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You Too?

Trump has a really well put together video out for his last ad spot. One part patriotic, flags waving, smiling faces one and all. Part hateful and bigoted.

No getting around that.

At this point we have 2 days until the polls close. I suppose no one’s mind is going to be changed. That’s not even the point of this effort.

If you know me, if you have read my blogs for a while, you know I have spoken often about the way I think Trump’s hateful speech to people about others different from them has encouraged a lot of emoted passionate hatred. Not quiet and contained by social mores; the disdain for being politically correct was never appreciated or desired. The crudeness gutter talk is entertainment…and titillating. How fun to be naughty…and then if everyone is naughty, is it normal?

NO.  Not in any sense of the word. Psychologically. Politically. Culturally. Socially. Religiously.

Except for bigots. Extreme right wing skin heads, Aryan nation, KKK types. It’s their normal.

The rest of the people who seem to be enamored with Trump are, probably, okay people. I know some and love some. But I sure am confused.

Okay, you don’t like Mexicans. You believe they have stolen good American jobs. Here in Oregon many are professionals: lawyers, doctors, accountants, heads of companies. Others are in commerce with stores and restaurants. Others are in service industries, like landscaping, hairdressing, house cleaning. And the others….legal and illegal, they work in the fields, in the kitchens, on construction sites.  If you feel one has a job that you want, please be realistic about your own experience and expertise.  Don’t generalize about a group without facts that are verified or your own experience.

Okay, you don’t like Muslims. You believe they are all radical terrorists. You have been lead to believe they are perhaps sleeper agents.  Do you personally know any, I mean work with and interact with daily in a responsible work environment or have invited one to your home for a meal?  Does the concept of the white supremacist groups concern you? It should. There is more risk of a terrorist event in the USA by a homegrown group of white people than anyone from the Middle East or Pakistan.

Okay, you’re uncomfortable around handicapped people who are not young and cute. Even if they work and contribute to society. You can’t help it, their physical or mental situation irritates you?  Sounds like time to find out why? Why irritation instead of a sense of compassion or even, more self-centered, a sense of appreciation for your own health?

Okay, you think women really should not be working in jobs like men.  Even if a woman, you might not like carrying the kind of responsibility some of our sisters have gladly grown into and others have been forced to assume.  Are we going to encourage a society that sounds totalitarian to me…one where someone’s future job is determined by their birth-the location of their birth, the income status of the family of birth, the visible genitalia at birth.  When you restrict the learning capabilities of girls, when you limit the income earnings of women, you are  as culpable as the most narrow minded third World male elder making a child marry a man two or three decades older.

Okay, you think newspaper reporters are crooked and the news is twisted. But you believe what you read in headlines and don’t bother to read the article. You don’t search the web for articles about the same subject from across the spectrum to pull out the truth. Yes, we are fed what “they” want us to know. But because of social media with an open internet, we have access to much more. If you agree the journalists need to be constrained, please realize that this Internet permitting you to read this is also protected by the First Amendment. All your arguments about “slippery slope” apply equality to all parts of the Constitution.

Finally, the Jews. You really don’t like them and you have good reason. They are all rich. Not. They are all smart. Not.  They all are…what? You have read this because you like my writing and either enjoy it and agree or at times are aggravated because I bring up topics that nag at you. Like me or hate me but if you say it is because I am Jewish, you are a bigot.

Trump has appealed to the baseness in that he has called to the bottom and they have responded. And then, some of you generally above that have responded too. You’re not in good company, but you are known by your associates.

A warning to you. You’re next on the list. first-they-came

And despite the fact that no one will come to take your guns (another way you have been played), your arsenal will not keep them out when they want in.

So much better for us to nip this in the bud, recognize we have healing to do, and start talking to each other.

One way people who consider themselves a friend of mine is to explain how you can join in the Antisemitism. I am taking that one personally.

And if you do happened to have any Latino, handicapped, female,  LGBTQ or Jewish friends, they also are wondering how you REALLY feel.cropped-tolerance.jpg


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You Fall For It so Be Careful

1984-frontDid you read Orwell’s 1984?  It has been years since I read it, but something is very much happening in today’s society that called it to mind. And we need to be aware many of us are guilty of falling for it.

George Orwell introduced the concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak. Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and the Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.

Today, in America, we definitely have DOUBLESPEAK, what some suggest is a combination of these dystopian concepts.  With Doublespeak, we have gotten used to names of things without realizing they actually are about the opposite of what they seem.

For example, in reaction to the horrible events of 9/11 the United States established the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act was passed. The Patriot Act, in the name of protection, limited numerous personal freedoms we were used to. If you, like me, raised concern, you were also told you were being unpatriotic.  Now, so many years after just about everyone waved the flag in solidarity, we are beginning to get pretty uncomfortable. The Patriot Act comes up for renewal again in 2015. You will not be unpatriotic if you look into the restrictions it will continue and decide enough is enough,so contact your Congressional representatives.  But overall, because the war is not won, society may tell you that you are unpatriotic just because of the name.

tolerance-does-not-mean-tolerating-intoleranceAnother word that seems to have doublespeak usage is “tolerance”. Not too long ago, American society defined it as living peacefully with people who may disagree with you. This grew out of a biblical context of humility before  God and the command to love your neighbor. Now, a large group of American society believes it means concepts are being forced down their throat giving equality to groups who do not deserve that.  Tolerance has become a dirty word for some of our community.

In the last week there has been a new movie called American Sniper and many people are lauding it as a well directed effort by Clint Eastwood commemorating the actions of Navy Seal Chris Kyle.  Texas has declared a Chris Kyle Day and many say he was a hero. I have been watching the comments as they show up on my Facebook feed, first laudatory, then damning, then kickback. So, what’s the problem and the tie-in to doublespeak?

Our society has had a continuing deteriorating war on many levels in the Middle East and against Muslim terrorists who want the world revised to their way of life. We got into one war to chase the man who we were told masterminded the 9/11 attack on the United States. We got into another war to destroy the weapons of mass destruction we were told might be used against us. Any discussion in those days, when I urged people to think carefully about the clarity of that information was turned against me and others as unpatriotic.

We sent our young people to fight there. We hoped to turn those nations around, to instill in the people there a sense of opportunity for democracy and fair treatment. Instead we have more tribal and religious flighting and a overall all consuming hatred of the people as a group. We have become a mirror to what we were trying to fix.

The American Sniper movie is partially appealing because it says things many think-that these are not really people but “damn savages.” It offers a glorification of an extreme skill that traditionally we have not discussed in a laudatory way but anyone who shoots can admire.

The people who are distressed by this movie indicate the book itself includes inaccuracies. They are also concerned that while Chris Kyle saw the world as good versus evil, Clint Eastwood has many shades of partial right and wrong throughout the movie, and the typical proponent is not discussing much of that.blackorwhite

Life is not all good nor all evil. And when you jump on the bandwagon and condemn anyone who raises a different point of view, you are adding to doublespeak.  My questioning the loud support for this movie does not make me unpatriotic. I am a person who is very concerned about the mental state of our military and vets. My questions show I am a citizen of a wonderful country where the right to speak truth clearly and with full understanding is our right and also our obligation.

If you get sucked into something because it appeals to your sense of outrage, take a step back and a deep breath. Do some thinking, not just emoting. THINK. Then speak your truth but remember, there are many experiences out there, so many different viewpoints. When you try to shut them up, you are contributing to making this a nation that is very narrow minded.Imperfection-is-beauty...

 

 

 


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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

filesI grew up in an all-white neighborhood. It’s not that way now, but it was back in the 1950s and 1960s. My dad got our neighbors all in a tizzy when he would have meetings about civil rights in our dining room. Cars would park at our curb and “colored” people went into our house. There probably is a file in the storage area of the FBI with my dad’s name on it and that makes me proud.

Vacant prior to demolition, one of three buildings in the complex.

Vacant prior to demolition, one of three buildings in the complex.

Same dad: when I was selected to play violin in our all-county-orchestra, so was one of my friends.  She lived in one of the 8-story apartment buildings which was the model in the 1960s for low income housing. I have to assume that phone conversations between my father and my friend’s mother occurred, because each week we would park, go into the building and up the elevator to get her, returning her a few hours later the same way.  I do not remember being afraid, because I was with my dad, and after several weeks the crowd comments changed from something a bit challenging to ones of encouragement for the music.

In 1978 I moved to Memphis, Tennessee to work with an engineering/planning consulting firm. Everyone took lunch at the same time and most people used the 45 minutes to leave the building.  I often brought my lunch and sat eating about once a week with three women who were my age.  They were the company “gofers” and were surprised I would sit with them. I was, after all, white and they weren’t. I was, after all, educated, and they weren’t.  When I found out one woman had never learned to swim we arranged for her to come home with me overnight, and I taught her in my condo complex pool. She was actually shaking before we got there. I assured her I wouldn’t let her drown. No, she was more concerned that the white people would be ugly about her getting into the pool.

This is what she knew.

This is what she knew.

In more recent years while my son Sam was running track for his high school, Graham and I enjoyed the 5-hour meets by becoming the team photographers.  The other athletes got to know us and trust us over each season and as the years went on, those in Sam’s class cohort because more and more friendly with us old geezers. Two guys in particular came and spent time in our home and one even went on a road trip with us. They shared stories about their lives that opened my eyes. While Sam could go anywhere for his practice runs, these young black men had to be very careful selecting their routes if they ran alone. They were stopped just about every time. They were stopped driving their cars at least once a week. They were pushed and shoved and treated in ways that made no sense at all, especially considering the courtesy they always showed and the way they spoke. 1a  before meet  run

We white people have NO idea how bigotry is so alive and well. Well, maybe you do, because you feel the hate. If you say there is no bigotry, you don’t know what you don’t know, but you can take steps to model tolerance and brotherhood. “Tis the season to start.