an epiphany

So the other day I was reading this article about a town in Iowa full of dairy farms and its inherent contradiction of going all out for Trump despite completely depending on immigrant labor. And during the night, something hit me, and I felt like the world turned inside out for me: All these “illegal immigrants” that rural white folks get so riled up over are the indigenous people of North America, pushed out by multiple waves of European colonists. When they come back they get to work at the shittiest jobs for slave labor rates, with the threat of deportation hanging over them should anyone speak up; it’s the people who just walked on in and waved guns around who’re the real illegal immigrants here, using the classic deflection technique of calling the other side what you are.

It’s, like, sure, I’ve had all the pieces to this realization, but it never really all came together until late one night when I was in my late forties and I kinda feel incredibly stupid and part of an utterly horrible system that I’m powerless to change and I kinda wonder if the world would be better off if the Black Death had wiped out 90% of Europe.

(I wonder if part of why it took so long to put this together was spending the first twenty five years of my life in a city that has deep scars around the history of slavery, and had gotten rid of not only its original locals, but pretty much all evidence that they even ever existed aside from place names and a weird Mardi Gras tradition. There were some “Hispanic” people around town, living the same middle-class life I was except for sometimes speaking Spanish to their parents, and that was just kind of… normal.)

There is a very high probability that I will choose to do absolutely nothing about this realization beyond what vague leftist waffling I already am, and that kind of horrifies me too. Just another day in the United States of Omelas, a place powered entirely by continual misery and suffering that I can currently afford to look away from.

Anyway. Hi, I’m a honky from the Gulf South and I just now realized wwhat Middle Americans and rural Westerers are really talking about when they talk about “illegal Mexican immigrants” and holy crap the entire history of the European expansion into this continent sure is a massive five hundred year old tornado of misery and pain isn’t it. I guess I never noticed that because I was a bit distracted by the massive four hundred and something year old hurricane of misery and pain started by the Triangle Trade that I grew up in. I am sure there would still be pain and suffering in the world if not for rich white people, but goddamn there we sure have caused a lot of it in the name of profit.

I wonder how stupid and naive this post makes me sound.

  1. You’re talking about something which was pretty comprehensively hidden from you – something which you and everyone you know were pretty comprehensively lied to about, even. And one of a depressingly vast number of such things, no less. I think this is one of xkcd’s lucky ten thousand situations, except the number is way less than ten thousand (because most people in the US haven’t thought about it at all) and because the facts you’re learning about are horrible and galling.

    And I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it, so you’re hardly the last leftist waffle to pick up on it.

    And I’m probably going to react much the same as you are, because what can we do?

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