An Everyday Profile: Make America Great Again

  • Per the latest polling, Bernie Sanders currently holds an eight point lead over Hillary Clinton in Iowa (51% to 43%), and a whopping 26-point advantage in New Hampshire (60% to 33%), the first two primaries on the way to gaining the Democratic nomination.
  • According to the latest Monmoth Poll, Clinton’s national lead over Sanders has shrunk 18% in the last month, from a 59%-26% spread in December down to 52%-37%. In the latest debate, when asked about Hillary’s imposing 2:1 advantage with the black vote, Sanders responded (which starts around the 16:00 mark):

To answer your question, when the African-American community becomes familiar with my congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African-American community, so will the latino community.

We have the momentum. We are on a path toward victory.

  • Momentum, indeed.
  • The DNC, which has done its best to ensure Americans are hidden as much as possible from seeing Bernie Sanders on primetime television, has to be worried. Unexpectedly on Wednesday it was announced that there would be a new debate, tonight, which will be town-hall style and televised on CNN.

So there’s this guy I work with. His name is Kevin.

Kevin is one of my many bosses. In terms of said bosses, however, Kevin is the lowest level of my superiors. I don’t say this to take anything away from him insofar as establishing our proximity within our department’s hierarchy. I am one of maybe 75 dealers, and Kevin is one of maybe 25 floor people.

He stands about 5’9″, but it plays shorter in reality because he’s got a round, pudgy figure. He has a ginger beard and is balding, and has a wife and four kids. He’s 32, just seven years older than I am.

Out of perhaps everyone I have ever met, my behavior is most similar to Kevin. He’s an opinionated sports-lover; he’s arrogant without intending to be; he loves shit-talking with people who can dish it back; and he is not afraid. He isn’t right all the time, but he thinks he’s right all the time. He is absolutely convinced there can only be one way.

The first day I dealt craps was one of the most intimidating of my life. On the one hand I have all of these complicated fucking bets I need to pay out — by using a specific procedure, no less — and on the other I have to prove myself to the other dealers, and not punk out in front of the players. I thought it was going to feel like that every day. But maybe, like everything else, that’s just the natural pressure I put on myself until I got good at it.

The following day, I was sitting on a dead Baccarat game, and Kevin pulled up a chair with one of those ugly yellow notepads in his hand. He told me:

Okay before I give some pointers and shortcuts that might help, for your first day on craps, very well done.

You can say what you want about small victories, but since that was The Game I had been working on for parts of the four months prior, it meant the world to hear that from someone. It was my first step to realizing maybe I ain’t so bad after all. And even scarier… maybe I’m actually pretty good.

I was brand new to day shift — that was the first time Kevin spoke to me; I didn’t even know his name was Kevin until a couple weeks later — and still about two months new to this casino as a whole. I was hungry for acceptance from any direction that was willing to give it. But Kevin was the first, and I won’t forget that.

But Kevin is also a vaccination truther. He’s a climate change denier. He thinks — and this is real — that the woman’s role should not be in the workplace, but rather at home taking care of kids. He believes the problem with the United States are that working people (like us, as if I’m now part of this) are paying too much to support those living off government aid. (This would be more reasonable if he didn’t single out black people and illegal aliens as the main culprits.) He also thinks it would be death to the US economy if the minimum wage went up to $15 per hour.

So you take two people — like Kevin and I — who aren’t stupid. Who have the mental capacity to be proficient at dealing the not-easy game of craps. Who share similar outlooks about how to play craps and blackjack, and have similar taste in consuming and analyzing sports. Across virtually every arena, Kevin and I walk the same lines.

But fundamentally, we are two completely different people. He is a Creationist and I am anti-theist; he is Republican and I am a (true) Libertarian; he thinks gay marriage is one of the root causes to why our country is crumbling.

And I think it’s because of the people who think like he does.

What is most confusing about people who think in such a way isn’t that the ideas are so extreme. It’s that the line-in-the-sand positions require so much effort to maintain. When it comes to vaccination, the age of the earth, and climate change, the debates are over. And have been over for a while now.

Vaccination doesn’t cause birth defects. The earth isn’t 10,000 years old. And climate change is real.

Out of the two of us, as similar as we are on the surface, I’m the one whose behavior is consistent with his beliefs. Kevin and I are both intelligent in our ways, but it’s the type of intelligence that comes from laziness: It doesn’t require any effort from me to not believe in a god, or to not hate gay people, or not stereotype minorities. Probably close to 90% (or more) of what I believe about the human condition stems from if it doesn’t affect me, why should I care? It’s ultimately an exercise in egotism and narcissism, but built-in to the logic is the idea that, no, I shouldn’t have to care. Nobody should have to care. We should be so far beyond worrying about gay rights, and women’s rights, and black people’s rights. People are supposed to be smarter than that in 2016.

But that shouldn’t be the point. Kevin believes a lot of crazy shit, yet if a black person or a hispanic or a Muslim’s life was on the line and Kevin was the only one who could help, I am absolutely convinced he would do the right thing. Contrary to almost everything I’ve written about him, I would gamble that Kevin is a good person. Even taking into account his racist, bigoted exterior when he’s explaining his viewpoints to me.

No, it probably isn’t appropriate to be getting into political arguments with my coworkers — let alone someone higher than me in the pecking order — but Kevin and I do it for the same reason. Because we can talk shit and remain friends at the end of the day. As totally out there as I think his beliefs are, I imagine that street runs two ways.

The way it usually goes is that one of us leaves for break and we just start up again another time.

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Only The Ladder is Real – In Retrospect at West End

  2. Pingback: Revisionist History in the Making – In Retrospect at West End

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