ANOTHER LAFAYETTE LEGACY

       July 16 and 17, 1942, the French watched as their neighbors were rounded up in the Winter Velodrome in Paris to be deported to death camps. They accepted the government’s action, sending off 9037 Jewish adults and 4115 Jewish children to die. In total, 28,000 Jews were sent away during WWII by Prime Minister Pierre Laval’s regime in France. He was placed in power by a foreign country in order to carry out hateful policies, and he and his administration did the job well, applauded by many in the general population.

       Finally, that leader was replaced by a government where France’s claims of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” were restored, and in the 21st century, “Rafle du Vél’ d’Hiv’” is recognized by the French and the world as a political atrocity against a religious group.

        The reversal of Laval’s administration, of course, did not bring back the dead. Other national scars remain as well. But this era in France gives me a glimmer of hope that people in the United States, in the years to come, will rally against the regime of hatred which reigns in the halls of Washington and in the homes and hearts of many Americans, to see the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution embraced again.

ACORNS FALLING

Fox Commentator:

Mr. President, do you think your son’s actions with the Russians are treasonous?

trump:

Junior was just trying to help his dad. Nothing wrong with that. He used a few of his connections. That’s the American way, right? Not Treason. No treason here.

It’s not like he’s a spy or something. He was just doing what had to be done. Treason’s something foreigners do, people not born here, like Obama. That’s where you should look for treason, at people like him.

Anyway, my son, he’s a good boy, and he didn’t get anything on stupid Hillary the American people didn’t need to know. They should know these things, and he wouldn’t have to call up his friends or whoever if American news reporters would do their job, instead of always putting out fake news.

My boy did nothing compared to what Hillary did. I wouldn’t grab her pussy, she’s so old. Why doesn’t she get some face work done. Then she wouldn’t be so ugly and maybe Clinton would want her. No one wants her. She’s a loser. Tell her to go on a diet. You agree with me, right? She’s the one who betrayed this great country. Let’s put her in jail. Her and Obama both. That’s where they belong. That’s where the treason is. Cover that story. That’s the real story.

Donny didn’t think he was breaking any law. It was no big deal. It was nothing. Besides the law is wrong. Let’s change the law. What’s wrong with getting some help from your friends and allies. We should do that more often. What are friends for if they can’t help you? The Russians are on our side, you know. We all want the same thing.

Fox commentator:

So you don’t agree with people who are saying you’re letting your son take the rap for you in Russia-gate, letting him be the fall guy and scapegoat, sending him down the river to save your own skin?

trump:

I understand that Fox’s license is coming up for renewal soon. I bet it’s a bad thing for a t.v. station to lose its license. You better have your facts straight before you say things that might get you in trouble. Just saying.

 

Morning Dog Walk

It was a simple moment: two dog-lovers talking happily in the sun as their animals chased each other at the edge of the forest.

To make chit-chat, I said, “There’s less trash than usual.” Often in the early mornings, the public trash receptacles are over-flowing from evening picnickers, before the garbage trucks come to clean up. It’s an issue because my dog is a trash-lover.

He replied, “Yes. There must not have been any Arabs around.”

I metaphorically shook my ears to see if my hearing was working.

He continued, “They’re different from us. They’ve got no regard for cleanliness. I’ve seen their fat women toss trash on the ground without paying any attention.”

I wanted to crush the “us/them” perspective and countered as best as my stunned brain could, “No. It’s all people. We can all be litter-bugs when we forget to pay attention.”

He waved aside my comment and kept talking as if he were right instead of racist.

Later I thought of what I wished I had said:

“I disagree. The Arabs I know are clean, smart, and respectful.”

Or, “I try not to make stereotypical statements like that about groups of people.”

Or, “I remember littering myself on occasion. Does that make me an Arab?”

Or, “Shut up if you can’t say something intelligent.”

As for me, I took note of and eliminated a stereotype of mine: that dog-owners are better than the general population.

Of course, any name of any group that serves as the scapegoat of the moment could replace the word “Arab” in the man’s racist comments.

And of course, nothing I said could have changed the hard heart and small mind of this man who was willing to condemn an entire population because of a cup left on the ground next to a garbage can by some unknown individual.

 

VegE-News

       What an honor !!

       My new book, SLEEPING DOGS NEVER LIE, now available in paperback, is featured in VegE-News, a fabulous newsletter by Canadian Lana Holmes.

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       Enjoy the newsletter, especially the Books and Perspectives section where you’ll see SLEEPING DOGS NEVER LIE. Want more? Subscriptions are free!

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I had a dream last night.

MP900227784A president traveled to a party held in the middle east, where he lolled in golden splendor with sultans, arranging a deal to sell guns, missiles, and nuclear bombs. The men lounged on low cushions of luxurious fabrics and were draped with scantily clad young women. The sultans gave the president a deposit of 100 million dollars and a gift of a million barrels of crude oil. They enjoyed themselves.

The next day the weapons were delivered to the palace, and the sultans presented the balance of the payment to the president. Everyone smiled. The following week, the sultans held a party of their own, as their pilots dropped nuclear bombs on the president’s home during his daughter’s birthday party, annihilating the eastern half of his country. The sultans clinked glasses of champagne and smiled.

When I awoke, the dream tainted my entire day.

VERNA WARE’S LONG WAY HOME

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The novel has a homey reality, a heart-warming simplicity, a lulling cadence from an earlier time, until BAM, the shock of Texas action and consequence come alive. Verna’s sweat and courage display her passionate thirst for a moral compass in the old West. Four generations of tough Texas women stay the course. The canvas is large, but all the characters are life-size in this lyrical tale by M.D. Poole.

 

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AFTER PRAGUE

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I am overcome with a premonition of history repeating itself in the fall of the American Experiment. So many voices have warned that the Experiment is on the brink, but they will not stop the fall. The top is too heavy with power, greed, and control.

From the Museum Kampa Exhibition, Prague, April 12, 2017 —

“21st August, Wednesday, early in the morning. The army, the people, tanks, confusion, astonishment, anger, and fear. Few could have imagined that twenty years after the war, in times of peace and ‘normal’ life, without warning, without any legal acknowledgement, troops of alien, albeit allied armies, could enter the territory of a sovereign state. . . . The intervention by troops of the Western Bloc was unrealistic; the spheres of power had carefully been built up over the course of many years. Society was mobilised by several living ‘human torches’ (Ryszard Siwiec, Jan Palach, Jan Zajic, Evzen Plocek) and there were also protests and strikes. However the process of repression . . . couldn’t be prevented.

“Many works of art were created in direct reaction to the occupation, while other works appeared in the second half of 1968 and throughout 1969 that reacted to the absurdity of the occupation, the shock and the disappointment, . . . and represented intense reflection on an incomprehensible event that couldn’t be accepted by a sound mind.

“Disillusionment — The process of ‘normalizing’ conditions, in other words eliminating all the reforms that had been adopted in 1968, began immediately after the occupation. Moreover, 18th October was the day on which the Treaty on Conditions of the Temporary Stationing of Soviet Troops in Czechoslovakia, which was consequently extended to more than twenty years, was approved. It seemed, for a moment, that nothing was going on. Or that it would quickly pass. . . . Nevertheless, it was the swan song of free culture.”

In Czechoslovakia, hope came and was dashed by incomprehensible regimes, regression, and repression. Now, around the world, repetition looms. Smiling leaders limit potential, refuse individuality, command and punish while aggrandizing themselves. Their admirers applaud them and see no harm because their beautiful riches make them right.

The current leader of the USA said he “would be the best for women,” and continued:

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.”
“I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
“Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

He said these things, and they were published before he was elected. He thinks of women as property, as objects to be used. He brags about his sexual assaults. He believes he is entitled to abuse others because he is rich and famous. He is a sexual predator and he disavows the importance of his actions because “boys will be boys.”

He represents my country, the country which in the past has professed itself as fair and just, as a haven for all, as a sanctuary for all religions, safe for children and women and immigrants, the country where one can strive to greatness no matter one’s background, where protection of the law is equally applied to all . . . unless one is elite and then one is excused because “boys will be boys.”

His egocentric arrogance carries over into his approach to non-white people, non-christian people, non-american people, and particularly to non-wealthy people. Workers, women, people of color, “foreigners” and even animals may be used, lied to, touched, stolen from, manipulated, or murdered, because they do not count as valuable beings, only as things at his disposal. I refuse to accept a person with this attitude of supreme entitlement. I am baffled by those who accept him, even those who profit by his actions.

My words are redundant. I have said them for almost two years. I am tired of being angry and aghast. It is exhausting. There is a limit to such feelings. The alternatives are acceptance, pretended ignorance, rationalization, or escape. Me, I do not seem to explode, as Langston Hughes said. I am festering syrupy sweet. I hold my breath. I run, but cannot escape my country.

I had been envisaging progress in the last 50 years, but I was naïve, as citizens today prove. Under this regime, we are caged zoo animals, already habituated to the current situation, acting as if it is normal. Our free space gets smaller and smaller, and it is eliminated when the zoo administration wants to squeeze out a few more dollars for itself. We are isolated and powerless. Groups of us are prevented from intermingling. We cannot provide for ourselves, cannot protect ourselves, and we have lost our instincts and nature.

This is not the first zoo administration. We are far from unique. The highly-developed culture of Persia with its fine arts and sciences toppled. It happened with Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Indians and Mongols, Africans, and a list of others.

Each time egoism destroys a culture, a new government rises out of the ashes, with the toxic Phoenix of egoism reborn, waiting for its chance to take over. Control, power, and wealth are not given up voluntarily. They are narcotic. There is never enough for those who ingest it, and they use others to get more. They will kill this American Experiment. The Phoenix feeds upon the middle and lower classes which have no power, no time to think, no way up except manipulation, lying, stealing, using and abusing others, denying laws, all in imitation of the egoism of the rulers.

We are workers, thinkers, artists, lovers, eccentrics, sellers and buyers: the French and Americans, old and young, the Germans, Muslims and Jews and atheists, women and men of all persuasions, Chinese, Africans, and Peruvians, to name a few. Some imagine, “We are best and special,” but the truth is, we are the same. It is the egoist in the role of leader who is different, the one who says “boys will be boys,” waving off concerns about ethics, family, respect, liberty and equality.

The current egoist makes my stomach heave. He is like an abusive husband. Community and family members stay with him, smiling, making excuses, saying they love him, waiting for the good man to emerge who they know is hiding behind the façade. They say they can control him, that there is no harm being done. They stay and smile, despite the insults, despite the blows and bruises, but they cannot hide the horror.

He continues, not because he is good or powerful or right, but because he tricks others into thinking he is more important than they are. He says he is “the man,” he is “the one,” and he says it often enough, that others lose energy to contradict him. He says they need him, and finally, they believe it, even though he is not Goliath. He is the merely the king with no clothes.

For me, forget his treason with Russia, forget his IRS evasions, forget his nepotism, his lurid greed and misuse of federal funds for personal pleasure, forget his desecration of precious land and water, forget his obvious stupidity, limited attention span, and illiteracy, forget his aggressivity and impulsivity, forget his subversion of laws and the constitution. All of this would have been of no consequence, if the country had rejected the “boys will be boys” argument in the first place, before the election. Too many did not take note of their nausea in response to the rapist attitudes of this predator. They did not reject this so-called man. Now it is too late. His type, hallmarked by his misogyny, is institutionalized and will spread until the contagion kills us, even if he disappears.

I do not see a thread of hope for the American Experiment. I am not sure there will be enough air or water or land left for a new human zoo to arise after he kills us. Please, others will have to hope for me.