The question of “what if” is heavy question to ask, especially when it comes to certain historical events.
We know that we live in an imperfect world. We know that we live in a world in which one’s opportunities are often dependent on and defined by factors such as race, family background, religion, etc. We know know that we live in a world where many have been persecuted and massacred simply because of who they are.
Given what is happening in our country and in our world today, the what if questions in regards to the Holocaust and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II seem particularly potent.
What if the average citizen had spoken up? What if they had publicly protested, contacted their representative and voiced their concerns about the treatment of their fellow citizens? Would the world as we know it to be today different and perhaps a better place?
As I walked out of work this afternoon in midtown Manhattan, traffic ground to a halt. All four lanes of traffic were stopped, for what I think is a necessary reason.
The average citizen spoke up. They made it loud and clear that what our government is doing to the South American migrants who are only seeking asylum and a new life in the United States is wrong.
We cannot go back and undo the Holocaust or the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II. But this protest today and the hundreds of others gives me hope that humanity is working towards a future in which all of us are treated equal.
There are some people in this country who still believe that the United States is a white, Christian nation. According to these people, anyone who does not fit into both of those categories is either ineligible to be an American or is only fit to be labeled as a second class citizen.
Among these people is the President of the United States.
Over the weekend, he tweeted the following statement about four Democratic Congresswomen: go back to where you came from. The targets of this tweet were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). All four of them are freshman members of Congress and women of color. The incorrect irony of his tweet is that three of the four targeted Congresswomen are natural born American citizens. Ilhan Omar is the only one who was actually born in another country and immigrated as a child. She has been a citizen for nearly twenty years.
The truth of America’s history is that we have always been a multi-cultural nation. Unfortunately, that truth has been hidden to ensure that only a small minority have access to the American dream. Due to decades of hard work and soul searching, we have finally started to open the door to those who have been systematically disenfranchised and make amends for our collective sins.
The question now is, where do we, as a nation go from here? Do we let this racist used car salesman drag us back into the past? Or do we continue to walk the high road and work toward the ideal society that our founding fathers created when they broke from the British over 200 years ago?
In an ideal world, the justice system would not be swayed by money and power or the lack thereof. Every defendant would be treated equally. But we live in an unequal world in which money and power can sway the justice system in the favor of the accused.
In 2008, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sexually abusing underage girls. Those charges were dropped, but new charges were leveled against him this week. If convicted, he faces spending up to 45 years in jail.
He though he could hide behind his powerful friends. But powerful friends, like money and power cannot hide the truth of what he did to those young girls.
One of the aspects of this story I think surprises no one is that the current Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, who back then was working as a lawyer, arranged for a sweetheart deal that reduced the sentence. Mr. Acosta’s boss has been accused of similar crimes, but unlike Mr. Epstein, he continues to get off scot free.
Only time will tell if Mr. Epstein gets what he deserves. I hope he gets what he deserves and much more.
Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.
Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.
One of the myths of the United States is that unlike other countries, one is only limited by the scope of their dreams and how hard they can work.
But the reality is that many of us are limited in our potential. This limit is not because we don’t work hard or we don’t dream about what we would like to accomplish. This limit is based on factors such as race and/or sex.
Yesterday, the U.S. women’s soccer team won their fourth World Cup. And yet, their salaries lag well behind the members of the men’s team.
It’s time that these women are paid what they are due. It’s time that all women are paid what we are due. If we have the skills, the experiences and the background to successfully do a job, there is no reason why we should be paid less than our male colleagues who do the same job and have a similar professional background.
Change, both political and cultural, comes when we open our eyes to the reality of our world. This win is not just a win for the team, it is a reminder that there is still a pay disparity between men and women that should finally be addressed once and for all.
Congrats to women’s soccer team. I hope their victory inspires young people (and young women in particular) for generations to come.
Rape is an unfortunate part of human history and the human experience.
Recently, a young man was brought to trial, accused of raping a young lady. The judge overseeing the case, Judge James Troiano, initially denied the prosecutors case and released the boy. The judge stated the following as his reason for his ruling.
“This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well…He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college.”
Thankfully, an appeals court overturned Judge Troiano’s ruling and denounced the judge for his decision.
This boy may come from a good family and may have a bright future, but it does not excuse his actions. If the accusations are in fact correct, he is a predator and a criminal and should be treated as such.
In ruling in the boy’s favor because he came from a “good family”, the judge also ruled against the girl and her family. She may also come from a “good family”, but we don’t know that. For all we know, according to Judge Troiano, her family is not worth the same time and effort as the boy’s family.
It’s time to stop the excuses for rape and call them what they are: a crime to prosecuted to the fullest extend that the law can provide. Until that day, we will continue to disbelieve and devalue victim and let criminals get away with murder because they come from a “good family”.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It does not say anywhere within the poem, “tell them not to come”.
Those are the words of the man who Americans elected to lead us in 2016.
What are these migrants supposed to do? Stay in a country in which violence, destruction and hunger is the norm? Watch as their children starve or die from gang violence? Just hand over their sons to the gangs to fill their ranks? Give their daughters to the gangs to become sexual playthings?
What would you do if you were in their shoes? Would you just stay or make the dangerous trek to America, hoping that the United States provides the safety and freedom that does not exist in your home country?
Past generations have left their homelands for America for the same reason that these people are leaving for America. It’s time to tell the administration to stop this persecution of Central American immigrants and treat them as human beings.
The United States has the unique distinction among the countries of the world to have citizens whose ancestry is from everywhere. There is no other country in which multiple people can say that somewhere on their family tree, a relative was born somewhere else and made their way to America.
The problem is that many forget this fact.
Pictures released over the last couple of days have revealed inhuman conditions that migrants are being held in at our Southern border.
These are human beings who are being treated as sub-human. Even if they may have technically broken the law, they did not leave their homes and families for sh*ts and giggles. They left dangerous conditions and trekked hundreds if not thousands of miles with the hope that the United States would provide refuge and opportunity.
What is worse is that these migrants are not single adults. They are families with young children, many of whom have been separated from the adults they depend on. This is not only a travesty of justice, it is a travesty of human rights and everything that is wrong with the world.
In the United States, we like to believe that race is an issue of the past. We like to believe that we judge others based on who they are, not by their skin color or family background. But the reality is that race is a potent and highly emotional issue that is far from being resolved.
Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was running for his first Presidential term, the Birther movement claimed that he was ineligible to run because he was not born in this country. They claimed that he was born in his father‘s home country of Kenya, not in Hawaii as is stated on his birth certificate. It surprised no one that these claims are simply based on the fact that he is the first African-American President in American history.
The latest target of these claims is 2020 Presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-California). After her surge following last week’s Democratic debate, there are some who claim that because of her Jamaican and Indian heritage, she is not an “American black”. Of course, you know who’s idiot son retweeted the lie, just as his father spread the lie about his predecessor a decade ago.
This claim is nothing but bullsh*t racism. Up to this point, Senator Harris has proven herself to be up to the challenge of possibly running this country. She is not being denigrated because a voter disagrees with her beliefs and potential policies, she is being denigrated because of where her parents came from.
Elections are messy, complicated and full of potholes. The last thing we need coming into this next Presidential election cycle are lies based on something as superficial as race.
Last night, the second night of the 2019 Democratic debate aired. Unlike Wednesday night’s debate, which can be described as moderately quiet, last night can only be described as somewhat akin to a game of top that.
Among the ten candidates, I think that Kamala Harris (D-California) stood out. She was articulate, mature, personable and spoke about the hard truths that our nation must face if we are to heal the racial wounds of the past. Speaking of her experience of being one of the first African-American children to integrate her school district in the 1970’s, I think that she reached out to many of us who don’t think twice about seeing children of color in schools that are predominantly white.
I don’t believe that Joe Biden (D-Delaware) is a racist, but he chose a poor example of working across the aisle. I understand why he made the statement, but it was not the statement I would have chosen if I was in his shoes.
Speaking of Joe Biden, last night showed (at least from my perspective) that his time in politics may be ending. His decades of experience are undeniable, however, his age is showing. We need a candidate who will be able to beat you know who next fall. If last night is an indication of things to come, Biden may not be the candidate to win the 2020 election.
The other statement that I agreed with was John Hickenlooper‘s (D-Colorado) warning about socialism. Personally, I have no opinion, either good or bad about socialism. However, whoever the nominee is will need to be politically locked and loaded to face up against you know who. The charge of socialism, especially in this divided political climate, may be the topic that gets you know who re-elected for another term.
Readers, I’m curious as to what you thought about last night. Did your opinion of any of the candidates change in anyway?
Historical and Literary Fiction / Essays / Poetry / Reviews /Book Cover and Interior Illustrations / Pet Portraits and Other Commissioned Artwork ... "Life can't ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer's lover until death - fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant." ~ Edna Ferber, 1885-1968, American novelist, short story writer and playwright