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Behaving Like It’s 1942

Posted on February 1, 2017

It took a lot of cajoling but I finally made myself pick up the paper last Sunday, too afraid to read the headlines. It’s one thing to think your country is going to hell in a hand basket; it’s another to confirm it.

So, I gingerly made my way around the headlines, thanking the ACLU for its skills in court and the eight years of Obama during which time, he appointed judges that actually recognize civil liberties. It’s only when these very institutions are being beaten like a piñata and break and spill out upon the proverbial national floor that you realize how lucky we’ve been.

In need of a little light fare I skipped over to the Pink Section, where I indulge in my horoscope – assuming it says something good. In flipping through the pages, I managed to come across the paper’s “Time Machine” section where they print snippets from years past. This is the entry for Feb. 4, 1942:

            “Thousands of enemy aliens ordered out of California defense zones will be moved inland to farm colonies by the Federal Government. This was revealed today by Tom Clark, alien coordinator for the western defense command. It was the first indication of Government plans for the mass evacuation of Japanese, German and Italian nationals from 86 Forbidden Zones in California. The evacuees, Clark promised, would be given every consideration, but they will be moved without exception.”

So as you can see, we’ve been to this place before as a country. Never one for subtlety, Trump actually signed his Executive Order to ban immigration on Holocaust Remembrance Day. For those Jews still alive to commemorate the terrible carnage of those days (to use the word correctly for once), it must have been a terrible thing to perhaps also recollect that many of the survivors were denied entry to this country by the same xenophobic impulses overtaking us again today.

If our country were a patient, the doctor would be coming into the waiting room to say, sorry your cancer is back, only this time its worse. I’ve tried very hard to not feel as if the world is ending. I hate to give the creepy white power leaders the satisfaction of thinking they got to me, but I do feel a shadow coming over us.

1942 is a good year to remember as you contemplate presidential elections in France and Germany. France’s leading candidate is a far right anti-Semite whose cleaned up nicely, but hate runs through her veins as sure as the nationalist party candidate in Germany who complained that his country has too long been hanging its head in shame over the Holocaust. These folks see the fangs of a nationalist beast emerging in Washington, a place where a Presidential Advisor calls the press the opposition party, and tells them to sit down and shut up. And wouldn’t that jack booted thug Bannon love it if that happened. Be able to act without accountability and create his utopian society where every old structure has been torn down and then…what?? What has been built in its place?

That is the scary idea to contemplate because when World War Two was over, we’d defeated fascism and made the world safe and prosperous for fifty years. Now the fascist is in the White House.

Flesh and Bone

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