Thursday, December 24, 2020

Biden's Netflix cabinet


At my house we watch a lot of the light comedies and especially romantic comedies on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Some are good, some are bad. But they all take place in the same America (even the ones that don't really take place in America but instead take place in small fictional countries that are still somehow America). It is not the America that you or I know or live in. Oh, it bears a fair enough resemblance to our America. Its cities are our cities, and look the same, at least the nice parts of them. It is full of coffee shops and charming restaurants and nice neighborhoods you or I have walked through. Its people talk like us and have the same celebrities and politicians and sports teams and cars and parks and stores and weather. And it is diverse too, just like our America. There are black people and gay people and Indian people and French people and Korean people and gay black Indian French Korean people.

But it is a different America too. 

Everyone is middle class or very rich in this Netflix America. No one is really poor. And no one is racist or sexist or homophobic. It is like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream came true. The sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners have sat down at the table of brotherhood. They may even be dating! Little black boys and little white girls have joined hands as sisters or brothers. Yes, Netflix comedies are exactly that dream come true. They are that Rainbow America. There is no systemic homophobia, or racism, or sexism, or classism there. And it is not absent in the way people cruelly pretend it is absent in our true America, out of willful manipulation and greed and fear and cruelty, all while it so clearly and catastrophically is present, but rather it is absent in Netflix America because it is actually an America that looks like ours but just doesn't have any of that

So black men fall for white princesses and no one thinks twice about it. No one ever treats a black man differently. Opportunity comes down to the content of character. Transgender, Chinese, it doesn't matter in Netflix America, and not just when everyone is behaving at their very best, like in our America, but because in Netflix America that's how every single person actually is.

And so I have been following the first stirring of what the Biden administration is going to look like. It is a Netflix Rainbow! First woman this, first gay man that, first Latino this, first black woman that.

They are the perfect cabinet for Netflix America.

But in our America, the real one, there are fascists and racists. There are people ranting about Christianity who don't understand a single thing Jesus said. There are bullies who keep getting promoted, and kids going hungry. There is a country burning down and rich people gorging themselves on human lives to fill an emptiness that cannot be filled. 

The Biden cabinet should look just like it does, and I am glad to see it, just as I am glad to see the casting of all these Netflix movies and shows. But this Biden cabinet should be of this America as well, engaged with the fight for our America. It should have poor people and strange people and passionate people. I'm not sure it does. I think these are all Netflix people ready to work on Netflix problems. They got where they are, to positions of power and wealth, in this America, so it must be working, pretty much just as it is. Netflix America and a Netflix cabinet.

Except maybe for that Deb Haaland, proposed first Native American United States Secretary of the Interior. She seems all right. I won't close my heart to hope.

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