ASSAULT AND SURVIVAL ACROSS THE FORESTS OF WWII EUROPE

Right-Wing Rage and Humanity’s Identity Crisis

Right-Wing Rage and Humanity’s Identity Crisis

Are we a species motivated by brutality and hate, hell-bent on self destruction, or will we shift, en masse, to an agenda that sustains life, guided by intelligence, understanding, and compassion?

Will we move into the worst or the best of our human potential?

As the ruthlessness of conservative extremists is exposed, their rhetoric heats up. The volume of right-wing bitterness and hatred is turned up to a piercing high—in the news, on the street, online, and at home.

The volume of right-wing bitterness and hatred is turned up to a piercing high—in the news, on the street, online, and at home.

Emboldened and Ruthless

All over the news, we see hatred channeled openly through politicians and individual citizens. Many of us feel this every day in our personal lives as certain people—even members of our own families—are emboldened by this rhetoric. Hate rhetoric and hate crimes are on the rise. For those of us labeled “different” by this culture, it’s a hard and lonely time.

The White House is promoting a thinly veiled agenda of white Christian supremacy and xenophobia under the alarming claim that it will “make America great again.”

The bullies think they’re winning—for now. Earlier this week, the president said he wanted immigrants who “speak English” and won’t “collect welfare” and introduced legislation to that end.

Border Wall: Another Iron Curtain

My great uncle Stefan, the subject of my book, spoke at least nine languages. Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, and Hungarian were among the languages my grandfather spoke. They were refugees from the Nazis and then the Soviet state. They survived genocide only to be trapped behind the Iron Curtain, which they also escaped. They learned English after immigrating.

When we got married, my husband said to my father, “Thanks for getting the Hell out of Hungary.” If my father and his parents hadn’t escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1956, I would not exist. My mother and father would never have met in Oil City, Pennsylvania. I would not be writing this now, nor anything else I’ve ever written: the essays, the poems, the blogs, and the brochures businesses have used to sell their products.

Haven’t I been valuable to this country in that way and so many others that I should not have to enumerate?

But more than that, isn’t concern for another human being’s well-being reason enough for a compassionate immigration policy?

Many of my children’s friends are bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Their parents immigrated from Spanish-speaking countries. Many of these children learned English bravely, like my father, by immersion in the school system. And now, they enrich my community and this country by speaking multiple languages, reminding us that we live in a robust global community and that no geographical area can be cordoned off by a wall or isolationist rhetoric.

False Divisions

If the the White House had its way, people like my family would be barred from immigrating to the U.S. These politicians have benefited from institutionalized privilege and prejudice and want to continue enjoying their ill-begotten power. They are emboldened right now, but I hope that all the bluster is the last breath of bigotry. I hope we are on the verge of an inevitable shift away from cruelty, toward compassion as a guiding principal for our culture and politics.

This is the 21st century. No one has the right to ignore what history taught us, what our ancestors suffered so that we would know better.

This is the 21st century. No one has the right to ignore what history taught us, what our ancestors suffered so that we would know better. All human beings and the languages they use to express themselves are valuable. We should learn to pronounce people’s names, in any language. We should all learn to love many languages and the people who speak them.

We live on a round planet, all on the same, indivisible surface. Division is false. Walls are illusions. The emperor has no clothes.

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