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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm Gonna Wash That Racism Right Outta My Hair !!

Mary Martin as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific

I am glad that I was not sucked into that ghastly I-must-write-about-the-election-because-my-ideas-are so-cogent vortex that sent many a brave hearty to Davey Jones' Locker of post-election hangover.
I mean, I really am.
I would have posted, oh, about 300 posts about the election, and a lot of it would be trivial, just like the discussions of the candidates themselves were trivial beyond belief. Of course, if my sage advice had been printed, perhaps a couple of thousand votes would have swayed the populace into the channels I promoted. Who knows?

I read my last post. It was about that Steve Bannon fellow.

From The Jerusalem Post:
Stephen Bannon, in a 2014 talk, said racism would eventually get “washed out” of right-wing nationalist movements, and spoke repeatedly of Western society being built on “Judeo-Christian” ideas.

Bannon, the chairman of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign who was named this week by Trump to be a top White House adviser, has been accused of being part of a broad movement, the alt-right, which includes racists and anti-Semites. Earlier this year, he called Breitbart News, the website he formerly chaired, a “platform for the alt-right.”

A number of Jewish groups have condemned his hiring, a few defended it and others are silent.

In a question-and-answer session he gave at a conference at the Vatican in 2014, unearthed by Buzzfeed News, Bannon downplayed concerns of anti-Semitism and racism in European right-wing nationalist parties, suggesting that bigots were on the fringes of those movements and would fade away.

“I’m not an expert in this, but it seems that they have had some aspects that may be anti-Semitic or racial,” Bannon said, according to the transcript published by Buzzfeed Tuesday. “Some that are fringe organizations. My point is that over time it all gets kind of washed out, right? People understand what pulls them together, and the people on the margins I think get marginalized more and more.”

Bannon expressed similar sentiments in an interview with the New York Times Tuesday, saying “It’s not that some people on the margins, as in any movement, aren’t bad guys — racists, anti-Semites. But that’s irrelevant.”

Even a cursory reading of history, such as I did in my student years, would have disclosed that Racism was not "washed out" of right-wing nationalist movements in pre-World War II Germany. The contrary happened. The Holocaust happened.

Radical groups can win. The Bolsheviks won in Russia, even though - their name notwithstanding - they were a minority in the country.

Racism is not something that a right-wingish Nellie Forbush can nor will wash out of her hair. Radical racism does not fade away. We thought it would fade away after World War II, yet here it is.

The bad guys are never irrelevant. Mr. Bannon's attitude is a blindness that will work against him.

Further in the article:
In the 2014 Vatican talk, Bannon stressed several times that Western civilization was built on “Judeo-Christian” values.

“If you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West,” Bannon said, according to a transcript published by Buzzfeed Tuesday. “They were either active participants in the Jewish faith, they were active participants in the Christians’ faith, and they took their beliefs, and the underpinnings of their beliefs was manifested in the work they did.”

I do not trust anyone who speaks in Vast Generalities:  "Judeo-Christian" values.
Which values? All such values? Surely not every law in the Scriptures of both faiths?! Surely not such blather as "Blessed are the meek." Who believes that "value"?!

Tell me exactly which values. Are your values those which led to the slaughter of the Moabites, and later applied smoothly to the Native Americans? Those are certainly reasonable values, yet most of us today would find them reeking too much of the abyss.

I have found that generalities are the refuge of those who do not know or those who wish to obscure their agenda.

The people in charge for the next 4 years are (a) those who have no conception of working with ideas and refining them into a workable policy - rather they rely on TV spots like taking credit for Ford not moving some work to Mexico; or (b) are those who are members of polarized ideological groups for whom society is a zero-sum game.

Sometimes I wonder if I care anymore.
One sees Confederate flags now in many places. That is an insult to my ancestors who fought for the Union and for the Constitution.

The history lesson that needs to be taught is that many of our ancestors fought in the Union cause and the Confederate flag is the symbol of rebellion, of slavery, and is an insult to the descendants of those brave people.