Saturday, January 7, 2017

Inch One Hundred Fifty-Two: Soapbox

My friend Margo summed it up best. "I'm learning to be loud."

I don't like confrontation, which is why I never enjoyed trial work. As a mediator, my goal is to find common ground. I don't typically engage in electronic shouting matches or post political memes on Facebook (although I often "like" them).

But sometimes I read something and think "I have to say something." And this is that time.

In last week's post, I wrote of my fears and concerns about the incoming administration. A longtime reader, a friend and fellow blogger in the blogosphere, took me to task: "Please don't believe everything you hear, especially about the election. News media is very bias[ed] and most of what gets reported is not correct.Wait and see of what comes of this new administration. My bet is that it will get better."

Give the President-Elect a chance? He has already announced Cabinet choices, most of whom I disagree with politically and morally. Rex Tillerson? Steve Mnuchin? Betsy DeVos? JEFF SESSIONS????

So with all due respect, I think the President-Elect has already indicated the tone his administration is going to take, at least out of the gate. So I don't think I need to wait and see. 

The second comment was far more upsetting and this had to do with the upcoming planned armed Neo-Nazi march in Whitefish, Montana, against the Jews in that town. Armed march, mind you, because that's how hate groups roll. The blog comment was "I just saw what you were talking about at Whitefish. A bunch of idiots, who were not supported by those in charge. I don't see this any different that 'black lives matter' groups that condemn white people."

I agree that the President-Elect has no connection with or endorsement of the Whitefish march. But I am stunned that a man who is on Twitter relentlessly, a man about to become President of this country, who can chastise a Broadway cast or a SNL skit at the drop of a hat, cannot bring himself to tweet a criticism, even a mild one, about Whitefish. Or one about the Klan marches in North Carolina on December 3. Or about the Hitler salutes thrown at the alt-right conference in D.C. 

Hoping I was wrong, I spent time on Google hoping for a tweeted comment or criticism from the President-Elect. Nothing.

I find that silence, especially in light of the man's volubility, disingenuous.

But what struck mw to the core was the casual comparison of Neo-Nazis and the Black Lives Matter movement. The latter is a movement arising out of deliberate and unlawful killings of citizens, primarily black men and usually unarmed, by law enforcement. Period. It is not a "let's kill the white people" or even a "let's kill the police" movement, despite what FOX News reports. (Talk about "most of what gets reported in not correct.") Black Lives Matter is about calling attention to the very real threat that millions of Americans live with daily because of their skin color. The Whitefish march is about threatening and intimidating a population because of its religion. I cannot begin to connect those dots.

In my gut, I feel my personal security and civil liberties are threatened by the upcoming administration. So are the safety and civil liberties of my sons (Hispanic and Jewish), my daughter-in-law (Native American), and my granddaughter (Native American, Hispanic, and Jewish). And so are the civil liberties of million of American citizens because of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identification, disability, and gender. Regardless of what the President-Elect may believe, he has surrounded himself with staff and cabinet choices who are against me and others of us in this nation. Think of Steve Bannon, chief strategist for the President-Elect, and tell me I am wrong.

Three final comments and then I will step off my soapbox.

First, contrary to others in my circle of friends, I do know people who voted for the incoming administration. One of my very closest friends, Katrina, campaigned for the President-Elect. We may have to tiptoe around political discussions for a long time. Yet I am confident that our friendship will last because I believe that should my worst fears be realized, she would not turn her head and pretend she did not see. Katrina would have her Colonel Welch moment.

Second, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote The Wave of the Future (subtitled A Confession of Faith) in 1940, a little book which was seen at the time and forever after as an apology for and a plea for accepting the evils of Nazism and fascism as necessary to better the world. (Among the many critics of her work was E. B. White, in his December 1940 essay "The Wave of the Future," in which he neatly dissects her disturbing position.) AML followers like me now know that Anne was heavily influenced and pushed to write this by her husband, Charles, who was anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi and may not have had any choice to do otherwise. That's not the point. That book cost Anne her reputation for decades. I own a copy of the book and have read it, but I cannot bring myself to read it in 2017.

Third, I am not allowing comments on this particular post. It is a soapbox of one. In my personal life presently, there is too much going with friends and family to respond to "yes, but you didn't consider this" comments. This is not an equal time open forum today.

I wish I were braver. I wish I were louder. And I fervently hope that, when tested, I speak up and say "this is wrong."