Any rat can learn a single maze; that doesn’t make the rat a genius

Y’all. We gotta stop calling Stephen Miller a mastermind. Seriously. We’re calling him a mastermind way too much. He’s ain’t no mastermind. He’s and idiot who benefits from a system that is designed to benefit him.

That shit is obvious from the second you even start to think about it. He’s taking peoples’ rights away, but this country doesn’t just give out rights. In fact, it often takes droves of people fighting as hard as they can for as long as they can and sacrificing everything they have including their very lives just in hopes that a generation they’ll never even meet can have the most basic dignity of being recognized as human.

The people who have accomplished that are goddamn masterminds. But guess what. Those rights can be taken away pretty easily. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it burned in one because any fucking fool can start a fire.

So, no. Stephen Miller is not a fucking mastermind. He’s an imbecile that can only even exist because this country values its own fragility over its competence. He’s the soft ooze that leaks from a machine built to produce hard ooze.

I think the reason this bothers me so much is that calling Miller a mastermind continues down the path of the destruction of a clear and obvious reality (for now). I mean, if you’re a Nazi or Republican or whatever else you wanna call it, sure, Miller is a mastermind. For you and your standards that’s probably true, but the rest of us should fucking know better.

Like, the president is obviously a hateful, feeble-minded, overly sensitive coward who is somehow incapable of even baring this country’s most basic standard of humanity. Obviously. Or, you know, as his supporters believe, he’s a fair-minded, wise, tough warrior-champion, who is M-ing AGA.

Those people can believe that. I’ve spent my life experiencing worse than that from those people, so I’m fine with it. I expect them to think Miller is a mastermind, but if you’re not on their side, let’s not give this turd the benefit of the shine.

Now, listen. I’ve spoken about this before, but I was homeless for a little while when I was a kid. And I lived in a youth shelter for a minute. I got there right around the same time as this other kid, Billy. We were very similar. We were both gangly nerds who read a lot and couldn’t break the habit of talking too much about shit no one else cared about. In those ways, we were very different than the other boys at the shelter.

The other boys were tougher and more prone to violence. And, of course, because this was in Maine, they were all white. Billy, too.

Guess which one of us got our ass kicked every other day.

Did you guess me?

If you did, you are wrong. Believe it or not, Billy bore the bruises. This was because we had come from very different places. I came from foster homes where I was often the only Black person at school and always the only Black person at home. I had to learn how to stay out of peoples’ way. Not Billy, though. He came from a place where you could provoke anyone as much as you like because you could always yell for the teacher and walk away victorious.

Unfortunately for Billy, the shelter was nowhere near where he was from.

He’d provoke another kid, and run to the counselor. Sometimes he’d make it. Sometimes he didn’t, but even when he did, the counselors had to turn their backs sometime and vengeance is patient. Billy couldn’t square the environment that created him with the environment he was in, so the environment squared him. Over and over.

I left the shelter before Billy, so I don’t know if he ever learned. I like to think that he did. I like to think that he’s doing well in the world and no one ever says of him, “That guy should’ve gotten his ass kicked more as a kid.”

Now, look: Am I saying that Stephen Miller needs his ass kicked? Not in public, I’m not.

What I am saying is that he’s the product of his environment. We have systems that are made to create Millers and because the Millers are created by those systems, the Millers know how to use the systems.

A rat raised in a maze will know how to run that maze, but only that particular maze. In the end, a rat is gonna be a rat. He’s gonna run. He’s gonna spread disease. A rat can’t change what it is and neither can we.

But we can change the maze.

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Photo by John T from Unsplash


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