A refrain, a litany, a small phrase. Rhetoric redolent of a chant has been seeping through my brain for weeks now. And the other day in Pittsburgh it came back to haunt my mind in a far louder voice. To blame journalists for writing down what they see others doing is slightly ridiculous, for it is not the journalists making bombs or yelling at people, they just report what they see around them. They report on Who is doing What, When, Why, Where and How they are doing whatever it is. Who, then, is ultimately responsible for the devisiveness rampant in our country’s rhetoric? We are. We, the people, the ones who don’t say “STOP” in louder voices. You see, in our world today, money talks in greater volume and we place importance on people who have more of it than we do, and I believe that idea has to change. Why should we give importance to anybody just because they have money? Instead I ask how they got so much of it, and did they cheat, lie and steal to achieve it, or was it built on the backs of slaves, etc. etc. We must stop blaming the people who are simply reporting the crimes and start blaming the ones actively or passively participating in the crimes. If a central figure in your life stands up and starts saying bad things about your neighbor, who has always been kind and generous and supportive of you, how long before you, as a child, are going to believe the central figure in your life instead of your own experience? I mean really. Let us look at some of those children whose minds have been bent by their “Central Important Figure”. For example, our dear press secretary. Ms Sanders needs to stop stuttering the same lies the President is telling and start looking at the truth. I watched her on the news the other night, Monday night, and she could barelt sat the words “the President doesn’t bear any responsibility for what is happening”. Well, yes he does. For the simple fact he is a central figure in many people’s lives, and they listen to him. He has money, and people listen to money. We all know it, why are we not admitting it? He may say he denounces bigotry and hatred, and then he goes on the campaign trail and what does he say? What spews out of his mouth are lies, bigotry and hatred. “Put her in jail” he says. Put who in jail? Hilary Clinton or all women? Why does his wife look so frightened all the time, and why is she so silent. I’ve never seen a First Lady who hides so often from everything. She reminds me of me, and I will tell you that story at the end of this blog segment. Trump states journalists are to blame for bad stories about him…so one of his greatest followers sends bombs to CNN as well as a few of the elected officials who oppose the way Trump does things. Our President says one thing, does another, and we all know that it is what he does that means the most to people. Actions always speak louder than words. He tacitly verifies that white supremacy is an okay thing, he tacitly verifies that bigotry is acceptable, he tacitly verifies divisiveness every time he opens his mouth and Ms Sanders doesn’t believe he is responsible for what has been happening since he day he was elected? I tend to disagree with her. She needs to get real. She may want to believe that people can make their own choice, but there are many people out there who don’t want to think that hard, so they just go with their emotions, and their emotions right now are hell bent on anger, denial, militarism and an ideology that stems from Hitler’s SS wave of terror during World War II. It is the expulsion and denunciation of such rhetoric that we went to war in the first place and Germany is now the first country to admit it. I admire them as a people who came back from hell and learned something valuable. They are no longer hateful, no longer terrible, but there are a few of them still around everywhere in the United States and other places. There are still people who deny that the concentration camps existed, just as there are still people who believe the world is flat. And despite everything that science has discovered, despite all of our gains in women’s right to own their own bodies, despite all of the leaps and bounds of cultural acceptance in the last twenty years, these people will never believe anything other than what they want. And what they want is nasty rhetoric because it makes them feel bigger, stronger, more in charge, better somehow, than anybody else. The truth is, they aren’t better than anyone else. These people are the same as everyone else. We all have DNA, we all have blood in our veins, we all have a brain to use, whether we use it or not depends on what we are taught as children and what we want to believe as adults. Bigotry and prejudice are signs of brain death to me. It’s always easier to run with the crowd than to stand alone and be counted for something good. Why did the student shoot the other student in the hallway? Probably because he got tired of being bullied by everyone for being different. Football is a great example, it sets everyone up for devisiveness from the beginning. “Our team is better”, “our team are winners”, “Boo to the other side”. Fights break out in bars over football plays. Remember these are supposed to be adult males who can think, but maybe their testosterone gets in the way. God forbid somebody should belittle their team or their unity. Well, it’s a free country, get over it. Ignore a great deal and you will find life gets quieter, more gentle, nicer, and more mannerly. And why not? What’s wrong with having a little gentility and manners in our lives. Why not say please and thank you? Not everything has to be confrontational. It’s exhausting.
It is no use trying to reason with a person who has no sensitivity to the word “prejudice”. Because to reason begs a person to think, and these people clearly can’t or they would have figured out by now that their actions are destroying the peace and tranquility we are all entitled to have in this world. So what are the rest of us going to do about it? I will tell you what I do. Every time Trump says something nasty about a person, I find a person who is like that person in spirit and mind and reason and thank them for being a good person. I smile at everyone, no matter who they are. I accept there are differences and I value those differences, and try to make sure that others know that about me. When Trump talks about the journalists being the cause, I buy another newspaper, read another ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or BBC news story. I read, alot, of the world’s newspapers. Aljazeera, BBC, Reauters, A&P, The Times, CNN. I don’t watch or read Fox news, because that’s the stuff of strife. They like to stir things up, they remind me of the trash mags at the checkout counter. Blowing things out of proportion, like the President, is their forte. Some people in my own family swear by Fox news, but I know better, for I am older and wiser and I read more and I think more, and I went to University to learn how to think for myself. Inductive and deductive reasoning, taking an idea and turning it upside down and inside out to see if it’s valid. Researching the research. Where does this idea come from, who had it first and what book or journal article are they quoting and is it a piece meal rhetoric out of context or a whole quote? Whenever I read anything written by someone else I always ask, where did they get this idea? Who had it first and what was it used for. Remember what the journalists use as their criteria for stories: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why? I still hear that little chant “I am afraid”, but when I quote “who, what, when, where, how and why?” that little phrase goes away. I know who is fomenting fear (I suggest you look at the stock market drops recently and ask who is buying up all the lowered stock and what stocks are those?) and I know we can combat it with good sense and a commitment to peace. And a strong aversion to bigotry, lies and egomaniacal rants and tirades against all that is good masquerading as political campaign stops. I think we need some checks and balances in our system NOW. Even a few of the Republicans are worried, the rest just have dollar signs in their eyes.
There are a great many bad things happening right now. Religious persecution, shootings, bombings, airplane crashes, hurricanes, miles of refugees fleeing for their lives and heading our direction. Well, it is what the Syrians have been doing for years, fleeing death. Why aren’t we helping other countries do more for their people? It is their responsibility, but all Trump can say is “build a wall to keep them out”. He’s not being very helpful. And thanks for trashing all of our trade agreements, now my money, what little I have, buys even less. But also, Thank our Universal Creator that some of the wounded and frightened found refuge in other countries. But, wait a minute, isn’t that what America is supposed to be doing? Opening it’s doors, and being “The Great Refuge of the Opressed, the Persecuted, the Wounded of the World”? And isn’t this where they are supposed to have their second chance? By the way, where did your great-grandparents come from? Unless you are a Native American, I doubt your DNA comes from America. It comes from England, Ireland, Italy, France, Scotland, Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, India, Pakistan, Tibet, China, Viet Nam, Japan, and 180 plus countries whose names I have not metioned. Who are we really? We are Americans first, ethnic groups after, We are not African Americans, we are American Africans, American Asian, American Hispanic, American whatever, but first and foremost we are Americans, and that means we are all in this together and if we don’t start working to really promote change, as in lets all go to the polls AND start being nice to each other, we will lose our country and it will become the stuff of history. A good idea gone bad. So when I hear that voice in my head that says “I am afraid”, I chant “Who, What, When, Where. How and Why” and read another newspaper article and thank God I have the freedom to do so. Because if we are to lose our journalistic freedom, it is the end of America as we knew it. I have been watching things for over sixty years, There is value in my life experiences. My book collections, of which I have read every book, amounted to over twenty thousand volumes over the last sixty years. Now I use the internet because with Social Security I cannot afford to buy books and I have no room to store more than the two thosand I still own. So when I say that history will repeat itself, democracy, like Rome, will fall, unless we stand united, I know what I am talking about. It is that insidious fear, that small phrase “I am afraid” that we need to stamp out, and we need to shout louder than just one small minded elected official, no matter if he pretends to be leader or not. We must ask ourselves where is he leading us to and to what end? I’ve never encountered such ego in all my life, except once, in the mid century post war history books, the old war films, and the news stories from World War II. Oh, and my first ex husband who tried to kill me because I wanted a divorce. Told you I’d tell you the story. I wanted a divorce because he beat me, he locked me in the house and refused to let me out. He told me what to wear, what to do, how to think and when to do it. I got raped whenever he felt like it. It was his “right”. When I finally got away, I paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom, he kidnapped my sons and I have not seen them for over forty years. He said it was my punishment for divorcing him. I said it was my gift, my state of grace and one day my children would understand, or not. I am alive to make a difference. If I had stayed I would be dead. Millions of women have stories like this, millions have worse stories, and have endured even worse situations, and I applaud them for their strength and their resilience and their sacrifices, but now it is time to be even stronger and more resilient. We must all begin to ask ourselves where the negative rhetoric crap is really coming from, and why, and then we must answer the rest of those journalistic questions with actions suitable to the resolution of a problem.