Divisiveness is a weapon of mass destruction. It destroys families, communities, and countries. It’s a plague. It sickens, weakens, and often kills its infected hosts who refuse to realize, until its too late, that their ignorant assumptions of someone or something not of their tribe — the other, the stranger, the religion, or the ideology — can lead to mass social destruction if we put fear and hatred reflexively ahead of listening and understanding.
Four years ago, when I was writing a book on the history of antifascism in the United States, I told a colleague at the University of Connecticut what I was working on. “Antifascism?” he said. “Not many people on the other side of that!”
How quaint that comment now seems. At the time, it reflected an unfamiliarity with the term “antifascism” in the United States. To me, the comment was also a healthy affirmation of antifascism’s commonsense ring. But that was before the election of an openly white nationalist President who has gone out of his way to demonize what he calls “ant-e-fuh.” Now, thanks to the Trumpian turn, there are plenty of people on the other side of that.
At 78, my uncle had survived Hurricane Maria’s winds and the floods its rains unleashed. But the deadliest time in most hurricanes is after the storm passes. And for my uncle, the devastation of the island where he’d lived his whole life was too much to bear. A week and a half after Maria made landfall, he hanged himself at his ruined home.
I am in Hartford, where I live, but now my mind is somewhere else. I believe that I share the same feelings held by people from Louisiana, Texas and Florida when they were flooded and beaten by a string of powerful and mean hurricanes. It is a feeling of abandonment and sorrow. My people are in the dark, thirsty, hungry and alone.
Our natural rush to respond to disasters brings out the collective best in us to help each other survive and recover. It unifies us. Let’s capitalize on this unifying spirit to mitigate the occurrence of self-inflicted disasters. Disasters caused by how we may choose to negotiate international diplomacy; to send our military into harms way; to address economic growth and security; to understand science; and to enforce the rights and fair treatment of the abused and vulnerable. Being passive observers won’t do. We must rush to help our government focus on creating a common good that is meant for all of us. To avoid self-inflicted disasters our leaders must choose wisely, and choose our leaders wisely we must.
As countries go, the United States is one of the relative youngsters, nevertheless, our constitution is the longest lasting constitution in human history. So, Happy Birthday to the most important document in the life of every American citizen, a document which represents and embodies the freedoms that we have been enjoying for the last 230 years.
There are an estimated 1,800 Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans in Connecticut. They are not entitled to VA Benefits due to exposure to herbicides, aka Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 was implemented to provide much-needed care to veterans who were exposed to the harmful chemical cocktail Agent Orange. In 2002, the VA amended its initial plan and excluded thousands of “Blue Water” Navy vets — vets who served right off the coast — from receiving their rightful benefits.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s comments (reported Aug. 10 in the article entitled “Blumenthal: North Korea strike near Guam would put military action on the table”) place too much emphasis on escalating threats. The idea that an exchange of threats or actual violence will resolve any differences with North Korea is at best ill-informed, and at worst, war mongering that only perpetuates our ongoing path of endless wars.
The American president has one job: to prevent the detonation of nuclear weapons. Everything else – the economy, the Supreme Court, the environment, Obamacare, the Russian scandal du jour etc. – is irrelevant. Thus, President Trump has three issues he must address: the first is North Korea, the second is North Korea and the third is North Korea.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the first line of defense against financial scams for our service members and veterans. Unfortunately, the U.S. House recently voted for the Wrong Choice Act (H.R. 10), which dismantles the watchdog.
Disappointment and heartache will be looming over the United States if the Trump administration follows through with its plan to cut the federal funding for foreign aid. If you did not know this was happening, you need to get informed quickly. What’s at stake is that poverty programs such as USAIDS will lose funding — funding which goes towards helping suffering people with food assistance, medical treatments, and many more programs that save lives.
The Society for the Welfare And Manumission of Plutocrats will provide succor and largess to a hitherto overlooked minority group in our midst: the well to do, the wealthy, and the filthy rich (the three main gradients on the International Richer Scale). At one percent of the American population (give or take, but mostly take), these poor people (figuratively speaking) need our help.
Fake News. Alternative facts. “Truthiness.” These are new labels for an old enemy of democracy: propaganda. It is particularly relevant to take a critical look at how propaganda is employed by our own government today.
Although the Declaration of Independence depicted him as a despot, the real conflict between England and her American colonies was not between King George III and Democracy but between the rights of the British people represented as they were by their own Parliament, and the rights of the American colonists represented as they were by their own colonial assemblies. In this conflict no one was a greater supporter of the rights and authority of the British Parliament than the King.
What is there to say about a civilization that ignores the quickening pace of climate chaos? When the margin available for preventing vast damage across a hundred generations is already gone, what is there to say about a people who again and again embrace habits and systems and ideologies that deepen the damage?