Recently, when my wife and I were asked where we live and we said, “Georgia,” the response of the northern lady asking the question was, “I’m so sorry.” Now, in Georgia, the word “sorry” is a synonym for being no good, but since we weren’t in Georgia at that moment, I don’t think this lady was claiming to be no good; more that we had given her bad news to the effect that (I suppose) we lived in some horrid place and she was sympathizing with us.
I told my wife later that at least she (my wife) is a woman and is therefore not part of the problem. What problem? That would be the problem of being a scapegoat. In this case, a scapegoat for about every bad thing that happens.
These days, most bad stuff is purportedly caused by angry old white men who live in (or wish they lived in) the South. I meet all these criteria except the angry thing, but when I say I’m not angry, people say I just haven’t realized it yet.
In “Margaritaville,” Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but everywhere else, people claim a white man’s to blame, and heaven help him if he’s also from the South, that part of the country everyone everywhere else loves to libel, mock and belittle in every possible way.
I saw my Facebook picture in the post office on the elitists’ most wanted list:
- Some kid in Peoria got diarrhea on his 10th birthday party and, like many “crimes” these days, witnesses who weren’t even there told CNN that I did it with some kind of hex or chemical that caused his green apple quick step.
- One of protesters blocking the 101 freeway in California said he couldn’t cope with the election results and guess who caused Hillary to lose. Even though the young man–one of those with no coping skills and spent Halloween in a safe room at college–said he “just knew” I rigged something and caused Hillary to lose.
- A man in New Jersey failed to respond to a chain letter and after he met with a horrible demise, his heirs said they were “pretty damned sure” I created the chain letter and all the bad luck that followed in its wake.
- Some people holding a seance in California, were told by well-meaning spirits that the reason their state is talking about a CALEXIT secession from the Union is–guess who?–me. They even marched on Sacramento and demanded that my California birth certificate be destroyed since–being old, white and in the South–I was “in all probability” the catalyst for all of the nation’s ills.
- Any time one of the 800+ American hate groups monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center says or does something abominable, I (and other old white guys) are presumed to have signed off on it even though we haven’t heard of the groups.
I don’t want to complain overly much, but being the default scapegoat for so many diverse ills is a tiring job. Sherman, who is not well liked in Georgia, once said, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” Hell, I wasn’t even nominated as the scapegoat; I (along with all the other old white guys) just got voted into the job by the same kind of elitist attitude that would bring a person to tell my wife and I she’s just so sorry we got stuck in Georgia.
Sure, I have an alibi for every crime on the list attributed to me, but in these interesting times, alibis don’t matter because my so-called “white privilege” (they say) allows me to rig the system and do whatever I want. That’s the assumption when I tell them I wasn’t there when they stubbed their toe on one of their cats or got drunk with hookers and got caught by their wives.
So, when it comes down to it, I can see that people’s perception of me (and my fellow white guys) is a projection they have created and that they now believe is the gospel truth. It’s hard to argue with that because folks think they’re right rather than nuts. Most of these people could be cured with Xanax or pot, but “recreational” cures are slow in becoming legal.
If you ever look at many of the things happening in the world and think the perpetrators are lunatics, you’ll know how I feel about those who blame me for for their problems. On the other hand, I know that blaming me gives many people a way to sleep at night.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of satire, fantasy, and magical realism novels.