Those Who Study History Choose to Repeat it

In 1945 the world ended the hateful, genocide driven Nazi regime.

And we said, “Never Again”.  And we meant it.

In 1965 the US enacted the Civil Rights Act.

And we thought we saw progress, but it was fought tooth and nail, and much of what was gained for those that needed it most was fragile and resented.  And we didn’t do enough.

In 1986 Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was deemed too racist to be a federal judge.

And we thought we made progress.

In 2011 Donald Trump lied that the President of the United States was not an American.

And in the right wing support of that lie, we saw that racism was alive and well, and we did not do enough. We allowed the right wing propaganda machine to tarnish a great president.

In 2015 Donald Trump began his campaign on a platform of hate and bigotry.

And we thought he could never win.

In 2016 Donald Trump continued to advocate hate and violence toward people of color.

And you said, “…But her emails”.

In 2016 it became obvious that Trump had ties to Russia, and ran, at minimum, ethically bankrupt companies and lied without end

And you said, “… she’s just as bad”.

When Trump was supported and cheered by every white hate group in the US,

You said, “I’m not a racist and neither is he. She’s worse.”

When Trump dog whistled the white supremacists and circulated their hateful memes,

You said, “It’s innocent.  He’s not a racist.  She’s worse.”

In 2016 when tapes were found of Trump confessing to be a sexual predator,

You said, “It’s locker room talk.  She’s worse.  And HER EMAILS!”

In 2016 when Trump “won”* the election,

You said, “You don’t understand angry white men” and “there was no Russian Interference, give him a chance.”

In 2017 when Trump kept lying and escalated his attacks on the mainstream media and their first amendment rights,

You stayed tuned to Fox News and agreed with him.

In 2017 when it became evident that Trumps main policy was to overturn President Obama’s social policies,

You stayed silent as rights were trampled and ICE was sent out as an agent of fear in the immigrant communities.  The parallels to Nazi Germany seemed irrelevant to you.

In 2017 we found there was Russian Interference, there was communication and collusion and there may be many more crimes that are yet to be uncovered.

You said, “It doesn’t matter, he won.  Besides, it wasn’t that bad.”

In 2017 When Trump began alienating the US’ traditional allies that help defeat the Nazi’s in WWII,

You reinforced your support for America’s adversary Russia, because liberals don’t understand.

In 2017 when Trump failed to mention Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance speech,

You weren’t bothered, let alone outraged.  Many people did die.  You thought it was a fine message, ignoring the echos of Holocaust deniers and white supremacists.

In 2017 when Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was not deemed too racist to be Attorney General of the United States

You said, “The president can pick his cabinet, stop over reacting”

When Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III decided that civil rights for people of color no longer needed protecting, but the repression of white Americans needed to be litigated.

You were silent, because you are white.

When Trump added Stephen Miller to his administration to write policy,

You didn’t care too much because you are white, you trust the process.

When a white supremacist drove his car into anti-hate protesters and Trump placed blame on the “violent leftists”,

You nodded and ignored the use of the same language Hitler used.

When the KKK and Nazi’s cheered Trump’s words,

You shrugged and said, “He can’t speak for all his supporters.”

When Trump read the words others wrote for him condemning violence and hate groups with the passion and fury of a dandelion,

You said, “See! He is a good man.”

When Trump went further and said there were many “fine people” marching with the Nazis,

You didn’t question it.  Marching with the Nazis and KKK doesn’t make someone a racist.  You ignored the marchers’ chants of “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews won’t replace us!” and their roots in Hitler’s regime.

When Trump equated the armed Nazis to the anti-hate protesters,

You might have said, something, meekly. You did nothing.  You picked party over country.  You picked power over the welfare of our country.  You picked silence over the uncomfortable feeling of doing what is right.  You supported racism and the desire for a new genocide.  Perhaps you need to look in the mirror and really reflect on who you see.

It turns out, we didn’t mean Never Again.  It has begun.  Pick a side.  Many of you are on the wrong side of history.  Hate will not win, we will not let it.

 

 

 

*Until there is a thorough audit of all voting results in 2016 results, it is impossible to say who won the election.  It has finally been acknowledged that Russia attempted to hack at least 21 states on Election Day.  It seems naïve to think they failed completely.  And since the government has refused to look close at results and even took the drastic step of eliminating the commission that oversees and protects voting procedures, don’t you think it smells at least a little fishy?  Seems like the unending of chorus of “we never talked to Russia” which has been proven false.  You make up your own mind, while you continue to ignore the (approximately) 75k votes that were not “counted” in Michigan.

 

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Will We Let Hate Rise Again?

 

In the wake of Charlottesville my heart aches as I stand astounded by the hate and destruction on full display.  What seems clear to me is, inexplicably, nebulous to others.  The hate and violence has been rising for over a year.  It is hard to miss, but it seems many still do.  Information overload may be partially to blame as we now live in a world where lying, contradictions and multiple crises come at us constantly.  Sadly, it is clear that many people have checked out.

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Let’s lay out some facts.

All of the white supremacist groups in the USA (the various neo-Nazis, the KKK, etc.) supported Trump for president.  Trump has never initially denounced them.  He has offered some weak words when called on this fact.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the Attorney General of the United States, was deemed too racist in 1986 to be a federal judge.  He is on record as saying the Civil Rights act is not constitutional.  Coretta Scott King provided strong testimony in 1986 that was squashed in 2017 by Mitch McConnell.  It is interesting the government standards for racism have suddenly become more lax after 31 years.

Since becoming AG, Sessions has

  • Killed many, if not all civil rights suits that were in motion.
  • Ended suits related to police oversight and assistance where police brutality and violence has been found
  • Refused to take on any new cases related to police brutality
  • Has spoken out against legal immigration

A mosque was bombed in Bloomington MN, the president of the United States has not commented on it.  He only commented on a similar event in Canada when he thought it was done by a Muslim.  When it was learned that it was done by someone who supports him and white supremacist groups, he became silent.

A man drove a car into police in France (ultimately. with ISIS taking credit).  The president of the United States could not condemn it as terrorism fast enough a before the facts were known.  After 2 days, he still has not directly commented on the car driven into to counter protesters at a White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing one and severely injuring many more.  The man arrested is known to be a supporter of white supremacist groups.

The rally in Charlottesville started with a torch march, reminiscent of KKK marches.

Many of the members of the Charlottesville march work flak jackets and military gear.  They carried guns, clubs, and other weapons.  Many wore the iconic “Make America Great Again” red hats.  They also wore Nazi and Confederate symbols.  Ostensibly, the point of the rally protest the removal of the statue, honoring the confederacy, of Robert E. Lee.  This was not a rally.  This was a flashpoint intended to be violent.  Thinking otherwise is naïve once you see how locked and loaded, ready for violence the protesters were.

The civil war was indeed fought to end slavery.  The south lost and slavery was eliminated.  As a compromise a few years later, the south was allowed to enact the various Jim Crow laws, which effectively became Slavery 2.0, as Blacks were considered less than whites.  As the rally showed, many still feel that way.

As of this writing, the president of the United States has never really called out Nazi’s and White Supremacists.  In fact, he has 3 in his administration: Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Seb Gorka.

As of today, there are 917 Hate Groups being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center.   Our government wants to ignore those run by whites, like the KKK.

Here we sit.  I believe I have all the above facts straight.  We allow free speech.  But you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater – it is dangerous.  Perhaps, like Germany, we should consider the type of hate speech that is being bandied about by Breitbart, the Daily Stormer and even Fox News as dangerous.  I believe in free speech, but perhaps we’ve gone too far if we’ve allowed everything we fought for in WWII to spring back to life and become a serious threat to our democracy.

The president of the United States did offer some wishy washy comments on Charlottesville.  The Neo Nazi’s celebrated those comments.  I include one here, showing the joy at least one member feels at being supported.

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Since writing the previous paragraph, the president of the United States after waiting 2 days for an aide to write him a stronger speech, made a more pronounced condemnation of white supremacists and their kind.  These were words written for him.  The words he chose on Saturday did not condemn anyone.  He spoke his truth on Saturday.  Today was what happens when smart politicians convince a racist he needs to say something else.  As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  That was the non-condemnation.  That was every speech and dog whistle he has made for the last 2 years.  The racists are still celebrating.

So great, we have a problem.  We have lots of problems, where do we start?  What next?  As rational human beings, we need to prioritize what is and isn’t important to us, yet many of us keep our head in the sand.  Do you really know what is happening? Do you care?  If you don’t care and don’t act, you are silently supporting the hate.  Feel free to disagree with me, but if you aren’t calling out the hate and aren’t in some way trying to make the world a better place, you are one less barrier the racists have to worry about.

The more I read and pay attention, the more I realize I know nothing.  I took 2 friends from the south wine tasting a while back.  It opened my eyes.  Afterward, they were emotional because it was an experience they didn’t they could ever have.  They were treated with respect.  Their questions answered without judging their experience.  For me, it was what I expected, but they were moved.  And yes, they are African American. We talked about how they are commonly treated as second class citizens.  I do not claim to know their experiences. I do not believe it is right to suddenly don the mantle of Social Justice and eradicate the behavior to which many minorities are subjected.  Noone has nominated me to be in charge.

But I can be aware.  I can make sure my words and deeds are consistent.  I can call out the casual racism around me.  I do not have to sit by and make sure that family and friends are comfortable in their intolerant attitudes and actions.  I’m not going make a big deal, but I refuse to sit by silently any longer.  People will feel uncomfortable.  Learning is uncomfortable.  Let’s be clear, I’m far from perfect. I’m sure I have a few tendencies and views that need to be modified.  A great journey starts with one step.  Where will your journey start?

What else can we do?  Quite a lot, actually.  I write this to relieve the pressure in my brain and the sadness each new day brings.  I don’t write this to shame anyone, but to provide viewpoints and education.  Hold yourself accountable.  We have a race problem in this country, are you doing anything to help or are you hoping someone else does something for you?  Are you making it easier for racism to flourish around you?

Will you change the channel the next time the news shows you a police officer has killed an unarmed black man like Philando Castile? Or when rogue police officers railroad a teacher to jail because of not using a turn signal like Sandra Bland, who died a mysterious death in jail?  Contrast that with Dylan Roof, who was treated relatively gently while being arrested for murder -the murder of several African Americans in a church.  Will you continue to believe that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group as Fox News wants you to believe?  Or will you be open to the fact that it is common for the Police to kill unarmed black men and face no consequences.  On one hand we have the police holding African Americans to a higher standard of behavior, while simultaneously they are not help accountable for their actions.  Shouldn’t more of us be outspoken about this?  Or would you rather condemn the quarterback that knelt in protest?  Seems like the focus is entirely in the wrong place for many.

We need to hold our elected representatives accountable.  What are they doing to both end the hate and increase the understanding of our different cultures?  I am appalled that our Justice Department wants to sue colleges for discriminating against whites because of Affirmative Action.  It is ludicrous, but since the AG is a clear racist, what did we expect?  We need to put legislators in place that will uphold our values, the values of the America that is a melting pot, taking in immigrants and refugees without regard to their wealth, their job or their ability to speak English.  Unless you are Native American, your ancestors were immigrants too.  I’m pretty sure many of mine didn’t speak English.  I intend on understand and pushing my local representatives on their agenda to improve racial inequality.

A first key step is to understand white privilege.  Being Jewish, I’m not white, but I’m close enough to have plenty of privilege.  I watched a friend and her son reflect back on their first “talk” when he was 5 or 6.  The talk young black men get to help them understand how to act around authority and not be killed by the police.  They continued on the first time he was really hassled and cuffed by the police at 13, because he must have been a thug.  I’m pretty sure I behaved no differently than this man in my younger years, but I have never been hassled by the police, let alone put in cuffs in the back of a car.  I’ve never made sure I was below the speed limit, so I couldn’t be pulled over randomly.  I most certainly never worried about a broken taillight or headlight.  But then to a drive passing by, I’m white.  This is white privilege in the simplest of terms.  If you are white, you have it.

The next time you see a person of color doing something different than you would do, change the context.  How has their life been different than yours?  What hardships have you avoided so you make different choices?  If they are being treated unfairly will you watch silently or will you walk away? What will it take to move you to action? What are you going to do to build a bridge and make this a better world?  It is no longer enough to wait for someone else to do it.

Finally, I leave you with the final status post of Heather Heyer. She was killed as a result of the terrorist act of driving a car into the crowd in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.  “If you aren’t outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

The GOP Hates You

The GOP hates you.  Well, not if you are rich and white.  Not if you are a white woman that likes the fact old men want to control your health care.  But they hate pretty much the rest of us.

Women’s Healthcare

Somewhere along the line, the GOP decided that Planned Parenthood was the enemy.  Yes they facilitate and perform abortions, but making it illegal for PP to use federal funds for abortion was not enough.  They are intent on obliterating them because women should not have access to healthcare focused on their needs.  They want to make sure you can’t get birth control, cancer screenings and other key services focused on women’s needs.  Yep, they hate women who use Planned Parenthood. Why else would they work so hard to destroy this asset to women?

Death via Trump/Ryan care

Right now there is a huge debate going about the new health care initiative.  Let me boil it down simply.  The GOP (mostly Paul Ryan, but the leadership is behind him) need you to lose your health insurance.  That’s right you.  If you are older and have health issues, you know the population that needs health care, they are working hard to raise the rates beyond where you can afford them. They call this freedom of choice.  You can choose the health insurance you want, but if you can’t afford it, that’s your choice.  See what they did there?  The screwed you then made it your fault.

Then, one of two things happens – you lose your insurance and/or you die.  Period.  That is the goal.  Once you lose your insurance and die, there are fewer people buying insurance.  Those that do buy it are younger and healthier, lowering the risk.  As the risk reduces, so do premiums.  Paul Ryan thinks it’s a great plan to help you along to the grave so that insurance premiums can do down.  Yes, I’ve simplified this, but this is the core of what’s going on.  Insurance premiums go down, the rich get a tax break and the government saves money because they are not subsidizing the sick.  They want you to die. Period.  I’d call that hate, no matter how they spin it.

The air you breathe, the water you drink

Have you seen the water in Flint Michigan?  Yes, it is brown and full of lead.  It is dangerous and deadly.  Luckily the EPA, well mostly Dishonest Donald and Scott Pruitt, have decided that cleaning up the water supply anywhere in the US is a luxury we can’t afford.  They have cut the budget for the Great Lakes clean up drastically.  In fact, they are so ecstatic they have repealed a law so that the creeks and water supply in Kentucky can again be fouled with coal waste.  Yes, there might be 10-20 new jobs for people to dump the waste, but thousands if not millions of people will be exposed to tainted water.  Let them buy bottles right?

But why stop there?  Let’s ignore climate change and pollution.  Do you remember what NYC and LA looked like in the early 70s? I do.  Smog, smog, and more smog.  A lot like China now.  Luckily for us Trump and Pruitt think you deserve that again.  They must surely hate us if they want to poison our water and our air.  I think they believe it won’t be bad in their lifetime, so fuck your grandkids.  The rich will buy filtration.  Yes, they hate you.

Good Bye Civil Rights, Hello Corruption

It was very important to confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General.  In fact 20 or so Democratic Senators voted for him.  (You should vote them out.)  Do you recall Mitch “call me turtle” McConnell telling Elizabeth Warren she could not read a letter from Coretta Scott King from 1986 about Beau’s rampant racism and civil rights violations?  I do.  From here on out, no one is to discuss what a racist Beau was in the past.

Instead, let’s focus on the racist views and actions of Beau today.  We are seeing a rise in hate crimes.  Brown people are being attacked and killed while being told to “go back to your country.”  Interesting.  All are legal residents and some are citizens.  You know what he has said?  Nothing.  Bob threats are made to Jewish centers every week.  What is being said?  Nothing.  Are you brown or Jewish?  Are you appalled at what’s happening?  He hates you.  Why else would he act this way.  By extension, so does every person that voted for him.  They all hate you.

Do you know what has being said?  That the DOJ will not support/pursue cases involving voters rights.  Since most voting rights cases involve those pesky brown people, it is a good thing.  If you value voting rights, they hate you too.

The DOJ will also not pursue the consent decrees with law enforcement agencies that were found to be guilty of excessive force.  Let’s pretend that never happened.  It is now wonderful for gung-ho cops to shoot first and ask questions later.  So what if few more undesirables get hurt or killed.  So what if brown people get profiled and hassled more.  They hate you.  They don’t care what you think.

But at least the DOJ will work towards the benefit of the country right?  Nope.  Doesn’t it seem odd that they fired all 46 US Attorneys nearly 2 months into the administration?  Doesn’t it seem odd that the one attorney they assured they would keep on was summarily fired as it came to light he was working on some corruption cases?  Oh and that his jurisdiction included Trump Tower? It’s a silly coincidence right?  You don’t care if corruption is taking place.  But if you do, like I do, they hate you.  This administration, supported by the entire GOP is about self-enrichment, not improving the country.  They hate you.  Don’t be naïve, even though they think you are.

Welcome Back Klu Klux Klan

Just this week, Representative Steve King of Iowa made several comments about how America is a white country and white culture.  I won’t repeat them, you can find a summary and analysis here.  It isn’t a secret that King would be more at home at KKK rally than at my Seder table, but the response from Washington is appalling in its silence.  Not one member of leadership has censured, rebuked or taken action on this disgusting behavior.  To make matters worse when King is questioned on it, he doubles down, affirming his position.

We shouldn’t be surprised that 1800 Pennsylvania Avenue is silent.  The white house wants  to “keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms.”  This is from a speech Trump gave in late 2016.  Make no mistake population share is about what immigration to the US.  None of those pesky brown people or Jews, let’s just keep the nice white Western Europeans.  Jews aren’t white.  Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, Dishonest Donald’s key advisors and policy makers, have not been shy about their feelings toward non-whites.  They hate them, believing other races and beliefs to be a cancer on white society.   Don’t be surprised, but if you aren’t white or actually care about the other people in our country, they hate you too.

The silence and tepid statements of “oh, we don’t like that” are dog whistles to the haters in the country.  The KKK and their ex Wizard David Duke applaud the White House often for their inaction and racist actions like the Muslim ban.

I could go on for days.  I haven’t even touched on Russia, the destruction of the public school system, the end of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the 24/7 commercial for Mar-a-Lago, filling Dishonest Donald’s pockets.

The GOP wanted this.  The GOP support this.  Make no mistake, they hate you.  The sooner you die, the better this country will be for them.

Is this what you want?