Archive | November, 2016

A Sad Day

9 Nov

There’s a scene from the movie The Hammer that I love. You’ve probably never seen the movie. I don’t think many people did. It’s a solid low-budget comedy. Adam Carrolla wrote the film and stars in it. He plays a down-on-his-luck boxer trying to qualify for the Olympics. His primary competition is a younger black boxer. They start out enemies and later become friends. You know how these types of plots go.

Before the climax, though, there’s a scene where the younger black boxer asks the Olympic coach why Carrolla’s character, who’s over the hill and out of shape, is being granted this opportunity.

“I bet you wouldn’t give this shot to a 40-year-old black man,” he says to the coach.

“Yeah, coach, when is the black man finally gonna get a fair shake in the fight game,” Carrolla’s character responds.

Last night, as I watched the voting results come in, I couldn’t help but think about this line.

Finally, the voice of oppressed white man has been heard.

*  *  *

I haven’t spoken to my dad yet, who’s in Europe for work. We talked early Tuesday before the election, but not since Donald Trump was declared the victor.

My dad has spent his entire adult life fighting anti-Semitism, and all forms of racism and xenophobia too, both in the United States and abroad. That’s been his area of expertise, and his profession; he works for a Jewish human rights group. His life mission has been to make the world a better place. His tool has been history. He wrote a book about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and laid out the reasons why that centuries-old myth about Jews secretly wanting to run the world, a myth that has led to the deaths and percussion of a countless numbers of Jewish men and women and children throughout history, is false. He’s currently fighting the desire of European white nationalists to erase and distort the history of the Holocaust.

His life’s goal has been to keep the world, and Jews in particular, from succumbing to the cliché about what happens to those who don’t know history.

This morning I asked both my mom and brother if they’d heard from my dad. My mom said yes, she said he was distraught.

“He told me that he always thought he’d leave his kids a world that was better than the one he came up in,” my brother told me. “He doesn’t feel that way anymore.”

A few hours later my brother sent me an instant message. It was a link to Philadelphia website. I clicked.

“Police Investigating Two Swastikas Painted on South Philly Building,” the headline read. The word “Sieg Heil”—Hail Victory—was spray painted in black onto a glass window.

*  *  *

The first tears came last night. Actually, I think it was officially the morning by the time it became clear that Trump would win. I cried then, and I cried during his spine-chilling acceptance speech and I cried this morning while watching President Obama address the nation. I cried as I tried to get on with my life and write about the Knicks’ defense.

I cried some more when, for the first time in my life, this thing I’d devoted so much energy to—sports—seemed futile.

*  *  *

I’ll leave the in depth political breakdowns to others. I’m not a political scientist. There is one piece of voter information I’d like to share though, courtesy of Bread Heath of USA Today:

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Ignore all the talk about the White Working Class and Frustrated Rust Belt. That’s cable news horse race talk, futile bullshit deployed as a warm blanket to avoid confronting what really happened last night.

A white nationalist running a xenophobic campaign—one in which he regularly insulted Mexicans and black people and Muslims and women and people with disabilities and Jews (more on this in a bit)—was elected President of the United States.

That didn’t happen because a large group of people felt disenfranchised. That’s what Beltway pundits and soulless Republican leaders said. But it’s not what the voters themselves claimed.

DRAIN THE SWAMP, they chanted. DRAIN THE SWAMP!

This had nothing to do with the economy.

This had everything to do with race.

*  *  *

Show me a time throughout the history of the world that xenophobic rage STOPPED before reaching the Jews?

This is a question I’ve been posing to Jewish Trump supporters I meet or anyone else attempting to peddle a softer image of this day. Find me a moment in history when a nationalist rage directed at minorities didn’t endanger the freedom and safety of the Jewish people.

And so, to the large swath of Orthodox Jews out there (of which I am one and so I will focus on here, though you we are not alone in being targets of the Trump clan) who supported this demagogue throughout the campaign because of #EMAILS and #CROOKED and #BENGHAZI I say this to you:

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Forget, for a moment, the idea that Trump is a morally repugnant human being who’s mere mention should cause every decent human being to vomit. And let’s also move past the notion that it’s utterly insane for any person of Jewish faith—a faith which for thousands of years has been attacked for the sin of being different—to side the a leader preaching hate and not pro-inclusion.

Forget all that for a second, as hard as it is.

Instead I ask you this less humane question: where are your self-survival instincts? What do you believe separates Jews from other minorities? Your white skin compared to their brown and black complexion? Have you checked Twitter recently? Have you seen the millions of Neo-Nazis who have been energized by Trump and come out of hiding? Have you seen the attacks being lobbed at Jewish journalists? Have you heard that David Duke is once again relevant?

Have you heard radio host Alex Jones, a trump buddy and ally, reference the “Jewish Mafia in the United States”?

You know I was thinking, they’re always trying to claim that if I talk about world government and corruption I’m anti-Semitic, there’s mafias of all different stripes and groups but since you want to talk about it, the Emanuels are Jewish mafia. So there you go. But, I mean it’s not that Jews are bad, it’s just they are the head of the Jewish mafia in the United States. They run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you.

These are the people that catapulted Trump to the White House. These are the people he owes his position.

Trump knows this, too. His campaign was proof. There were all the Nazi tweets and memes, most of which we’ve forgotten about. The pile of cash with the Star of David on it. The Benito Mussolini quote. His son’s love of Nazi twitter accounts. The refusal to denounce David Duke.

Then there was his latest commercial, ripped from the pages of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Here’s the Washington Post (liberal MAINSTREEM MEDIA rag, I know) on the ad:

Well, Trump just gave his reply. On Friday, he released a closing ad for his campaign repeating offending lines from that speech, this time illustrated with images of prominent Jews: financier George Soros (accompanying the words “those who control the levers of power”), Fed Chair Janet Yellen (with the words “global special interests”) and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (following the “global power structure” quote). The ad shows Hillary Clinton and says she partners “with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”

This is usually the point where I hear about Ivanka (you know, the daughter he wants to fuck) being Jewish and how her husband, Jared Kushner (a good Jewish boy who comes from an upstanding Jewish family that stands for everything good in the religi…) and how his lawyer is Jewish and they all say he likes Jews and therefore all these claims are just the CROOKED media distorting the truth.

To which I answer: pick up a history book. Go speak with a Holocaust survivor. Learn what anti-Semitism truly looks like, how it actually manifest itself.

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day,” Trump is quoted as saying.

“I know why you’re not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money …Look, I’m a negotiator like you folks, we’re negotiators,” he told the Republican Jewish convention this year.

Anti-Semitism, like racism, isn’t just the use of derogatory epithets. You don’t need to toss around words like nigger or kike to be a racist, to believe that people who are different are inherently lesser beings.

Donald Trump and the majority of his voters who made this a reality view minorities the same way: black people, brown people, Jewish people, they believe these large swaths of people are all inferior beings, that white Europeans are the stronger race.

That’s racism. That’s anti-Semitism. That’s xenophobia. And it doesn’t disappear because a campaign is complete.

*  *  *

People will suffer. We don’t yet know how, we don’t yet know. But the suffering will come. It could come in the form of deportations. It could be revoked health coverage. It could be an attack on a woman’s right to choose. Perhaps black people will continue to have their voting rights attacked. Gay freedoms. It could be more subtle. There’s going to be an Alt-Right leaning executive branch and House and Supreme Court.

What do you think is going to happen? I’ve been asked. It’s not so bad.

We now know we live in a country in which millions of people believe a demagogue should hold the most important position in the world. Millions of people were okay with handing a career con man.

But Clinton was crooked and nasty and a crook

Trump’s personal charity foundation has been proven to be a front, one used to enrich himself. There are numerous documentations of him refusing to pay his end of a contract simply because he felt he could get away with it and out spend smaller people in court. He hasn’t released his tax returns. An ex-wife of his claimed he raped her. We have a fucking videotape of him admitting to being a sexual predator.

The tape led to the firing of Billy Bush. The standards for hosting the Today Show are higher than those for being President.

The press, the backbone of a free and vibrant democracy—my opinion, but also one belonging to those old white men that Republicans masturbate to at night—is no longer valued. We now have proof that citizens can no longer differentiate between reported journalism and the moronic dribble that populates outlets like Breitbart. On Facebook everything looks the same. If there’s one thing we learned this election—one in which almost every single reputable newspaper and magazine endorsed Clinton and sounded the alarm about Trump—the media no longer has the ability to influence. It’s (and I hate the tossing of all of The Media under one umbrella) is not trusted. It’s viewed as a problem.

Not of this is an accident either. Trump is the culmination of decades of dog whistles and conspiracy talk coming from the right wing. The difference is he’s the first to realize that he could take off the mask, skip right over the Wall Street Journal editorial types and speak directly to the so-called Alt-Right, a group that no longer exists.

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The Alt Right is The Right. They won.

So, please, spare me the cable news-like narrative that clearly Americans just wanted a change. Spare me the bunkum that Demagogue Trump was just a pawn for campaign season and that now everyone is going to come together and sing Kumbaya. Spare me any thing that attempts to normalize Trump’s past behavior and actions, or paint a picture of a man who’s spent the past 60-plus years lying, cheating and stealing suddenly changing his ways after becoming MORE powerful.

Spare me the canned anti-Hillary lines, and anything that attempts to portray the behavior of these two in the same light.

Trump is a different beast, and a beast is exactly what he is. I know my writing this doesn’t change anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak up.

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