Here’s my latest, thanks to some recent ugly discourse on FB regarding immigration & the military. From the same source, some months ago, I got asked how I felt about Nazi re-enactors who came to local events. Now I’m chewing on why reenactments are needed at all.
There are multiple prompts for this post, but the core points come from the three articles below and the ensuing discussion of access to citizenship through service as an immigrant, which recently changed, thanks to isolationist bullshit coming from the white nationalists (read: Nazis) currently in charge of our country’s administration.
There’s also the editorial cartoon, dated January 17, 2018, from Jeff Danziger, through the Washington Post Writers Group, that depicts a couple of soldiers sitting and talking while on watch against attack in an unspecified desert location.
The first soldier says, “Remember that guy Morales who used to be in our unit? The guy who came to the U.S. at ten years old, did well in school, went to college, then enlisted, made Sergeant, served in a combat zone, honorably discharged, got married, had two kids…”
The second soldier says, “What about him?”
And the first one replies, “They’re deporting him.”
I’m not going to reproduce the dialogue from the FB post, because that would be wrong, but it got me thinking and then it got me angry.
I posted a link to the following HuffPo article because it popped up in the way only FB links to articles can, at least until FB screws up their feed and stops this from happening.
See, I’m from more than one of those “shithole” countries: Russia (Belarus and The Ukraine, if you must know), Poland, Austria, even England, if the English were Jewish. And I grew up in Rochester, in an Italian neighborhood, full of first gen kids. Me and my friends? We’re all children of immigrants. Some of us haven’t forgotten that. And just in case you thought it was only Latinx who were in danger here, there’s this guy, too. Being of European extraction isn’t enough to protect you, if you only have a Green Card.
In fact, some of the bloody awful stuff to come in advance of the Civil War revolved around immigrants who weren’t slaves. In the grand scheme, what white folks did to slaves is far beyond, but this is part and parcel of today’s immigrant trouble. Folks lose sight of it because the Civil War was about slavery and we want to maintain that focus for obvious reasons, but racism wasn’t isolated to slavery by any stretch. Here’s a sample of what I mean.
But you know what finally set me off? This article, HISTORYNET: The Civil War Reenactor’s Brave New World, in turns laments the “good old days” and sees current events as problematic. The money quote is below:
“Reenactors passionately affirm that they exist to honor history, not to serve as a conduit for hatred. But the history of the Civil War is entwined with hatred, both racial and political, and reenactors are confronted with emerging evidence that, in the public’s eyes at least, it is not always easy to take a scalpel and cleanly separate one from the other.”
And that led to the storm. Here’s the result, all in one post.
Seems to me, taking the losing side in any reenactment is an exercise in selective filtering. How do you play a Nazi without believing they were right? I mean, this is more than just a war game where you pick up a tiny plastic figure and put it on a table-based battlefield to explore strategy.
We’re talking about the full kit: Uniform, weapons, language. Same thing with Confederate soldiers. Same with virtually any war-culture where the winners write the books and the losers have to hope that someone will tell their side, eventually.
So that leads me to wonder…
If you can justify playing the bad guy, how does your brain allow it? How do you keep “this is what they did” from being “this is what I would do if I was given the opportunity?”
As it happens, I think (but could be wrong) that I am often the only available “Jew” in this social circle, and that makes me de facto authority on the subject of “what’s offensive” to my people when subjects like these come up. Here’s the funny thing: I make for a poor sounding board. I’m a practicing UU, ethnically but not religiously Jewish. I relate because of my heritage, but I wasn’t raised in the faith.
So when I’m asked how I feel about Nazis who re-enact, I come at it from a different angle than most of my more religious tribe members. It’s personal because I lost family on both sides of the Front in Germany. Austrians who never made it out. They died in the camps.
I also lost a Russian-American cousin who fought in the military. Jack Orshansky was a member of the Army Air Force and he was killed in action in 1945, in Germany. His mother was my Great Aunt. He was a first generation anchor baby for the family, who immigrated around 1900.
Funny, that. Chain migration brought the Orshansky family from Russia to the US, where Jack was born, and then at the tender age of 26 died to help free the Germans from the Nazis.
His brother, Nat, was born in Russia. His cousin, my Grandmother, was born here, in Brooklyn.
In fact, all of my grandparents were born here. All of them were anchor babies. My father, second generation, served in the Army just after the end of the Korean War. Immigrants. Worthless? Because we come from Europe, but not the part the Nazis in this country value.
When I hear how awful these DACA people are today, how they’re all “illegals” and should go home, I have a problem with that. A big one.
I want to know when your family arrived in this country. Forget about “legal” immigration. Laws change and what was once legal now isn’t.
When you call me out for asking when your family arrived, and you suggest that I’m not serious about this, maybe think about WHY I’m asking the question, because almost certainly I’m not joking. I’m deadly serious. I don’t care who you are or how long we’ve known each other.
If you haven’t thought about when your family came here, if you lack empathy and can’t put yourself in the place of these families, many of whom left home for a better life and often just to survive because certain death awaited them otherwise? That’s your privilege talking.
If you can’t see how your privilege makes it possible for you to call these people “illegals” or you side with your friends rather than calling THEM out over their privilege? If you think I’m kidding, I don’t think you know me well enough. I don’t joke about this stuff.
I never ever thought it was funny. I don’t think it’s funny now. I’m not amused. I’m angry. I may not practice my faith but I own every inch of this Ashkenazi Jewish skin and I will call you out. If you don’t like it, feel free to unfriend me. Unfollow me. Whatever you need.
And don’t EVER ask me again what I think of Nazi re-enactors. Or Confederates. Or anyone else who purports to show “the other side, because someone has to.”
If you feel comfortable playing Nazi, I don’t want to be near you. Not ever. If your friends are okay with it? Same.
It is my contention that it is disingenuous at best to point a finger at someone who got here because his parents brought him here without permission, who has served as a member of our defense department, who pays taxes and contributes as a member of society and say that the person is “illegal” when those laws are arbitrary and often designed to shut out people based on race, religion, or any other society-assigned trait. It’s not how or why this country was founded and is antithetical to the purpose of the United States as a whole.
Dave, from Colorado, sums it up best in this sound clip from Washington Journal, courtesy of C-SPAN.org:
I have a lot more to say on the subject, none of it polite.
It all starts and ends with this:
This is what we face. Not just voter obstruction, but a total divorce from reality. The end of our federal government as we have known it, and maybe the end of the US as an entity.
People aren’t paying enough attention. They think the 2017 results in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere are a collective bellwether for change. I think they’re wrong. VA Dems already took some steps to reverse the damage done by the GOP to voting rights, and that’s why they won as many seats as they did. Cue paper balloting and allowing former felons who’ve served their time to recapture the right to vote, plus getting complacent liberals off their collective asses will make a difference.
I don’t have the same warm fuzzies for the seats up in 2018 because those folks are up against the elimination of the Voting Rights Act, and 10 seats in states that went for Obama in 2012 went for Trump last year.
The writing’s on the wall.
It’ll be over before that if 2018 comes out the way I expect it to.
Here’s just one reason why:
A friend recently commented on FB:
I’m a bit surprised to hear you speak of this as an existential crisis. Despite all of the #McResistance going on, there are few Democrats willing to do so.
Why are you surprised?
I’ve been talking about this for years. Since before 2012, at least. Really, since before 2008.
My story hasn’t changed. We’re just starting to see the proof that I’ve been right all along.
And that’s fucking terrifying.
Because it isn’t something I’m seeing expressed a great deal, from anyone. In fact, I’m seeing it more from Trump supporters than I am from Democrats, although in less general terms. The reason there, of course, is that modern conservatives catastrophize in order to push their radical agendas – a fascist hallmark – but that’s not the same as what’s being discussed here.
I might not agree on all the specifics, but I think you have got something there.
The reason I commented in the first place was that I also read that article and was considering its implications. I know you raised voting rights as an issue, but do you think that would be sufficient given the people of, say, Johnstown? And if not, then what are the consequences of that? I guess what I’m leading to is, are we a united enough entity to be governed effectively?
“Are we united enough…” Nope. We’re not.
We won’t ever be, either, as long as we still see this as a party fight. This isn’t partisan.
This same friend, a staunch Green, is surprised that I see these things this way. I don’t know why he’s surprised. It’s not like my concerns are new. Far, far from it. I’ve been writing about this stuff since W was still in office, and it feels too much like the rest of the world is only just catching up with me.
So to get this back on the tracks, you see civil war on the horizon, in common with a lot of the Trump supporters. That’s interesting. I could see secession in the future as a possibility, but I’m wondering if there is a chance it would not be violent.
My response? Nope. How many guns are there in the US again?
Did you notice the one about the gun nuts who showed up at a rally called by “Texas Antifa” who weren’t actually there?
Wanna know what that was? Someone testing out the dog whistle. And you know what? Those dogs are gonna heel when they’re told. When it comes, finally, it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Where it starts? Breadbasket. Somewhere in the midwest. Not sure where, not sure when.
And right smack in the middle of this Facebook exchange, Esquire caught up with me.
Esquire: Sorry, But American Democracy Is Still Edging Closer to Disaster
Wisconsin became the 28th state to back a constitutional convention.
We are NOT united against the GOP. And as long as folks still think they have the luxury to differentiate between one flavor of Liberal and another, and to hold Dems to impossible standards because they simply don’t have enough voting power to do what they would *like* to do to improve this world, we’re not going to get past this.
That’s the sick, sorry part.
Jill Stein sat down at the same table with Putin, for crissakes.
For the record, this isn’t the only Green I’m worried about. My *best friend* and her family all voted for Jill Stein last year. She thinks it’s dandy to support the removal of gerrymandering in Maryland.
Wanna see what it looks like when a reliably blue state suddenly goes red? Wait till the gerrymandering goes away in Maryland and we become the 29th state to call for a Constitutional Convention “because that’s the easiest way to get rid of Citizens United.”
Like I said, it’s worth reading the stuff I’ve been writing, at least since 2012, if only to see that I’m not dealing with hindsight. I’ve seen this coming since the Y2K election.
Yeah, I really am that worried about the future. As I see it, we’ve got just shy of a year left till Armageddon.
And honestly? I was surprised when he friended me again.
This is your reminder that signs point to a 10-seat loss if we can’t unhack the vote before next year.
It took the depression and a second World War to give us the prosperous years afterward. A case exists for justifying our participation in the Vietnam War as a bid to try and recapture the “glory days” that followed the end of World War II, but really? That’s when things started to slide. Worse, an anti-Communism wave in the US proved to be the lead-up to our wrong-headed leap into South Asian political struggle.
Did anyone else notice the White House’s official Statements and Releases page?
Where’s the similar acknowledgment of the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht? Missing.
And that’s where we are heading. That’s how this whole thing is going to collapse in the next two years.
This shit is scary enough as an adult, but I am a parent and I am TERRIFIED for my kids. I think we will get what we deserve. I’m just sorry my kids will suffer the consequences because of it.
And that’s wakes me up at night.
The rich think we can erase every progressive program Roosevelt and Johnson put in place and the country will survive. I see the future through the filters of dystopian fiction. Somewhere between Elysium and Interstellar, but without the comfy escape to space.
You want to know where I think this goes, if the GOP wins enough seats to rewrite the Constitution?
- Finish emptying the Swamp. (Eliminate federal government employees and remove all retirement and educational benefits civil service workers have earned.) Shutter the Federal Government.
- Erase the majority of the Bill of Rights and every amendment that followed. Keep the 2nd Amendment, so that III% can go after anyone they don’t want in the country.
- Eliminate gun laws that promote sensible gun control, and remove restrictions between States.
- Round up all the Muslims and ship them to wherever their families originated, regardless of their citizenship status, as “enemies of the state.”
- “Repatriate” Jews to Israel, to ensure Armageddon.
- Shoot or enslave every remaining person of color. House them in prison.
And then just kick back and enjoy life until there isn’t any oxygen left.
The federal government is already Swiss cheese.
We have no idea how to survive an actual depression. We are spoiled.
We are destroying our paper archives for a digital future that depends on the grid. Have a good look at Puerto Rico for my vision of the future.
I want to see a way out.
We have to get it in one sock, to unite as a block against Republicans and the John Birch Society or we are fucked.
And because Trump is pissing off all of our allies, when civil war comes here, there won’t be any foreign aid, because Russia will move to take over Europe. We’ll be too busy fighting our own war to help them, and they don’t have a reason to help us, either.
You want a bellwether? Look at Wisconsin. THAT’s what’s coming.
Michigan. Florida. Puerto Rico.
They are what we have in store if we can’t shut Fox down.
And oh, how I wish I was making this up.
We are already at war. It might not look like it, because we don’t see any bombs going off, and our lawns are all manicured (when we can afford to cut the grass), but we are.
People have accused me of being hyperbolic. I’ve gotten a few apologies since then, but there are more than a few missing.
Meanwhile, I’ve got 11 months’ worth of entries left to pull off LJ and print out before Net Neutrality goes away and we can no longer talk like this.
Enjoy your day.
When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.
In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded age of the robber barons.
The Republicans won and they’ve wasted no time showing us liberals what they think of us. They don’t give an actual damn who they harm at this point. They’ve done such a good job snowing their base, those folks will happily walk straight into their graves still believing that the people they elected to office care about anything but their own personal economy and to hell with their constituents. Yes, yes, those town halls are sure something, aren’t they? Meaningless political theatre. It makes the proles feel good, so why not? At least until things get violent, anyway.
Meanwhile, Bernie supporters who voted Anyone But Clinton are still making feeble attempts at explaining their relevance to the future, because they think their candidate still means something. He doesn’t, of course, except as the perfect foil for the Democrats whose last, best hope was to take the White House, and who failed to push enough of the agenda to ensure that would happen. He won’t last past 2018, if I’m guessing right.
In the heat of frustration earlier in the day, on Facebook (that bastion of modern nonsense and bluster that passes, for now, as something resembling a communication tool, if only for one’s personal echo chamber), I started to outline a timeline of damage.
I’ve explored that timeline throughout my Dots posts, but not in anything like a complete way.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I am considering creating a video timeline, which (at least until the government figures out how to shut down YouTube) might be the best way to explain what happened and how we got here.
In the interest of generating the outline, for future reference, here’s my take on the whole shebang, from Nixon’s disgraceful departure through to present day.
I can’t provide proof because a lot of what I think happened because, frankly, either the evidence is gone or it’s still out of view, thanks to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).
So while I’m saying this is what I think, I have no proof that this is what actually happened. I can infer, guess, or in some cases prove that these things are what happened, but I do not have either the time or the funding to go and research these statements. So let’s say this is all fiction. It “could” have happened the way I’ve laid it out. Or not. You be the judge.
I’m stealing data from Wikipedia’s existing timeline to save myself the typing time, but you’re welcome to go visit the original and see for yourself what I’ve edited out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history)
- Civil Rights Act of 1960
- CIA U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet airspace.
- The 50-star flag is adopted.
- John F. Kennedy elected
- President Eisenhower warns of the “military–industrial complex” in his farewell address
- President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants electors to the District of Columbia
- Bay of Pigs Invasion
- The Freedom Rides begin in Washington D.C.
- Vietnam War (1955-1973) continues
- Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.
- Medgar Evers is assassinated
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gives “I Have a Dream” speech
- The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, kills four African-American girls
- The Atomic Test Ban Treaty is signed.
- President John F. Kennedy assassinated
- Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as President
- Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
- President Johnson establishes The Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
- The Clean Air Act signed into law.
- The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminates the poll tax
- The Beatles herald the British Invasion of pop music
- President Johnson proposes the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
- President Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
- Robert McNamara helps orchestrate the Tonkin Gulf incident (a false flag operation with ‘deliberately skewed’ intelligence, used to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam).
- The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, are found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson defeats Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
- African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated
- “Bloody Sunday” (Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery marches)
- March Against the Vietnam War:
- President Johnson signs the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States. He also signs the Voting Rights Act
- The Watts riots in Los Angeles, result in the deaths of 34 people.
- President Johnson signs the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, establishing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The Immigration Act of 1965 is signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.
- The Higher Education Act of 1965 is passed.
- Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
- Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court establishes the rule that becomes “Miranda Rights”
- National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
- The Freedom of Information Act is signed into law.
- The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed.
- The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
- The United States Department of Transportation is established.
- Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage.
- Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
- Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, prompting riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.
- Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on the Presidential campaign trail
- The United States signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Chicago City Police clash with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law.
- Former Vice President Richard Nixon is elected President
- The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.
- Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne and ruining any future bid for the White House.
- Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins land on the moon, and Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.
- The Woodstock Festival takes place in White Lake, New York
- Sesame Street premieres on National Educational Television.
- President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.
Okay, so that establishes many of the changes over the course of a decade, without laying out the horrible details of the Vietnam war, which ran throughout the entire decade.
From here on, things get truly ugly, as the country struggles with changes in policy and freedom for young adults, women, and people of color. And that ugliness continues for the next 40 years, even as we fool ourselves into believing Johnson’s glorious vision of the Great Society, built on FDR’s vision of the post-Depression world. In hindsight, even as it appears that we’ve won freedom to choose and we’ve come to believe in the American Dream, that dream has become a nightmare. Fake news. The worst propaganda story possible, because it worked as a carrot for the common man, the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who voted Trump believing naively that Trump and his cronies cared about anything other than rising to power.
Buckle your seat belts. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The management bears no responsibility for lost limbs or life. Ready?
In 1970, Nixon’s Southern Strategy started the shift, turning Southern Democrats away from the party and converting them to Republicans. (Remember this fact, when your Libertarian friends want to try and rewrite history. The racists left to join the Republicans under Nixon.)
When Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency in 1976, beating Gerald Ford (who took over for Nixon, the only President to date who ever resigned from office), the shift from Southern Democrat to Republican was complete. And at about this time, I got involved in politics, working in support of Carter’s run for president at the local level. Ambitious work for a 12 year-old kid, but then I was rooting for McGovern in 1972, and by then the racists had already fled the Democratic party, leading to Nixon’s landslide victory.
In that same election, Carter’s administration saw filibuster-proof Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. (See: House vs Senate control by party.) Note that this didn’t save Carter’s presidency for a second term, because on November 4, 1979 (a little over a year prior to elections in 1980), Iranian students took over the US embassy and held over 50 embassy employees hostage. President Carter’s response was considered too weak, and some suggested that this is how Ronald Reagan rose to power.
I explained some of this here and some more of this here, but the big part is really here. (Don’t just look at the pretty bright letters. Click through and READ these three posts, and every link embedded in them.
Done? Great. Moving on.
I invite you to read everything I’ve written since November 8th. It’s not all that much, really, but it’s not above me to say “I told you so.”
Tonight, Trump launched a direct attack on Syria, doing precisely what he (and a lot of theoretically liberal apologists accused Hillary Clinton of planning to do throughout her presidential campaign).
“But her emails…”
Save it. You did this. Own it.
61 days and counting…
“I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To “Get over it.”
To accept this…
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I’ve tolerated all I can.
Now it’s their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day forward is now Trump’s fault, just as much as they thought it was Obama’s.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give.”
Your reading selection for the day comes from a series of articles that posted not long after the results hit the news. They may have been buried in your newsfeed, or you might not have seen them at all, depending on your echo chamber settings (thanks to FB’s algorithms).
The going conversation sounds polite (“It won’t be that bad. You’re exaggerating.”) or obnoxious (“Suck it up, buttercup.”) but the message is the same either way. It’s all about denying reality.
In the meantime, life goes on, people try to normalize a situation that is far, far removed from normal, and we drift ever closer to the end of life in the US as we’ve known it for our whole lives. The vast numbers of people who served in or grew up during the Great Depression and World War II are either dead or dying.
Many of our heroes are also dying, because of bad genes or poor lifestyle choices, or because they’re just plain old and we haven’t noticed because we still feel the same. Every voice that’s stilled, every change in history that can no longer be confirmed, is another step on the road to erasing the past.
It may already be too late for us. Our history goes in 100 year cycles and we are way overdue for civil or world war in this country. Our politicians protect the interests of the rich. The oligarchy has taken over. We are the Corporate States of Amerika and Revolution is coming.
Will you be prepared to stop the cops or the mob from taking your neighbor? Is free speech important? Do you want a place for your children’s children to grow old? Can you find somewhere that’s safe?
Think about it.
Al Jazeera America: Jim Crow returns. Millions of minority voters threatened by electoral purge
TheGuardian.com: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems. Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?
The New York Review of Books: Autocracy: Rules for Survival
But that doesn’t matter, because time moves on whether I like it or not.
So here are two raw links. Read everything, including the sublinks.
What comes after January 20, 2017 is on you.
I’ll be back soon to write the posts I’ve got sitting in drafts.
Go do your homework.
You’ve gotten this far, so it’s likely that you can find all the ways in which I predicted the outcome of this year’s Presidential election. There isn’t anyone as clear on the subject as Jim Wright, so I will let him tell you what I think of the situation, at least in part. Stonekettle Station: Bug Hunt
There. Got that all out of your system?
There’s a new sticky post on my blog, which is gonna stay there for a while, containing the names and links to organizations that need your support NOW, before the feds pull any money they receive through grants. I can personally guarantee you that half these organizations will cease to exist without direct donations from you, because they serve to support everything the GOP despises.
What’s coming? Why the storm?
You can scroll back through all the posts I’ve made regarding war. Feel free. They build my case.
Let’s be clear here: With all the hate crawling out of the cracks and crevices, targeting those who don’t sort easily into Straight, White, Christian, and Male, is it really any wonder how this happened? And to those people who are all “Trump won, get over it,” you have absolutely no idea what you’re glibly asking people to do, because you’re safe.
You’re not LGBTQ, you’re not a person of color, you’re not a woman or girl, you’re Christian. And if you are in one or more of these demographics? Try to remember that your pragmatism is causing one of two possible reactions: “You Asked For It (insert excuse here),” or “It can’t possibly be that bad.”
Either way, you’re wrong.
In the first case, your view is the classic abuser line that survivors hear all the time: You must have done something to deserve this.
In the second, most of the people you’re talking to already struggle with otherness, and you are telling them to shove themselves back into a closet, to get over their disabilities, to pretend they aren’t who they are.
If you don’t think it’s going to be that bad, you’ve never experienced life as a target. You can pass just because of the color of your skin. And that makes you an unfeeling asshole.
That’s how you sound to people who are already in same sex marriages, who contemplated a life that appeared to celebrate equality, that allowed women control over their own reproductive health, who depended on health insurance. And to those who were already targets in the sights of our justice system? That was a colossal Fuck You to every unarmed victim of police shooting.
Where’s your empathy?
“But I’m not a racist! I love my black friends. We have lunch together.”
Have you ever once considered the possibility that from the moment many of these people walk out of their homes they’re targets? That they (and YOU) can be arrested and charged with resisting arrest, and be jailed indefinitely for doing nothing more than walking out of the house at the wrong time?
Don’t tell me that’s hyperbole. Tell it to Michael Brown. To Trayvon Martin. To any of the millions of men and women incarcerated now, who work as slaves to the justice system. And go read the USA Patriot Act again.
This country has gone conservative. It’s been clear for decades…DECADES…that this was the path our country was going to take.
All the wrongheaded protest votes in the world, all the polls, all the expectations tossed down our throats by pundits who simply couldn’t conceive or wouldn’t be honest about where we were headed, they put us where we are today.
Trust me. We are going to war.
It won’t be immediate. It’s going to take some time. Give it six months, though, tops, before we have boots on the ground somewhere. The only question I have is whether it will be here in this country or overseas, but it’s time. The clock has finally struck thirteen.
We have always been at war with Eurasia.
Or was that Eastasia?
Welcome to Oceania.
Enjoy your stay.
Guardian.com: If Donald Trump wins, it’ll be a new age of darkness
We are almost there. The countdown says two days. This time Tuesday, we’ll be minutes away from the closing of the last polls, except for Alaska and Hawaii (IIRC). We should already know how things look in the East. We might know the Central states. We will start to have an idea of how the Mountain states are doing.
My kids and I will bear witness to history, because this will either be the election when a woman finally steps up to the helm of my country, or we tip over the cliff to full-on fascism.
You can go back and search on the keywords to the right to find all the posts I’ve written concerning our drift to the extreme right. You can look at the photos, read the articles aggregated here, and you can see much of what I’ve written (though not all of it, because I’m still merging two blogs and a lot of material I posted on my FB account).
What you won’t see, at least not for a couple of months, is the effect this campaign season has had on our country. We ought to thank Donald Trump for outing all the hatred, misogyny, and racism that some of us have known about for decades.
Hidden in the crevices, spoken in whispers, quietly shared in dark meeting halls and on gun ranges all over the country, the nastiest, most dreadful schemers have stockpiled millions of weapons, just waiting for the signal to tell them it’s time.
Whether or not Hillary Clinton overcomes the dark money plot to divide us, the damage is already done.
I know I am standing on the right side of history, but what that history will show in fifty or a hundred years is anyone’s guess. I’ll probably be long gone by then.
It’s no wonder that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gift to the modern American musical, Hamilton, centers around the gun. There has never been a better time to witness, firsthand, what civil war will do to a nation at odds with itself. We are overripe, and overdue, for our own war to end all wars.
I’m not a praying woman, by and large. I came late to a faith tradition and my current circumstances keep me from attending weekly services, so it’s easy to forget the process, but I am hoping with every fiber of my being that come Tuesday I won’t have to figure out how to survive in the new regime.
I want to know that my friends in same sex marriages, with kids or without, on the big, beautiful heritage, gender, and intellectual spectra, will still be welcome in this country come Wednesday.
I will bear witness on Tuesday, and I will post the results as they come in, so that I can continue to bear witness to history.
And I will remember. All the lies, all the slander, all the hatred and intolerance, all the righteous indignation that somehow we are something other than that which our founding fathers envisioned over 200 years ago, all that and more, for all of that I will bear witness.
We are the product of 240 years’ worth of fighting for independence.
If only we knew what to do with it.
A little context is necessary here.
Back in the very early 1990s, I had a conversation with my grandmother who lived in Miami Beach, about the influx of Haitian refugees (Boat People). She blamed the entire situation for forcing her out of her home in Brooklyn (because it’s so much easier to blame people for trying to make their lives better) and she told me about the ship the US turned away during the war, as if that justified her racist remarks.
She’s long gone, but that whine has stuck with me long term, like a lot of other things she told me about her version of history.
The irony that she chose to move to Miami (trading Hatian refugees for Cuban refugees) was not lost on me then.
Thing is, with the Internet, it’s really easy to find the history of her remarks, however wrongheaded I think they were then.
The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies: In a long tradition of “persecuting the refugee,” the State Department and FDR claimed that Jewish immigrants could threaten national security
Those of us with a shred of decency and a memory for empathy understand the plight of these people who would rather have stayed home, if only their homes weren’t destroyed and dangerous to stay near.
The image of a sole boy in an ambulance, covered in dust and blood, a small body washed up onshore, neither of these images is strong enough to secure the required empathy of people who hear the word “migrant” and instantly associate these people with “freeloaders who want something for nothing.”
I would not be here now were it not for similar actions against the villages of my ancestors, at the turn of the last century. My great grandparents fled similar conditions in the Pale, seeking a safer place to raise their children. We are lucky we left Europe when we did, because the majority of us survived, amid intense racism.
Some of my family did not make it to safety, however, and some chose to move instead to England.
At one point, I thought (naively) that England might be an alternative to a fascist takeover of the US, but I’ve since come to the conclusion that England wouldn’t necessarily want me. The Brexit vote is a symptom of a much larger problem, pushed by the UKIP and driven by a lot of the same gut-founded emotional crap that kept the SS Drottningholm from discharging its cargo of refugees. It’s the same crap that’s driving far, far too many people to support Trump in this election.
I used to think (also naively) that the only reason the GOP feared refugees was that they might import more Democrats and that was not to be tolerated, but this has devolved into something much, much uglier. It’s about failing to accept responsibility in any conceivable way for the plight of these people, to shove them back into the shadows, and to continue to inflame the existing problem so that their endless war can continue indefinitely.
What’s saddest about this is that these demagogues imply that if we elect them, they’ll keep us from war.
Yeah, well, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did a bang-up job. We’re still paying that bill. Putting the GOP in charge of this country in anything other than dogcatcher virtually ensures war will never, ever, end. The refugees will never escape, and we won’t, either, if the other countries close their borders to us.
We can’t conceive of a time when we won’t be able to travel, but what’s to stop other countries from rejecting US for the same reasons we reject THEM?
Okay, so way back in the end of 2012, I found out I qualified for a college scholarship. I got my first degree in 1985, which managed to be enough until we got to human resources databases that reject people if they don’t have the “right” degree.
After being stuck in a dead-end part-time job for the better part of three years, I figured that there was only one way to move forward again, and that was by going back to college for a degree that proved I knew what I was doing with web design and art. Unfortunately, the requirements for the AA degree (in Interactive Media, if you must know) included taking a basic art class on which everything else hinged, and without that class, I was dead in the water.
So, okay. Take the one class, start full time in the fall. I can get behind that, especially since I’m only part time at work anyway. But in order to get the scholarship money (or a fraction thereof), I need to be at least part time at college, and that meant taking a second class in something. Anything.
When I launched this blog back in 2012, I was already compiling a bunch of historical data (dates, names, events) for arguments on Facebook and Live Journal, and that was a darn sight better than I did the last time I took a history course (American history, and I got an incomplete, so there was a reason to worry).
I looked at the catalog and found World History to Modern Times. The actual range of dates (which I wasn’t expecting when I walked in that first day) was 962-1949. Daunting? You bet. Until the professor allowed me to use my laptop for taking notes. That, friends, changed everything. And it’s a good thing, too, because I still have the spreadsheet I used for tracking my timeline.
See, the professor threw dates, names, events and phrases around with wild abandon. He offered a set of study guides that were essentially in timeline form, and he insisted that we read a book (that he never actually referred to more than twice in the entire semester, or I’d have included the title here). There were questions from the timeline study guides, and questions from the stuff he threw out in his lectures. And if I hadn’t captured ALL of it and then checked for sources and more data using the campus internet connection, I’d have bombed this class, too.
Instead, I built a fairly solid picture of where we were and how we got there, from the Holy Roman Empire to Nazi Germany.
You can check out the spreadsheet to see what I mean. Lots of notes, some of which are designed as simple date reminders for regurgitation on the tests. I’ve only just added an eighth column, to hold the relevant Wikipedia link, which I should have done way back then but didn’t bother to do because I could always look it up when I wanted to. Since I’m making my work available to you, I figure anything to make the source easier to locate is a good thing.
Now, before you go all “Yeah, Wikipedia. Like THAT’s trustworthy!” on me, bear in mind that some pages, like the one on Hitler, contain so many outside references, there’s no limit to the number of additional reading sources for you to consider. And I encourage you to do just that. Go check the sources. Get lost in the data. And then come back to the spreadsheet for further source material. Eleven centuries of history (give or take a year) is a lot to digest in one sitting, or even one class. And this is World History, not just American History, so context is everything.
Anyway, with the class, there was a required paper. It’s a history class, and I think I got off easy with just one paper and an extra credit question, aside from the weekly quizzes and midterm exam. The paper is reproduced below. It’s long, so you’ll have to go under the cut to find it. If you haven’t read The Prince yet, the link to Gutenberg is below. There’s really no excuse.
I’ll leave the rest as an exercise for the reader.
How did we get here?
One step at a time.
Oh, and the class? Got an A. (On the paper, too.)