Reading time – 3:29; Viewing time – 5:08 . . .
It is more than reasonable to say that we are living in perilous times in America.
It has been a long time since life has been as perilous as it is right now if your skin is black or brown.
It has never before been this perilous to attend a movie, go to school, party in a bar, attend an outdoor concert, go to church or synagogue or mosque, shop at a mall, attend a festival or buy school supplies.
It has never been this perilous for our glorious experiment in self-rule – our democracy – since the Revolution.
Perhaps you were enraged when we saw pictures of children packed into cages for days or even weeks, prohibited from bathing or having fresh clothing or receiving medical care or brushing their teeth or even having their dirty diapers changed.
If you didn’t feel that punch in the gut from that violation of the demand of evolution that we protect our young, I offer this:
They came for the Native Americans.
They came for the Japanese.
They’ve come for the Hispanics.
They always come for the Blacks.
They came for the Muslims and Jews and will do so again.
They don’t come only for the children.
If you think that’s hyperbole, wake up to the facts: that’s the way it always happens.
It’s time for you and I and all of us to stand up and take action to stop the bullying, the demeaning, the marginalizing, the exclusion, the violence, the killing, the ruination of families, the traumatizing of children and the destruction of our democracy itself.
Do you have doubts about these things happening?
If you doubt my claim about advancing personal peril, read any history book. This stuff is happening in front of your eyes right now and willful blindness is not an option.
If you doubt my claim about the threats to our democracy, read conservative writer Charles Krauthammer’s essay, The Authoritarian Temptation in his posthumously published book “The Point Of It All.” Unfortunately, Krauthammer didn’t survive long enough to see how terribly our democracy has been undermined by Trump incrementally dismantling the foundations of our democracy and society itself. It’s damaged by a White House staffed with self-serving, hateful tyrants and Trump suck-ups, as well as by our spineless Congress. If you want to understand this more fully, read “How Democracies Die.” It will help your understanding of how tyrants get away with assault on whole categories of people.
Today’s perpetrators in America are white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others who tell themselves that they’re the True Americans. That means that the rest of us are less than “True Americans.”
These haters are the very people who have been killing innocents for decades, some for centuries, while we refuse to have the political backbone to deal with these criminals. Instead, politicians now whine about video games and mental health programs so that the extremists can keep their assault rifles and 100-round magazines to kill additional “less than True Americans.”
Yet today’s primary perpetrator is the President of the United States. He tells the white supremacists and neo-Nazis that they are “very fine people.” He’s the same president who tried to ban all Muslims from entering our country and who is systematizing cruelty against Hispanic people. The threat to all of us is both from far right violent perpetrators and our own government.
Daryl Johnson was the Senior Domestic Terrorism Analyst at the Department of Homeland Security and the ATF. His team produced a report in 2009 outlining the reality of the white nationalist threat. He was terrifyingly accurate. Worse still, as I said, is that the domestic terrorism we’re seeing is encouraged by tacit support from our government.
So much violence and damage has already been done and we need to take aggressive action if we are to prevent the worst. That’s especially critical with an unhinged violence stoker and authoritarian tyrant wannabe in the White House.
If we are to be safe, if this democracy and the foundations of our society are to endure, it’s time for you and I to stand up and to speak up. I’m doing it. Now it’s your turn.
“To sin by silence when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.