Cowardly New World

What follows is my most recent column from the Portland Phoenix May 28 issue, enjoy!

I know that the ancient Mayan calendar indicated the world may go and end in 2012, but I doubt it. Instead, let me illustrate how bad it might get, starting in that year.

Tucson, Arizona — April 7, 2012, 7:18 p.m.

 “Excuse me, sir, what’s your name?”

“Carl Alvarado, officer.”

“Yeah, right. Well, Carlos, show me your papers.”

“Papers? I’m a citizen. I live about 12 blocks…”

“Show me your ID, then, Carlos.”

“It’s Carl. I didn’t figure I needed an ID for a walk, sir.”

“Shut your damn mouth, you fucking wetback. You can rethink your story in the immigration service lockup.”

“Officer, we could just go to my house and…”

“Resisting arrest? Cool. We can play it that way.”

“Officer? Shit! Put away the taser, man!”

Dallas, Texas — November 10, 2021

A student of melanin level 8 was expelled from high school today after referring to “slavery” and “the slave trade” several times during a history class discussion, despite repeated warnings from the teacher.

“For 10 years now, we’ve had the mandated term ‘Atlantic triangular trade’ in schools, and for good reason,” said Principal Eric Davis. “It’s been shown time and again that terms like ‘slavery’ and ‘African-American’ and ‘racism’ are divisive and counter-American. I won’t stand for a student of any color throwing the word ‘slavery’ around when we’re trying to intelligently discuss the issue of imposed human resources practices of the past.”

District Superintendent Marge Whitney added, “You let a student get away with that, and the next thing you know, they’ll be bringing back those divisive ethnic studies classes that we in this great state and the state of Arizona have fought so hard to rid ourselves of.”

Washington, D.C. — June 4, 2026

Tea Party members celebrated their biggest victory yet since gaining the White House when President Rand Paul signed into law today the Civil Choice Realignment Act of 2026, giving private businesses the right to deny service to potential patrons, clients, customers or visitors based on religious, ethnic, sexual or philosophical grounds.

In Kentucky, where Mr. Paul had previously served as one of the state’s U.S. senators, Razorback Grill restaurant owner Gil Downey proudly placed up a sign in his front window, minutes after the signing of the law, reading “Whites Only — No Homos” and told reporters, “It’s about damn time we finally got government out of the business of telling us who we have to be around.”

Maybe those vignettes would seem more fanciful, and wouldn’t make my blood run cold writing them, if they weren’t based on recent news stories. Because Arizona’s draconian new laws regarding immigration pretty much give the police the power to demand “papers” from anyone they want to consider suspect in terms of legally being here, any time they have a valid reason to interact with a person on the street.

Because the Texas Board of Education does want to refer to the slave trade as the “Atlantic triangular trade,” a term that makes the act just seem like some simple innocent piece of historical commerce, as if slaves were comfortably stowed on ships along with textile and spices, instead of crammed in like sardines in the hopes that most would survive the journey across the ocean to become chattel and be stripped of all rights and dignity.

Because Rand Paul really does think that the Civil Rights Act really only intended to prevent governmental and “public” forms of discrimination, and that private businesses should be allowed to deny people services based on things like race.

The moves are already being made, and all it takes is enough people to not notice, or not care, or to rabidly support such nonsense, and we begin to have a nation that’s a lot less inclusive, much shorter on the concept of fairness and justice, ripe for more strife and violence, and a whole lot less diverse.

ETA: Just a few days ago in Chicago a Puerto Rican man was almost deported to Mexico since apparently the local cops thought he was here illegally despite the fact his mother showed proof that he was indeed born in Puerto Rico. Thankfully they realized after holding this fellow for several days that Puerto Ricans are indeed US citizens and have been since 1917. In this brave new world sadly I see plenty of Americans possibly being shipped off to countries they have no connection to because they don’t look American, oops make that white.

4 thoughts on “Cowardly New World”

  1. Your columns are excellent! I also just read “Cover your boobs, keep your guns at home.” My sentiments exactly (especially liked the part about setting up sex toy sales tables in good-old-boy neighborhoods!)

    The whole Texas/Arizona/Rand Paul axis of evil is depressing to be sure, but I just can’t yet believe they form a majority. In Maine, the whitest state in the union, response was swift and overwhelming when there was talk of a white supremacist group in Bucksport this month. It reminded me of a few years back when white supremacists offered to “help” Lewiston deal with its Somali population. Thirty racists showed up for a rally; 4,000 anti-racists turned out to repudiate them and their ideas.

    None of this is to say there isn’t racism; evidence of it is everywhere. But I hope we still know enough as a people not to go back to making it legal. I’m hoping Arizona’s law will be struck down. And I’m glad to see Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is being repealed. And I’m just now thinking of writing Rand a letter, thanking him for bringing my dream one step closer to reality: the day when I can say my business has decided not to sell our product to people with blue eyes! I just can’t stand being around them, what with those scary, pale, watery orbs and all.

  2. Brilliant, and very different in style.

    I can picture the student story happening.

    I also think Rand Paul has a decent shot at the Presidency in 2016, if not sooner. I see the whole Senate thing as mainly an ‘internship’ for the job.


    The beast of racism will not go quietly in the night. They’ll take us all down and the entire world to hang onto supremacy rather than share.

  3. Paul is particularly scary (is it just me or does anyone else have a hard time not reading ‘Ru Paul’ when you see his name?), esp. since he’s turned wolf in sheep’s clothing- as much as the Republican Party can be considered sheep- more mainstream, at any rate. Have you endorsed a candidate for Maine State Governor yet?

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