Curtain Raiser

A Triple Threat Stalks Us, Colltalers

Trump’s crossed another line last week, to eyes-rolling everywhere: he went from firing not-loyal-enough staffers to purge dissenters. Being a decorated war hero means little to a draft dodger. Stalin comes to mind. So does Don Corleone. But his spiked ratings owe a lot to the Democratic leadership.
64.9°F was also a crossed-line of sorts; Antarctica’s temperature last week was its highest ever. Will sea level be next in climate emergency immediate threats? Or will viruses like the coronavirus, now deadlier than SARS? Not if drama, not factual implications, it’s all one hears about in the media.
But let’s start with something less topic: the Catholic Church. It’s been accused of hoarding charity donations to fill up holes on Santa See’s budget. It reminds us of a certain president who’s also been accused, again, of misusing donations to his inauguration for personal gain. Corruption is contagious. On related news, investigative journalism ProPublica has compiled a searchable, 900-page database of priests accused of sexual child abuse. Finally.
This has been such an upsidedown era. Remember Gandhi? India’s arguably greatest global figure, whose non-violent resistance movement inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has fallen from grace in his own country. Even more depressing, it’s his assassin who’s not being named here the one now celebrated. This travesty may be attributed to rising Hindu nationalism, but blame must be placed at the doorsteps of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Since ascending to power in 2014, he’s presided over a lethal spiral of poverty and religious hatred against 200 million of its increasing 1.339 billion population: Muslims. Why Gandhi? misinformation

perhaps for he opposed the 1947 Partition of India that created what’s today’s Islamic Pakistan.
In wild wild Brazil, one of the hitmen who executed Rio councilwoman and LBGT activist Marielle Franco two years ago this March was himself shot dead by the police. The news raised concerns that it was a hit job to silence those involved in the murder of the popular politician, as the nameless thug had been part of the entourage of President Bolsonaro and his sons. ‘Dead men don’t tell tales,’ as they’d say in his underworld.’ Heavens have mercy.
Which was not given to yet another protector of monarch butterflies in Mexico: Raúl Hernández Romero was stabbed to death a week after the body of Homero Gómez González was found with similar wounds. Thus the majestic creature has now another formidable foe, besides extreme poverty and a climate going berserk: illegal loggers linked to drug gangs operating in Mexico. How unsung are these environmental heroes? Let us count the ways.
The Trump administration’s immigration policies are blatantly racist, discriminatory, and we should all brace ourselves for it to worsen. But it didn’t start the fire so to speak. A Human Rights Watch report, for instance, found that 138 people deported back to El Salvador between 2013 and 2019 were either killed or abused or both. That is, they came for Lady Liberty’s help only to be given back to those they were fleeing from. Well done, America.
Speaking of which, the past week saw the president celebrating his impeachment acquittal with his trademark brutality: by going after those who dared to tell the truth about him. When war hero Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House like a criminal, it was a revengeful perp walk not even Joseph Stalin granted his enemies (before slaughtering them). Some day, history will come after those who stood silently by this.
But the Democratic Party should also take credit for his giddiness, and not just by the catastrophic Iowa caucus, still without an official vote counting. More troubling is the way it’s clearly trying to pick winners in its presidential candidate race. Liberal talk show host Bill Maher was no match to guest Steve Bannon, an archenemy of democracies everywhere, who ostensibly threw a bait at potentially disappointed supporters of Bernie Sanders, in case the now frontrunner’s schemed out of contention. It was a gift to his ex-boss and proof that he’s more than ever engaged in sabotaging the U.S. election.
As for the ‘heatwaves’ being ever more frequent around the poles, there’s no more question that the melting of ancient glaciers is already at full clip. It won’t be subtle: once multiple icebergs the size of Manhattan start getting lose, coastal areas will flood and people will die. It’ll put an unbearable strain in impoverished communities and force millions to flee or perish. It will happen but we’ll be informed about it only with waters suddenly cover Miami.
It’s been 56 years ago yesterday. When the Beatles performed at the Ed Sullivan show, it was a fateful correction to a decade that had started with much optimism only to be crushed by the weight of the nuclear threat, and in the U.S., by the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The four musicians started a new conversation, one about love and peace and faith in the future. But even they couldn’t stand for all our hopes and dreams and quit five years later.
It’s unfair to pressure anyone to please us to no end. It’s also irresponsible of grown-ups to rely on the young to carry on ideals of rebellion they once held dear to their hearts. But the new generations must change this world if they’re to survive and the least we can do is joining them at the trenches. Trump, nukes and the climate are here to wipe us out of our humanity. Fight them as if your life depends on it because it actually does. Cheers WC


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