The Reality Disconnect

Geraldo and Ann Coulter recently had a debate about immigration that was fun to watch, but Washington Heights came up as an example of “immigrant vitality.” It was wedged in with a bunch of other predominantly Hispanic communities and it sounded good in an argument, but I live in New York and Washington Heights sucks. It is quite possibly the least vital place in America, crammed with unemployed men lining up to get their hair cut, again. Kids play in the street into the wee hours as their single parents watch movies projected onto the side of a building. It’s like a retirement community for twentysomethings and I wouldn’t fault them for it if it weren’t on my dime. It’s actually a great example of the reality disconnect we have in this country. In our minds, Washington Heights is a cute little Hispanic village where fathers bring home some bacalaítos for the family after a hard day’s work. In reality, Dad’s long gone and his son will “eat your food” (cut your face) for disrespecting DDP (Dominicans Don’t Play). It’s like the FDNY. We like the idea of men fighting fires and we hold a candle for 9/11, but there aren’t any fires in New York anymore. The ideal of the firefighter is bankrupting us.

This is what we do in America today, and Charles Murray predicted it in his book Coming Apart. Politics has become a sport that we watch on TV instead of playing outdoors. Hypotheticals take precedence over hate facts. The net result is a mythical fairyland that bears very little resemblance to the America we all see when we walk out our front doors. I’m not talking about anecdotal evidence. I’m talking about reality.

The basic tenets of the liberal narrative include: Women are thriving in the workforce since being freed from the prison sentence that is the housewife’s life. Southerners are stupid, racist rednecks who are proud of slavery. Undocumented workers are hardworking people who love their families and are just coming here for a better life. Islam is a religion of peace; the extremists are only acting like that because we made them that way. Gender is a construct. Gays are madly in love and can’t wait to devote themselves to the bliss of matrimony. Blacks are struggling a little, yes, but that’s because “systemic” racism is “alive and well” today and cops are out to get them. The only problem with America these days is white men.

It’s a weird narrative that seems to come more from bratty spitefulness than from any kind of rational long-term plan. I think all these ideas may have started in the right place, but after achieving their goal of true equality they just kept steamrolling over us into the sunset. If you call bullshit on them, you’re a bigot or a racist or a sexist. All right, fine. If using my eyeballs and ear holes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Some women thrive at work. I find they’d be much happier at home shaping lives. They sweat the small stuff better than men. However, when we book the conference room and it’s Linda’s turn to contribute an idea, the guys inevitably have to sympathy-nod and say, “Yes, that could work” while pretending to write down her totally unfeasible idea. At home, the kids are with an immigrant nanny who doesn’t really get Western culture and has abandoned her own kids back in the Third World. Women say they’re empowered and wouldn’t want to have kids as they shovel so much affection on their dog, you worry they’re going to get married.

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