January 10, 2022
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” — Coretta Scott King
Thanks for allowing me to take a moment as we embark upon a new year with hope and promise of good things to come for all of us as individuals, community, nation, and world to thank a few local volunteers and organizations that humbly serve in seemingly small ways which turn out great: East Hampton Senior Citizens Center, East Hampton Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, East End Hospice; and with a big shout-out to the Montauk Fire Department and ambulance company, whose members took time out of their busy Sunday (two fire calls right before!) to bring a couple of trucks over to wish a homebound gentleman a happy 90th birthday — not an easy feat to back those huge trucks out of a dead end street! Their generosity is so very much appreciated.
Thank you, chief, and each of you who made that day so very special. As my mom would say, “You done good.”
January 10, 2022
Looking back over the recent holiday season, I’m reminded what a great and caring community we live in.
Here at Meals on Wheels, we’re acutely aware that for many of our homebound clients, the holidays, normally a time for celebration, were especially difficult — a situation exacerbated by the lack of social contact due to the ongoing pandemic. That is why we were especially grateful to two community groups that continued their tradition of providing holiday meals for our clients.
On Thanksgiving Day, the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton prepared turkey dinners with all the trimmings for our many clients. And on Christmas Day, our friends at American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett also prepared complete holiday meals, which on both days were distributed by our dedicated volunteers.
We are grateful to these folks and to all in our community who faithfully continue to support us during this challenging Covid era. On behalf of the entire Meals on Wheels family, thank you. We couldn’t fulfill our mission without you.
Very truly yours,
JAMES G. LUBETKIN
East Hampton Meals on Wheels
Won the Prize
East Hampton Village
January 4, 2022
To the Editor,
I have always found the L.V.I.S. (Ladies Village Improvement Society for those who need it, but I think the initials alone suffice for most of the town) a marvelous asset for the Village and town. I like knowing that clothes that I no longer use but that are well made and in good condition, as well as books and CDs, can be donated to L.V.I.S. and find further use while also providing a bit of funding for the organization.
I have a memory of some of my late mother’s cookbooks that came from similar organizations, and they were just the best. So a year or so ago when the L.V.I.S. brought out a cookbook, I sent in my payment. I have to confess some disappointment as it seemed to be devoted to the restaurant kitchens in our community, rather than “home cooking.” I donated it back to the L.V.I.S. and hoped that someone paid almost full price, thereby doubling its value to the Society. But it was not what I had imagined.
However I didn’t simply give up. One day I was browsing on eBay and I put in the key words and there it was: the “70th Anniversary Cook Book of the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society.” I made an offer and won the prize. The volume was published in 1965, the very year of my first visit to East Hampton.
It arrived and turned out to be precisely what I had been looking for, all the recipes citing the member who provided them, including some surprisingly well-known politicians and high-end restaurant owners. The variety is astonishing, and the book is bound in a way that allows it to lie flat on the kitchen counter should one be following a recipe. I find it also simply engaging reading and a wonderful view into the not-so distant past of our community.
January 10, 2022
To the Editor,
In 1963 my sister, Anne Bancroft, won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker.” In 1964, following the tradition, she read the names of the nominees for best actor and then announced the winner, Sidney Poitier. She handed him the Oscar and gleefully kissed him on the cheek. The price for that kiss was threatening letters sent to her and her family. It was scary!
Let us hope that we, as a community, have long since moved past this kind of behavior.
Needs to Be Updated
January 9, 2022
To follow up on your editorial about appreciating and protecting our view of the stars in the sky, I have these recommendations for the town and village governments.
First, the municipal governments need to adhere to the enacted lighting code for their own lighting, supported by the community. This can best be done if lighting is reviewed and approved by the municipally appointed boards. They need to hire an actual lighting designer for larger installations, same as they would an architect or engineer for example, for the requests for proposals being sent out for the new senior citizens center. It will save money in the long run, as lighting designers use the latest technologies for health and safety and adhere to professional recommendations which protect the municipality from liability issues. As well, the guidelines for new commercial site plans are seriously out of date as to “best practices” and need to be updated.
Second, the village code and East Hampton Town’s so-called “smart-lighting code” both need to be amended. The Kelvin (percentage of blue light waves) needs to be updated to be in line with the recently enacted maximum set by the county for its facilities at 2,200 Kelvin instead of 3,000, due to advances by the lighting industry and findings by health professionals. The reasons for this are many, including better night vision, less impact on human health and the environment, including sky glow. Any streetlights that are changed to LEDs need to be rated at 1,800 Kelvin which is the same “color” of the streetlights being replaced and which has been used, safely, for decades. All streetlights need to provide a public safety benefit; otherwise, we are wasting tax dollars, night after night. This is a unique issue that affects every single person in this town and village.
Third, and most important, the town and village need to conform to the “Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting,” as issued by the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Dark Sky Association.
All lighting choices should: Have a clear purpose. Is the light needed for safety, not just for a perceived fear of the dark? Is it fully shielded and directed where needed? Set minimum light levels to see well (light is like salt, use just enough, not too much). Be illuminated only when needed for safety. Use warmer light sources, rated no greater than 2,200 Kelvin, especially LEDs. Try “bug” lights: They save energy and keep bugs away from your doorsteps.
The City of New York recently passed legislation to shut off unnecessary lighting on municipal buildings during migrations to prevent birds crashing into lighted windows. Why can’t we do the same? And, a New York City State senator has introduced light pollution legislation that would reduce light pollution through shielding in order to preserve and enhance the state’s dark sky while promoting safety for people, birds, and other wildlife, conserving energy, and reducing our carbon footprint and preserving the aesthetic qualities of the night sky.
These are no-brainer recommendations, but it’s not being done here. Why not? Why don’t we have a dark sky advisory committee as they do in Southampton? We have been promised one for decades.
And, can people please shut off their tree lights, at least not leave them on all night long? Birds won’t nest in lighted trees, and light prevents the trees from going into dormancy when needed, causing die-back.
International Dark Sky Association
At Code Red
January 10, 2022
To the Editor,
While doing research in Star archives, I came across a letter to the editor titled “Devastating Impacts,” dated Jan. 18, 2021, from Samuel Kramer. Writing as a private citizen, rather than in his capacity as town planning board chairman, he invoked the unique and robust efficacy of our zoning code: “The East Hampton Town Zoning Code is venerated and its validity has been upheld in countless lawsuits. It has prevented the kind of overdevelopment, disregard of the environment, and blight found elsewhere.”
I hold Mr. Kramer in highest regard for his decades of commitment in service to Wainscott, East Hampton, and his leadership administering that code. It’s a vast understatement to say his expertise on matters of zoning and development dwarfs my lay-citizen musings. So, who am I to dispute this confidence?
But today, just a year since that letter, I’ll admit my confidence in the protective power of our current zoning code has been shaken. Given explosive acceleration of East Hampton development over the last five years, and gauging the trajectory we’re on going forward, I ask if it is realistic to maintain full faith that our code remains the sturdiest of bulkheads to shield us from the flood.
There are East Hampton neighborhoods and streets that, at least in part, retain modulated proportions and an authentic look and feel, a.k.a. character. We have many stunningly beautiful, biodiverse natural areas, bucolic landscapes, and rural/agricultural lands that have been preserved (thanks to the commitment and work of many) and surpass most anything you’ll find across the South Fork. (And if you’re keeping tabs on North Fork development, you see how quickly parts of it are being ravaged precisely because those towns don’t have the same time-tested, rigorous code protections as we have.)
But within a stone’s throw or turn of the head from these charming streets and protected vistas, are tracts of overdevelopment gulping down energy and water and generating excessive carbon, nitrogen, noise, light and visual pollution, contradictory to our environmental and natural resource imperatives, and anathema to those concerned about our quality of life. All around is explicit confirmation of property-owner and real estate-developer disregard for and degradation of the environment, and the encroachment of density and intensity of use one can legitimately label blight.
It’s not just proposed commercial mega-projects like the hamlet-altering sand pit Water Mill Commercial Center and the egregiously-scaled resort proposed at 435 East Lake, but it is the day-in-day-out applications, permitting and construction of hundreds of 5-6-7-8-9-10- thousand-square-foot houses and their rapacious plunder of our resources that prompt questions about the ongoing protective power of Chapter 255 as we move into 2022
I understand how our well-crafted, time-tested code provides powerful tools for mitigating suburbanization pressures. For the members of our boards —- zoning, architectural review, planning — it fosters their fortitude and is foundational to their ability to impose some prudent measures of restraint while working to balance individual owners’ rights and impulses to overgraze tragically on our commons with the broader interests of the community.
But as I understand it, the bulk of East Hampton building permit applications don’t actually come before these boards for review, mostly because of lack of jurisdiction, but also sometimes due to interpretive judgment calls or, in some cases, outright mistaken failure to refer. I estimate less than 20 percent — possibly even below 10 percent — of building permit applications receive the added layer of a board oversight, while the rest proceed directly to granting of so-called “as-of-right” building permits.
So, the strength of the code relies on more than well-crafted words, clarifying amendments, or even the validity accruing from years of legal stress testing. The code’s efficacy is in no small part dependent on a certain amount of voluntary buy-in and self-imposed self-regulating behavior among the many elements of our real estate ecosystem — the builder, architect, landscaper-broker, attorney, consultant constellation — to comport with East Hampton character.
Most of all, it requires that landowners and homeowners maintain some self-restraint and a modicum of a stewardship mind-set. In large part, our zoning code has worked for decades — until this one — because, quite simply, homeowners buttressed Chapter 255’s efficacy and validity as the majority continued to choose to build and rebuild at a scale meaningfully below the maximum dimensional limits set for gross floor area, coverages, clearing, setbacks, height (pyramid), etc. Somehow, even with all their wealth, wants, and whims, until these last few years, owners demonstrated the tacit understanding that building as of right comes with some responsibilities extending beyond their property lines. They seem to have understood that the value of their own property links inextricably to sustaining the town character and environment, and vice versa.
But over the last three to five years, owners and developers have slipped the bonds of rational self-limiting restraints. The shift in mind-set has been sharp and swift, and the voracious appetite of applicants to max out or even break through the dimensional ceilings has become the norm. That radically-altered mind-set is threatening to break our venerable and valid zoning code. We’re at Code Red.
Why has this happened? That discussion exceeds the scope of this letter. But in short, Americans’ historical affinity for larger houses and tendency to supersize things in general has been supercharged by two decades of unending monetary stimulus, tax-rate cuts, staggering wealth accumulation and concentration, the all-out shift in the economy to extractive, rather than value-creating capitalism, as well as an invasion of speculative developers.
Given these seismic shifts, our zoning code now seems underpowered relative to current dynamics as well as the fact that the town last year declared a state of climate emergency.
Our town board has begun to recognize the damage done as development gobbles up our precious woodlands and sends them to the chipper. The supervisor notes that East Hampton is within a few percentage points of total buildout; he’s also proclaimed affordable housing to be an all-hands-on-deck priority for 2022. Yet any request of the board to enhance the code to address overdevelopment (the root cause of those issues) is met only with admonitions that it’s been tried and failed before.
The good news: we’re not starting from scratch; we do have this venerable and valid code in place to build upon. But if we’re to stop the blight, it’s more than tweaks. We need serious analytical and creative thinking about how to reshape the code to keep up with or even get ahead of this devastating new normal. It can be done.
January 10, 2022
There are two agencies studying the airport, The New York State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation, both of which admitted they were unaware of the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, Calif., where a study revealed that 17,000 schoolchildren whose schools were in close proximity to the facility had dangerous lead levels in their blood. Duh! Unaware? I also alerted the entire town board with this information to assist them in the decisions they were considering. Those letters were never acknowledged. I have repeatedly mentioned this. If I found the website just looking into airport pollution, why didn’t they look beyond their noses?
The D.E.C. was notified in the 1990s of the barrels of unidentified petrochemical solvents leaking into the ground at the old East Hampton Air hangar. In addition, I notified the previous town boards and questioned about the illegal bathrooms installed in some hangars. Were proper building permits and Suffolk County health permits issued? What else goes on inside these hangars?
The gun range is close to the Suffolk County Water Authority well. Decades of lead projectiles have never been mined, and testing was denied. One test well, where detection was discovered, was paved over in the parking lot. The other is 100 feet north of the entrance.
It was announced that the D.E.C. was going to undertake soil sampling for lead content. There is a nursery school located just south of the secondary runway, off Industrial Road where PFO and PFOAs, allegedly from firefighting foam, were discovered. The heaviest concentration of these dangerous pollutants are north of the terminal.
Our sole source aquifer is where our entire supply of drinking water comes from, as well as the Suffolk County Water Authority draws. To keep the airport open allows the lead contamination to continue by the town board who favored a few local pilots using leaded fuel over tens of thousands of residents whose health, well-being, and safety take a rear seat — beyond comprehension. The questions of why and how seem obvious. Credit to limit noise is noteworthy, but safety from pollution should be the main criterion.
Oh! To our good neighbors. Sunday morning at 6:30 one moron decided to practice touch-and-go’s and at around 11:10 a.m. I thought I was in the movie “Apocalypse Now” as a thunderous, low-flying large helicopter rattled the dishes in my kitchen. Low-flying helicopters continued for 45 minutes. Trying to report this is impossible.
The town board has to explain the facts behind this irrational decision now! Our health and safety should be the only deciding factor, not a handful of pilots some of whom do not even reside in the town, who want to continue this danger.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Wrong About That
January 9, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray,
It was brought to my attention by two people whom I care about and have deep respect for that my recent letter published in The Star was inappropriate and offensive. They were disturbed that I could even imagine such a thing. In the letter, I told a fictitious tale of an encounter with Betty White in 1960, when I was 12. At the time I was writing the letter I thought the story was so preposterous and the conclusion so absurd (that I’d never even met Betty White), that the net impression would simply be a “gotcha” moment for anyone who might read it.
I was wrong about that. People were offended, and I want to extend an apology for writing and submitting the letter to you. I realize I should have looked both ways before crossing that line, something I clearly failed to do. Instead, I never looked beyond the hall of mirrors inside my own head. So now I have a legitimate New Year’s resolution: To be more careful about what I speak or write, and think about the feelings and sensibilities of those who might hear or read the words. Please accept my apology.
P.S.: Hi, Betty. Please don’t give my seat up there away just yet. Thanks!
January 6, 2021
I think it is utterly delusional of newly-appointed Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison to claim to be “very confident” and “like his department’s chances” to solve the decade-plus-unsolved Gilgo Beach serial killer murders.
Especially since the last four (!) Suffolk police commissioners have failed to solve it over the past 4,000 (!) days. Even if only one single homicide detective had been putting in eight-hour days of investigation over that period, that would have added up to 32,000 futile hours.
I have no idea how many detectives in this 2,400-member department have worked on trying to solve this case, but if it had been four detectives putting in those 4,000 eight-hour days, that would have added up to more than 100,000 fruitless hours. And 40 detectives (less than 2 percent of the force) working on the case would have meant 1 million wasted hours.
Commissioner Harrison says, “I put my money on the Suffolk County investigators,” and I sincerely hope he wins this “bet.”
January 10, 2022
To the Editor,
Appeasement is the most accurate word to describe the Republican Party’s response to Donald Trump’s threat to democracy this past year.
The most recent example of Republican appeasement is Ted Cruz’s recanting his truthful statement in the face of criticism from Tucker Carlson. Ted Cruz correctly described the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as a terrorist attack.
Terrorism is the use of violence or intimidation directed primarily at civilians to achieve a political end. Ransacking the Capitol, hunting down civilian members of Congress, and chanting “Hang Mike Pence” after forcibly breaking into the Capitol for the express purpose of intimidating members of Congress and the vice president to nullify the results of the presidential election fit the definition of terrorism to a tee. Whether the violent acts that took place were engaged in by all or some of those who were illegally in the building only defines the size and scope of the terrorist attack. It does not negate the core fact that there was a terrorist attack. It was shameful for Ted Cruz to recant his truthful statement.
After learning of Tucker Carlson’s criticism, and, by extension, of Donald Trump’s displeasure, Senator Cruz rushed down to Tucker Carlson’s studio to employ his Princeton University degree, his Harvard law degree, and his experience as a Supreme Court law clerk to explain that his language was sloppy and what he said was dumb. He followed this with the entirely irrelevant truism that anyone who assaults police should go to jail.
What is relevant to whether the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was a terrorist attack is the means that were employed, the people who were targeted, and the purpose for which it was done. It is hard to believe that someone with Ted Cruz’s background would not know that, so I can only conclude that he was eager to publicly denigrate his own knowledge and intelligence to appease Donald Trump.
Most Terrifying Day
January 9, 2021
To the Editor,
I remember 9/11 every day of my life. It was and still remains the most terrifying day I think I shall ever know besides the night my daughter almost died in a car wreck. The absolute horror of 9/11; the images of unimaginable carnage, bodies skydiving from 80 stories high without the benefit of parachutes like little sparrows on their first flight. But those poor souls who flung themselves from the exposed, sickening twisted steel and blown-out windows of the magnificent towers didn’t even have a prayer, no less wings. They were robbed of even a chance to save themselves, drenched in plane fuel with no place to go but out into the atmosphere, on the wings of angels, I suppose. But their mortal vessels hit the filthy asphalt of downtown Manhattan, splintering into tiny pieces like delicate eggshells, and the parts recovered were all their families had to bury. The rest of the occupants of the towers were incinerated with nothing left behind except their dust, blanketing the fleeing survivors.
After the collapse of the towers, after the death and destruction at the Pentagon and after the crash of Flight 93 into a grassy meadow of billowing milkweed and bluebonnets when all 40 passengers died, murdered by terrorists who drove the plane into the ground, the body count over the course of a couple of hours on a brilliantly blue, cloudless day was 2,997 souls dead, killed during a covert, senseless surprise attack by foreign agents on American soil.
And then we all fell into a collective mourning. Businesses closed, mass transportation came to a standstill, mothers kept children home from school. We didn’t dare gaze up into the stilled skies lest we saw a lone plane searching for another target, or run for cover, ducking into the nearest building at the terrifying grind of a plane engine. We grieved together; our hearts and spirit broken. We leaned on our leaders who tried to prop us back up with messages of hope, unity, and resilience in the name of freedom to get us through the darkest days since Pearl Harbor and World War II.
Days, weeks, months went by before the constant anxiety of another attack was less on our minds than helping the survivors and their families cope and heal. But it was too much, too much. We grieved so long as a country, we wore it like a mantle, throttled in our own anger and revenge. Sept. 11 led to a 20-year war. Seven thousand more American service men and women died in the name of 9/11. Not much was gained to replace all the senseless loss of thousands of innocent souls, most in the prime of their lives. But we were reminded again, freedom isn’t free. It costs lives. Its true value is rarely appreciated by people unless it’s threatened or lost. But our leaders have convenient, short memories.
Jan. 6, 2021, was no 9/11. In fact, Jan. 6 isn’t anything at all except the failure of our own government to protect our interests and federal property that we, the American citizens, own. If they had done their job in the months of chaos and anarchy that led up to Jan. 6, if the Capitol Police had been prepared by our intelligence agencies and their superiors, and had the National Guard been deployed in Washington, as it had been just months before during the riots of 2020, the infamous Capitol riot would have been exactly what it was built up as, a rally. One soul was killed, but she doesn’t count; she was on the wrong side of history.
Political violence is never appropriate, but neither is it appropriate for our elected leaders to politicize it and hold themselves completely unaccountable. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t disturbed, shocked, and saddened by what happened on Jan. 6, but to be so callous and dumb to compare it to 9/11 is why our nation remains so divisive. If there should be an investigation into Jan. 6, let the American people ask the questions. We’re in charge of our republic, not a bunch of spineless politicians who don’t know the difference between a catastrophic, world-changing event and another day in America. After the summer of 2020 and its collateral damage, does anyone not think we’re all going to hell?
Congress can learn something from Jan. 6 that Americans already know. Don’t pretend to be outraged by something you created. The Capitol riot of Jan. 6 wasn’t an assault on our republic, it was the culmination of assaults on American individual freedoms and core American values and beliefs in an unprecedented, hideous year in history. Many Trump supporters went too far and broke the law on Jan. 6 and the ones who did should pay the price, but it doesn’t relieve Congress of gross culpability and indifference. The difference between 9/11 and Jan. 6 is simple and obvious: 9/11 was a surprise attack on our country by foreign terrorists that resulted in catastrophic casualties of enormous proportions that led to war. It fundamentally changed the foundation of our specific rights and freedoms to safeguard us from tyranny. Jan. 6 was a failure of the federal government to secure the Capitol from unarmed rioters who killed no one, that started a half-hour away at a planned rally held with general knowledge. Congress was delayed for a few hours. And freedom-fighting Americans are to blame and shamed? If the intent of this administration is to invoke a civil war riding on the coattails of Jan. 6, that’s on them. Americans have moved on to more important issues: staying safe and free from a mutant virus, the highest inflation in decades, rising violent crime, and our individual rights and freedoms in the name of mandates being usurped by power-hungry tyrants.
Americans are owed an explanation, not a hollow, theatrical performance insulting our intelligence. When Speaker Pelosi was asked last year if mobs should be permitted to tear down federal monuments, she shrugged and said: “People will do what they do.” The incredible arrogance and insensitivity of that cavalier response by a high-level elected official is indicative of how far our standards have fallen from the highest sanctity of the founding fathers. We are leaderless.
Words do matter. Politicians can’t have it both ways. They must take responsibility and be held accountable for everything they say and everything they do. While we are being conditioned to accept the lies being told by those who are eliminating one freedom from another under the guise of the “greater good,” virtually every aspect of our lives is under control by unelected bureaucrats and wealthy donors, including how, where, what, and when our children can learn in a classroom.
If I had the opportunity as a concerned citizen to ask the speaker of the House one question, it would be what intelligence was she given on Jan. 5, 2021, about the Stop the Steal Rally, and why weren’t National Guard troops mobilized before the Capitol was breached, as was done during Black Lives Matter protests in front of our, “we, the people,” D.C. monuments?
When the truth and all the proof is provided in open transparency, American citizens will judge whether Jan. 6 lived up to the hype the speaker is peddling. In the meantime, I suggest Ms. Pelosi and Vice President Harris take a field trip to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, lest they’ve forgotten what it means to die in the name of freedom. Real Americans who love their country and freedom will never forget. Together, their deeds and words are a disgrace to democracy and our republic.
Why Clean House?
January 10, 2022
Does anyone wonder why Trump wanted to clean house? The following may change your mind: Nancy Pelosi made up to $30 million on insider trading. You try it — Ms. Pelosi believes as a member she has that right, so her husband gets the information from her and trades millions.
Some people should really get out of D.C. more often and cackle their thoughts elsewhere. How does Kamala Harris make a speech and includes a statement such as the so-called insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, is equal to 9/11, an attack on all of America when thousands were killed. She also compared the attack to Pearl Harbor, is she for real or just looking for an excuse to be plain stupid? These were downright murders of far too many, both ending in war.
We also have A.O.C., another liar, hiding behind the door of her office when she wasn’t even in the building. You must wear a mask and Governor DeSantis is doing everything wrong, however Florida is a place for her to go to party to drink and no mask. She also Photoshopped with employees, over a labor battle against Amazon, left them flat when she promised to rally for them. How do these people keep getting elected? Need to clean house.
Welcome to New York District Attorney Bragg, a Soros lacky. No prison if you do the crime. Anyone shoplifting, ignore the prosecution warning.
The C.D.C. Director Walensky called out Justices Sotomayor and Breyer for some erroneous statements amongst oral arguments for lawsuit of vaccine mandates. Justice Breyer claims 760 million tested positive in this country in one day, he’s off by three zeros, imagine that.
Sotomayor worse; she claims 100,000 children had been hospitalized with Covid, many on ventilators, her math off by 96,000. She also claimed Omicron is just as deadly as the Delta variant, proof shows it’s less lethal. These mistakes are inexcusable. Is this done to keep votes, thinking if it comes out of their mouths voters will believe them?
Here’s one more: Five D.C. police officers responding to the attack on Jan. 6 have since lost their lives. This lie is from Attorney General Garland. Here’s some truths: One of the officers died of natural causes the very next day, four committed suicide, two of them six months later. A disgusting stain on U.S. history facts, the only one that died was murdered by a detective. Her name was Ashli Babbitt, a patriot who broke a window, barely stepping on ground, shot and killed. Note she was unarmed. Garland wants you to believe his statements.
In God and country,
January 9, 2022
The absurd conversation around Jan. 6 underscores the seriousness of the breakdown of our civil society. So, we are obligated to look elsewhere for a clearer sense of our dysfunctional reality.
On Jan 3 several Canadian newspapers printed an article stating that the United States will be under a right-wing dictatorship by 2030 and that Canada needs to be prepared for the collapse of the U.S. democracy.
The warning to the Canadian people came from Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon (head of the Cascade Institute in British Columbia), a renowned researcher of international conflict and violence. He believes that if Trump is re-elected in 2024 that he will destroy the basic fabric of the American democratic system and it will eventually be replaced by a right-wing dictatorship.
Fascism, another way of describing the current trend in Republican politics, needs several critical components. It requires a belief that its supporters are the only ones who can maintain the values of the country. It requires a willingness to violently overthrow the existing order, and a willingness to dehumanize and destroy opponents without conscience.
Homer-Dixon references Fox News, Republican manipulation of state voting mechanisms, a recent poll showing that 34 percent of Americans believe it can be justified to take violent action against an existing government, and a dozen other reasons for his conclusions. He describes the Trump movement to discredit the electoral process and create an atmosphere of mistrust in the government as the underpinnings of a future dictatorship.
Yet, it is the belief in the capacity of Americans to dehumanize people and justify extreme violence throughout its history without remorse or consciences that pushes this hypothesis to its horrific conclusion. (See Hiroshima and Nagasaki, slavery, and the destruction of Indigenous peoples.)
The message from Canada is a cautionary tale. Parts of the country have put their faith in a man who has no conscience. No sense of shame. A pathological liar who puts himself above everything else. Someone who is missing the empathy and respect chromosome that allows our democracy to maintain its precarious balance.
Is it time for the Republican Party to abandon the elephant as its symbol and adopt something more appropriate to the times? Some might suggest the swastika. If the shoe fits.