Tag Archive: Donald Trump


A Free Train Ride

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Yesterday, I woke up to find that my Twitter feed had been inundated with anti-Semitic threats. People using anonymous handles referencing 20th century as well as contemporary neo-Nazi culture flooded my mentions. They let me know that I was being explicitly targeted because I was a Jew. They let me know that I was being explicitly targeted because I spoke out against white supremacist hate speech. Which is all to say, they let me know I was being targeted because I was willing to defend myself and and to mobilize others that were willing to do the same.

I’m going to include the most upsetting of the comments as an image below this sentence. I am warning you ahead of time about anti-semitic hate speech being included in this post.

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[Author’s Note: Once again, I’m sharing something that I originally posted on social media. This is a very brief statement on why more Americans need to be concerned that our government has officially ended its fight against white supremacist/white nationalist terror groups. Only the Antifas can save us.]

A thing we aren’t talking enough about right now is the fact that yesterday our new President removed white supremacist hate groups from the purview of domestic counter-terror surveillance programs. The federal government is giving actual Nazis free reign to commit terror on American soil.

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captainamerica1

[Author’s Note: For the second time this week, I’m publishing a post that is a formal response to a comment that someone left on my Facebook wall. I believe these sort of micro-scale interactions with others are a necessary step moving forward in the fight against fascism, and I’m going to include the comment that this person left so that you, the reader, can understand the brief argument I give for why violence — carefully considered and escalated rationally — is justified against actual Nazis. More of us should be punching Nazis.]

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It Has Happened Here

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There are two great myths of World War II. The first says that there was something intrinsic to the national characters of Germany and Italy, a flaw that made them uniquely susceptible to the destructive id of fascism. The second myth evangelizes the existence of a unified, democratic resistance to fascism even amongst the nations occupied by the Nazis.

Marcel Ophüls’ 1969 documentary, The Sorrow and the Pity, demolishes both myths and, in the process, serves as a harrowing reminder of the ease with which liberty and human prosperity can fall when they aren’t safeguarded through constant vigilance. Few historical documents of the 20th century offer as intimate a peek into the constant struggle to identify, combat, organize against, and educate others about political oppression.

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“It Requires Revolt”

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A family member just accused me of caring too much about politics right now and argued that by caring as much as I do, I’m not helping the political situation in the slightest. I’m simply injuring my own mental health.
 
It is entirely possible that the former is true. I’m just one person. I have a platform as a professional writer, but it’s very small. And it is certainly as true as it can be that the individual words I write will probably have no substantive impact on American policy and American politics.
 
It is also true that caring as much as I do right now is negatively impacting my mental health.
 
I’m scared.
 
My anxiety is through the roof. I haven’t felt this off-kilter since my depression was at its worst circa 2009-2011 and I was on the verge of failing out of college. I honestly have no idea how long I can keep up this level of mental stress. It’s affecting my schoolwork. It’s affecting my professional life. I can not deny for a second that caring about the state of America right now is causing me severe mental harm.
 
But if I am forced to choose between my own mental well being and the knowledge that my actions are moral and just and that I can live with myself and sleep at night because I did them, I must refute the nihilism that nothing I do matters. Because even if I am crushed by oppression, I will have the knowledge that through myself I affirmed the ability of people to be better.
 

How much less suffering would exist in the world if more of us were willing to recognize that every person — regardless of the color of their skin, their sex, their gender, their religion, their country of origin, their ethnicity — is worthy of respect as a human being and that we should build our society in such a way that defending the fundamental humanity of all was a skillset we were taught from a young age and taught to value above virtually all else?

But, instead, we have a system where when the political goings get tough, we’re taught that the system isn’t worth fighting. And that is a belief to which I can no longer submit.

Suffering exists because we selfishly choose to advance our own interests at the cost of others well-being. This is a fact that can no longer be ignored. And if you view your fellow man as equal to you and due the same protections under the law as you, you must then also feel that it is your duty to do something to eradicate suffering. Choosing to do nothing makes you complicit.

I wrote about this idea in a broader sense in an article I wrote for Vice which you can read here. We all, every last one of us, have a moral obligation to think about what our actions mean for others and, even more importantly, what it means when we aren’t willing to do something to help others. If you get to do nothing as suffering exists, then the continuance of that suffering is on you. I know that many people will read these words and not internalize them. They might give lip service, but they will not know how to engage with them in their heart as true. But I write to anyone who hasn’t been asked to think about these things before and who has the capacity to envision their actions leading to a more just world.

Because if we can’t envision a better world and better, more just versions of ourselves, then there isn’t a reason to keep going. I refuse to believe that’s the world that we live in. To quote Camus for the second time in two weeks, “it requires revolt.”

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“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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There’s nothing magical that holds American democracy together.

I think that’s something that we take for granted. American democracy works — in the flawed, half-broken sense that it’s ever worked — because competing functions of our civil society implicitly agree to respect the constitutionally described powers of the other branches of our government while also respecting the enumerated limitations of their own branch.

This is basic civics. We have a government with three branches. The executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch has certain powers that can be reduced (perhaps perilously) simply: the legislative branch decides what the laws are, the executive branch is tasked with enforcing/enacting these laws, and the judicial branch is tasked with interpreting these laws. Each branch has ways of keeping the other branches in check. It was one of the most carefully deliberated design elements of the Constitution. The legislative branch can impeach the executive branch and judicial branch. They have confirmation powers for many of the people  appointed to either of those branches. The executive can veto legislative decisions. They appoint the judiciary. The judiciary can decide if the laws or actions of the other two branches are unconstitutional. And if these laws are unconstitutional, it’s the purview of the judiciary to tell the other branches of the government that they have to change their behavior.

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thesorrowandthepity1

(Author’s Note: I originally posted these thoughts as a series of tweets. I’m posting them here for people who don’t follow me on Twitter or who want these thoughts in a more readable format.)

If anybody needs an explanation for what happened this week, watch Marcel Ophuls’ ‘The Sorrow & the Pity.’ It’s a documentary from the 1960s that decimates the enduring myth of the united French resistance to fascism during the Occupation.

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