Hatred in Action at the Holocaust Museum

10 06 2009

Tragic. Today an 88-year-old white supremacist walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and killed a 39-year-old security guard before being fired on by other guards. The Holocaust Museumkiller was known to hate Jews, Catholics, and African-Americans and on the radar of those who study fringe extremists who devote their lives to hatred. He wrote a book denying the Holocaust and praising Hitler. He spent more than five years in prison for the 1983 conviction on charges of attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board with a hunting knife, revolver, and 12-gauge shotgun. He even invoked others to kill people who threatened what he saw as the supremacy of white people.

These kind of people terrify me more than any Taliban or jihadist. These are people living on our own soil who at any moment in any location and without provocation can take someone’s life…or many lives. These people walk amongst us. They look like us. They may be our grandfather, our son, our uncle, our boss. We usually don’t have a clue as to the level of depravity and hatred they harbor. Their souls are dark places where light never enters.

And yet people like Palin, Limbaugh, Cheney, O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity fuel the flames that burn in these in-grown terroists’ hearts. These very public people tell lies and make insinuations that inflame the ignorant, the uninformed, the uncurious, and the gun-toting racists. They speak with seemingly innocent irresponsibility and then act surprised and are in denial when their words produce predictable results.

I am disgusted with the talk of these people and the talk of any person who promotes hatred. I am alarmed and saddened by the results of their hate talk.

Credit: MSNBC.com

Stephen Tyrone Johns Credit: MSNBC.com

Stephen Tyrone Johns was the man killed. He had worked as a security guard at the Holocaust Museum for six years. He was doing his job to protect the school children and others who come to the museum to remember the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. He didn’t deserve to die.

The other news today? Carrie Prejean, Miss California, was fired by Donald Trump. She is the contestant in the Miss USA pageant who spoke out against gay marriage and preached intolerance toward gay people. Is it any accident that these two incidents headline the news in the same day? I think not. They, along with the killing last week of the abortion doctor by a right-wing extremist, speak of intolerance, of people claiming their way is the only right way, of excluding others who are not like you.

We need healing, love, and inclusion. These are what President Obama is practicing and teaching. Why are these positive principles so threatening to those who hate? We must hold the light and shine that light into the dark corners of the extremist corners of the dark hearts in our society. Our country, its citizens, and the citizens of the world need our light.

Here’s “This Little Light of Mine” sung by the African Children’s Choir. I heard them sing in Austin a few months ago. These children shine light and love into our hearts with their singing, dancing, and ebullient spirits. We can learn a lot from children…they remind us to be about joy and love.

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The Chimp Cartoon and Rampant Hatred

19 02 2009

The chimp cartoon in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post has caused a tremendous outcry and outrage. It is hateful and seems to incite violence against our president, who is depicted as a chimpanzee. African-Americans have been deridely depicted as monkeys over the years so this seems to be an outright racial slur. Rupert Murdoch is a billionaire who launched ultra-conservative Fox News amongst many other ventures. Fox News repeatedly spews hatred and racism (especially on Sean Hannity‘s show) such as during the campaign calling Michelle Obama a “baby momma” (a racial putdown), saying that Stalinists worked on Obama’s campaign and that Obama might have been a sleeper agent, likening Obama to a heroin pusher, and the list goes on and on.

Cartoon in NY Post Feb 18 09

Cartoon in NY Post Feb 18 09

Ann Coulter is one of the biggest spewers of hatred on the planet. She thrives on it. She advocated for a white supremacist group (they exist to hate) in her latest book. She repeatedly referred to Obama as B. Hussein Obama during the campaign as part of her repeated attempts to link him to terrorists.

Coulter wrote in her book “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” that a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands died in the World Trade Center act “as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them.” She calls four 9/11 widows “self-obsessed broads; millionaires – reveling in their status as celebrities.” This quote from Coulter is just beyond hatred and is the one that sticks out in my mind as one of her most vile, vomited utterings:

I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much . . . And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and radio host Rush Limbaugh are also at the top of the list of hate spewers. Limbaugh even had the audacity and stupidity to say recently on his radio program that he hopes that President Obama fails.

Look at what Sarah Palin did in the election. She whipped up mostly white men who attended her rallies into near lynch mobs with the hatred she spewed. One man yelled “kill him” in reference to Barack Obama during her speech.

I have had the most controversy over my post on corporal punishment in schools of any I’ve written. It has been written about on other forums that promote spanking in schools. One such forum said that many teachers who do it enjoy it. Where does this hatred come from that teachers are so sadistic that they enjoy beating (and if you saw the photos of the damage it does to many children, you’d concur it was beating) children they are charged with educating?

Why do people do and say these things? Why do they hate their fellow men, women, and children so much that they would want to hurt them, ridicule them, incite and encourage violence against them, and encourage others to hate?

We worry about destroying and/or stopping terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. so they won’t come to our country again. We fail to see that we have terrorists who live amongst us. People who practice hatred and incite it in others are a form of terrorists. They terrorize others with their dangerous words and actions. They may not be actively recruiting suicide bombers, but they are recruiting others to hate, which can and does often lead to violence.

We need to wake up to the danger in our own country of allowing people with a platform and the means to act out in hatred and speak in hatred. Yes, we have the First Amendment and it is a free country, but freedom also means that we are free of threats from dangerous people who encourage, incite, and practice hatred.





From KKK crosses to a black president

4 11 2008

As a white child growing up in east Tennessee in the 1950s and 1960s I remember seeing huge KKK crosses burning. I didn’t fully understand what I was seeing, but I did feel shame as a white person. My grandfather had a farm and hired several black men as farmworkers. He always referred to them as “niggers” and that term felt uncomfortable to me then. It was a way of talking about people that was demeaning…that meant they were less than in his eyes.

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11/4/08 WE CHOOSE A NEW AMERICA

3 11 2008

11/4/08 we choose a new America. McCain and Palin did everything they could in this election to divide the country, create hate, inflame racism, lie, cheat, hide, deny, smear, and more. ENOUGH. 11/4/08 WE CHOOSE A NEW AMERICA.

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Why So Angry? Afraid You’re Losing YOUR America?

29 10 2008

You’ve seen them. Those angry people at rallies and being interviewed on TV. I’ve seen them in commentary on this blog and in hateful blogs of their own. Why are people so angry?

Any psychologist – even an armchair one – will tell you that anger often masks fear. In other words, if you display anger, you’re probably fearful about something. The Republicans may fear the loss of the election and Congressional seats. That’s understandable.

But I think there is more going on here than a fear of losing power. Often people are threatened by those who are different from them and Barack Obama is different. He has a funny (to our ears) sounding name, he has an African father and a white mother, he looks black, etc. Also, Obama is super intelligent, thoughtful, and is measured in how he makes decisions. This seems foreign to a lot of people, especially those who don’t value intelligence and education and are married to some rhetoric that tells them how to think and what to do. They say they don’t trust him because they just don’t understand that kind of intellect and ability to analyze and make judgments.

There are also a lot of people afraid of losing what they see as the normal America…the white America, the evangelical America, the dumbed-down America, the bellicose go-to-war and fight-fight-fight America, and the our-country-is-supreme America. What these factions don’t seem to understand is that while Bush and Cheney were the face of that kind of America and tried to perpetuate that facade, the real America (and I’m not talking about the real America Palin talks about) has moved on as has the rest of the world.

We are black, white, Asian, Indian, bi-racial, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Christian, atheist, and more. We realize we are well behind other industrialized countries in education and need to catch up. More and more of us believe that peace is possible and don’t believe in spending $12 billion a month in Iraq. And we are owned in large part by China and other countries and will go the way of England or Spain and lose world leadership if we don’t bring our focus back to our internal problems and begin to fix them.

We can’t afford anger, hatred, divisiveness, self-appointed moral authority, finger-pointing, and tearing down each other and the country. This is not what our country needs. We need inclusiveness, understanding, working together, building each other up, and hope.

Thanks to HealThisNation.org for the tip on their ads about people wanting real change and hoping for a better future. Here’s one of their great ads. Others are posted on their website and on YouTube.





Yes, Lashawn, Your Child Could Be President

22 10 2008

Only white, Christian males have ever been president in the U.S. As a white female growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I never even considered that I could ever be president or that any girl could. Now I believe it will happen in my lifetime. Hillary Clinton certainly helped pave the way.

I saw the movie “The Secret Life of Bees” today. It is set in 1964 when racial prejudice meant a black man might be beaten if he were seen in public with a white woman, there were separate “colored” entrances, and the Ku Klux Klan would burn crosses and terrorize black people. As a child growing up in east Tennessee, I remember seeing those crosses burning and recall my grandfather calling the hired hands on his farm “niggers.” Even then I hated the demeaning sound of that word. I remember we had a childhood rhyme we would chant “Eenie, meanie, miney moe. Catch a nigger by his toe. If he hollers, make him pay $50 dollars every day.” It was a way to decide who went first by pointing first to me and then to the other person as we recited that rhyme. I didn’t think about the racial ugliness of that at the time. It seemed harmless. It wasn’t. It was reprehensible.

Children born into a world that eyed them with such hatred, disdain, and invisibility certainly could not imagine even being considered equal to white children, much less attaining the highest office in the land.

Things have changed. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 to ensure equal rights for all people, but attitudes and real change take time. There is still a lot of prejudice against people who don’t look like us or have a funny sounding name or have a non-Christian religion. We’ve seen it in video clips of people at McCain/Palin rallies who say they could never vote for a “colored” man or accuse Obama of being a Muslim as if that automatically means he is a terrorist. These incidents peel back the ugly layers of prejudice that still exist throughout our country.

And yet, there is progress. I have spent quite a lot of time talking to and hanging out with African-Americans. When Obama was in the primary battle with Hillary, they were sure in the beginning that not many white people would vote for a black man for president. White people had let them down and worked against them all of their lives, going back over two centuries; this would be no different. They were in shock when Obama actually won the nomination. That obviously wasn’t possible just by a strong black vote; white people were actually voting for a black man!

And now, we are on the eve of a bi-racial, self-declared black man becoming the most powerful person in the world. We still have a lot of hatred, divisiveness, exclusivity, and unequal opportunity. But now, Lashawn, and all those other black, Muslim, Hispanic, etc. mothers, you can turn to your child – be it a boy or a girl – and say “You, too, could be president one day. You can be anything you want to be!”

Change is coming…long time coming.





If You Aren’t a Republican, You’re Not a Real American?

20 10 2008

What happened to the UNITED States of America? What happened to us all pulling together like we did after 9/11 or after devastating hurricanes or wildfires to help our neighbors? What happened to common decency, inclusion, and our fellow man? How did we get to the place of so many people saying YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US, which means we’re better than you, you’re scary, we don’t trust you, and we’re not going to include you.

A man at a McCain rally today had printed up bumper stickers that had Obama’s name and the word “Change” written with a swastika and Islamic symbol. He was saying to Obama and the more than 50% of the American public that supports him: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Republican Representative Michele Bachmann from Minnesota on Friday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews says she “…is very concerned that Barack Obama may have anti-American views”. She then called for the media to investigate whether members of Congress are pro-America or anti-America. She is saying to Obama and members of Congress who are left leaning: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

White people have been interviewed on television saying they cannot vote for Obama because he is “colored”…they could never vote for a black man for President. Some say he is a Muslim or an Arab (he is neither) as if those are dirty words. They are saying to Obama: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Sarah Palin said “We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.” If you’re not a small town person, she’s saying YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Sarah Palin also said this in a rally about Barack Obama: “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.  We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism.” She’s saying to Barack Obama: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Since when did Republicans and those on the right have a corner on being patriotic and country-loving Americans, of being good people, of being a force for good, and of loving God? Republicans, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and the people coming to McCain and Palin rallies with signs that say things like (and this was one waving right in front of Todd Palin’s face at a rally) “Charles Manson was a community organizer”, do you think you are MORE American with your hatred, your divisiveness, your false accusations, your racism, and your inciting lynch mobs and prejudice?  

That’s not the America I want to be a part of. If you want rioting, hate mobs, KKK, white supremacists, lynching, shunning of Arabs, Muslims, or anyone who isn’t white and isn’t a Christian, then those of us who want to promote peace, harmony, love, inclusiveness, caring for each other, understanding, and acceptance must say to you: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.