A guy called me today at the office to inform me of a crime spree I hadn’t yet been aware of: Mexicans, he said, are going into our hospitals and stealing babies.
The method of theft is to hide the babies in oversized purses (he didn’t say “oversized,” but it’s the only way this would work, right?) and make an unobtrusive getaway.
“They are just putting them in purses and they walk right out,” he said.
I suppose I could have asked him for details of this scheme. Heck, it might have been fun. Is this organized or some sort of leaderless resistance to perceived Anglo tyranny? What do they do with the babies? How do they have room for stolen babies with so many “anchor babies” that they have just to collect welfare? How is Raúl Grijalva involved in this?
I didn’t do that. Instead, I thanked him and assured him that the councilmember will give this news all the attention it deserves.
The other day, I was on a panel at a forum on issues facing the elderly. A woman I wasn’t sure I recognized got up and started to talk about fraud being committed against older folks. Then, things turned more sinister when she started talking about Mexicans being the main perpetrator of this. It was about then that I recognized her as a woman that rants at mayor and council meetings about Aztlan (she thinks that’s an organized group rather than a concept of aging Chicano activists, apparently) and the Catholic Church plotting to wreck America in some way or another. Sure enough, that’s the direction she went.
Even if she had a marginally sane point, she went on way too long. I don’t know why the person holding her mike didn’t snatch it away and give her a curt “Thank you.”
Eventually, she finished. I looked over at the fire chief, who was also on the panel, and he looked at me, both of us with a silent, “You want to take this one?”
The person holding the mike looked over at the panel and said “Do any of you have anything to say?”
I was thinking of mentioning my time in MEChA (Aztlan was part of our name, after all) and letting her know that most of our time was spent raising money for scholarships and get togethers at South Tucson restaurants. I thought better of it.
Everyone else had the same idea. It was a mix of motives: the impossibility of addressing her bizarre allegations and the hope that silence was the best answer.
Really, confronting her would have wrecked the whole event. Instead of having what could have ended up a screaming match and a lone bozo considering herself a martyr to free expression and her rather twisted version of the truth, we ignored the comments and talked about things like hearing aids, transportation issues for people who no longer drive and senior poverty. Basically, we got to talk about what we showed up to talk about.
It’s a tough line to draw. The loudmouth uncle shows up at a family gathering and talks about what the queers are doing to our precious bodily fluids and you stop yourself because the confrontation might be uglier than what was being said. You wave and say a nice hello when walking by the house with the confederate flag and the “Hands off, Barack” sign.
Of course, like everything in politics this Summer and Fall, this brings us to Donald Trump. None of this excuses Trump, who seemed to be showing agreement with the ridiculous comments that a man made at his “town hall” meeting last week. Civility doesn’t mean saying “right on” to every hateful thing somebody says. Could Trump have just said “next question”? Yeah, probably. I think his response says that he’s now being led around by the monster he’s created.
How are the rest of us supposed to handle nonsense like this? I try my best to confront when I can. “Dude, when you say spick, you are talking about my mom,” is among my favorites. One of the reasons we’ve come so far over the last fifty years or so is because plenty of people have said, “Hey, that’s not cool.” Still, this can end up being a big game of whack-a-mole: we spend all our time finding outrage and we’re left with little time to get the important work in front of us done. Maybe that’s the strategy of the Trumps of the world.
Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.