MAGAs, anti-vaxxers and the New York Amazon killers
Me pluribus unum
Dozens of communities across America begged Amazon to pick them for HQ2.
Local and regional leaders drooled over the windfall of decent jobs and the chance to boost their economies and communities, schools and public resources that help the less fortunate. The leaders calculated that every dollar of incentives would be returned many times over.
My Rustbelt hometown of Toledo, Ohio — aka, Least Likely Amazon HQ2 Candidate — would have died and gone to heaven even to be on the list of least likely candidates. As would many Trump Country ailing industrial and farming communities across America.
So imagine the shock, disgust and outrage of the losing cities when Queens, New York, told Amazon thanks, but no thanks.
Actually, it was a small, loud, angry minority of “progressive” locals who overrode NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, other progressive Democrats, and 70% of the local public that supported Amazon’s HQ2 move to Queens.
Apparently the New York Amazon supporters weren’t progressive enough, or perhaps they foolishly thought “progressive” stood for progress.
Of course, Amazon solely is to blame.
Amazon should have ignored or embraced the few local officials and passionate protesters who trashed the company for being a monstrous capitalist greed-head, a villain more despicable than Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil (note: Jeff Bezos also shaves his head and owns The Washington Post).
Amazon wasn’t asked but should have offered a much better deal for the privilege of pouring many millions of monies into rebuilding, reviving and bringing much-needed new jobs and commerce to Long Island City and the rusting region where the Industrial Age economy died.
Do the successful anti-Amazon forces in Queens, fighting in the name of working-class people, care about the working-class people who were excited about Amazon jobs coming? Unclear. Do the Amazon killers have a better investment plan to replace the lost 25,000 Amazon and countless ancillary jobs? Also unclear.
In any case, the Amazon-owned Whole Foods-shopping bohemian bourgeois who care deeply about The People defeated them.
As CityLab reported, “Tenants of low-income housing broadly supported the [Amazon] move, in the hopes that it would bring higher-paying jobs and spillover effects to the neighborhood. More affluent residents, meanwhile, mounted a NIMBY campaign over the prospect of rising rents.” The comfortable NIMBYs have also fought an Ikea and a Target from opening in the community.
“New York has now lost 25,000 good-paying jobs,” four local public housing development presidents issued a statement declaring. “The City and State will now lose tens of billions of dollars in revenue that could have been invested in New York City Housing Authority, and the tenants we fight for every day.”
Nevertheless, the exciting new Voice of the American People, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, from the district over from Long Island City, declared, “Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”
All due respects to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her fans. But how Queens killed Amazon illustrates that it’s not only ok — it’s a moral imperative — to fight for our narrow personal political interests. Even if we shoot ourselves in the foot and hurt others while doing so.
Politics are all about me now.
My identity. My heritage. My genetic history — my 23andMe.
My feelings. My beliefs. My facts. My needs. My experience. My story. My brand. My personal agency. My community. My sexual personage, issues, experiences and journey. My injuries and illnesses, real or hypochondriacal, which is also an ailment.
Respecting me is indulging my introversion and how, while I’m a Highly Sensitive Person and difficult, you need to deal with me to earn the awesome blessing of my incredible charms.
You need to love my predispositions, predilections and amazing, amusing peccadilloes because I had the incredible courage to express them. My personal vision, mission, purpose, vision, passions, goals and expression of who I am should be as exciting to you as they are to me. You need to honor me. My life. And my fight with those who fail to respect the incredible, edible me.
Anti-vaxxers put me over we.
They tend to be educated, rich and white — liberal and conservative.
Refusing to get their kids measles and other shots to protect them and the general population from epidemic disease is not from lack of public health knowledge or resources.
It’s about putting personal belief backed by cherry-picked facts — however dubious — and ignoring conflicting information, common sense and the commonweal.
Minds are righteously set in stone by confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon and selective attention.
Darla Shine, spouse of White House communications chief and former Fox top executive Bill Shine, succors the anti-vaxxer narcissists by declaring that suffering measles and other childhood diseases “keeps you healthy & fighting cancer.”
Challenge this bull-headed nonsense and eventually you get: “Well, that’s what I believe. I have my facts and you have yours.”
Which brings us to Trump’s loyalist base.
And its snarky flag-waving, Democrat-hating, self-satisfaction in dogging other decent Americans who don’t like Trump.
I don’t care that Trump is the first president in 100 years not to have a dog. I do care than his reason was “that’s not the relationship I have with my people.”
“My people,” Trump said.
He didn’t say, “The American people.” Or “the people.”
Trump was talking about his people, the 25–30 percent of die-hard red-hat, red-state angry MAGA always-Trumpers who, through backfiring Republican Party gerrymandering and Hillary’s shortcomings, put him into office and drive his agenda, the GOP, and the nation.
Trump’s base scrapes the barrel to exaggerate his achievements and pretzel-twists his failings into successes. They defend — even love — the division, destruction and disrepute he brings to the Presidency, the government and the country.
Trump’s “my people” don’t care if he shuts down the government and hurts millions of Americans who work for the government or depend on government. Many MAGAs depend on government but hate government.
Trump’s “my people” also believe him when he grossly exaggerates the national threat of immigration through Mexico and declares a national emergency for a wall, pandering to fear about brown people. Even when Trump’s people who have immigrant parents live in lily-white places that were settled by immigrants and have few, if any, recent immigrants.
You know MAGAs are struggling to prove they’re not bigoted, not afraid of America’s browning, when they push Trump/Fox/alt-right media “facts” about criminal murderous MS-13 illegals flooding the country with deadly drugs, crime, raping, decapitation, voting fraud, cemita poblana, torta ahogada, and Spanglish.
Forgive any offense I’ve given here by indulging my views.
I have no standing to judge the Amazon killers in Queens, the anti-vaxxers or the MAGAs for putting narrow interests over common interests. It’s human, individualism built this nation, and certainly I’m selfish and self-centered too.
But America is also a giving nation, generous with our time, attention, understanding and help when needed. Could we try, just try, to apply that generosity to our politics? And listen to — even accept — views not our own as valid? And compromise for the greater good? For the sake of e pluribus unum?
I’ve definitely failed here but promise to try harder.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer