Curtain Raiser

Hate Won’t Tear Us Apart, Colltalers

A series of deadly nightmares has visited Americans once again in the past days. And some have progressed exactly as the script of racial violence and hate President Trump has been reciting at his rallies. Will he honorably own them? Don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, surprising no one, Brazil’s bid farewell to its young democracy yesterday. A sound majority put Jair Bolsonaro, an ex-army captain, in charge of leading it back to the past, with carte blanche to turn this vibrant nation into a gun-happy backwater.
The cold-blooded execution of two black people in Kentucky, and the horrific mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue: the two sinister bookends to the arrest in Florida of yet another home-grown terrorist, who’d sent explosive packages to top Democrats.
Three perpetrators, all anti-Semites and ardent president supporters, with devilish intent: to silence his critics, intimidate the press, and target a racial minority. Whether these tragedies will impact the Nov. 6 elections is unclear. But progressive forces can’t wait for the Democratic Party to lead: Americans must call them for what they really are: hate rhetoric turned into action.
These loyal fools with a lot in common felt empowered to do the president’s bidding. They may have acted alone but rather than isolated, they’ve responded to a call, repeated by Trump on Twitter and at his public speeches. They felt encouraged to wage holy war against fellow Americans, who dare to disagree with the moral downward spiral the U.S. has taken since 2016.
The man and woman shot to death while being black at a grocery store, the 11 members of the Tree of Life Congregation, killed while being Jewish, and the 14 prominent leaders and politicians who could have been assassinated along an unknown number of circumstantial victims, compose a terrifying portrait of life in America, circa 2018. Race and social liberalism are in mortal risk.
It’s also stomach churning to see once again guns, including an assault rifle, used for racial violence. They were present at the temple massacre and at the store shooting, while the bomb-maker fanatic has demonstrated another level of rage and obsession.
Failing to link White House’s hate speech and the violence of the supremacist movement it has inspired all but equals condoning the barbarism of our current state of affairs. It also misjudges the potential for even more horror and loss of political autonomy.
Naturally, republicans and conservatives have jumped to the administration’s aid. They will shamefully attempt to minimize the attacks, and quickly switch to their hypocritical ‘thoughts and prayers’ default mode for dealing with national grief at crisis time.
As for those who can’t quite believe the disturbingly warped reality hateful words often lead to, a check on history books is most advisable. For rage and death get easily loosened up when the national discourse is polarized into the ‘us versus them’ quagmire. Tyrants often take advantage of ancient ethnic and tribal conflicts to seize and consolidate power, and we’re way passed the time to be shocked, shocked by how come this is actually happening in America. Such mode of domination, prone to displays of bloody ‘loyalty’ by deranged bottom feeders and sycophants, has happened many times before. It’s also a exports-ready model.
Which brings us once more to Brazil, before we too close the book and subscribe to the lowest form of self-sabotaging

adopted out of despair: follow the most basic denominator at the root of all hatred, and exploit it to the service of a powerful elite at the top; maybe some scraps will fall your way. For it’ll be a long, dark night for Brazilians who would never betray their principles.
In the end, the thousands who took the streets of Brazil and other countries in recent weeks, led by women, artists, LGBT, black and indigenous communities, plus countless manifestos and letters of support signed by notable political leaders, intellectuals, creators, civil organizations, worker unions, societies and many others, were not enough, or too late, to prevent Bolsonaro win.
It was also evident how the ‘Trump template’ can be successfully applied to other nations and, in the case of Brazil, its architect himself, ultra nationalist Steve Bannon, was an adviser and the most notorious endorser of the captain’s political inklings.
Now that another candidate got elected by spitting out a toxic mix of radicalism and intolerance, of misogyny and prejudice, the formula is officially approved as a format to turn democracies, old and strong, young and vulnerable, into Big Brother regimes.
Soon, someone like Bolsonaro and Trump, both prone to invoke faith and religion, even without being part of either, or law and order, despite having never served, or being kicked out in disgrace from the army, is bound to rise and rule using their playbook.
A predictable escalation of incidents involving racial and religious hatred notwithstanding, these are but symptoms of a much more disturbing trend: the revival of a global Fascism, this time irradiating from the core of the world’s most powerful nation.
More than hoping against hope that this is but a momentary lapse of reason, despite its immediately devastating consequences on global civil rights and individual freedom, there’s now a concrete new reason as for why the coming U.S. elections are so important: they’re an opportunity to show we’re still determined to put a stop on the GOP’s, and global right-wing’s, power grab.
If, for that, we’ll need to connect the dots and link the recent tragedies to the fascistic rhetoric coming out of the White House, so be it. The president must be finally held accountable to so much division he’s sown in our midst, and for his profound betrayal of American values of tolerance and inclusion. Supporting tyrants is definitely not the example that it’s our duty to give the world.
As it’s evident in Brazil and elsewhere, it’s no longer credible to expect that the 30+% fans of discriminatory regimes will regain their lost mind any time soon. And we definitely count with the decent, good people who always choose the way that’ll promote and support the most people, specially the vulnerable. What’s crucial to conquer is that middle, grey ground, of the ‘undecided.’
There lives, and let’s here be blunt, a spineless class of people, pretending not to have a clue about what’s at stake, who at the first threat to their safe position, run and seek shelter in the shadow of the powerful. As a Jewish scientist once said, the world is dangerous not by those who do evil, but those who do nothing. Einstein witnessed the tragic consequences of such foolishness.
History is repeating itself again, to paraphrase yet another Jew. But even when Marx called the second time around a farce, no one was laughing. It’s easy to forget, or be ignorant about, the historical record. In the meantime, they’re winning and shouldn’t. We must not stand pat, and let their beheading games begin. Let’s fight and never go back to that dark past. Happy Halloween. WC


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