culture has been lost?  By our own actions, have we destroyed one culture and replaced it with a culture of dependency?  That’s a depressing thought.”

Jordan:  “Even if the white man tried to destroy the culture, don’t you think it’s up to the various tribes to decide if they want to recapture the culture?”

Gelly:  “How are they going to recapture their culture when the world around them has changed so much?”

Greenie:  “Good question.  If I may, let me try to phrase it a bit differently.  ‘What about the old Indian culture can be recaptured for, or will work in today’s environment?’  The question is phrased a bit awkwardly but you get what I mean.”

Jordan:  “It’s a great question to ask Wolf Man about Native Americans…and a great question to ask Rock Man about blacks.”

ScaleGreenie: “Not finding the right balance between what part of a culture should melt in the US melting pot and what part of a culture should not melt might have larger impact on the cause of the Revenge Revolution than I first thought.”

Jordan: “Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to how much of a culture should melt.  We know it’s not the same for every culture.  And we also know a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.”   (Continued)

#267 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Native Americans (Part 3)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation starts Entry #265.

(Phone rings.  Jordan answers)

Jordan:  “Jordan Abel.  May I help you?”

Caller:  “Jordan, this is Wolf Man.  You left a voice mail and I’m available to chat if you have time.”

Jordan:  “I’ve got time.  Gelly is in the office.  And I think you met Greenie some time along the way.”

IndianWolf Man:  “Met Gelly.  Chatted with Greenie but never met her.”

Jordan:  “As I mentioned in the voice mail, Greenie’s writing some articles about possible causes of the Revenge Revolution.  She’s exploring the effect of long-term culture on current behavior.  We’d like to talk about how changes in culture over time might have affected Native Americas.  Ok if they sit in on the call?”

Wolf Man:  “Of course.”

Jordan:  “Wolf Man you’re on the speaker.”

Wolf Man:  “Hi Gelly and Greenie.”

Gelly and Greenie (in unison):  “Hello Wolf Man.”

Jordan:  “Wolf Man, how are you and where are you?”

Wolf Man:  “On my way to see another client.  Give me some more details about what you want to discuss?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “One of the first steps is trying to understand how much of a particular culture has melted into the US melting pot…and also understand how much should not have melted.  We’d like your perspective on how much culture of Native Americans has melted into the US melting pot.”

Wolf Man:  “The short answer is virtually all of the culture of Native Americans has melted.  How much of the culture should have melted?  Not much.”

Jordan:  “Why do you say virtually all melted?  I mean Native Americas still have lots of land and seems as if lots of freedom to do want they want, right?”

Wolf Man:  “If I didn’t know you so well, I’d think you were a dumb-ass white man.  Pardon me guys but that type comment is so typical.  But, I know you guys are sincere and I’ll tell you more.”

Greenie:  “We’ll try to be more understanding.  Tell us more, please, Wolf Man.”

Wolf Man:  “The best way I can describe the difference in cultures between Native Americas and the white man is to compare how each looks at land.”

Greenie:  “What’s the difference in perspective?”

Wolf Man:  “Indian culture, and I think this applies to every tribe, is built around being ‘of the land.’  The land itself is an integral part of the culture…as are all the parts of the land —  animals, water, vegetation.  Native Americans are part of the land ecosysten and not separate from that ecosystem.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “And what different about the white man’s perspective?”

Wolf Man:  “The white man wants to separate himself from the land.  He wants to own the land.  As an owner, the white man believes that everything on the land and all rights to whatever is on the land go with ownership.”

Greenie:  “Interesting and insightful comparison.  One culture seems very ‘group focused’ and the other culture seems very ‘self focused’.  Never really thought about it that way.  What has that difference in perspective meant for Indians?”

Trail of TearsWolf Man:  “Simple. The white man took the best land from the natives and then created reservations for natives on crappy land.  The reservations had few resources, lots of bad water and created an environment of marginal subsistence.”

Jordan:  “C’mon.  Aren’t you exaggerating?  Is it really that bad?”

Wolf Man:  “Actually, life on the reservation is a lot worse than you think.  Because natives can no longer be ‘of the land’ and survive, the tribes have become dependent on the Federal government handouts to survive.”

Money-clip-artJordan:  “So we, societal we, basically turned the tribes from being self-sustaining to being a welfare state, save a few tribes with highly profitable casinos.  That analysis seems like such an exaggeration.”

Wolf Man:  “It is not.  In fact, it’s an understatement.  I don’t of a tribe whose culture has not been decimated…and especially the ones with casinos.”

Greenie:  “Wasn’t a change in the culture inevitable?  As more and more people settled in the US, some dislocation was inevitable.”

Wolf Man:  “Look, I understand to the victors go the spoils.  But, in my view, the white man went overboard in screwing the natives.  In my most cynical moments, I sometimes think the tribes would have better off being wiped out than subject to current conditions.”

U TurnJordan:  “That’s a bold statement.  Is there any way to turn this around?  Might be a long process but surely something can be done.”

Greenie:  “Wolf Man, from what Jordan’s told me, you’ve been very successful.  What’s your secret?”

Wolf Man:  “My secret?  A key part of my success – I wasn’t raised on the reservation.”

Gelly:  “What’s so different about not being raised off the reservation?  You had the same parents on or off?  What’s the difference?”

CrabWolf Man:  “No crab barrels off the reservation.”

Jordan:  “Crab barrels?  What are you talking about?”

Wolf Man:  “Imagine there’s a barrel with a bunch of crabs.  Every time one of the crabs tries to crawl out of the barrel and escape, the other crabs pull him back in the barrel.”

Greenie:  “Are you saying when someone on the reservation starts to be successful, other tribal members hinder that effort?  That seems so counter productive.”

Wolf Man:  “Yep, you got it.  The person gets pulled back in…or at least the others try to pull him back in”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I’m shaking my head.  Wow, what a problem.  Is there anything that can be done to change this attitude?”

Wolf Man:  “Good question.  Let me get back.  Just arrived at my clients.”

Greenie:  “The crab barrel is so opposite of how we were raised.  Everyone pushed to improve their lot and your lot in life.  I just have a hard time understanding the crab-barrel mentality.”

Gelly:  “I can’t understand it either.  The inability to understand a polar-opposite perspective…not necessarily the lack of desire to understand the other perspective but the inability to understand…might be a bigger contributor to the Revenge Revolution than we thought.”

Greenie:  “Point well taken, Gelly.  I need a break.”


#266 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? (Part 2)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation starts Entry #265.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “Jordan, while Gelly and I were getting coffee did you get ahold of Rock Man and Two Dogs?”

Jordan: “Left messages for both of them. I’ll talk to them later. Let’s get started.”

Gelly: “May I stay for the conversation, please? Sounds as if it could be interesting.”

Jordan: “Of course. I assumed you were going to stay. Your perspective is always valuable. And, as if you need a reminder, feel free to jump in the conversation any time.”

Greenie: “OK, so now we need to figure out…or at least discuss…if there is any validity to the assumption that long-term culture could affect current behavior of different nationalities or ethnic groups?  And, if so, how and to what degree?  Right, so far?”

Jordan:  “Right so far.  Keep going.”

Greenie:  “Then we asked, ‘For any ethnic group or nationality in the US, how much of the culture should melt in the US melting pot and how much of the culture should remain…un-melted as it were?’ Getting some idea of how much should melt might help us understand what affect long-term culture might have had on the Revenge Revolution…and how US society might address culture-related issues in the future.”092615_2031_Characters7.gif

Jordan:  “You got it.”

Gelly: “Before the coffee break youse guys decided to do a quick study on three groups…blacks, Native Americans and Jews, and starting with Jews.”

Jordan: “Your mimicking of ‘youse guys’ was pretty good. Yes, we agreed to start the analysis with Jews, which somehow seems appropriate since we just finished the High Holidays.”

Gelly: “Seems to me a specific question or two might help get the conversation started. So, here goes.  An issue that often comes up when talking about Jews, ‘What is it about the culture of Jews that seems to push for so much education? Why does it seem the vast majority of Jews have college degrees…and a very high percentage have advanced degrees? What about the culture would make that happen?”

Greenie: “Good way to get started, Gelly. I think the answer involves two factors. The first is Judaism promotes education throughout life. And some pretty intense education starts at an early age.  By the time you’re a 12-13 year-old, you’re learning all kinds of things preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah. And these kids are required to lead part of the Shabbat service, including reading a bunch of Hebrew…which is not major language these days outside of Israel.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Point well taken, Greenie. Lots of pressure at an early age to learn something that’s very difficult for many. The experience begins to build a foundation for a willingness to try to learn difficult subjects through one’s formal education…and for many, a lifetime of learning.”

Gelly: “What was the second reason?”

Greenie: “Jewish immigrants realized that education was a way out of the ghetto. With an education, you didn’t have to be involved in some type of manual labor. And, education was a way to improve socio-economic status.”

092615_2031_Characters10.gifJordan: “Gelly, here’s a story that illustrates the point. The scene: the inauguration of the first Jewish president. A lady turns to the president-elect’s mother and says, ‘The first Jewish president.  You must be very proud of your son.’ The mother turns and says, ‘Yes, I’m very proud of him…but you should meet his brother, the doctor.’”

Gelly: “That’s a good story. Now, help me understand the link between those examples and how long-term culture might affect current behavior? In the Torah there are lots of examples of Jews as shepherds and some examples as skilled trades. Where’s the link from those old-culture jobs to the attitude today of life-long education?”

GraduationGreenie: “To me, the link is an understanding by many rabbis and many Jewish families that education has been and continues to be a way to break from the past. Much like leaving Egypt was a way for Jews to break away from physical slavery, education has been a way to break away from economic slavery.”

Jordan: “In virtually every service at the temple, there is a reminder to congregants that Jews were once slaves in Egypt. While not discussed in services, just a few generations ago, whether Jews were in the ‘old country’ or in the US as immigrants, many were slaves to lower-paying jobs.”

Balancing actGelly: “That’s interesting. So, if I interpret you correctly, understanding how to break away from adverse circumstances without completely throwing out the old culture is a key lesson.  In a way the lesson is a balancing act — in the US understanding what part of the culture should melt into the melting pot and what should not melt. Being able to create such a balance might be a key lesson for other groups – blacks, Native Americans, etc.”

Jordan: “Let’s hold that thought and match it against what information comes out of the conversations with Rock Man and, as you guys keep saying, Two Dogs.”

BeginningGreenie: When you talk to them, could you please remind each of them we are only in the data-gathering phase?  Let them know we are trying to determine if our assumption has any validity.  If it does, we’ll need more guidance from them and help from some of their contacts.  I just don’t want them to think the call is the end of the study.  It’s just the beginning.”

Jordan:  “Yes, I’ll be very clear with them.  Thanks for the reminder.”


#265 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

Gelly:  “Jordan, Greenie just called.  She’d like to stop by later this morning, OK?”

Jordan:  “What’s she want to talk about?”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Some background for articles she writing about the Revenge Revolution.  She said no preparation necessary…at least for now.”

Jordan:  “I can see where this headed.  My calendar is clean for a while, right?”

Gelly:  “You’re good through early afternoon.”

Jordan:  “OK, please tell her anytime this morning.”

(Greenie arrives)

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Hello, Gelly…and you, too, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Why am I always the second fiddle around here?”

Greenie:  “You should be the third fiddle but we’re nice to you.  Hello, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Nice to see you Greenie.  What’s on your mind?”

Greenie:  “Gelly, if you’re not too busy, you might want to stay for this discussion.”

Gelly:  “I’m good for a while.  Thanks, I’ll stay.”

Confused Clip ArtGreenie:  “As I’ve been working on articles about the causes of the Revenge Revolution, one idea keeps rattling around in my head.”

Jordan:  “And the idea is…?”

Greenie:  “Probably more of a question than an idea.  I wonder how much long-term cultural heritage affects behavior in the present day.”

Jordan:  “Are you talking behavior any place in the world or just the US?”

Greenie:  “The focus is the United States but the answer probably applies to any number of other countries.”

BookGelly:  “Has anyone studied this before?  Seems like an ideal topic for a graduate thesis or a book.”

Greenie:  “I’m sure there have been a number of studies but my specific concern is how long-term cultures might affect behavior in the 21st Century US…and if such behavior had any influence on the Revenge Revolution?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Interesting.  If I may, let me try to reframe the question.  ‘If the United States is to be a melting pot of different cultures, do some parts of the cultures not melt?’…or something like that.”

Gelly:  “Hmmm.  Greenie, do you have any particular cultures in mind?”

Greenie:  “There’s no particular logic to my order of cultures…as far as I can tell.  I started out thinking about blacks, then American Indians.  Then added Western Europeans, Asians, Jews, Muslims…and the list got long very quickly.  Like I said, I don’t think there’s any particular order, at least for now.”

Gelly:  “Now, may I try to frame the question?”

Greenie:  “Please.”

Melting Pot Lady LibertyGelly:  “In the US, for a particular culture, what part of the culture melts in the pot and what part doesn’t melt?”

Jordan:  “One more try at phrasing, ‘What part of the culture should melt in the US pot and what part of the culture shouldn’t melt?”

Greenie:  “Now I think we are making progress.  For some people, the answer to the question would be ‘all citizens of the US should have the same characteristics…like homogenized milk.’”

MilkGelly:  “And for those who want homogenized milk, their measurement yardstick is ‘if you don’t think like me and/or have the same values as me, then you’re not a real member of the American tribe.’”

Jordan:  “Alright, so Greenie, tell me, please, how the question about what part of culture should melt or shouldn’t melt links back to causes of the Revenge Revolution?”

Greenie:  “The Revenge Revolution was, in many respects, a rebellion against tribal mentality.  The populous rebelled against the ‘I’m-1.0%-and-therefore better-than-you’ tribe, against the arrogance of the ‘I’m-a-member-of-the-legislature’ tribe, against the ‘guns-for-everyone’ tribe, and against a bunch of other self-centered groups.”

Gelly:  “Do you really think those tribes were formed by cultures or for some other reason?”

Greenie:  “Both.  What I’m trying to determine…or understand…is which tribes were primarily the result of long-term culture…and then within those tribes what factors might have influenced participation in the Revenge Revolution.”

AnalysisJordan:  “Seems to me we should take a few examples of tribes and test the theory, at least to determine if there might be any link between long-term culture, the tribes as you describe them and the Revenge Revolution.”

Gelly:  “OK, where do you want to start…I mean, which tribes?”

Greenie:  “There’s several ways to define tribes.  And I’m not sure of the best approach.  But let’s start with a tribe we should understand, at least in part.  Let’s look in the mirror first…and take a look at Jews.”

PhoneJordan:  “I’ll buy that idea.  Before we start, let me call Rock Man and see when he’s available to provide his insight on blacks.”

Gelly:  “What about your native American buddy…you know, Two Dogs.  I know his name is not really Two Dogs, but you know who I mean.”

Jordan:  “Yes, I know who you mean.  And I won’t tell him you called him Two Dogs, although I’m sure he would find that funny.”

Greenie:  “While you’re calling your buddies, Gelly and I are going downstairs and get some good coffee.  Want some?”

 (To be continued)