On May 26, 2021, at roughly 6:30 in the morning, in the city of San Jose, a light rail worker by the name of Samuel Cassidy, brutally murdered nine people. They were his co-workers. Their names were Paul Delacruz Megia, Taptejdeep Singh, Adrian Balleza, Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, Timothy Michael Romo, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Alex Ward, and Lars Kepler Lane.
Reading more on the massacre of the San Jose shooting, I read that those close to Cassidy describing him as a man frustrated with his job and the shifts he was receiving. I read politicians pontificate about America and gun violence. I read generalizations about reform. Nowhere did I read of this massacre referred to as a hate crime.
I understood immediately this was a hate crime. The media reported an oft-repeated narrative. First they described shooting, then described the shooter’s so-called economic anxiety and workplace frustrations, and finally read the name of his victims. It was a “they are stealing our jobs” hate crime. The film “Falling Down” captured this type of violent sociopath perfectly, damn near 30 years ago. We have long known this and yet many feign ignorance.
San Jose Shooting was a hate crime. San Jose Shooting was a hate cri
As usual the reader was expected to feel the pain of the shooter. The narrative attempted to link the outburst of violence to economic woes and / or anxiety. You must not be distracted by these white power lies. The white chess pawn was a willing participant.
One can only imagine if a working-class man named Jose or Abdolvahab were to slay eight working-class whites out of frustration with work shifts if such a flood of sympathy would be unleashed or demanded. San Jose shooting was a hate crime.
One imagines not.
We all know perfectly well what this. For the past six years, we have heard a billionaire, who poses with his family in high rise suites, talk about building a wall on the Mexican border and proposing a travel ban for Muslims described as a populist.
We have heard his followers described as misguided and alienated. We read of them as abandoned and forgotten. Politically, words like abandoned, forgotten are reserved for the Cassidy, never the Hernandez or Singh.
What makes a 3rd generation real estate mogul a populist? What is this popular appeal Trump has with the so-called masses? Lawsuit after lawsuit shows Trump doesn’t even pay his own workers.
What is his popular appeal?
The popular appeal of Trump and Tea Party before him, but even more explicitly Trump, is a defense against the swarthy hordes. It is a defense against the teaming undeserving masses coming after that which rightfully belongs to real Americans. It is the promise to defend “real America” from the “Un-Americans.” And yes, it is the promise explicitly to protect American jobs.
In the 1980s, a racist terrorist organization named the Order coined the 14 words. They read as follows, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” During the Trump campaign, the 14 words saw a resurgence amongst his racist followers. And like the Trump campaign, they got to the root of a demographic panic racist America is currently experiencing. The threat of loss of America to swarthy hordes to those considered “unAmericans” animates so much of today’s racism.
The 14 words is racism. But it is racism filtered through economy. And just because an economic dimension is added to racism doesn’t make it any less racist. And in fact, more often than not, it makes racism more dangerous. It makes it more explosive. It literally raises the stakes to life and death, as seen last week in San Jose.
When I saw the names of victims and shooter, I knew immediately what I was looking at. We all do. Too many of us pretend not to. Stop lying. Stop turning away.
Matt Sedillo, Public Intellectuals
Matt Sedillo has been hailed as “the best political poet in America” by journalist Greg Palast and the “poet laureate of struggle” by historian Paul Ortiz. He is the author of “Mowing Leaves of Grass” and the literary director of the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona CA. Visit his website: www.mattsedillo.com