Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Making the post about Orlando reminded me about our recent trip to Las Vegas and an interesting conversation we had with a taxi driver there.

Moshe is the spelling that I will use for his name. That's how he pronounced it, at least.

There were three of us in his cab: me, my wife and our youngest nephew. We had all come from a Carlos Santana concert and were all quite intoxicated and ready for anything.

We three piled into Moshe's cab and after telling him where we needed to go, he quickly asked us, "What do you think about Donald Trump?" in a very stilted accent.  

"He's an idiot! He's a total asshole! He's a racist, sexist scumbag!" we all blurted at about the same time.

Undaunted, Moshe proclaimed that he was going to vote for Donald Trump.

"What? Why? What is wrong with you?!"

Moshe went on to give us a brief life history: he is an Ethiopian Coptic Christian now working in Las Vegas driving taxis. He moved to this country several years ago with his wife and child. He left Ethiopia because the Muslims were systematically murdering the Coptic Christians, along with various other groups, even other Muslims. 

Even with this bad shit, he claimed that the countries in that region, especially Ethiopia, were so much smarter than the Western world. "We have been there for thousands of years!" The Western world doesn't know shit!" 


While he was certainly pissed off at the marauding Muslims who ran him out of his home country, Moshe was also appalled by all the rights this country gives to women.

Moshe's wife was apparently starting to like life in the US and got a job as a dealer in a casino. Suddenly, she was making more money than he was, and he didn't like that one bit. She started insisting that Moshe help take care of the children! After all, women raise the children, he said, while motioning from his chest (boobs?) in a "feeding the baby" gesture.

And now, Moshe's wife wanted a divorce! This one really sent Moshe into orbit. "50% of marriages end in divorce in this country!" he wailed. He was upset that women could get a divorce so easily in this country. 

Now, to me, a high divorce rate is not a problem. It shows that women are gaining more rights and exercising their own strength, maybe even correcting a mistake, but to Moshe this was an abomination.

He railed again against the total decadence of Western nations and the rights that we have given to gays. "They can even get married!" 

With all these rights for women, gays, and Muslims, Moshe said quite loudly, "Your Constitution is shit!!"

That comment really set me off. I don't normally have a "love it or leave it" attitude, but the United States Constitution is just about the best Constitution that any nation has yet developed, and I don't think I'm just being a jingoistic provincial. Unparalleled personal freedoms? Separation of powers? Separation of church and state? Sure, women or blacks didn't have many rights in the early days of this country, but those were eventually added by the Amendments to the Constitution.

By crapping on the Constitution, he was crapping on our Founding Fathers and the entire country. I suppressed my strong desire to yell, "Then get the hell out! Go home!"

But the ride was over before we could yell at him too much. One thing we did do was to remind him that we Americans were not going to chop his head off, and while we disagreed with his opinions, we recognized his right to have them. So we all shook his hand, wished him luck, tipped him anyway, and bid him farewell. 

Looking back, the anger and vehemence with which Moshe described life in America reminds me of the anger that seems to characterize the Orlando mass murderer. Moshe brought many of his "Old World" attitudes and prejudices with him to this country. This is understandable. I doubt if any immigrants instantly adopt all the mores and habits of their adopted country. It takes time to mesh the old with the new. And some people don't do a very good job of it.

But here we have an immigrant who hates Muslims, women and gays and wants to vote for Donald Trump.

He probably can't even vote yet. It can take years before immigrants become citizens and gain the right to vote. Wouldn't surprise me if Moshe showed up on Election Day and tried to vote anyway, because he thinks that Donald Trump is a genius.

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