Tag Archives: neo-Nazis

Still waiting for unification

Has it only been less than a year since Donald J. Trump took the presidential oath of office?

Gosh, it seems like so-o-o-o much longer. Does it to you? No need to answer.

I recall so vividly one of the many promises the then-president elect made during the transition into power. He pledged to “unify” the country ripped apart by one of the most divisive, hateful, spiteful and insult-driven presidential campaigns in history.

How’s he done so far as his first year in office approaches?

Umm, not too well.

His fellow congressional Republicans have sought to govern without any help from congressional Democrats. The president has cheered them on.

The only phrase from the new president’s dark, dismal and desultory inaugural speech mentioned “the American carnage,” and how he intended to stop it “right here and right now.” Has it stopped?

Nope. We’ve seen massacres in Orlando, Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs. How has the president responded to them? By blaming Democrats.

The Charlottesville riot perhaps is the nadir of the president’s plan to “unify” the nation. He talked of “good people” among the white supremacist, Nazis and Klansmen who gathered to protest the taking down of a Confederate memorial.

How many “good people” have you ever met who belonged to the KKK, or offered that stiff-armed Nazi salute? I know the answer to that one.

The conservative media are now leading the chorus for the president to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, whose “Russia thing” investigation is proceeding with all deliberate speed. Is that a unifying component? Hardly.

Let’s sum it up.

The nation is as divided as ever. Maybe more so since, oh, the Civil War or the Vietnam War. The president who vowed to bring us together hasn’t made the grade.

The honeymoon he was supposed to get when he took office vanished the moment he began — on Inauguration Day — offering that dark view of the world’s greatest nation.

Unity? We’re far from it, Mr. President.

Who should go? DACA residents or neo-Nazis?

Here it comes. I feel a raging rant boiling up. I know it won’t fly, but I must  get something off my chest.

Some of the very Americans who are angry at those who came here illegally as children, those who qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law, also represent an ideology against which this country went to war.

I refer to the neo-Nazis, the morons who hate all immigrants, particularly those who aren’t of European descent.

On one hand we have DACA residents, many of whom came here as toddlers or younger. They have forged good and productive lives as Americans. The U.S. of A. is the only country they know. Donald J. Trump has decided to rescind the executive order that granted them temporary protection against deportation. They might be rounded up in six months and sent packing if Congress doesn’t come up with a legislative answer.

Those despicable neo-Nazis want them out immediately if not sooner.

If I were King of the World, my preference would be to deport the neo-Nazis over the DACA residents. Yes, yes. I know. They have the constitutional right to express their political views, no matter how vile and disgraceful they might be. The neo-Nazis take the despicability cake by a mile!

While I’m at it, I’ll throw the Ku Klux Klan onto that dung heap, too.

My father went to war against the Nazis in 1942. He was among the Greatest Generation that saved the world from the tyranny espoused by the Third Reich and the Nazis that murdered roughly 6 million Jews in Europe. Nazi soldiers, sailors and aviators tried to kill Dad  on multiple occasions.

This is the ideology that some so-called Americans choose to honor with that hideous stiff-armed salute?

Who is more preferable to have walking among us, I ask? Those who have lived in fear because of something their parents did or those who speak as champions of an evil, tyrannical ideology?

There. Rant over. I feel better.

ESPN spooked beyond all reason

The executives who run ESPN have been bitten by the bug that gives human beings a case of the heebie-jeebies.

The bite came from that riot that erupted two weekends ago in Charlottesville, Va. Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and assorted white supremacists gathered to march against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park; counter protesters showed up, too, and a clash commenced. A young woman was run down by someone who allegedly has white supremacist sympathies.

How did ESPN react to all of this? It pulled a sportscaster who was scheduled to call a college football game this weekend between the University of Virginia and William & Mary College. Oh, yes, UVa is located in Charlottesville. The sportscaster’s name: Robert Lee.

Good grief, ESPN! Get a grip here.

I consider this to be a serious overreaction. Yes, the issue at hand also is serious. ESPN wants to remove any potential for controversy or conflict. So, it yanked a young man with the name Robert Lee off its broadcast? ESPN issued a statement: “We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue.”


I have an option for ESPN to ponder: Refer to him on-air as Bob Lee, or Bobby Lee, or Robby Lee. I suppose I also should mention that Lee is of Asian descent.

I believe ESPN has gotten spooked beyond what is reasonable.

Alt-right = white supremacists

This well might be the final time I’ll refer to the term “alt-right” in a manner other than to quote someone else’s statement about it.

You may count me, therefore, as one who wants to cease euphemizing what I believe the term really means: white supremacists, racist, bigots.

It has emerged in recent years as a term to define those on the far-right fringe of the political/ideological spectrum. As the events in Charlottesville, Va. — not to mention other communities that have been victimized by spasms of race-related violence — have shown us, the term “alt-right” has focused on a specific brand of political protest.

It has come to represent the views of those who support racist, bigoted ideologies. The term “far right” has taken on an ugly, evil identity. Perhaps it’s because what we used to know as the “conservative movement” has itself moved far past the midway point. To be called a conservative these days seems to mean something different than it did during the day of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Donald J. Trump used the term “alt-right” to turn on what he called the “alt-left,” the counter protesters who clashed in Charlottesville with the neo-Nazis and KKK members who gathered to protest the taking down of that statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Here again, we saw the president seek to place the hate groups on equal footing with those who protested against them.

As for the term “alt-right,” consider me to be among those who no longer prefers to see it used other than to make sure we know what it represents.

It represents hatred and bigotry.

There. I’m done with that word.

‘Alt-right’ becomes euphemism for something ugly

‘All men are created equal … ‘

I hope the debate over the nation’s founding documents continues for a good while. We need, as Americans, to remind ourselves of what the founders wrote and try to parse what they meant when they wrote these words.

While steering away from specific mention of the current controversy swirling around the nation, I feel a need to examine briefly this particular passage from the Declaration of Independence.

“All men are created equal.” 

I suppose you can look at that phrase and take it one of several ways. Yes, all “men” were “endowed with … certain unalienable rights.” That, of course, excludes women, who were left out of that formula. They couldn’t vote; indeed, it took the United States of America until the early 20th century to get around to granting women that right.

There’s a discrepancy worth noting here. “All men” didn’t really mean “all.” You see, we had this portion of our population at the time the Declaration of Independence was written that wasn’t even considered fully human. They were the slaves. They were kept in bondage by many of the men responsible for founding the nation.

I will try to insert myself into Thomas Jefferson’s skull for a moment. The principal author of the Declaration perhaps intended for it to mean “all.” Whatever his intent or his idea at the time he put that thought down on paper, it doesn’t negate for one instant its fundamental truth.

All men — and eventually all women — are endowed by the rights laid out in the Declaration of Independence.

Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, it is preposterous in the extreme to accept the presence of those who pretend to be members of a “superior race” of human beings.

We’re in the midst of yet another national discussion about hate groups, about so-called “white supremacists” and those who adhere to a political philosophy against which we entered a world war. 

They will insist that they are the patriots among us. That they know the meaning of our nation’s founding.

They … know … nothing.

The founders didn’t get everything quite right when they penned those cherished words. Those who came along later have sought to amend and improve that high-minded language.

We’re not quite at the point of pure perfection. But we’re a lot closer to it now than we were at our nation’s beginning.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution declares our intention to “form a more perfect Union.” I read that to mean that we’ll never quite reach the finish line. That does not mean we should stop reaching for it.

‘Six Flags’ now all look alike

How about this?

Six Flags Over Texas, the noted theme park in Arlington, has made a fascinating decision about the flags it flies.

The Charlottesville riot and the blowback over symbols of the Confederate States of America has moved Six Flags to replace the various flags with just one: Old Glory.

Six Flags over Texas has removed the various colors it flew. The flags represented France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Stars and Stripes and, yes, the Confederate States of America.

Now all six banners will be the United States national flag, the Old Red, White and Blue.

The outrage over Donald Trump’s comments about the riot, the notion that “both sides” were responsible for the violence that erupted, has prompted this change at the Six Flags theme park. The protest turned into a riot when counter protesters challenged Ku Klux Klansmen, white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park. A young woman was killed during the riot when she was run over by a motor vehicle allegedly driven by a young man with neo-Nazi sympathies.

Six Flags spokespeople say the park has sought to display flags that illustrate “unity.” Given the harsh response to what transpired in Charlottesville, the park has decided that unity should be displayed in the form of Old Glory.

Which begs another fascinating question: How about the flags that fly during the musical “Texas”? The Texas Panhandle plays host every summer to the acclaimed musical “Texas” at Palo Duro Canyon. The show concludes with horsemen and women riding across the set carrying the “Six Flags” that represented the governments of Texas. One of them is, you guessed it, of the Confederacy.

Will the “Texas” producers follow the lead provided by Six Flags Over Texas? I salute Six Flags for demonstrating remarkable sensitivity to the national mood.

And do I sense a name change at the theme park is in the making?

Trump has riled a grieving mother

My memory at times lets me down, but I am pretty sure that in my lifetime I haven’t heard of anything quite like this.

The mother of a young victim of racial violence has declared her intention to refuse a call from the president of the United States of America when he gets around to making it.

Susan Bro’s daughter, Heather Heyer, was mowed down by someone driving a car into a crowd of counter protesters this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Heyer was among those protesting a demonstration by hate groups — Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists; the haters were protesting the taking down of a Confederate statue.

The young man arrested and charged with killing Heyer is known to have pro-Nazi, white supremacists views. Donald John Trump then took the floor at Trump Tower to say that “both sides” were equally to blame for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville.

That was too much for Bro. “I have not, and now I will not,” Bro said Friday when asked whether she had spoken with Trump. “You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying I’m sorry. I’m not forgiving for that.”

Amazing, yes?

There was more to Trump’s statement that enraged Bro. The president said there were “many fine people … on both sides” taking part in the demonstration. Fine people? Did he actually mean to suggest that those who march with neo-bleeping-Nazis are “fine people”?

The president has messed with a grieving mother. He once again exhibited his utter cluelessness about the weight of his words.

President seeks to inflame emotions even more

I am about to embark on a futile and pointless mission, which is to try to talk some sense into the president of the United States of America.

Donald John Trump Sr. is planning a “campaign-style” rally in Phoenix, Ariz., next week. The city’s mayor has implored the president to forgo the visit.

The “why?” is simple. National tensions have hit a fever pitch. We’re still reeling over the Charlottesville riot and the death of young Heather Heyer and two Virginia state troopers. Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered to launch a protest; counter protesters met them. They clashed and all hell broke loose.

The president then proceeded to absolutely demolish his moral authority on damn near anything by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and in the process virtually equated the racist, bigoted hate mongers with those who opposed them.

So now Trump wants to stage another rally out west? He wants to tell his adoring — but shrinking — cadre of supporters about all the good things that have occurred since he became president?

Memo to POTUS: There stands a very real chance, sir, that your rally is going to provoke more violence. It might go badly for everyone concerned.

Then there’s this: We’re hearing talk about the president possibly pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been convicted of violating the civil rights of illegal immigrants he had arrested. “Sheriff Joe” has become a darling of the anti-immigration movement, given his tough talk and actions.

I merely would implore the president to resist the temptation to pour even more fuel onto that already-burning blaze.

OK. I’ve stated my piece. I know it won’t matter one damn bit to the president or to his supporters who read this blog. However, I feel better having gotten it out there.

Now, let’s hope for the best — which would be for the president to skip this rally. Hey, maybe Ivanka can talk some sense into Dad’s thick, orange skull.

Swastikas are back in the news … for the wrong reasons

The “Greatest Generation” of Americans marched off to war in 1941.

Millions of them went off to fight the Empire of Japan in the Pacific; millions of others went in the other direction, to take up arms against the Third Reich and its fascist allies in Italy.

The Nazis who governed Germany did so under the banner featuring the swastika, which has remained the symbol of unequivocal evil over the decades since the end of World War II.

Events of the past few days have brought that symbol back to the fore in the United States. It’s good to ponder for just a moment the very notion that Americans would associate themselves with that symbol in any fashion.

The Charlottesville riot over the weekend involved Nazis who marched under that very banner yet again. They wore the swastika on their t-shirts, on arm bands. They adhere to the very philosophy that perhaps their grandparents or great-grandparents fought. Perhaps they lost ancestors in that conflict.

How in the name of all that is holy can anyone associate themselves with that philosophy? How can they in good conscience stand with that symbol of evil? Oh, wait! I guess I assumed that such sociopaths even have a conscience. Silly me.

I have my own deep-seated bias against that symbol. My late father enlisted in the Navy in early 1942, not long after our country entered World War II. He wanted to get into the fight right away and Uncle Sam obliged, sending him to Europe to wage war against that swastika.

And he did. His involvement in the Mediterranean theater of operations was intense. It was brutal. Men who fought under that swastika tried to kill my father — repeatedly and I am quite certain with maximum malice. Dad responded with equal intensity.

Quite obviously, he was able to come home at the end of the war. He got on with the rest of his life.

Over time, he talked occasionally about his war experience. He didn’t hate Germans. He did hate the symbol under which those young men fought against him. As I grew up, I was imbued with the feeling of hate as well for that swastika.

As we’ve seen over many years, though, not all Americans share that hatred. Some of us embrace that symbol. For the life of me I cannot fathom it.

But here we are, talking to each other once again about an emblem that symbolizes the very worst in our human existence.

And to think that the president of the United States has just elevated those who today are marching yet again under that evil symbol effectively to the same level of those who oppose them.

Presidents make powerful statement, but it needs more

There you go. A powerful statement from the two most recent Republican presidents of the United States, father and son, George H.W. and George W. Bush.

Their reaction to the Charlottesville riot and the tragic death of Heather Heyer speaks volumes about their decency and compassion.

However …

There’s an element missing from this statement. What is missing is a specific condemnation of their successor, Donald John Trump.

It’s the kind of rebuke and denunciation that must come from members of the president’s own party. They must condemn not just the acts of hate that transpired in Charlottesville, but also the president who — in a stunning display of ignorance and arrogance on Tuesday — equated the hate merchants with those who oppose them.

Indeed, the silence from the GOP political high command has been deafening in its own right. House and Senate leaders have spoken eloquently about their loathing of intolerance, bigotry and racism. Good for them!

But the rest of the condemnation also must single out the president of the United States who tossed aside the proverbial “dog whistle” he has used to incite his political base and replaced it with a bullhorn. We all heard what he meant when he said “both sides” are to blame for the tragedy that unfolded in Charlottesville.

No, Mr. President. There is no “both sides do it” moral equivalence here. The riot was provoked by the presence of white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis who protested the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. They marched under the lights of tiki torches, which symbolize the terror tactics used by the Klan and, yes, by the Nazis in Europe prior to World War II.

And yet the president drew a moral equivalence between the hate groups and the counter protesters. It was disgraceful in the extreme for Trump to do such a thing.

I’m glad the two former presidents have spoken out. They both have been quiet since leaving the presidency in 1993 and 2009.

I just wish they would have taken the final step and called out Donald Trump by name. Maybe that moment will arrive in due course. Let us hope.