Donald Trump

The Real Terrorist Threat

The Real Terrorist Threat

L-R, top to bottom: Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller, Stephen Bannon, Michael Flynn (resigned), and Reince Priebus.

There are many more but this has been my protest sign in the marches I’ve taken part in. I’ve heard Julia Hahn is part of the team now, a recruit from Breitbart.

Feel free to take this and use it as you like.

I’ve been sitting on my hands and not posting political statements to Flickr or my blog but the time has come for any of us who are seriously worried to get to work in any way we can to save our country.

I’ve never stopped taking pictures even though my output is low, I’m simply so upset about what’s happening in my country to focus on much else and I’ve been tossing most of the images I take. Being upset has a terrible affect on one’s creative output although for some it can stimulate it. For me it’s led to a lot of sleepless nights.

Stock up on Xanax.

Penn & Teller Burn a Flag in the White House

The magicians, Penn & Teller Burn a Flag in the White House. This is an outtake from the television series, The West Wing which was on the air from 1999 through 2006. If you watch the entire thing, right up until the end, you’ll understand how a surface understanding of the American bill of rights isn’t enough. It’s brilliant writing by Aaron Sorkin and no doubt others.

This outtake is circulating because Donald Trump has stated that Americans who burn the American flag should have their citizenship revoked, stepping on the first amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, and the US Supreme Court has stated that that includes flag burning.

This has been an interesting and well-studied legal matter my entire life and it came to a head during the Vietnam War protests in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Someone assuming the highest office in the US ought to have at least considered this but it seems that Donald Trump has not, or, if he has, believes that the President can sidestep the US Constitution.

These are the kinds of things that are frightening many Americans about our current political situation.

Stephen Bannon

President elect Donald Trump has appointed Stephen Bannon as his “senior counselor” (think Karl Rove).

Bannon ran Trump’s campaign but many of us hoped the relationship would end if Trump got elected. It obviously hasn’t.

Bannon is the chairman of Breitbart News, an ultra right wing organization aligned with the Alt-right movement.

All of this to say, Donald Trump has appointed an openly anti-Semitic and racist person to be his closest political advisor.

Note: Even though I’m a news junkie and very political, I’ve tried over the many years I’ve been publishing this weblog to keep politics out of it. The fact that I’m posting about our recent US election and Donald Trump in particular has everything to do with the kind of campaign he ran, not his particular policies which we know little about at this point. My grandparents got out of Europe before 1900 but as a Jew I’ve been taught all my life to keep an eye on any politician who uses fear, especially of “foreigners” to drive popularity. Trump is the first politician in my lifetime (I’m 65) who has won an election using this tactic. It may not be the main reason he won, but its at least a part of the many reasons he won. I think it’s important to keep track of this and I plan to, here.

This Too Won’t Pass

This Too Won’t Pass

Dave Pell has written a terrific essay on how the US election looks to his parents who are both Holocaust survivors.

My dad survived the Holocaust, lost his entire family, fought with the Partisans, and is a full-fledged hero. My mom survived Kristallnacht, seventy-eight years ago today. She escaped to a children’s home in France and eventually made her way to America, where she’s been working to help educate people and end prejudice of all types for her entire adult life.

Can you imagine what they must have thought when they witnessed people at Trump rallies yelling “Jew-S-A”?!

Note: Even though I’m a news junkie and very political, I’ve tried over the many years I’ve been publishing this weblog to keep politics out of it. The fact that I’m posting about our recent US election and Donald Trump in particular has everything to do with the kind of campaign he ran, not his particular policies which we know little about at this point. My grandparents got out of Europe before 1900 but as a Jew I’ve been taught all my life to keep an eye on any politician who uses fear, especially of “foreigners” to drive popularity. Trump is the first politician in my lifetime (I’m 65) who has won an election using this tactic. It may not be the main reason he won, but its at least a part of the many reasons he won. I think it’s important to keep track of this and I plan to, here.

Vigilance

Vigilance

Jonathan Poritsky who writes The Candler Blog has written a great essay on what’s just happened with the U.S. election. As a fellow Jew I identified with all of it.

When I speak with friends about my concerns as a Jew, they often tell me it won’t happen here, that I am overreacting. But it’s already happening, just not to me. A man spent a year-and-a-half selling Americans on the forcible expulsion of millions of immigrants and shutting them off from us behind a wall. And then he got elected president. If the mass deportations happen, or if the wall gets built, this is a dark path for our country. And that will only be the beginning.

As someone who recently turned 65, I’ve lived long enough to have met people who got out of Europe before Hitler’s rein (my grandparents), and in this country I also experienced the aftermath of Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt: the woman who introduced my parents’ father was a judge who went before HUAC and was eventually disbarred because he was Jewish and liberal.

What many don’t realize is that when you are part of a group who is being singled out, it’s particularly frightening when a person like Donald Trump stirs up fear and scapegoating. Trump may not be personally anti-Semitic (his son in law is an orthodox Jew and his daughter Ivanka converted) but pockets of his supporters most certainly are: witness crowds yelling “Jew-S.A” at Trump rallies and Trump’s last advertisement made reference to (Jews) who run the financial world and are responsible for all that is bad.

I’m definitely worried and while I’ve lived with mild anti-Semitism my whole life, I’m guessing it will get worse now. I’m also concerned for people like my late mother’s helper, Marta who is an American who emigrated from Ethiopia. How should she think about what happens at Trump rallies and the blatant hate of President Obama (because he is black).

Its possible that Donald Trump said many of the extreme things he said simply to get elected, that he doesn’t really want to make a wall or deport Muslims. But, as Jonathan says in his essay, this is what the beginning looks like and as Jew who was brought up to “never forget” I can tell you that I haven’t forgotten and I’m scared, both for myself and for my country.

John Oliver on Donald Trump

Oh my John Oliver has done it again.

I’m sure to folks reading this from outside the United States our country with its current crop of presidential candidates is looking pretty sad but “The Donald” really does take the prize for the sleaziest of them all. And, the fact that he’s got any following, let alone a possibly winning following is frightening.