A Popeye: I Have To Fisk This Smoking Gun Opinion Piece, Because My Head Will Explode Beyond Repair If I Don’t…[Part I: Why]

“It’s all I can stands, ’cause I can’t stands no more!”Popeye, sailor and American icon.

The column (below) by periodic New York Times opinion writer Wajahat Ali has been bothering me for over a week now. The moment I read it, I wanted to rush to my PC and tear it apart. Then I began questioning the exercise on a cost/benefit basis. Lunatic, hateful, biased pieces like this come out in the mainstream media every day; I can’t, and shouldn’t, use my limited time for Ethics Alarms debunking them all, for to objective, discerning readers, they debunk themselves.

Yet, as Thomas More futilely, fatally and correctly maintained at his trial, silence implies consent. This stuff is poisonous to our society and civil discourse. Moreover, Ali’s bile is especially illustrative of the Left’s current anti-America propaganda: it hits almost every one of the Big Lies, false narratives, hypocrisies distortions and fear-mongering appeals to emotion that threaten to tear the nation apart. It transcends unethical to border on evil. So after having this thing impinge on my sleep for a fifth night—I’m not exaggerating— I have to vivisect this monstrosity, for my own sanity if for no other reason.

Here is the whole essay, which was originally published at the now thoroughly deranged Daily Beast. (There’s hope in this: maybe it was too far off the rails even for the Times.) Read it, please. Its title, flagrant clickbait, is “Is It Time for Me to Leave America?” (Go ahead and read it on Yahoo, where that link takes you.) I’ll be back soon in Part II to take it apart.

You can also read it below….

Is it time to leave?

I’ve caught myself asking my wife this question several times over the past year. We were both born and raised in America, a country of opportunity for our immigrant parents who left Pakistan with little more than hope and belief in a dream that anyone, even brown-skinned Muslims, with some luck and hard work, could make it and be accepted. But that dream is becoming a nightmare.

If you’re a person of color, it seems foolish and reckless to not, at least, have an exit plan when looking at the political and cultural landscape.

This is not a flippant or hyperbolic thought exercise, and I’m not the only one to increasingly ponder the question: “Where else can we go when this country turns on us?”

Earlier this week, New York Times journalist Farnaz Fassihi was trolled and harassed on Twitter for simply stating the following: “I’m a child of immigrants. When I was a kid, everyone I knew wished they could raise their children in America, now, everyone I know wishes they could raise their children outside of America.”

If you’ve traveled and talked to people over the past few years, her statement wasn’t extraordinary, it’s a sadly common utterance. Most people around the world aren’t rejoicing at America’s self-inflicted downfall, they’re looking at us with pity, sadness, and a desperate hope that we get our shit together. After all, the United States is still the most powerful and wealthy country in the world, and a doorstop against rising authoritarianism.

It is also, unfortunately, number one in all the wrong categories. We lead the world in COVID-19 deaths due in large part to rampant right-wing disinformation about vaccines. We have 390 million guns for 330 million people, so it’s not surprising we lead the world in mass shootings and gun-related deaths. (While I was writing this column, we just witnessed another deadly shooting in Tulsa—just as the 21 victims of last week’s Uvalde, Texas, shooting are being buried.)

We don’t ban assault rifles, but we do incarcerate more people than any nation on Earth. We’re the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave, but we’re so “pro-family” that we’re restricting women’s rights to abortion, even as many countries continue to expand them. And for the first time, the U.S. was labeled a “back-sliding democracy” by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, due to the actions of the Trump administration.

It’s pretty clear that this country and its democracy aren’t trending in the right direction.

Just this week, we’ve learned that the GOP is unleashing a multi-pronged precinct strategy using Republican operatives to allege voter fraud in close elections. A majority of Republican voters believe in the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and nearly 65 percent of them believe in an aspect of the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

These talking points are now mainstream, thanks to Fox News and Republican elected officials. Conspiracy theories—such as QAnon and the associated “groomer” panic—have radicalized individuals to commit violence, including members of the violent mob that tried to overthrow our free and fair election on Jan. 6. It’s a near certainty that numerous QAnon supporters will be elected to office this November.

If Republicans take control of the political leadership of Congress, which seems likely, they will be beholden to an increasingly radicalized and weaponized base that is fine using violence to “take back their country.”

Meanwhile, Republicans refuse to move against white supremacist terrorism, which is the number domestic terror threat in the country. Instead their colleagues, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, openly attend conferences hosted by Nick Fuentes—a notorious antisemite and white nationalist. The hoods are off, and there’s no turning back for the GOP.

As a Muslim, I saw President Donald Trump openly say, “I think Islam hates us.” He ran on a promise to enact a “complete and total ban” on Muslims. He was not only elected as president in 2016, but he received 11 million more votes after spending four years doubling down on chaos, hate, xenophobia, and cruelty. History has taught us that when authoritarian movements see people as problems, they usually come up with gruesome and horrific solutions.

It’s tough to love a country that doesn’t love you back, and even tougher to fight for it as it’s trying to kill you.

Unfortunately, the last two years have revealed that the institutions that have the power to respond have repeatedly failed. Media organizations have chosen the path toward self-immolation by rehabilitating their sworn enemies for the sake of profit and ratings. CBS News’ co-president Neeraj Khemlani rationalized the hiring of former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as a contributor by citing the need for “access” to a likely Republican administration in the future. Most media outlets will fail us as they “both sides” our democracy towards fascism.

Corporations, historically, have always paved the road for fascist leaders, because it’s good for business—until it isn’t. Disney is learning this the hard way after enduring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wrath for balking at his hateful “don’t say gay” policy. That was a warning shot across the bow for all business leaders to get in line or face the GOP boot.

Meanwhile, it’s apparent that most Democrats aren’t built for this challenge. They bring a pencil to a knife fight, while Republicans and Mitch McConnell bring an AR-15. President Biden still refers to Republicans who are committed to obstructing him every step of the way as “rational.” Members of the GOP voted against certifying the election hours after a mob threatening to hang the vice president sacked the Capitol. But some Democrats, especially obstructionists such as Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, still think we need the filibuster to preserve bipartisanship. Democracy dies, in part, thanks to white moderates who tend to the economic anxiety of “average” Americans while ignoring the lament and cries of the rest of us.

With all this, you can’t blame my father, who’s now in his seventies, for begging me to at least develop an exit plan.

He came to this country after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act as a young student. He has never mentioned leaving before, whether it was through the War on Terror or moments of personal crisis when our family weathered poverty, bankruptcy, and incarceration. For the sake of his grandkids, he keeps researching countries where we could possibly go in case it all turns to hell in 2024. He’s narrowing in on Canada and New Zealand. Even though Canada has its right-wing nuts, he says the country at least doesn’t have that many guns, is a short hop across the border, and has affordable health care. New Zealand is on the list because, in addition to being beautiful, it also has smart leadership that rejects gun violence and apparently has a lot of halal options.

As a student of history, I know America has always been a land of violence, hypocrisy, and contradictions—one need only compare its alleged values of egalitarianism with its historical oppression of Black people. However, in the past 60 years, it’s also been a country that has often slowly and painfully trudged forward towards progress. It’s a country where a brown-skinned son of Muslim immigrants who barely spoke English in pre-school is able to pray in a mosque and write articles openly criticizing the government without fear of being tortured or kidnapped.

The question is will my kids’ generation—who will be the first generation of Americans to have fewer rights than the previous one—have the ability to be the protagonist of a country that sees them as villains and invaders?

Over the weekend, I told my wife, “Listen, we should seriously think about the possibility of leaving. We have three kids, and they deserve a chance to be safe.” My wife thought about it, but decided that even though the future does indeed look bleak in America (especially for our democracy), we should stay and fight.

Perhaps because I’m a patriot or a masochist, or both, I agreed. In my heart, I know I’m never leaving. After all, those who have been rejected by America are usually always the ones who have fought and bled for it, still hoping the country will stretch and expand itself to accommodate the rest of us and rise up to its lofty ideals.

I still believe in that America. But, somedays, it’s really tough. My wife and I agreed we’d revisit the conversation in two years—just to be safe.

31 thoughts on “A Popeye: I Have To Fisk This Smoking Gun Opinion Piece, Because My Head Will Explode Beyond Repair If I Don’t…[Part I: Why]

  1. This guy is a human, walking, Talking Points Memo! Has he ever had an original thought in his standard issue mind? He makes Chicken Little sound like John Wayne. Because the Dems might lose the House?

    • Other Bill wrote, “This guy is a human, walking, Talking Points Memo!”

      What might be a “little” more accurate is that this guy has been indoctrinated to swallow absolutely every piece of propaganda that the left leaning media and the political left in general puts in front of him regardless of how absurd some of them are. He’s a poster child of what a dumbed-down hive minded sheeple is willing to consume as “truth”.

      Other Bill wrote, “Has he ever had an original thought in his standard issue mind?”

      Who knows, but what we can tell from what he writes is that he’s part of the left’s new all consuming religious like cult of borg-like sheeple.

      • My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, wrote this about his mother.

        http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=365124&p=4538846#post4538846

        My mother knows literally NOTHING about the things she talks about. She’s like a mynah bird, CNN goes in her ear and comes out her mouth. Ask her to explain anything and she’ll just tell you to go fuck yourself.

        I just refuse to discuss politics with her, which makes her even angrier since I won’t let her lecture me on things about which she knows no more than she knows about particle physics.

  2. He’s a liar, and a fearmomger. Go, and good riddance. May many who are inclined to believe him be convinced to follow suit!

    Only if he plans to stay and try to influence further elections and policy should he be truly ashamed of himself.

  3. Do you know how easy it is to make these sorts of hyperbolic, assinine, logicless, emotion-driven drivel arguments? I wrote some facetiously yesterday in response to nonsensical arguments about gun control, and discovered how freeing it is to just spout nonsense as if it were rational argument.

    Let’s see…leftwing ideology is rooted in principles of laziness, jealousy, envy, and spite. These principles are applied to achieve the goal of white supremacy. Leftwing ideology is applied institutionally to oppress minorities by convincing them that hard work, meritocracy and goal oriented behavior are systematically racist in an effort to stop them from achieving anything. Once implemented, this insidious form of systemic racism lowers minority incomes by an estimated 47%, and increases incarceration rates of minorities by a whopping estimated 89%! Experts have widely opined that leftwing ideology is nothing more than hate speech, and should be prosecuted as such. We must root out the evils of white supremacy to have equity in our society and abolish the racist, hateful leftwing ideology from our society.

    I think my drivel is far more accurate than Ali’s drivel. It is fun to just make up facts and statistics and spout nonsense arguments that would probably convince idiots of my superior reasoning skills. I can make them up far faster than people could debunk them, and since I don’t have to tell the truth to make these arguments I can just debunk their debunking by claiming experts have universally agreed with me and the only possible solution is criminalization of all leftwing speech. Nothing I say has to be true! Nothing I say has to make sense! Fight nonsense with nonsense, I say. It’s fun! We can all go down the path to hell together having a grand old time. I think I’ll go get hundreds of random people to sign a letter I wrote decrying the white supremacy of leftwing ideology and then claim it was all health and legal experts.

    • Null Pointer wrote, “Nothing I say has to be true! Nothing I say has to make sense! Fight nonsense with nonsense, I say. It’s fun! We can all go down the path to hell together having a grand old time.”

      But isn’t that a tit-for-tat unethical rationalization?

      • Fun things can never be unethical! It is the pursuit of happiness!

        More seriously, of course this is unethical. Ethics don’t seem to matter to half the country and that is a serious problem.

    • The triumph of Brandolini’s Law, the “Bullshit Asymmetry Principle”. Debunking Internet nonsense requires an order of magnitude more time than generating it, so in the time it takes to thoroughly dismantle one lazy, inaccurate argument, the heel posting it can post a dozen more.

  4. This is not a flippant or hyperbolic thought exercise, and I’m not the only one to increasingly ponder the question: “Where else can we go when this country turns on us?”

    Whenever someone begins with a disclaimer like this, you know that’s exactly what’s coming your way.

    When I was a kid, everyone I knew wished they could raise their children in America, now, everyone I know wishes they could raise their children outside of America.

    We are left to guess if this is an indictment of America, or “everyone I know.” I’m leaning toward the latter.

    I’ll leave the rest to you, Jack, but I just had to say something about those two things. The rest seems like a typical laundry list of Leftist grievance industry complaints. I just love how their moral certainty leaves no room for debate or compromise. And I’ve heard endless claims by the Left that “My way or the highway” is a conservative position.

    Yeah, right.

  5. “It’s tough to love a country that doesn’t love you back…”
    Well, this is the reality for many pro-life, Christian, women-should-compete-in-women’s-sports, don’t-give-my-kids-puberty-blockers Americans. We’ve been derided for clinging to our guns and Bibles. (Don’t own one, but I’ll fix a nice duck that you’ve bagged). Shouted down at professional meetings if we dare to question anything about the extreme left agenda.
    Yet, my plan isn’t to threaten to leave. It’s to keep lighting a candle in my dark corner. Reminding people that we aren’t supposed to govern by mob rule. That rights don’t end because they aren’t popular.

    • That’s the stupidest part of the rant. (Yes, it is a rant…)
      Progressives have plenty of options if they want to live in a progressive place. He lists two places, New Zealand and Canada. Yep, those are both options. As are England, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France and Australia. You can get your fill of progressive rot in all those places. I’m sure there is more on the list but that’s just off the top of my head.
      America is the last bastion of freedom. We’re the only place left where you can’t be prosecuted for wrong think. Conservatives have to make their stand here, as there is no where to flee.

  6. I know people like this individual and they appear to be ordinary functioning humans as long as nothing remotely political arises but watch out if any part of their programming becomes activated.
    I must frequently remind myself that what I am witnessing is the result of long-term steady propaganda. I never comprehended the power of one-sided messaging until the radical Left gained control of academia, the MSM, and murderous violent bullying became an acceptable form of protest and/or social discourse.
    These cultists are 100% sincere and only *some form* of an intervention could snap them out of their programmed delusion.

  7. My long time Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, would have been able to take this apart!

    We lead the world in COVID-19 deaths due in large part to rampant right-wing disinformation about vaccines.

    Most of them died under FJB’s watch.

    We have 390 million guns for 330 million people, so it’s not surprising we lead the world in mass shootings and gun-related deaths.

    Brazil, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa have higher criminal homicide rates.

    We don’t ban assault rifles, but we do incarcerate more people than any nation on Earth.

    Banning assault rifles would make this problem worse.

    A majority of Republican voters believe in the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and nearly 65 percent of them believe in an aspect of the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

    No mention of the Russian Collusion®™ conspiracy theory?

    Meanwhile, it’s apparent that most Democrats aren’t built for this challenge. They bring a pencil to a knife fight, while Republicans and Mitch McConnell bring an AR-15. President Biden still refers to Republicans who are committed to obstructing him every step of the way as “rational.”

    for four years, they kept chanting “Russian collusion”, “Russian collusion”,

    Members of the GOP voted against certifying the election hours after a mob threatening to hang the vice president sacked the Capitol. But some Democrats

    Democrats voted against certifying previous elections.

    • for four years, they kept chanting “Russian collusion”, “Russian collusion”,

      You’re leaving out a lot there. How about firebombing, brick throwing, shooting of congressional members, attempting to murder supreme court justices, and throwing criminals to the streets where they prey upon the citizenry? ALL of those have been done by the left in the pursuit of power.

  8. So his father is thinking of coming to New Zealand. Sorry, I for one don’t want him here. Why doesn’t he go back to Pakistan?

  9. As I’ve said before, those who threaten to leave are welcome to pack their bags and head out, but they would be well advised to check on the immigration policies of their would-be new home before putting the house up for sale. They’ll likely discover that few countries have as liberal immigration policies as the one they’re hoping to leave, and even fewer if you restrict your search to countries where indoor plumbing and at least a minimal level of public safety is routinely available.

    In other words, you might want to go live there, but they probably aren’t as enthused about the idea as you are…

    • I once looked to Canada for a job. Although I had driven from Washington State to Alaska without any hardship, the idea of a foreigner filling a Canadian job was another matter. I couldn’t get a permit to work in oil exploration unless I could prove that I would not be taking any advantage of Canadian services, like their health care and needed at least $10k in an escrows account to buffer any possible benefits thar I might need during my four-month stay.
      Ultimately, I was denied due to Canada’s determination that my job could be filled by a Canadian.
      Mr Farhissi has even less of a chance of getting a job offer for something a Canadian could do. I presume New Zealand would share Canadian’s views on immigration; they both swear allegiance to the British Monarchy.

      • For what it is worth, and not to detract from the justifiable outrage over the screed from the whackjob above, I do feel obliged to make clear one point about which many are confused.

        Canada does not swear allegiance to the British Monarchy. Canada swears allegiance to the Canadian Monarchy. The British Crown takes advice (is told what to say) from the British Government. The Canadian Crown takes advice from the Canadian Government.

        It is a confusing subject because both monarchies are personified by one, admittedly magnificent, woman. The sole remaining world leader who served in World War 2.

        Canada has many flaws. We tend to be relentlessly progressive, appallingly self-congratulatory and distressingly anti-American. But we are not ruled by Britain. We generally consider Canada to be among the finest countries in the world. Not that the competition is that tough outside of the Anglosphere and parts of western Europe.

        If we would pull our own weight in defense, I would happily upgrade us, dropping the “among”.

        • Canada is, indeed, a pretty great country. I’m sure at least some of that can be attributed to being somewhat choosy about who gets to live there, with policies such as those outlined by Brendan above. Think about how much worse your country would be if every crybaby American who threatened to “move to Canada” if their preferred political candidate didn’t win actually did move to Canada…

          • I actually know a couple who self-exiled to Canada, one of whom even commented here once. They are nice, smart, clever, informed, and even run a Red Sox blog. They are also dedicated Truthers, who believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney orchestrated the 9/11 carnage in cahoots with Israel, or something.

            If that wasn’t bad enough, they also don’t think Manny Ramirez is an asshole.

  10. In answer to your question, Mr. Ali, I’d say yes – it’s time to leave.

    Do you need any help with the packing?

  11. He should just leave then. No need to pay back for what America has done for him, just not having him continue eating our cultural seed corn will be payment enough.

  12. I do love how Mr. Ali doesn’t consider any of those nice democratic brown-skinned Muslim majority countries, just other Judeo-Christian culture, predominantly white European settled countries, that happen to have a more political left bent. I wonder why Pakistan is not a viable option? But the cherry on top of this essay, is that, despite America being the most hostile, racist, xenophobic, jingoistic, minority hating, piece of shit hellhole on Earth, Mr. Ali, will stay to fight to make it better for us all. He is, after all, a Patriot, who wants to improve America, even though its hard to find any redemption in it. But, as the progressives say, he will do the work.

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