Taking Sides

Post 1,027


Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

As Israeli Prime Minister during the Yom Kippur war and so many other murderous events aimed at killing all Jews and wiping Israel from the globe, Meir said:

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography

True and sad words, these. There has been progress, of course, but the Iranians, Qataris and Syrians continue to pour money and tools of murder into the hands of angry, violent men who are all too eager to kill and to force others to kill them, and causing the deaths of non-combatants by the thousands.
There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
It is the verbal and physical violence of right wing extremists who puff themselves up with claims of patriotism, yet are working every day to demolish our Constitution, to end our democracy and to inflict “retribution” (read: murder) on those they see as, not opponents, but enemies.
Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.

The top line reads “During the arrests around the capitol attack, police seized .  .  .” From Every Town for Gun Safety – click me

We are facing an existential threat, a constitutional crisis in the form of extremists who are working every day to tear down what we have painstakingly built for our rights and our freedoms over the past 248 years. We taught the world that people can be free, that self-government can work, that it isn’t necessary to make war both within and without. We aren’t perfect at that, which is why we are tasked by our Founders to continually work to create a more perfect union.

But now we are beset by home grown terrorists, liars and cheats, as well as the cowardice of those who know better but knuckle under. They focus only on their own short term welfare, heedless of the harm they are allowing to be done to our people and to our nation. We are plagued by well armed haters acting out their meanness and cruelty, cowards who lash out in physical and verbal violence, whipped up by those who would be our overlords.
Because of the brilliance and beauty of our Constitution we are being given one more chance to set ourselves back onto the path carved out of a wilderness of dominance from others. It will take our dedication and our blood, sweat and tears to set things right. Should we fail, it will lead to an enduring night of suffering.

Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

Elie Wiesel survived Holocaust death camps, then spent the rest of his life in the role of teacher, hoping to help craft a better world and forcing us to remember, lest we forget. Here’s a little of what he had to say about hatred and suffering:

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”
Let that sink in. They hate everybody.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

Are you seeing it? We must take sides, whether you or I are being persecuted or if it’s someone else. The side we must take is against the tormentors and in aid to the tormented. We must stand for and with those who need our help. And if that isn’t compelling in and of itself, driven solely by our empathy, it will become compelling when we realize that we are next to be tormented.
We Must Take Sides

The next 10 months are all the time we have to stand and be counted, to take sides. Every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Silence favors the wrong and the evil. Therefore, choose right and good. Stand for it and speak for it. Our silence will not do.

It means to talk to your friends and family members. Yes, I know it can be awkward to risk getting crosswise with close ones. And I also know it will be far worse than awkward if we allow our home grown haters and traitors to steal our democracy from us.

It means that we must take the action that our pathetic Congress won’t take.

They use the lives of Ukrainians as pawns for their own political advantage, leaving millions to suffer and die. That isn’t just cruel; it’s self-defeating, because the Ukrainians are fighting to preserve the same freedom that benefits us, too. Link through to Safe Skies and read what Professor Timothy Snyder has to say about how you can help to keep Russian-fired Iranian drones from killing Ukrainian civilians. We shouldn’t have to do this individually, but that’s what our spineless congressional Republicans have left us.

Hurry: People are dying.

Terrible things happen when we fail to take sides. You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor or a history professor to know that’s true. You just have to see how we’ve normalized violent behavior and have refused to do anything to stop it. We’ve accepted lies and outrageous propaganda and allowed the theft of our majority rule. We’ve even allowed our children’s education to be taken from them and for hatred inspired terrorists to kill our children.

Elie Wiesel knew this lesson far too well and suffered terribly from its reality. His righteous call to us to take sides is to make sure such things don’t happen while we can still do something about it.

We – you and I – have to take a stand. Refusing to do so is effectively the same as standing for the wrong side. It’s tacitly helping the oppressor.

Start the new year right:

Take Sides! *
The Side to Take Isn’t Republican

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each took questions at their town halls in Iowa last Wednesday. Each was asked why they don’t go after Trump. Each of them responded by attacking the press. Neither even mentioned Trump.

There is a word to describe this:



Perhaps you can think of additional descriptors. They apply to all who fail to speak up, to take a side and make a stand.


* From the New York Times, January 6, 2024, This Election Year Is Unlike Any Other:

Re-electing Mr. Trump would present serious dangers to our Republic and to the world. This is a time not to sit out but instead to re-engage. We appeal to Americans to set aside their political differences, grievances and party affiliations and to contemplate — as families, as parishes, as councils and clubs and as individuals — the real magnitude of the choice they will make in November.

Click the link and read the opinion piece. The danger we face isn’t just about Trump. It’s time to TAKE SIDES.

  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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2 Responses to Taking Sides
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    Jack – Great essay! Yes! Yes! Yes we need to take sides. The side we need to take is NOT the Republican, Christian nationalist side.

    I do have one complaint with today’s essay. It is the same complaint I have with how the mainstream media covers Trump’s Republican sycophants.

    Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are not cowards. Let me repeat that. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are not cowards. They do not oppose Trump because THEY AGREE WITH TRUMP!!! They want the America Trump wants – an authoritarian, ethno-fascist, anti-immigrant, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, xenophobic America. (I do have to wonder how Nikki Haley got involved on this side of the fence. Afterall she is a darker skinned foreigner and a woman)

    Haley and DeSantis hate The Constitution and love the insurrectionists just like Trump. They are not cowards – did I say that already? – they are fellow travelers in Trump’s Fascist America. They and the Republican Party all want what Trump wants. That is why they are a real and present danger to America.

    Haley and DeSantis are running against Trump because they have huge overblown egos and think they are entitled to be the ruler of America. They are running against Trump because they hate how uncouth, crass, and obvious Trump is about his desire to get revenge on those he hates, and his desire to be king.

    Like Trump, they are a clear and present danger to America. They are just slicker and less obvious about they diabolical plans.