December 22, 2023
To the Editor,
Felicitaciones a Fran Levy por tu articulo, “Detras del Desfile Comercial.” Es muy importante.
Congratulations to Fran Levy on your Guestwords article, “Behind the Trade Parade.” It is very important. I, too, have heard derogatory language toward the Spanish-speaking community that service and lives in the Hamptons. I don’t understand it. I share your admiration for their work ethic and for their desire for a better life. You are so right, they are not looking for handouts. They work hard and deserve your kind words and our respect. Bravo!
More Speed Cameras
December 23, 2023
Your Dec. 21 front-page article “Speed Cams Pondered” was a long-awaited glimpse at the growing and dangerous problem of speeding vehicles. Yes, speed cameras would help — but only if they are more widespread than in the few areas mentioned in your article. They should also have the ability to issue fines either on the driver or registered owner. Also, the severity of the fine could, as is done in Finland or a few other European countries, be linked to the driver’s income. One Finish millionaire was recently fined over 121,000 Euros for exceeding the speed limit. That’s a deterrent.
In England — where we lived for 25 years — speed cameras are omnipresent. There is no outcry about personal liberties about these or other cameras installed for personal safety.
In addition to cameras, and I know that this is another sensitive issue, greater use of speed bumps could be considered. Certainly, on my road, Miankoma Lane, which runs next to the Amagansett School, these bumps are overdue. Same for Bluff Road.
While on the subject of traffic, am I the only one who is troubled by the flaunting of rules concerning the high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on 495 [the Long Island Expressway]? Lanes are often crisscrossed and speed limits almost always ignored. Effective speed cameras, coupled with realistic fines, would, in my view, make for safer driving and bring in revenue.
Small Boy’s Dreams
Bel Air, Md.
December 22, 2023
I enjoyed your recent essay “The Green Wallpaper.” It brought back some of my own memories of an even earlier time.
In the 1950s, as a young boy, there were frequent trips with my father to what was then called the Coast Guard Station. A giant tower was located in the dunes to the right of what is now the Georgica Beach parking lot. A building and garages completed the outpost.
My father, Robert Gordon Reutershan, was a Navy man who had served as an executive officer on battle ships in World War II. He wouldn’t ever talk of the war. It was just too terrible! He would, however, speak of the sea.
Our trips to the Coast Guard Station provided the entree to lengthy discussions of the sea and those who would brave its fury. One of my favorite topics was his stories of the giant leviathans that prowled the coast. These massive creatures, he told me, were fair game to earlier generations of East Hampton’s seagoing families. My father would often speak of the cries of “Whale off.” It was the rallying call that propelled sturdy men to launch their sturdy whaling boats into the surf to do battle with the greatest mammals on earth. These stories were to be seeds for a young boy’s fertile imagination!
In 1958, my family moved from our home on Huntting Lane to a small house at the end of Edwards Lane. My dad had purchased a house on Ocean Avenue and its renovation required a stopover for our growing family. In a new neighborhood with so many new properties to explore, the move was a dream to a curious 6-year-old — and his loyal band of younger siblings and neighbors.
Around the corner there was Clinton Hall, where an ancient whaling boat was laid up under a shed in its side yard. There was the Star building with its massive printing press that, when running, had the sound of a dozen locomotives, and along the road were cans of used lead typeface awaiting remelting. Guild Hall and the library rounded out some of the other areas of especial interest.
Back then, East Hampton’s children roamed the village like the unsupervised creatures we were. A safer place on the planet there may not have been.
Edwards Lane was the driveway next to The Star’s office and beyond it was Mrs. Rattray’s house, a vacant field, and beyond that was the little house we lived in during 1958 and 1959.
Jeannette Edwards Rattray was a formidable woman. Held in awe by generations of East Hampton’s residents, and well known throughout New York and beyond, she was one of the very few people my father spoke of in a measured tone of hushed reverence.
“Chris, Mrs. Rattray is the granddaughter of a famous sea captain, Capt. Josh Edwards. Her father, Everett Edwards, hunted whales with Capt. Josh down at the beach. She knows more about East Hampton than anyone. She writes books and someday you will be able to read them.” Heady accolades for a young boy to process — especially hearing them from my normally reticent father.
There was a dead tree that had fallen over in the field between Mrs. Rattray’s house and ours. My second-floor bedroom looked out over the field, the tree, and onward to her house. That dead tree is forever frozen in my memory.
In those days we had two New Haven channels on a black-and-white television. Our phones were connected by real live operators located at the corner of Newtown and Main. Unlike today, there were few distractions to impede a child’s imagination. The ancient Village of East Hampton was fertile ground to propel a small boy’s dreams.
Some of those dreams were aided by the old dead tree in the field next door. It was a seagoing ship, and I was its captain. A ragtag coterie of young siblings and neighbors were its crew. We would climb onto its lengthy trunk and branches. Flourishing small sticks as swords or harpoons, one day we were pirates gaming for treasure and the next day whalers in search of the giant beasts.
On one late fall day, I was ducking through a hole in the fence behind Mrs. Rattray’s house. I was on my way home from the Osbornes’, who lived next to the library on Buell.
“Boy, boy, come over here.” With surprise, I saw an “ancient” woman standing on the back porch of the Rattray house. “Who, me?” “Yes, please, come here now.” With tremendous trepidation, I slowly edged toward her. Was this the legendary Mrs. Rattray my father had spoken of? Oh no, what had I done wrong this time? As I got closer, sensing my fear, she confided, “I have some warm cookies and a glass of milk.” “Uh, okay,” was my feeble response.
She invited me into her house and sat me down in front of a plate of freshly made cookies. After some awkward moments she declared that I must be Bob’s son. Summoning up all of my 6-year-old courage, I proceeded to ask about her seafaring grandfather, whale-hunting father, and about her many books.
My encounter was over in what seemed like forever and was probably a flash. That night at dinner, my parents were surprised to learn of my afternoon adventure and were quick to point out the importance of the event. I remember that meeting quite clearly today — some 65 years later. Our conversation was to prove to be a very important milestone in my subsequent journeys through life.
Oh yes, and I remember the green wallpaper, too!
Local Front Groups
December 24, 2023
The South Fork Wind farm has started to produce clean renewable energy for East Hampton and the rest of Long Island’s grid. But as the turbines begin their graceful sweep, a new report has me wondering: Could local wind power opponents have been part of a larger conspiracy?
That was a question that bedeviled me throughout the years-long campaign of disinformation and faux-environmentalism waged by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. In case you’ve forgotten, that was the deep-pocketed group that delayed the start of the South Fork Wind farm by several years of expensive litigation as the climate-armageddon clock continued to tick down to the proverbial midnight.
Now, the think tank Climate and Development Lab’s new report, “Against the Wind,” has renewed my suspicions. As the report’s headline states, “fossil fuel interests are working with climate denial think tanks and community groups to obstruct offshore wind projects.” Some of the tactics used by local front groups cited in the report sound familiar: attacking offshore wind projects at town council meetings, with local letters to the editor rife with disinformation, at public protests — to be sure, tried and true methods of grassroots groups everywhere.
But these groups aren’t really grassroots. They are AstroTurf, “embedded,” as the report says, “in a network of seasoned fossil fuel interests and climate denial think tanks that have perfected obstruction tactics for decades.” These behind-the-scenes forces provide money, legal support, personnel, talking points, and tactical and strategic planning that are part of a relentless widespread campaign to kneecap progress toward clean energy.
Their claims about wind farms’ harmful environmental impacts turn out to be bogus. A recent study of one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world (in Denmark) has shown that the farms create artificial reefs that actually boost fish populations. And climate disruption and habitat loss are far more harmful to birds than wind turbines, while the newer designs of turbines sharply reduce bird strikes.
The message is clear: When judging the integrity of such groups — whether it’s New Yorkers for Affordable Energy or the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance or the American Coalition For Ocean Protection — the savvy citizen considers first “who benefits when we block clean energy?” You and me and our heirs to whom we hope to bequeath a livable world — or the shareholders of polluting power producers? Caveat emptor.
Halt This Process
December 18, 2023
Dear David Rattray,
The Town of East Hampton has flagged at least five half-century-old trees for removal on St. Peter’s Chapel property, 465 Old Stone Highway, Springs, to make way for the 70-foot monopole cell tower. This cell tower, due to technological advancements, will be obsolete by next year’s end. We implore the town to be proactive in their consideration of newer micro-technologies, such as a distributed antenna system (D.A.S.). Halt this process now. Once these significant trees have been removed, there is no bringing them back.
We ask the town board to review published information on D.A.S. and other readily available micro-wireless-service solutions with the goal that the Town of East Hampton could accomplish the following at the same time:
1. Prevent the desecration of St. Peter’s Chapel (built 1881), eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and the bucolic area of Springs;
2. Provide the wireless coverage with far less damage of property, by mitigating the removal of trees and further potential disturbances to wetland areas.
It is never too late to renegotiate for a better solution for all, especially when the Town of East Hampton has the opportunity to create a win-win solution.
The East Hampton Star article published Nov. 9, concerning overbuilding, leads us to believe that if the Town is concerned with the sizes of homes, they might choose to be equally concerned about the desecration of the 1881 chapel and the Springs area. AT&T will be installing an outdated form of technology, a steel structure that will be 70 feet high, triple the height of any structure in this residential area, creating an eyesore that far and above exceeds the benefit of the half-mile gap in coverage of cell service to only AT&T subscribers.
If the Town of East Hampton, as it has stated in the press, is truly interested in finding a more comprehensive approach (rather than one-offs) in providing wireless services to the East End, looking at technologies that can provide more efficient, effective, and less-invasive solutions would be a successful resolution for all concerned parties.
We appreciate the Town’s time, attention, and serious consideration to providing wireless services to the East End. Specifically, we are asking the Town to reconsider the construction of the 70-foot monopole (before those significant trees are destroyed), preserving St. Peter’s Chapel, and honoring its eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
A distributed antenna system eliminates the need for a cell tower by distributing the signal across several nodes. This lowers the power output at each node, reduces the height requirements, and provides improved coverage over uneven terrain.
A Huge Success
December 15, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray:
On behalf of the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry Board of Directors, the volunteers, and the grateful clients we serve, I want to thank you for your generous donation of three weeks of advertising in The Star, also the wonderful article, which contributed to the huge collection of toys.
The Lions Toy Drive was a huge success, and the Christmas tables were filled with so many toys that we were able to allow each client to select four gifts! Our clients were very grateful for the opportunity to choose from such an amazing collection of gifts.
We are so fortunate to live in a community that supports us so that we can provide for the less fortunate who live here. None of these services could be made available to those in need without the help of our extended family, including local nonprofits like the Lions.
Again, thanks for your help in making our Christmas very special for many needy families.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas, and all good wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2024!
December 25, 2023
To the Editor,
For the record: The Democratic party is determined to waste $32,000,000-plus of taxpayer money on a building purportedly for men and women ages 60-plus. It was originally budgeted for $8,000,000.
How old are you? If you are over 60, do you regularly attend the East Hampton Senior Citizens Center on Springs-Fireplace Road? If you find yourself answering, “Good God, no,” why not, in your own words, please let our community and the Democratic board know your answer via a letter to the editor of The East Hampton Star or The East Hampton Press?
I am 72. I have attended the center since I was in my 40s. Why? I used to accompany my father when I returned home for the holidays. My mother would never attend because in her mind it was for “old people.” My secondary reason for going thereafter was professional; I am a forensic gerontologist with over 50 years’ experience in my field. Over the course of my career, I learned that demographics tell very little unless there is context. The board is simply looking at demographics and not critical variables in making their decision. Moreover, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has ignored her three advisory panels and hired an architectural firm with no experience other than designing casinos for Vegas and Indian reservations. Their design for East Hampton proves it.
I hadn’t been to the Senior Center in years. Last week I went back to celebrate Mary Curles’s 100th birthday. The dining room was full. Out of curiosity I returned the next day to see what a typical day’s attendance was like. Out of all the people over 60 in East Hampton, including the majority of our elected officials over the last 10 years, no newbies were coming on a consistent basis. It was the same old, same old. No growth in normal attendees. But lots of loss in users.
Surely you are familiar with the phrase, “If you build it, they will come!” That was a vintage baseball field, not a center based on aging. What East Hampton needs is both medical-model and social-model day care programs to help working families and spouses caring for those with dementia.
Let me give you an example of Supervisor Burke-Gonzalez’s shortsightedness: Shortly after Kathee was elected for the first time, I scheduled a meeting with her. She had been assigned to oversee senior programs. We met at Starbucks. I had had high hopes of hearing her ideas for expanding programs and services for men and women aged 60-plus. Instead, I heard that the only reason she would ever go to a senior center once she was over 60 is “for free yoga.” She is officially elderly now and she has been true to her word. She rarely attended special occasions at the center. When she did, she was invariably late and disruptive. Clearly, as she told me early on, she doesn’t like the elderly.
I left that meeting perplexed. Over the course of her administrative tenure she has proven true to her word; the Senior Center on Springs-Fireplace Road is literally falling apart. The paint is peeling off the building. The grounds are unkempt. Garbage has been thrown on the side of the building in view of all who come inside. The interior is less than conducive to visitors, exercise, yoga, etc. In short, it’s a disgrace to allow a public building to deteriorate in any town, no less East Hampton.
Telling taxpayers that they have to bear the financial burden of an extremely inappropriately designed building for men and women with age-related sensory and physical impairments is unconscionable. Spending $32,000,000 with unknown overruns in our tax dollars without our ability to vote on the initiative is completely against reason or a democratic way of government.
Let our representatives know how you feel. Write to The Star and The East Hampton Press. Flood Town Hall and your representatives’ offices with your calls of protest. Tell your fellow citizens that you’re paying attention and want to vote on money coming out of your pocket.
NANCY PEPPARD, Ph.D.
Dog Lovers’ Paradise
December 24, 2023
To the Editor,
Come on. Montauk is about surfing, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. It is a dog lovers’ paradise except for the lack of immediate care. This needs to be pushed through and supported by anyone that actually cares about the year-round community.
December 21, 2023
I actually feel the need to join the people writing The Star to back up Dr. Molly Miosek and her much needed clinic! Dr. Molly often went out of her way to help me care for my dog. Coming to my house to bring her medicine, clipping her toenails, checking up on her when she hurt her leg. Why would the Town of East Hampton be so thoughtless and not back up a vet who hasn’t gotten one complaint or nasty letter about her? Our pets love you, Dr. Molly.
Maybe the New Year would be a good time to change your attitude, East Hampton Town.
December 16, 2023
Dear Mr. Editor,
Okay, I am skipping the formalities. You got me. You pushed my buttons in the Dec. 7 edition. The editorial “More Than a Gun Club” set me off. The writer, with an I.Q. that matches the temperature in the office, is a little lacking in local knowledge. The statement “a parallel example of this kind of expansive private use of public property in the town does not immediately come to mind.” That’s bullshit.
First and foremost, you have the overrun and abused ocean beaches by the caterers and party people! That’s not “expansive private use”? How about all the festivals in Herrick Park and about the town? And as far as the clubhouse being a “social hub,” of course it is. Maybe your go-get-’em writers should look up the word “club” in Webster’s and wrestle with the definition. After all, it is the Maidstone Gun Club. And what could be wrong, after a little trap and skeet, with sitting down and spreading a little bullshit among members, maybe have a coffee? The club has a membership, anyone can apply. And if you think about it, it goes on and on: Paddle Diva working out of the rest area in Wainscott, surfing lessons at Ditch Plain, fire department gyms and meeting halls, and of course the airport hangars you mentioned. I am sure there is more, but that’s what comes to mind. And for staff, what would staff do? Empty the coffee pot, sweep up spent shells, care for the grounds? Members do that now.
The club operated nicely for 30 years until the magic bullet, which I am very skeptical about. We lost Truck Beach. The next two targets, the gun club and the airport. You are a fairly local guy, you should be supporting the gun club instead of catering to the local left wing. After all, does not The Star shine for all?
Best regards and as always, yours to command,
December 22, 2023
To the Editor,
I have a message my father wanted me to deliver to the laissez-faire supervisor on the way out the door: Let me remind him and his board cohort, Supervisor Van Scoyoc, he holds you personally responsible and liable for what has happened here. For me it’s happy holidays and a happy New Year to all.
December 25, 2023
All decent human beings have roundly condemned the murder of over 1,200 innocent Israelis and the taking of over 200 hostages by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
Most decent human beings are now condemning the murder of over 20,000 innocent Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Forces at the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A majority of those murdered were women and children who were killed by indiscriminate Israeli bombings and missile attacks.
Netanyahu can no longer claim that protests against his government are antisemitic. If this were the case, the millions of Israeli citizens who took to the streets in cities in the summer and fall to protest Netanyahu’s attempt to emasculate the Israeli Supreme Court would also be classified as antisemites. Netanyahu has also lost any claim to higher moral ground by murdering thousands of innocent people, and his references to the Shoah cannot justify his own genocidal policy of the Palestinian people.
What is most sad is that Netanyahu played right into the Hamas rabbit hole by bombing first and thinking later. He has now turned most Americans and the entire international community against Israel’s war policy. Israel is no longer viewed as a victim, but as an aggressor and oppressor. Very sad, to be sure.
December 25, 2023
Here’s a holiday greeting from the front page of The New York Times (on the day before Christmas): “During a Wartime Christmas, There’s Rubble in the Manger.”
The leading paragraphs proclaim, “No joy in Bethlehem.” Why? Because of how Israel’s war in Gaza is raging! Bethlehem is not in Gaza but in the West Bank. According to the city’s mayor, Vera Baboun, as of 2016, the Christian population of Bethlehem had dropped to 12 percent. In the 1950s, Bethlehem was 85-percent Christian. The most optimistic estimates place the overall number of Palestinian Christians in the whole of the West Bank and Gaza at less than 2 percent. These historically Christian areas are governed, respectively, by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas.
In the birthplace of Jesus, the economy survives on the 1.5 million Christian tourists who briefly visit every year. Many of Bethlehem’s merchants cater to nativity tourism and that is what keeps the town going. Nazareth, the city where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived, is today known as “the Arab capital of Israel.” It serves as a cultural, political, religious, economic, and commercial center for the Arab citizens of Israel and is also a center of Arab and Palestinian nationalism. The inhabitants are predominantly Arab citizens of Israel, of whom 69 percent are Muslim and 30.9 percent Christian. According to recent polling, 84 percent are satisfied or very satisfied to live in Israel.
As to the changing religious tradition, the front-page story continues that a Lutheran church put up a creche “with a sad and symbolic twist.” It goes on to explain that “the baby Jesus is wrapped in a keffiyeh, the black and white scarf that is a badge of Palestine identity.” Additionally, baby Jesus was not safely in his cradle but was on the floor next to broken bricks and debris. Many devout believers can consider this disrespectful.
In the Quran, irreverence (blasphemy) by word or deed does not have specified punishments. But disrespect, insulting or questioning the Prophet Muhammad, is punishable by death in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia.
Both the Old and New Testaments state that Jesus was born and died Jewish (in Judah). Christianity came into being after his death when it was begun by the inspired Saint Paul. Muhammad was born more than 600 years later, so it is quite inventive to put Jesus into a Muslim head scarf!
Accordingly, baby Jesus is less the icon of Christianity than a Hamas sympathizer! Canceling Christmas celebrations in predominantly Islamic cities is particularly odd because celebrating the birth of Jesus is a Christian not a Muslim holiday. This is what’s meant by “cultural appropriation.” And that’s why this Christmas there’ll be no decorated trees, caroling, sparkling lights, or good cheer in Bethlehem. Christ has been taken hostage by Palestinians — just like those taken on Oct 7.
As the song goes, “Christmas is a wonderful time of year.” So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are celebrating.
December 24, 2023
To the Editor,
It is hard not to personalize some things. In 1968, my first election, Nixon won and I lost. As the years went by I picked up some nice wins and took some tough losses. And so did we all — until now.
I dread this coming political year because, it seems, that I’m not allowed to win. A charlatan has cast a spell over a “moral majority” that approved of a putsch, cheers for the right blood, and soon will be seeking Lebensraum within our own government.
I wonder, when do the armbands come out?
Charlatans don’t stop — they are stopped.
December 23, 2023
In The East Hampton Star, Dec. 21, “LaLota Laments the Dysfunction,” our congressman places the blame on others, ignoring his own responsibility for the dysfunction in the House. Together with his Long Island Republican colleague George Santos, Mr. LaLota helped enable their Republican majority to do the least of any Congress in a decade. What is more, Mr. LaLota told your reporter about his “willingness to compromise and seek bipartisan solutions.” Yet when Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached across the aisle to draw Democratic support for passage of the debt-ceiling bill that helped pull the nation back from the brink of economic catastrophe, Nick LaLota voted for McCarthy’s replacement, Mike Johnson, who very openly refuses to compromise. Nick LaLota ingratiatingly decries dysfunction here at home to his constituents. In Washington his voting record enables this dysfunction. If we want a functioning House of Representatives, replacing Nick LaLota next November would help.
December 20, 2023
Is there anybody reading this who does not understand that Russia, Hungary, and North Korea are ruled, in effect, by kings? Putin’s political antagonist, Navalny, was thrown in prison after surviving an assassination attempt, and is now missing. Kim murdered his own brother. Orban in Hungary controls the media and openly preaches keeping the blood of Hungarians pure; classic dog whistle to racists and antisemites, and Trump’s new mantra.
These three are Trump’s heroes; the strong leaders whom he aspires to emulate. He quotes them endorsing him for president of the United States. In his speeches today, Trump crows about how these leaders love him. Most ominous, the MAGA followers cheer wildly. Propaganda works. They still believe, against all evidence, that the election was stolen and Trump cares about their problems.
A reasonable voter might ask, when my enemy tells me who to vote for, should I be suspicious of his motive? What does it say when elected members of an entire political party refuse to contradict a man who is so deluded that he believes these endorsements from despots are a mark of his superiority? To me, it says the first rungs of the ladder to autocracy are already below us. Clearly, these despots are laughing up their sleeves at how easy it is to trick a man so famously narcissistic. Tell him he’s smart and wonderful and you love him, and he becomes as helpless as a bull with a ring in his nose. He will sell out his own country to their wishes. They love me. I love them. We should let Putin have Ukraine. In this, he is the 21st-century Chamberlain, the fool who thought he could make a deal with a despot.
They snicker at Trump telling us he’ll go after press outlets that do not endorse him. He’ll put stooges in the Justice Department to go after his enemies. He will try lifelong defenders of democracy for treason. In this country populated by immigrants, he calls today’s immigrants “vermin.” That dehumanizing language worked for Hitler, so he’s using it again. Is it a coincidence that on the heels of Trump adopting that vile language we learned of Jewish students being afraid to wear a Star of David on the campuses of prestige American universities?
The irony here is America being hoisted on its own petard: freedom of speech. Trump began before he was even elected in 2016 with the attack on legitimate press: Fake news, he told his followers, and they believed him. They still do, despite Fox losing $750 million in court for pushing the big lie, that he won the 2020 election. Fox speaks only what Trump wants to hear.
Last month the American economy created 199,000 jobs. Farcical Fox tried to spin that as somehow bad news. Inflation has dropped from 9 percent in June of 2022 to 3.14 percent in December of 2023, but they still scream that Biden is killing us with inflation. A Dec. 14 report from the Treasury Department demonstrates that rising real wages of American workers since 2019 now cover $1,000 more than the same purchases in 2019. The failure of Bidenomics is the new big lie. Biden may be old, but he should be hailed like another old guy on the cover of Time Magazine as this year’s Sully Sullenberger for bringing the post-pandemic economy in for a soft landing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for freedom of speech. I even agree there is fake news. It just isn’t where Trump tells you it is. When a despot rules, mixed opinion withers. Today I can still state publicly that it is folly to re-elect a man who has tried once to overrule the voters who rejected him. Speak out or we will lose that right. It’s like being a virgin: Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
On Monday, Alexei Navalny, whose whereabouts had been unknown for some weeks, confirmed that he is being held in a Siberian penal colony. Ed.
The Nazi Within
December 22, 2023
In “An Anthology of Extraordinary Earth,” walking through fog is defined as walking through clouds. The fog is real: measurable, visible, free of delusion, denial, and deranged minds.
When we were kids, my father told us that we had to watch out for the Nazis who lurked just below the surface. Nazi meant the bad guys who would do us in if given the chance. They were way worse than the Goyim (Gentiles); he said that the guys wearing the swastikas were easy to deal with because you knew who they were.
He taught us that America was a great place for Jews because antisemitism in public had become a no-no, yet never let your guard down because it is just waiting for a reason to rear its ugly head.
America was a country with enormous delusions and denial of its reality. Any country that talks about how great or good it is and who is overly religious is in a state of scary denial. No one in the world is really good; they are okay and trying to get better.
So we learned about the abuse of Blacks, Jews, women, Asians, and the Indigenous genocide not with malice but with foreboding. We knew that Jews were doctors, dentists, lawyers, and accountants because half the jobs in the country were closed to them. Live your life, stay under the radar, and keep your mouth shut. I never listened.
For the longest time the hideous, gross nature of America remained under the surface. When we neurotically attacked Vietnam and got pushback from the population, we eliminated the draft to take regular Americans out of our war-making machine. We depended on immigrants or slaves from our inception and now we call them vermin and can’t understand why they want to come here. Politicians lied, cheated, and stole but were never so absurdly obvious and malicious.
There is a story that the Germans sent people to the U.S. in the 1920s and ‘30s to study how we dealt with the Black and Indigenous populations. They didn’t come to bring fascism but to study it in action.
When John McCain and Mitt Romney ran for president there was a belief that they were decent human beings who believed in Democracy. Neither was racist, autocratic, antisemitic. Both believed in the one American theory of slow-moving, unwieldy, complicated Democracy. Evil wasn’t a function of different ideas, skin color, or religious preference. They both understood that whatever America built was built by our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers. Almost all who were immigrants. They recognized the debt. Only a delusional cretin wouldn’t.
Going forward, we are given uncomplicated choices. Trump is clearly unrepentantly fascist. His party’s elected officials support him in its entirety. Voting for Trump or his party is a vote for fascism. Whoever runs against them supports the maintenance of our Democracy.
Do we push our internal fascism back under the carpet or do we allow it to flourish as it strives to do? Is it time to allow our true nature to come to the fore? Is fascism our true nature? Seventy percent of the electorate didn’t vote for him in 2020. Do we allow the 30 percent who genuflect to his mantra to take over the country or do we let him know that we are better than that?
My father thought about this problem for most of his life, being part of the most vulnerable. Knowing that self-esteem is not measured by what one achieves but by who lives below us on the value scale. He believed in the “No Good Nazi” theory of human nature — implying that there is no redemption for the Republican Party.
Rap Brown, a Black-power leader from the 1960s and ’70s, probably said it best: “Never trust a honky bearing gifts.”