If we don’t know our history, we are destined to repeat it

My jaw dropped when I read the first sentence in this thoughtful and thought-provoking post by our friend Keith. I think yours will too. Trump’s desire to teach revisionist history can only lower us even further in the eyes of the world … it can only be thought of as the ‘dumbing-down of America’. Please take a minute to read Keith’s post and ponder on the direction we are headed. Thanks, Keith!


I read this week from a UPI article that 60% of millennials and Gen-Zers are unaware that 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust by the Nazis in World War II. I use the word “exterminated” as that is what the Nazis did by gassing Jews after they rounded them up. If the brashness of this statement offends – I apologize for the needed candor. It is meant to wake people up.

But, the Nazi genocide of Jews is among too many persecutions around the world and over time. The United States has had three persecutions of groups of people, two of which leading to many deaths. We should never forget these sad parts of our history or white-wash (word intentionally chosen) them away.

– European settlers of the US over time seized land from, killed many and moved Native Americans over the course of three centuries. Even today…

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It is Happening Again, Not in Nazi Germany: The Campaign Against “Life Unworthy of Life”

I think we’ve all been horrified by Trump & Co’s lack of a viable response to the pandemic and lack of compassion toward the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and forever changed. Our friend Padre Steve gives us some chilling historical context that I would urge you to read and consider. Thank you, Padre, for this thought-provoking post.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I am reflecting about the present in light of the past, and how policy wise, the Social Darwinist policies of the Trump Administration, and the words of his cult propagandists about the value of human life during the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic since it first began. Throughout the pandemic President Trump and his ruthless enablers have done all tat they can to ensure that the pandemic has killed and infected more people in the United States than any nation in the world, and for a nation that represents barely 4% of the world population with one of the most advanced medical systems in the world that is saying a lot. The only answer for such a disaster is that Trump and his Cult want this to happen. Why else would he first deny the infection, then minimize it, then issue a series of contradictory guidance, leave…

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“But Your Friends are Fewer Now” Milton Meyer’s “They Thought They Were Free” and 2020 America

More than a few times I have wondered how the Germans in 1933 did not see what was coming. Surely the signs were all there, surely at least some were intellectuals who should have been able to foresee and act to stop the madness. Padre Steve’s post from a few days quotes a chapter from Milton Mayer’s book, “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945” that sheds a bit of light on how the Germans failed to see what was coming in the early days. It is a bit lengthy, but well worth the time to read. Thank you, Padre!

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

This article is basically a rerun because I thought it was pertinent and instead of doing much online I was catching up on correspondence with a number of people including friends in Germany and and trying my best to write in the best German that I could. Today was a remarkable day at our shipyard as our commander dealt directly with the dual disasters, COVID19 and the murder of George Floyd. It was inspiring. I had a part to play, but it was behind the scenes, and that is totally okay with me.

The article tonight is a chapter from Milton Mayer’s “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945.” Mayer was a visiting professor at the University of Frankfurt in the 1950s and lived in a small Hessian town near the city. The book is about the relationships that he built with…

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Snarky Snippets — Bah Humbug!

They say that ignorance is bliss.  If that is true, there must be a heck of a lot of really blissful people in this nation!

The height of ignorance?

Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to manufacture, let alone sell, Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments???  Has the Era of Trump, or the populist movement really made people so cruel, crude, classless, tasteless, and effing ignorant?

From an article in The Washington Post

Amazon has halted the sale of Auschwitz-themed products such as Christmas decorations, a mouse pad and a bottle opener, following an outpouring of disgust on social media led by Poland’s official memorial museum.

The items featured images from Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million men, women and children died during World War II. An Auschwitz-themed star holiday decoration was described as a “high quality snowflake,” with the seller, going by the name of Fcheng, describing the bottle opener as a “memorable gift, perfect for every festival.”

In 2018, a report from two watchdog groups found that Amazon was continuing to profit from the sale of white-supremacist propaganda such as books, swastika jewelry and baby onesies featuring an image of a burning cross — despite the company’s policy against selling products that promote hatred.

More than a few times I have noted that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech is often too broadly interpreted, and that every ‘right’ comes with a corresponding responsibility.  Amazon shirked their responsibility in allowing these hate-themed items to be advertised and sold.  But, perhaps the bigger problem is the fact that there is actually a demand for such items, that people will actually buy this crap.

What the heck are they thinking???

Every now and then, it happens that a fetus will implant in a woman’s fallopian tube rather than the uterus.  Left untreated, this would ultimately result in the death of the mother, not to mention the fetus.  This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and the only viable treatment is to surgically remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.

The state legislature in Ohio, however, has decided that they know more than all the gynecologists in the world, and there is a bill before the legislature, HB413, that would require doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus, or be charged with ‘abortion murder’.

Lots of problems with this bill, but the main one is that reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy is medically impossible!  The procedure does not exist!  It cannot be done!  Are the lawmakers in this state really that effing stupid???

It is bad enough that Ohio and other states have passed some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country … the world, for that matter.  Women’s rights?  HAH!  The bozos are spoon-fed by the evangelicals who have an unreasonable desire to ensure that women are given only the rights men see fit to give them.  But now, they are almost ensuring that every gynecologist in the state will be in prison for murder and women who need a doctor will have to go to another state to find one!  Might be a better idea just to sterilize all male babies at birth … there, problem solved!

Sorry … I got a little carried away there, but this is about the stupidest one thing I have seen come out of the state legislature, ever.

Under the bill, physicians who perform abortions would face 15 years to life in prison, and removing an ectopic pregnancy is considered an abortion in this bill.  The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists argues that pro-life physicians should end such ectopic pregnancies as “There is no chance for survival of the child, either inside or outside the womb, but there is a very real, imminent danger of death or disability for the mother.”

But, some people are apparently so appalled by the concept of ‘abortion’ that they would see the mother die in an attempt to save a fetus.  Too bad those same people aren’t equally appalled by children separated from their parents and thrown in cages.  Too damn bad they aren’t equally appalled by children going to bed hungry at night or living on the streets.

Needless to say, doctors aren’t too happy with the bill …ohio-doctor-tweetCommon sense says that the bill is for show only and cannot possibly pass the legislature and be signed into law by the governor, right?  Right?

Okay … I’m going to go do some housecleaning to work off some of this angst & ire.  Have a nice evening, folks!

Elie Wiesel’s Greatest Lesson

Wiesel-5Last week (02 July) the world lost a great humanitarian, Elie Wiesel.  Mr. Wiesel was perhaps the most well-known survivor of the Holocaust, author of 57 books, a political activist, professor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, as well as other awards far too numerous to list here.

Today, amidst the news of Mr. Alton Sterling, Mr. Philando Castile, and 12 Dallas police officers, I came across a tribute to Elie Wiesel that included the speech he gave upon acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.  On reading this speech, I was struck by how so much of what he said then applies today.  The lessons of which he speaks are ones that we have yet to learn, some 30 years after his speech and 70+ years after the Holocaust.

“I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed. 

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the 20th century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent? 

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. You must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe. There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent.” 

Wiesel-6I am particularly struck by this last paragraph and the words: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. You must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”

For those who sometimes ask me why I write about the topics I do, for those who would say, “Filosofa, lighten up, write about only happy things … relax”, this is the reason.  I am no Elie Wiesel, for certain, but then, most of us are not.  Still, if every person of good conscience speaks out against injustice, the collective sum of our voices is greater than the whole.  If we do not, if we sigh, shake our heads, and think that it “isn’t happening to us”, then we are guilty of being accomplices.

Today, each and every one of us has a voice that we did not have some 20-30 years ago.  We have the internet, we have social media sites, we have blogs, we have online journals.  Most of us will not go on to win a Nobel Peace Prize or to write 57 books, most of us will not contribute to catching criminals and oppressors.  But what we can do is heighten awareness of the social and humanitarian injustices in the world.  We can cry out against police killing people because of their race.  We can refuse to accept discrimination of an entire religion because of the actions of a few.  We can write letters to Congressmen letting them know of our angst.  We can, at least in many democratic societies, vote for men and women who are fair, who will fight against injustices of all sorts.

I always had great admiration for Elie Wiesel and am saddened by his death.  His life was fascinating, and I cannot even begin to cover it in this post, but there is no better tribute to the man than his own autobiographical book, Night.  If you have not read it, I highly recommend it.

There can be no better way to pay tribute to the man than to live by his words, to speak out, to not hide among the silent majority.  The United States has long been known as the country where people are willing to open their doors and open their arms to minorities and the disadvantaged.  Let us do our part to maintain that reputation, rather than to someday be seen in the history books as the nation that closed its eyes and looked the other way.  I hope that, at the end of my own life, when asked what I did with my life, I will be able to reply as Elie Wiesel did:  “I have tried”.


How many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind

– Blowing in the Wind, Bob Dylan, 1962

Idiot of the Week: Rep. Pat Ownbey

Why is it that as soon as I finish writing about one big idiot, another one passes right before my very eyes?  Just when you think you have found the absolutely biggest, vilest, most disgusting creature, here comes one even worse!  I am thinking I should make this a regular feature of this blog … “Idiot of the Week”.  Meet today’s subject of the roast:  Oklahoma State Rep. Pat Ownbey.


Idiot of the Week – Pat Ownbey

Last week, Mr. Ownbey copied to his Facebook page a letter written by one Paul R. Hollrah (another bloomin’ idiot).  The title of the letter was “Radical Islam – A Final Solution”.  Remember that Hitler’s “Final Solution” was the Holocaust?  Well, just wait until you see what Mr. Hollrah’s concept is.  Now, I named Mr. Ownbey as the biggest idiot here, though Mr. Hollrah actually wrote the letter and the ideas posed in said letter are the creations of Mr. Hollrah.  Hollrah, however, while also a huge idiot, is basically a nobody, while Ownbey, being a representative of the people of Oklahoma and, as a member of Congress, a representative of us all, has a significantly higher standard to live up to, thus he is the bigger idiot for supporting the ideas of the other madman!

Please feel free to follow the link above for the entire letter, as it is much too long for me to include in this post.  Meanwhile, let me summarize.  Hollrah claims that Islam is not, in fact, a religion and therefore not eligible for 1st Amendment protections in the U.S.  Their goal, he claims, is to overthrow western governments by force and violence.  He calls for all Muslims to be quarantined, prohibited “from residing anywhere within the civilized nations of the Earth.” He goes on to suggest that since President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Chancellor Angela Merkel will not “do what is necessary to protect us,” the citizens of the western world must “take matters into our own hands.”

Okay, where to start?  First, the claim that Islam is not a religion.  Of course Islam is a religion!  It is nearly as old as Christianity and has nearly as many followers worldwide.  Let us look at the definition of religion: “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.  A particular system of faith and worship.  A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.”  Surely there are other, more in-depth definitions, but these pretty well sum up the scope of what religion is.  I do not see anything that would exclude Islam.  It is neither the responsibility nor the right of any individual to decide what qualifies as a religion.  Period.  Islam is followed by 1.6 billion people worldwide, some 23% of the world’s population.  And since it is a religion, it is covered by the 1st Amendment.  Period.

The goal of Islam has nothing to do with overthrowing any governments, western or otherwise.  Like Christianity, there will always be a handful of radicals.  Think Westboro Church.  Think Pat Robertson.  You do not judge the whole based on the actions of the few!!!  How many times … oh never mind.  I am neither Christian nor Muslim, however I know a bit about each of those religions, enough to know that both are based on peace, not hatred.  The hatred is solely the creation of people, of individuals who have, for whatever reason, chosen to interpret their religion to suit their own warped ends, usually a thirst for power.  I have good friends who are Muslim.  They are as peaceable as am I … probably more so.

Finally, the premise that the citizens of the world must take matters into their own hands …. Frankly, this sounds like a threat against national security and I believe this man needs to be on a terrorist watchlist, or at least on the radar of Homeland Security.

All that said, Congressman Ownbey, having posted Hollrah’s letter, apparently fully agrees with the content and premise of the letter, as he made no comments to the contrary.  This, my friends, is not the behaviour I expect from a representative in the federal government!  I am more frightened of both Mr. Ownbey and Mr. Hollrah than I am of any group of Muslims!  These two gentlemen are terrorists, make no mistake.  They promulgate fear, and that is what a terrorist does.  Mr. Ownbey is up for re-election in November, and I beg the good people of Oklahoma to please get this man out of government! 

Earlier today I read two posts by a young fellow-blogger speaking of his African heritage.  One thing he said that struck me then, and seems appropriate in this post at this juncture was “When you let yourself imagine that all these and more were done to millions of people over a long period of time by other humans, you begin to feel almost guilty to be human.”  When I read of people like the two men in this post, I feel guilty to be a member of the same race, the human race.

Barefoot and Pregnant?

I suppose it was inevitable that I would be writing, yet again, about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water …

Why, I ask myself, am I so fascinated with the politics of Turkey and its president?  The answer, I think, is two-fold.  First, he is a western leader, a powerful figure on the global playing field, and a key player in the refugee crisis.  A leader who has shown the world his thirst for power and his intolerance for opposition — a very dangerous duo. But secondly, I believe that watching Erdogan’s behaviour can give us, here in the U.S., some idea of what we might expect in the unlikely event that Donald Trump were to be elected to the office of president in November.  Erdogan and Trump have many similarities, the most obvious being a narcissistic personality and a very thin skin when it comes to those who do not see eye-to-eye with them.  They both lash out and threaten those who they perceive as their ‘enemies’, whether real or imagined. So, think, as you read this, about our own albatross, da trumpeter, and see if you notice certain similarities.  What has Mr. Erdogan done now, you ask?

First, there is his stance on women.  In a speech on Sunday in Istanbul, he clarified his view of women.  Here, I think I will let his comments speak for themselves:

  • “You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature.”
  • “Rejecting motherhood means giving up on humanity. I would recommend having at least three children.”
  • “A woman who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete.”
  • “In this country, for years, they [women] carried out the treason of birth control.”

In March, Erdogan declared the country should “develop its own unique values of gender equality”.  Well, based on the above quotes, I would certainly call it ‘unique’, though I am not sure where the word ‘equality’ fits into the picture.  It is reminiscent of a phrase coined in the early 20th century by Arthur E. Hertzler, a Kansas doctor who said “The only way to keep a woman happy is to keep her barefoot and pregnant.”  I understand that there are cultural differences between the ideas of the west and, say,  Asian, Middle Eastern, and African nations.  But, Turkey claims to be a western-style democracy, so I do not understand how Erdogan can rightfully have such misogynist ideas.

On 2 June, I published a post, Of Miss Turkey, Genocide and Divorce, about the German resolution which, if passed, would label the murder or displacement of nearly all Armenian subjects living in Turkey in 1915 as ‘genocide’.  Erdogan had warned that passage of the resolution would “ … damage future diplomatic, economic, business, political and military relations between the two countries.”  Well, Germany’s Parliament did, in fact, pass the resolution last week, and predictably, Erdogan is … well, perhaps ‘unhappy’ would be somewhat of an understatement.

Erdogan lashed out at the German Parliament, specifically at the 11 members who are of Turkish ancestry, saying, “What sort of Turks are they?”  He then called for each of those 11 to have a blood test to verify their Turkish ancestry!  WHAT???  I did not realize that a blood test could determine ancestral origins!  Now, as I said in the beginning, look for similarities between Erdogan’s rhetoric and that of da trumpeter, who has repeatedly questioned President Obama’s country of origin.  Need I say more?

Turkey also recalled its ambassador from Berlin … no surprise there, and I doubt that Angela Merkel is either surprised or overly-disturbed by that move.  However, what is disturbing is that Cem Ozdemir, one of the 11 Parliament members of Turkish descent, has received death threats since the resolution passed last Thursday.  This was apparently a result of a ‘tweet’ by the mayor of Ankara (Turkey) naming the 11 and saying they “stabbed us in the back”.  According to German media, it was retweeted by many Turkish nationalists, some of whom made death threats against Ozdemir, who was one of the initiators of the German resolution.  German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said he had also received many death threats from German far-right extremists.  Again, can you picture this type of a response from da trumpeter and his minions?  I can.

Further, Erdogan lashed out at Germany stating that Germany ” … should be the last country to vote on a so-called ‘genocide’ by Turkey.  First, you have to account for the Holocaust …”  The problem with his rant, of course, is that Germany does not deny the horror of the Nazi regime during World War II, and the Holocaust.  Germany has worked hard to overcome the legacy left to them by Hitler, and continues to do so.  Erdogan is trying to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Unfortunately for the world, Erdogan’s temperament and thin skin is almost certain to erode the EU-Turkey migrant agreement, and I cannot even begin to speculate at this time on what that will mean.  Well, actually I can, but I prefer not to just yet.

I think that for both Turkey and the U.S., this quote by Turkish author Elif Shafak says it all: “If we do not speak up now, tomorrow we might lose even the rights that we take for granted today.”

Update to post re: pastor Steven Anderson

Shortly after I posted the blog about the pastor in Tempe, Arizona, Steven Anderson, https://jilldennison.com/2016/02/12/women-should-not-be-allowed-to-vote-says-who/ I did, in fact, receive a reply to my e-mail requesting number of followers:




I was surprised to receive a reply at all, and even more surprised by the number of followers.   I just wanted to update this blog with this information … I leave you all to draw your own conclusions.

Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote??? Says WHO???

Something was brought to my attention today and at first glance I blew it off with a “yeah, right, as if anybody is that stupid in the 21st century in the U.S..  But it apparently took up residence somewhere in the back of my mind, and I finally decided to “give it a google”.  WHOA!  Apparently there are a few people that stupid in this, the 21st century!

One such person is a so-called “pastor”, Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who believes that “women should be banned from voting and confined to their home”.  Mad yet?  Just wait.  I am woman … hear me ROAR … ! Anderson (I refuse to dignify him by referring to him as “pastor” Anderson) follows with this:

“You know what they mean [by women’s rights]? The right to divorce your husband is what they mean. You know what they mean? The right to rebel and disobey your husband, the right to divorce him, the right to go out and get a job and make your own money, the right to tell him what to do, the right to go vote for our leaders as if women should have any say in how our country is run when the Bible says that ‘I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence’?”

He once went on a rant about how women shouldn’t be allowed to read, talk, or leave the house without permission from a man. He has even demanded that women keep their mouths shut in church.  (Filosofa says:  Hello … knock, knock, knock … anybody home in there?  Welcome to the 21st century and you have just royally pissed me off, so watch your step, BUCKO!!!)

Deep breaths now … 1 … 2 … 3 …

In 2009, Anderson gave a sermon titled “Why I hate Barack Obama”, in which he said he “had been praying for the death of the president.”  Not surprisingly, he was contacted by the Secret Service.  In an interview with CBS News he said he would like Obama to die of natural causes, as he does not “want him to be a martyr” and “we don’t need another holiday.” (presumably in reference to Martin Luther King Day)   In an interview with another reporter, he said he “would not judge or condemn” anyone who killed the president.

His message of hate is not confined to women and President Obama.  This may surprise you, but he also hates gay people.  According to USA Today (12/04/2014), Anderson declares that no “queers” or “homos” are allowed in the church, and never will be as long as he’s pastor. He goes on to say killing gays is the way to an AIDS-free world by Christmas.  In one sermon, he stated: “All homos are pedophiles. There, I said it, they’re all pedophiles.”  His message is that killing gays is a divinely sanctioned way to rid the world of AIDS. “Because if you executed the homos, like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson said.


And the kicker … Steven Anderson brands all the still-living Holocaust survivors as “paid liars” who are simply lying when they talk about their experiences in Hitler’s death camps. He claims to “know” that Hitler’s Holocaust didn’t really happen, and that the current residents of Israel are not really Jews but a “Satanic counterfeit” placed there by the Rothschild’s family of Europe.  (Where in the heck did this guy lose his marbles, or … what rock did he slither out from under???)

Many adjectives come to mind regarding this man.  In the interest of professionalism, I will use none of them.  I do not claim to be of the Christian faith, nor to understand it in full, but many of my friends are Christians and I have been given to believe that they are a peace-loving people, people who believe in love, not hate … tolerance, not persecution.  I have written before about the Westboro group, and the evil that they perpetuate, but this Anderson character is the very definition of evil, even worse than the Westboro clan.  What is truly frightening is not that one man (idiot?) believes this rhetoric, but that he has followers!  If you look him up on Google, you will find 17.5 million hits!  I do not know how many gullible souls have succumbed to his rhetoric and are a part of his cult, as that data is not readily available. I have left messages on the church’s website asking for membership data, but have received no reply as yet.  On the website, you will find that his hate-mongering sermons have been translated into 115 languages.  He claims that, while he holds no college degree, he has memorized over 140 bible chapters “word for word”.  Apparently none of those chapters were the ones that talk about peace, love and tolerance.

A New York Times article from May, 2015 claims that “seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.”  With churches like Faithful Word and Westboro, is it really any wonder?  Think about it.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This is the day designated by the United Nations in November 2005 to commemorate the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 2 million Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.  One of the best-known survivors of the Holocaust is Elie Wiesel, who wrote:

“I swear never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.  We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.”

Certainly powerful words expressing even more powerful thoughts.

The idea expressed by those words is one that many may have forgotten, as it is an idea that seems lost in today’s society, both here in the United States and across much of the globe.  When immigrants give up every possession they own and leave their homes to seek safety for their children, they are the human beings who are enduring the humiliation and suffering.  We must take sides, but unfortunately far too many governments and politicians have convinced citizens that these immigrants are evil, that they deserve to die.  Who, then, is the oppressor in this case?  Is it Syria, whose current leader Bashir al Assad is accused of genocide against the Syrian people, or is it we, the United States and other countries seeking to bar immigrants?  Who is the victim?  To me, it is obviously the men, women and children fleeing unimaginable brutality with only the clothes on their backs, asking for little other than a safe haven for their families.  Certain politicians, however, would have you believe that the citizens of the United States, indeed, the entire nation, is the victim.  Would somebody like to attempt to explain to me how we, sitting in our warm homes with plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear and soft comfortable beds to sleep in are the victims?  What of the people carrying their children on their backs, sleeping on the ground and constantly listening, watching, waiting for the sounds of gunfire?

It may well be the case that you and I can do very little to solve the situation in Syria, Afghanistan or other areas in the Middle East that are under siege by evil regimes, ISIL or revolutionary forces.  We must leave that battle to the United Nations and the leaders of the free world.  However, we can fight injustice, we can be a voice for the victims and a thorn in the side of the oppressors.

Think next about the situation right here in the U.S. where the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  Assuming a 40-hour work week and a conservative 15% withheld for federal, state and local taxes, plus other deductions, that leaves the employee with a whopping $246 a week, or $1,068 (rounding) per month.  I am retired, living on social security, and my monthly check is fully 50% higher than that, yet I would have a very difficult time supporting myself if I did not live with my daughter!  Yet, the oppressors, in this case the majority of one political party, believes that keeping minimum wage rates low should serve as an incentive to the employee to “better himself”.  Do we speak up, so we refuse to vote for people who are living on salaries some 15 times that of the minimum wage worker (and this is the average base pay for a senator, not including perks, travel, expenses, etc.)  Who is the oppressor and what can we do about it?

The list goes on and I could offer many more examples within our own nation, African-Americans discriminated against in so many ways even a half century after the Civil Rights Movement, Mexican-Americans being insulted and threatened by political candidates, single mothers trying to find a way to take care of their children and asking only for a bit of understanding, a little help paying the bills while she is trying to earn a GED.  People sometimes tell me to shut up, that I make them uncomfortable, that my voice is not heard by many and therefore does not change anything.  Perhaps they are right that my voice is not heard.  I have just under 100 blog followers and another 10-15 Facebook friends who read my blog, so it is not exactly the New York Times or Politico.  But I do what I can.  Imagine if every blogger posted just once a month about human rights violations, crimes against humanity.  I do what I can … and at the end of the day, it is not the oppressors, not the naysayers that I need to answer to … I answer only to my own conscience and it answers back … “Good job, Filosofa!”