DysTrumpian Kleptocracy

(Watching Rachel Maddow show today, 3/13/2017, and she talked about the Russian kleptocracy, describing it as a government of thieves.  Seemed appropriate to re-post this given the timeliness.)

Placing “dys” before a noun indicates something is “bad.”  Think dysfunction or dystopian. A  kleptocracy is a form of government that involves the exploitation and stealing of resources. You probably have an idea of where I am headed with this.  We are now entering the Era of DysTrumpian Kleptocracy.  Sounds kinda pretentious, I know, but it seems the best way of describing the smarmy group of sycophants permeating the new government.

Our alternatively sane president has appointed a cabinet of robber barons who will use and abuse their positions for their own gain, whether it be monetary or the seductive siren call of power and influence.  Our nation’s safety and security has been egregiously compromised by Russian incursions into our elections and apparently our White House too.  It feels as if we have fallen thru the Looking Glass and are now living in an alternative reality.  A suffocating state of anxiety smothers those of us who saw what was coming; we live with fear and apprehension of what will happen to our country, our way of life.

Marches are becoming the new norm.  Protests erupt across the nation from the largest of cities to the smallest of towns as a resistance gains momentum and members. The term “awoke” is often invoked to describe those who had never protested, who had never made a phone call to a representative/senator, who had never been part of a marginalized group or ever had their right’s threatened.  But now they have awoken to the very real threat that this hybrid Dr. Frankenstein’s monster of a government, put together by a seriously flawed, amoral man, who appears to have no inner moral compass, poses.  A man whose personal advisors have entanglements with Vladimir Putin that go deep and who promote a white nationalist, bigoted, xenophobic agenda that will make us, for all intents and purposes, a satellite of Russia.

We have heard this story before, it is not a new one.  Fascism, the Third Reich, and Communism are some of the most recent incarnations from the last century, but will not, unfortunately, be the last of their kind. Never the less, we must stay awake, we must resist.  We are still in the early days and have the opportunity to express with our collective voices that we are all one, that we are a crazy quilt of a country that celebrates our differences while at the same time embracing our sameness.  We can resist the agenda of the DysTrumpian Kleptocracy and peacefully demand that the United States Constitution is the law of the land, that we have a Bill of Rights that needs to be respected and that rule of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy is an anathema to all that this nation has stood for.

We cannot normalize this.  We are better than this.  The world is watching.  History is watching.  We make the choice of what will be recorded at some future date on whether or not the United States remains a Republic or falls into irretrievable disrepair, a once grand experiment now no more than some fractured Banana Republic.

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Conscience In Action

Nationalism is an infantile disease.  It is the measles of mankind.” Albert Einstein

From a very young age, I was taught to be accepting of those different from me.  At five my mother and I moved to New Mexico and I encountered many cultures and points of view.  I attended colorful parades and fiestas, admired the pretty turquoise, coral, malachite and silver jewelry splayed out on blankets by native artists, watched Zozobra, “Old Man Gloom” burn away the year’s sorrows and disappointments.  I sat in a smoke filled tepee and was asked if I could see the “beaver “in the fire, and learned Spanish slang that was not to be repeated in polite company.  No one was an “other” to me.

My mom, a Viking in miniature, made sure that I did not see myself as any better or any worse than anyone else.  She fed me books to expand my imagination and knowledge and to expose me to ideas and people that I might not otherwise encounter outside of a book cover.  Books that would entertain, make me think, make me feel and most importantly make me question the world around me.

Common themes of humanity and resistance, of groups and individuals who walked thru fire and learned to not lose their humanity or conscience, but to put conscience into action, were peppered throughout the novels I read. The novelist Leon Uris was first introduced to me around 13 or 14.  My mother wanted me to have a full understanding of what hatred, prejudice, and intolerance can do, and what it was to stand up to such evil, so I read Exodus and Mila 18.  In school, Night, by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank supplemented my mother’s efforts to educate my mind and heart.  In high school, I also read Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Houston and James D. Houston, and Hiroshima by John Hersey.  One of my teachers, Mrs. Argersinger, had my class keep a Holocaust Journal in which we wrote about the atrocities and the injustices of World War ll, including that of the United States.  I have kept this journal to this day. On January 20th, 1985, I wrote in this journal “People should never have to live with this again but I know that it will more than likely because history has a habit of repeating itself and if you listen to the news you know it is so.”  Mrs. Argersinger replied in writing “Unfortunate but apparently so.”

Today we are seeing a resurgence of nationalist ideologies and beliefs that made the world dark and confusing during the first half of the 20th Century.  We now need our collective conscience’s manifested into action, into resistance to prevent another Warsaw Ghetto, another Manzanar (Japanese Internment Camp) another Auschwitz or Trail of Tears.  We are in grave danger of losing our Republic to those who would turn this country into an isolationist, ethnocentric, bigoted bastion of nationalism, with a “me first” mentality that in the long run, will lead, as it has countless times in history, to destruction.

Muslims, Jews, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics, Blacks and other people of color, as well as women, have seen a frightening uptick in violence and venomous hate speech since the presidential campaign and eventual election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency. This is happening in a country that once prided itself on its multi-hued tapestry of diversity.  Now, it seems, that much of this was superficial as many people have dropped any facade of civility and decency and engage increasingly in open attacks on those they perceive as different or foreign.

Swastikas have materialized on trains, spray painted on walls and defacing other public spaces. Vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats have assailed many Jewish institutions.  The Hispanic community is being terrorized by deportations of undocumented migrants, many of whom have lived here most of their lives, their only crime trying to take care of their families.  Sexism, xenophobia, homophobia seem to be everywhere.  But so is the resistance.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel  

Some may not learn or want to learn the lessons of history but there are many who have and are willing to walk the walk, to stand and ally themselves with the oppressed.  They are the candles lighting the path during this nighttime of social instability. We must not lose sight that the issues we face are not that of a political nature but that of a moral nature.  We must call and write our representatives and senators, we must have peaceful rallies and marches.  We must record what we see and hear and share it so that we can encourage and strengthen one another.  WE MUST NOT BE SILENT.