Politics of Personal Profit

As revealed last week, a former competitor of Hillary’s for Bill’s love is coming out in a bombastic manner: “Hillary Clinton once called disabled children at an Easter egg hunt ‘f***ing ree-tards’ and referred to Jews as ‘stupid k***s’ while Bill called Jesse Jackson a ‘damned n****r,’” are a few of the “talking points” in her recently released book.

Earlier this week, because of an afternoon meeting, I went to the gym earlier than usual, so instead of the usual scattered human remains of Bones I was forced to watch a series I presently find silly, Supernatural. It was the middle of an episode, and since I don’t follow the series, it was hard to tell, based solely on appearance, the good guys from the bad guys in the eternal battle between good and evil. At some point, one of the characters said: “She warned you I was evil. You should have listened. Now all hell will break loose.” Literally.

As a young woman, when I was fond of spirituality — I called myself a “shaman” back then, and manufactured “power jewelry” — and inclined to the left, which I understood was the “right side,” I made a pledge to myself to never tell a lie. It worked for a while, although I had to work hard to supersede my basic education: My mother had always told me “white lies” did no harm, and an aunt that I considered a second mother tried the best she could to destroy my enlightened illusions by affirming that “in this world, only money matters.”

My aunt has finally won. This week, imagine, I was too lazy (or simply not interested enough) to leave our apartment in order to “commune” with the Solstice Full Moon. Just another full moon.

Okay. As I already implied, my pledge did not last. Eventually I had a crucial, dreadful experience while working as an art director in an advertising agency, during some sort of “feel good meeting” that was popular at the time. The psychologist-in-charge urged us all to say anything that bothered us concerning our colleagues. I was the only one naïve enough to say what I truly felt.

The result was disastrous. Although popularity has never been my specialty, after my ungainly confessions, I was even more unpopular. My position became unsustainable, and I ended up quitting my job.

Today, although no longer bounded by sacred pledges, I feel free to say whatever I want the way I want. But I still struggle to make myself turn a blind eye to what I envision as the ultimate truth. I often prefer to be honest, which, let’s face it, has not helped much. Especially considering the need to earn some money.

Back in Brazil, where I left behind a massive political and economic crisis — I should add “moral and ethical,” but it would be too overwhelming — it was quite easy to understand who was on the “right side,” despite the noise made by the left — the “regressive left.” There was no way a well-intentioned person could infer that the same people who were guilty of massive corruption, money laundering (not surprisingly, the Federal Police operation that is exposing their machinations is called “Carwash”), and, worse, bankrupting the country, were the “right guys.” Even if their declared political tendency was to the left, a position intellectuals and pundits still praise, despite indications that their agenda is utterly failing. Everywhere.

However, once I “left home” and was all alone in the big, bad world — honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so harmful — matters no longer appeared so clear. And despite feeling compelled to observe, to analyze, to put my uninformed, third-worldly opinions to work, I’m quite conscious of my frequent shortcomings, of the shock I experience when confronted with daily hypocrisy, and of the surprising gut reactions I’m too embarrassed to share on Twitter. Which, of course, makes me a hypocrite, too.

And that’s where I stand today. It is a crucial week for “the future of the world,” and there’s no clear indication to who will win the Brexit vs. Remain battle, since both campaigns were thrown into an ideological quagmire by the indisputably horrifying murder of MP Jo Cox, which, by the way, made every opinion contrary to her position sound monstrously wrong. Therefore, as a personal favor, I will spare you the politically incorrect inclinations that are burning inside me, threatening to make me hate myself into oblivion.

As a permanent foreigner in this big bad world, I feel like a bat, blinded in the dark with only my internal compass to guide me, and worse, on the edge of turning into a vampire. And unfortunately, this treacherous choice is not mine alone. Airbnb, for example, the “jewel of the new economy,” is being harshly criticized for the way some of its members “choose who they will rent to,” but no one can force an individual to receive a guest against his will. In the social camp, people are afraid of racial profiling, but the FBI could potentially have avoided the Orlando shooting had they kept an accurate profile of Omar Mateen. Bats. Vampires.

Now back to Hillary: at the end of the day, would you vote for a person who hides her bigotry to conquer the votes of the so-called morally superior? Or would you prefer someone else, who exhibits a fake prejudice in order to earn the votes of the country scum? Tough choice.

Meanwhile, as I was running on the treadmill (at a speed that exceeds my present physical limits, I must admit), I tried to create this text in my head and watch the Supernatural episode at the same time… Not surprisingly, after 40 minutes of such divided attention I failed to grasp the honorable battle’s denouement. It’s just completely natural, it happens all the time in our multitasking, over-opinionated, uber-connected world with no borders, nor limits.

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A final note: this chronicle was already written under the title “Everybody Lies,” but I found it “inspiring” that Donald Trump came up with a slogan to describe Hillary’s public service in his Wednesday speech: “Politics of Personal Profit.” Brazilians can teach Americans a thing or two concerning this disastrous PPP policy. Honestly.

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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