It’s So 18th Century

Sometimes, all it takes is a phrase to start my mind going. In this case, it was a post by a friend of a meme that said: “There is something wrong in a society in which guns and ammunition are a right, but healthcare is a privilege.” My response was that it sounded so 18th Century. I meant that in all seriousness. Let me explain.

Like anything, our country and its governing documents are a product of the time it was born, just like (although many won’t admit it) the Bible was written through the eyes of the times in which it was written. Reform Judaism, the movement to which I belong, teaches that we must continually reinterpret those timeless lessons for today’s times and values.

Consider when this country was formed, and when the Bill of Rights was written. There was persecution from England against speech and the practice of religion. There was regular quartering of soldiers in homes, and the British were confiscating guns and disbanding militias so the the people couldn’t fight back. There was slavery, and state militias were being used to enforce owner’s rights. Women were second class citizens with defined roles, and in many states, non-whites were not even citizens. Gay relationships were certainly in the closet, and as for the rest of TQ…. — you didn’t hear about it. Healthcare was non-existent or poor, and land was cheap. Anyone could be a self-starter, and redefine their identity. The world was much simpler, and the weapons less powerful. There was a fixed aristocracy, and the power of what we now call Evangelical Christianity wasn’t there. Most of the Founding Fathers were Deists. Society was such as non-Christians were fewer and less well integrated. Eastern religions? What were they? Non-Europeans or non-Africans. Miniscule populations at the time in the Americas.

This was the environment in which our Constitution and the Bill of Rights was written. It reflected the humans that wrote it, who wrote it with their immediate needs and concerns in mind. It was not intended to speak to all times; it was known by its founders to be imperfect. Consider this: We can amend the Constitution. We can’t amend the Bible. Whose authors thought it was perfect?

We’re in the 21st Century. We need a Bill of Rights for today, that reflect the timeless notion in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” and in the Preamble to the Constitution: ” establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”.

What should be in this bill of rights (we can argue about citizens vs residents vs …):

  • To ensure life: All citizens must have access to a basic level of health care and preventive medicine: not only to protect their lives, but to ensure that which is communicable does not infect others.
  • To ensure life: All citizens must have a basic livable income, sufficient to provide shelter and sustenance.
  • To ensure liberty:  All people in the United States must be treated equally, irrespective of any status by birth or inheritance: religion, race, gender, orientation, sex, size, or differences in ability.
  • To ensure liberty: All citizens must have a freedom of privacy in their personal affairs.
  • To ensure liberty: All people must have the freedom to practice their religion inasmuch as it does not impinge on the rights of the others to practice their religion.
  • To ensure the pursuit of happiness: Gun ownership should be permitted but controlled to ensure the public safety: (including distinctions on the type of weapons, regular training and mental health checks, storage rules, and strict limitations on non-hunting or self-defense weapons.

Those are just a start. I’m sure you could think of more, including many of our current limits on the Government imposing its religion or a pre-set morality.

 

 

Share

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

userpic=divided-nationA few days ago, prompted by a post from an Evangelical Conservative friend of mine that mass murders were only committed by Islamic Terrorists or the Radical Liberals, and the Vegas Shooter had to be one or the other, I said:

There are times my very Conservative friends make posts that infuriate me, and make me start typing a comment … which I promptly delete because I know it is like teaching pigs to sing (and I’m not calling them pigs, only using the expression): I’ll only get frustrated by the response, which won’t change anything. Thus, I don’t bother with those discussions. It makes me appreciate other friends at different parts of the Conservative spectrum, with whom we can have an intelligent discussion, learn from each other, and often find some middle ground.

In response to this, we’ve had a very good discussion over on Facebook on both the differences and similarities between left and right, and including agreement with my sentiment above from people who I consider to be on the both far ends of the political spectrum. Then, this morning, while reading my RSS feeds, NPR pops up an interesting article about now nothing divides Americans more sharply than politics. It noted the following in it’s leed:

Pew has been measuring attitudes on policy issues and political values dating back to 1994, and its latest check-in finds — perhaps unsurprisingly — that Americans are more divided than ever.

“The fact that Republicans and Democrats differ on these fundamental issues is probably not a surprise, but the magnitude of the difference is striking, and particularly how the differences have grown in recent years and where they’ve grown,” Carroll Doherty, Pew’s director of political research and one of the authors of the study, told NPR.

We are divided, and we’ve gotten so entrenched in our bubbles and our labels that we not only fail to recognize people as individuals with individual views, not party positions, but we fail to listen. We engage in discussions not to listen and learn from the other side, but to convince them that is why THEY are wrong and WE are right. That’s wrong.  There are very few issues that are simple binary — most are complicated with nuances, and multiple mitigations to address areas of concern.

Then, while reading another burst of my RSS feeds, there was an interesting opinion piece in the Jewish Journal: “Toward a Radical Middle“. In it, the author talks about how in the Facebook era, there were things on the Left that you were not allowed to criticize; similarly, for those on the Right, there were things you couldn’t criticize. Polarized much? One reformer noted in the article coined the term “regressive left” to describe the illiberal takeover of the left, the slow chipping away of every liberal value.

What I really liked was the article’s conclusion:

How do we get out of this mess? For one, we need to return to real — classical — liberalism. But what does that mean?

The easiest way to describe real liberalism is that there are certain principles — freedom of speech; freedom of religion; a dedication to liberty, justice and individuality — that are nonnegotiable.

But — and here’s a very big but: Liberalism allows for policy differences. You and I don’t have to agree on immigration, tax reform, even abortion — but our arguments must be rooted in liberal principles. Freedom of speech, for instance, involves defending the right of others to express their opinions, even if we disagree with them.

But No. 2: Politics need not color our culture or our lives. You can watch a movie or see an art show and — get this — just enjoy them, even if they have no connection whatsoever to social concerns.

Finally, But No. 3: Along with rights come responsibilities. There is a set of values attached to liberalism, what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the content of your character.”

Because of how skewed the political spectrum is, classical liberalism now sits in the center. That’s OK. It is precisely this ideology that can create common ground between the right and the left and nurture a saner society.

Call it the rebellion of the radical middle.

I, for one, look forward to that saner society, vs. the dysfunctional one we have today.

Share

Taking Our Best Shot

After the horrific shooting in Las Vegas Sunday evening, my Facebook feed has been filled with calls for gun control, expressing the seeming belief that gun control will be the answer. But, as I wrote on Facebook Monday, stopping mass shootings and terrorist incidents is a complicated issue. I’m all for a sensible gun control policy. There should be background and mental health checks on all purchases of guns with waiting periods. There should be limits on assault weapon purchase and ownership, limiting access to those who have a reasoned need to such power: registered members of registered militias, and perhaps firing range owners so that people can have the hobby of shooting without the risk of urban assault. There should be the simple policy that the registered gun owner is also legally responsible for any crime committed with a gun registered to them — that will ensure guns are secured in houses, and address under the table transactions.

But we must also be clear that even if all gun manufacturers went away today and there were no new guns, there would still be a vast number of guns out in the wild. [ETA: And as later discussions noted: There is also the ability to 3D print guns, even if there were no manufactuers]. Gun control policies reduce risk, but primarily only among those who are sane and law abiding. They are part of the risk reduction picture, but not the complete answer. Similarly, all the scanning at events is also risk reduction (with an element of deterrence through security theatre), but does nothing to stop at-a-distance attacks like Las Vegas.

We need to do much more to reduce the risk. We need universal affordable healthcare that includes coverage for mental illness. This is the easiest and best way to address the mental health problems that lead to these incidents. We need periodic mental health evaluations to be included as part of regular physical checkups. Last time I looked, the brain was part of the body.

We need to address the economic causes that lead to these problems. This means reducing economic stress. This could be welfare; it could also be a universal basic income.

We need to address real and perceived inequality in society. Here in America, we are of the belief that what is significant is what you do, not who you are. That means real inequality must be stopped: discrimination and different treatment based on race, religion, gender, orientation, sex, and so forth. It means understanding what #BlackLivesMatter means: equal treatment for all by law enforcement, irrespective of origin or race. It also means addressing perceived inequality: there are many in this country who perceive an inequality or bias against the White / Male / Christian. Whether it is there doesn’t make a difference: perception can color behavior. Hence, addressing all inequality — real and perceived — is necessary to reduce that stress.

We need to address our society’s glamorization of violence. The Media and the Internet glamorize violence on the small and large screens. Action adventure movies show the power of mass terror. We make celebrities of those who commit these atrocities, and give tremendous publicity to their causes when discovered. Our political partisanship leads one side to so demonize the other than mass terror against the other is perceived as acceptable, because they don’t deserve to live. Much of society places more value in the unborn child than we do in adult humanity. When we devalue adult life so — when we view people who are different as unworthy of life — is there any question why mass murder and terror occurs?

 

We are never going to eliminate all possibility of such incidents. Those determined to do harm will find a way; they always have. But we can reduce the risk. However, we must be clear that gun control is only part of the picture, and addresses only the symptom of the underlying problem. For the best risk mitigation, we must address why these people do this.

Share

Bending the Knee

userpic=divided-nationOver on Facebook, a conservative friend of mine posited the question, “Someone, anyone… please enlighten me by pointing out the racist portion(s) of the following song lyrics:”, after which he quoted the Star Spangled Banner. I hesitate to respond directly on his post because of the shitstorm from the Trump-dittoheads that would ensue; instead, I’m responding on my forum.

First and foremost, the problem is not with the anthem itself, just as the fight against the Confederate statues is not about the specific statues, or the protests against the pledge are about the specifics of the pledge. The problem is with the underlying symbolism. Further, “racist” is the wrong term. “Problematic” would be much be much better.

So where is the problem? It is captured in the simple phrase, “Land of the free”. The problem is that our nation is not living up to that ideal.

Are we the “land of the free” when:

  • A black US citizen cannot drive through a white neighborhood without being pulled over, while a white US citizen driving through a black neighborhood is not hassled?
  • A brown US citizen cannot drive near the Mexican border without being stopped and asked about his immigration status, whereas a white US citizen driving near the Canadian border is not stopped?
  • An Arab-American US citizen wearing a hijab is instantly suspect of being a terrorist, whereas the white guy buying the nitrogen and ammonia is not suspicious?
  • When statistics show that brown and black citizens arrested as suspects by the police are more likely to be treated harshly, receive longer sentences, and be shown less lenience.
  • Our President criticizes black football players for not standing up and putting their hand over their heart for the National Anthem, when he has been recorded not doing so?

By the way, when y’all go to church, how do you show respect to G-d? You kneal.

We say we are the Land of the Free, but we don’t demonstrate it as long as we discriminate against people based on conditions that are not of their choosing: skin color, country of origin or heritage, religion, sex, gender, orientation. People are choosing to show respect in a non-traditional form, because that which is different must be respected as well.

Share

Why I Will Not Be Watching Star Trek: Discovery (At Least Now)

Tonight is the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery (FB). The first episode will be broadcast on CBS; for the rest, those in the US must subscribe to CBS’s exclusive pay-streaming service, CBS All Access. I’m a long time fan of Star Trek, and avidly devoured all of the TV series from the point where I could choose my television: the animated series, ST:TNG, ST:DS9, ST:V, and even ST:Enterprise. But I’m not going to be watching Star Trek:Discovery beyond the first episode (and possibly not even that). I think that were Gene Roddenberry alive, he wouldn’t be watching it either.

Here’s why.

In how CBS has chosen to broadcast Star Trek:Discovery (ST:D), I feel they are not being true to the Star Trek vision. Gene Roddenberry emphasized in Star Trek an optimistic attitude, a view of the world where barriers between people did not exist. The class distinctions were gone, and race, gender, orientation, religion, and similar divisions were not factors. All of the other instances of Star Trek on the small screen were egalitarian in their broadcast: if you had a TV, you could watch them, be they on NBC (TOS), the UPN network (Enterprise, Voyager), or syndicated (TNG, DS9). But for Discovery, this isn’t the case. Those without Internet access or those who are not paying for streaming service (read: most cable and satellite users) are disenfranchised. They can’t watch the show. Those with Internet access can, but only if they pay. This reduces the audience to a particular wealthy demographic.

That’s problem enough for the Emmys, as I’ve discussed previously. They no longer serve to encourage excellence in Broadcast TV (or basic cable).  Let the plebeians have crappy TV; those with the means can pay to watch the quality stuff on Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and … Streaming provides the wealthy audience that buys stuff, or pays the network directly for their programming.

But for Star Trek? Putting Star Trek on a streaming platform creates the exact class distinctions that Roddenberry fought against. It is a pure grab for money and revenue from technically savvy Trek-fandom who have more money than they need — money CBS feels free to separate from them. Much as I want ST:D to succeed, it should be on a mainstream broadcast or basic cable channel: the CW or SyFy, not pay-streaming.

Share

Emmy Awards: Relevance and Privilege

Over on Facebook today, a friend of mine posted a very interesting query: “So of all who watch the Emmy’s year after year…. do you actually have access to all those networks and shows that are nominated?”. This dovetailed with a feeling I had watching this year’s Emmys: What happened to the days when most people could see the Emmy winning shows on broadcast TV? This year there were very few network shows nominated, and even fewer winners. In fact, many of the winners weren’t even broadcast on channels one could get on traditional over-the-air, cable, or satellite TV as part of the basic subscription packages. They were on channels that, like HBO, you had to pay premium prices for, or channels like Hulu which you had to have an Internet subscription to watch.

Thinking about this further, on my Facebook, I asked: Wouldn’t it be great if we could get an awards show for excellent on channels that everyone could see: free channels or those included is most basic packages. That would encourage those channels to be excellent, not just those that can command premium prices.

But, driving home, what I realized is something unspoken about the Emmys: We may celebrate diversity behind the camera — especially this year. But we don’t have diversity in front of the screen. The inclusion in the Emmys of premium channels and channels that depend on the Internet have an unwritten presumption of a form of privilege: the privilege that provides the means to pay for premium subscriptions, to have Internet service, to pay for the extra devices, to pay for the computers and such. Many of the poor in this country don’t have those means — our rush to the Internet has simply passed them by and most people don’t care. There is no requirement of Universal Internet Access, like there is for phone service.

In our push to recognize quality in premium channels, we are sucking the quality from the accessible-to-all channels. And in doing so, we are dumbing down those channels and hurting the entire viewership of TV.

Share

Gee, Six

(to the tune of “The Saga Begins” “American Pie”)

About a week ago
At Verizon in the mall
My phone was starting to die…
And I thought me and my picks
Could talk Verizon into
A deal on an LG G6
But their response, it didn’t thrill me
They called mall-cops, and tried to shill me
I escaped from that fight
Called *611, and made it right
I checked again, redid the order
Picked it up at a Ranch called Porter
They behaved like they orter
That’s where I got this phone…

Oh my my Verizon Cellphone
You’ve the only brand I ever have owned
Northridge Mall sucks, but Porter Ranch pwned
And now I’ve got the latest smartphone
Now I’ve got the latest smartphone.

This has been an interesting week. Back in August, while we were on vacation, I had a problem with my 4+ year old, 1st generation, Moto X. Driving through Aspen to Colorado Springs, my phone had trouble finding signal after we got out of the canyon, even after multiple reboots, when my wife’s newer Droid Turbo was doing fine. I had been having significant battery life problems, and we noticed the sides of the phone were starting to crack — indicating potential battery expansion. Given my contract was long up (meaning, given our old plan, I was essentially making payments for nothing), the conclusion was: replace the phone.

Doing research during and after the trip, I settled on two primary candidates, as the Moto X4 (though just announced), wasn’t at Verizon yet: The Moto Z2 Play and the LG G6.  Both were running Android Nougat, and both had the right mix of features. Although I was leaning to Moto because I liked their Apps, the smaller size of the G6 (the G6 was 5.86 x 2.83″, and the Z2 was 6.15 x 3.00) combined with the larger battery (the G6 was 3300 mAh, the Z2 was 3000 mAh) led me to the G6. Both were in my price range: under $25 a month. That number derives from the fact I was paying $40 a month for line access, and with the new phone, I’d be paying $15 with a $25 credit towards the phone: thus my overall bill would not increase. I planned to get the new phone once our current billing cycle ended.

Checking online, of the two Verizon Wireless stores closest to our house, only the Northridge Mall had them in stock. So I went over there. I dazzled them with my data, and we sat down to discuss the G6. They said the price was $28/month. I said it was $20/month online. They said, “Well then buy it online.”. I got on my phone and attempted to do so. However, I got to a screen instructing me to scan a barcode, with no other options. I asked them for help — they had no clue. I asked for a supervisor — he was out. I asked if anyone else knew what this screen meant. They didn’t, and they refused to tell me if the order had actually gone through. I gave a loud “Harrumpf” of exasperation… and they told me to leave the store and that they were calling mall security to escort me out. That got me even more frustrated (and when that happens, I tend to trip). I tripped over a chair, went flying, and they kept insisting security was on their way. I finally got out of the store, sat outside, and tried to call customer service (with the mall cops standing over me watching). After 1/2 hour on hold with my phone about out of power, I called my wife. She came over, went in the store (because they wouldn’t let me in), confirmed the order was not placed, and we went home.

Once home, I called customer service and placed an order for the phone — at $20/month, no problem — through customer service. Receiving the request to pay the sales tax online, I went to their website to do so. However, the plan price confused me, so I called them back. We sorted things out and I entered the card, thinking the order was placed.

Checked the next day at work, and the order was still “pending, call the credit department”. Evidently, the card didn’t go through for some reason, and they couldn’t fix the order. They cancelled it (which took a day to show up in their system as cancelled), and we redid the order.

That evening, I received mail that the phone was ready for pickup (within 3 days, although the website said 7). I called the store that evening to make sure I had all I needed to transfer, and to talk to a representative. Nice as could be. Driving home the next day, I got a call the phone was ready. I went up there yesterday evening. Francisco Linares helped me, and was as nice as could be. He helped me start the initial transfer, told me what I needed to do when I got home, and we confirmed that my current plan was just fine and the monthly pricing would be as I thought it would be (I’ll need to check that on the next bill). I picked up an extra Micro-USB to USB-C dongle, and I was home in under 40 minutes, when I thought it would take 3 hours. Yet again, the Porter Ranch store demonstrated that they understand customer service: they did it right.

Later that evening I ordered more USB-C stuff: a new power brick, a wireless charger, and cords and such.

I’m now the owner of a new LG G6, just waiting for the cases and cords to arrive. Comfortable in the hand and easy to use.

And that, friends, is the Saga of LG. Kudos and stars to the Verizon telephone personnel that helped, and to Francisco and the staff of Verizon Wireless in Porter Ranch for doing it right. Boos and 💩💩💩 to the staff of the Northridge Mall store, who care more about sales than customers. If you have a choice between the two, go to Porter Ranch.

Two final notes: People ask: Why Verizon? We’ve been with them since they were Airtouch Cellular, meaning about 20 years. We have 3 phone lines and 2 tablets, and in general they’ve been good. People ask: Why not an iPhone? I’m a big iPod Classic user, and I don’t want to pollute the iTunes ecosystem.

Share

Hatred and Jews

Two articles that have crossed my feeds of late both highlight the issue of hatred: one of hatred of Jews, the other of hatred by Jews. Both demonstrate significant failures of our society.

The first was brought to my attention by Rabbi Barry Lutz of our congregation. Titled “Reform is Not a Four-Letter Word“, it describes a problem that is growing in Israel these days: the divide between the “ultra-Orthodox” (note that I do not put all Orthodox in this category) and the more progressive movements within Judaism. I’m familiar with this divide, for it isn’t a new one. Back in the early 1990s I started a mailing list where we explicitly prohibited that device, as the RCO fights (as well called them) were taking over soc.culture.jewish (the Usenet group) with their invective and hatred. It seems this hasn’t gone away: some ultra-Orthodox are using “Reform” as an insult. As the author of the opinion piece writes:

Still, I’d probably not have gotten around to writing this piece had Deri’s remarks not been echoed – almost drowned out – by those of Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and past Sephardic Chief Rabbi, who proclaimed a few days later that Reform Jews are worse than holocaust deniers.” You can catch his remarks, word for word, on the ultra-Orthodox Haredi website Kikar Shabbat as he responds to the latest appeal of progressive Jewish groups to the Supreme Court regarding the Kotel (Western Wall). “They don’t have Yom Kippur or Shabbat but they want to pray [at the Western Wall]. But no one should think that they want to pray, they want to desecrate the holy,” was Amar’s take on the matter. “Today there was a hearing on the Kotel on the petition of the cursed evil people who do every iniquity in the world against the Torah,” he added, including both Conservative Masorti Jews as well as the Women of the Wall (original and otherwise) as objects of his wrath as all were party to this litigation.

Did you catch that? Reform Jews are worse than holocaust deniers. Who needs Nazis in the streets when we have the ultra-Orthodox to hate us (without ever knowing what Reform really is, just like many of the Nazis know Judaism only from false stereotypes like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion). Hatred built on fake news and fake information is not new, folks; it has long been the domain of the ignorant, uninformed, and more importantly, those who do not want to be informed.

The current alt-Right and neo-Nazi — hell, Nazi — movements are bringing this all back to America. I met Shmuel Gonzalez when he recently gave a talk to the San Fernando Valley Historical Society on the community of Boyle Heights. This was an ethnically mixed community east of DTLA that — in the days of red-lining — brought together Jews and Latinos and Russians and Japanese and Blacks and all sorts of ethnicities into a loose coalition that worked for the rights of workers and the rights of people. Those Jewish Community Centers you see these days where nice economically advantaged families bring up their children outside of the horrid public schools were once Yiddishist centers fighting for workers and teaching English to immigrants. Shmuel, a very nice and gentle fellow, talks about this history all the time and preserves the Jewish heritage of those communities while celebrating both his hispanic and his Jewish background. Shmuel describes himself as follows in a recent post on his Barrio Boychik blog: “I am an activist historian and community organizer from Southern California; many of you might know me as the author of the Barrio Boychik blog, which is dedicated to presenting our local heritage of civil rights activism, with special focus on the historical and present inter-section of Jewish and Latino civil rights organizing. As a Mexican American of the Jewish faith, I also proudly serve the as teacher of Jewish education and leader in sacred Hebrew ritual, serving Southeast Los Angeles and North Orange County.”

Shmuel was recently at a counter-protest of the America First Rally – an anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rally organized by the so-called “alt-Right” – at Main Beach in Laguna Beach, California on Sunday, August 20, 2017. As he writes on his blog:

On this day I was in attendance to stand with local friends and business people as they stand against hate. Among them my good friend and a father figure to me, Irv Weiser; whose family came to this country as refugees following the holocaust. I came to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as he protested against this nationalist hate rhetoric. There were just a few dozen anti-immigrant/refugee protesters that day, a mixed race group of far right extremists that noticeably even had neo-Nazis and white supremacists participating in the event; while there were several hundred counter-protesters in attendance. After the right-wing protesters group dwindled they started making incursions into the counter-protest, to get in people’s’ face and to agitate the crowd; they caused some minor scuffles and were shooed back by the police. While documenting the event on video, I followed the right-wing group back. By this time the right-wing protesters on the other end were encircled and engaging a crowd. I engaged the right-wing protesters in their rhetoric angering them several times with just verbal rebuttals, while also taking video of the protest.

He continued:

As I was still documenting this event on video with the camera running, I went in for a close-up shot as we argued, and one of them quickly approached and hit my hand, sending my camera flying. At that point I was immediately arrested by five officers in riot gear from the Laguna Beach Police department. I was arrested, instead of these nationalist extremists who wanted to assault me. And that was just the begin of a long ordeal. I would be arrested, taken to central jail – where I would be subjected to racist and anti-semitic treatment by the jailer.

His blog provides all the details of this, and he has a court date this coming Monday. Why they arrested a counter-protestor, and not the perpetrators of hate is beyond me.

The reason I bring up Shmuel’s story (in addition to bringing it the attention it deserves) is to highlight the hate aspect of it. Both stories — the one from Israel, and the one from Orange County — deal with hatred of Jews. One is from the ultra-Orthodox (many of the same folks who, in America, are still supporters of Trump). One from the alt-Right — again, a supporter of Trump. Further, as I write this, a bipartisan group in Congress has sent a resolution to Trump condemning such behavior . Why did Congress send it? According to the Washington Post: “Trump was roundly criticized by lawmakers of both parties last month after he blamed “both sides” for the Aug. 12 violence that resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, as well as his suggestion that some “very fine people” were among the white-nationalist marchers.” Of course, the White House is saying he will sign it but the reason why is unclear: political expediency, or because he really believes in it. I guess we’ll find out in the after-the-fact tweets.

Whether the behavior is from our fellow Jews or from the alt-Right/neo-Nazi groups: we must fight hatred in any form. Further, as in the early days of Boyle Heights, we must remember that our cause is tied up with the immigrant — be they be from South of the Border, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, or Africa. Hatred of minorities in any form eventually turns to us Jews, and we have to stop it before it starts. Both of these stories are lessons and poignant reminders of where things can go.

 

Share