Make America Hate Again

Make America Hate Again

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” Maya Angelou

It turns out that it was not just the economy that brought out the Trump supporters but the shame that the white working class had previously felt about themselves. The Right was very successful in campaigning on the premise that it wasn’t the white working class that failed but some other villain – Muslims, Jews, Liberals, African-Americans, Immigrants, Gays, Feminists, the Media  – the list keeps growing.

The liberals and the media did not understand this deep level of classicism between the haves, have less or have-nots.

Right or wrong Donald Trump gave them back some pride. In doing that, he gave license to their rage and has done nothing to stop that.

I now live in an artsy, racially mixed (and by that I mean interracial couples)  neighborhood. I am at the beach and there are many visitors on the weekends. I was walking my dog and  there was a truck double parked facing in the wrong direction. A man driving by got out of his car to ask him what he was doing.  They were both white. The truck was an Escalade type thing. The car was the cheaper Mercedes model. The Mercedes driver wore a Hawaiian flowered shirt. They were arguing and it was getting ugly. As is my New York custom,  I crossed the street to avoid trouble. The truck driver yelled, “You are such a fucking faggot. You are a big loser. Did you vote for Hillary?”

The racism, sexism and xenophobia that Trump used to advance his candidacy had found its way to my street. When things happen right in front of you,  it is hard to stay open and indifferent. White hate speech against white people in a very liberal neighborhood is new. It is nothing new for black or gay people anywhere. Venice is the kind of mixed arty community that people move into to avoid this. The big conversation among strangers here is how are the waves today or look at that sunset. The lid against hate has been blown off. 

I still say that I wasn’t brought up to hate. I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, McCarthyism and my parents’ fears.  I was raised not to sign anything, peacefully protest but not call too much attention to yourself by leading the march.  

A younger couple had heard it as well and they walked up to me. He is blond. She is Asian. They asked how it started. “Stay safe,” they say when they walk away.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Anti – Semitism in Europe – Again?

Anti – Semitism in Europe – Again?

“At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?” And the answer: “Where was man?” William Styron

We are all born into some story, with its particular background scenery, that affects our emotional, social and spiritual growth.

My story was anti-Semitism. My grandparents were part of the well documented immigration of eastern European and Russian Jews at the end of the nineteenth century to America. Restrictions and barriers were placed on Jews that made it impossible to have a normal self-sustaining life in their countries.   In Russia and Poland, pogroms (physical attacks on the Jews and their villages) happened on a regular basis.

Both my parents were born here and had experienced anti-Semitism growing up. My father was a high-ranking officer in the army (not a job Jews could have at that time) and had fought in two wars. He experienced extreme prejudice during his twenty years in the army. My mother grew up on a farm where they were the only Jewish family in their town. She also had a lot of experience with bigotry and discrimination.

When they had children, they moved into the most Jewish neighborhood they could find so their children wouldn’t have the same experiences. Many holocaust survivors moved there as well. I grew up hearing all the stories.

I  was able to read at a very young age and for some reason read the story of Anne Frank when I was nine years old. I looked at the picture of Anne. She had brown hair and brown eyes. I thought that she looked like me and she was Jewish also.  I decided in my nine year old wisdom  that they  could come for me too. I quickly became friends with the only Christian I knew, Frankie, the son of the superintendent of our building. His family could hide me if it happened again.

Children don’t understand prejudice. The world is black and white to them. If someone is mean than you don’t like them. But for someone to not like you and want to kill you because you are Jewish, or Black, Gay or Muslim – that is a hard concept for kids. It has to be taught. As in – if your parents hate them or are afraid of them, then they must be bad. Being hated because I was born into a Jewish family that wasn’t even religious was hard for me as a child to comprehend.

I grew up on the beach and saw a lot of people with numbers on their arms. All the old people who I knew had heavy European accents. For a brief period I thought they counted the older people and when you became old you got an accent. Many of my friends were the children of holocaust survivors. Their lives were shrouded in mystery and darkness.

The holocaust changed so many lives by simply observing just how horrible certain humans can treat each other. It didn’t just scar the survivors but anyone who came in contact with their stories. I grew up in a frightened community. I have always felt how tenuous the world was and that things could end at any moment just as it had for Anne Frank.

As I got older, I became obsessed with reading everything I could about the holocaust. I saw every film and documentary. Someone asked me once “What job I was going to get as the leading authority on the holocaust?’ But I needed answers. How did it happen? Why did people hate us so much? How do people hate for no reason and of course – the nature of evil.

I learned that evil can happen when it is beyond the realm of civilized human consciousness – like planning to kill all the Jews in Europe by gassing and burning them in ovens, flying a plane into the World Trade Center, murdering all the intellectuals or killing  or kidnapping children for going to school.

I am watching that evil again. I recently  saw a map on CNN listing the number of Jews living in each country in Europe. Was that the same map that Hitler looked at? The last time I saw a map listing the number of Jews in each country in Europe it was in a holocaust book showing the number of dead Jews from each country.

So there are no lessons to be learned from the past. The people committing atrocities don’t think of themselves as evil. They commit these acts in the name of righteousness or religion. As someone who loves stories, I wanted restoration and redemption in my story. But instead the monsters of my childhood turn out to be human beings in the present.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Nine Ways to Destroy The World

Nine Ways To Destroy The World

Destruction is a man’s will, Prevention is also a man’s will. It’s a man’s choice to choose between Destruction and Prevention.” Babu Rajah

1. One person at a time. We are all just doing the best for ourselves, our families, our religions and our country. Billions of people all doing the best that they can for themselves are causing a lot of damage.

2. Lack of education and stupidity –believing what is told to you instead of checking it for yourself or refusing to be reached by logic, fact, or modern ideas. Many people in third world countries don’t have access to obvious and vital truths about public health, sexuality, nutrition, all religions and conservation.

3. We have exhausted our planet’s resources and polluted it beyond its capacity to clean itself. If we don’t change how we take care of the environment, it isn’t going to matter whether we blow ourselves off the face of the earth or not.

4. Fundamentalist religion. We are living in an age of renewed religious wars based on tribalism, religious fanatics, fear of “the others” and no value on human life.

5. Nuclear power plants are on the rise which leads to more nuclear weapons of mass destruction and catastrophic meltdowns.

6. Global deflation affects everyone. The affluent nations still have stuff but fewer jobs, worse health care, more stress and more debt. The struggling nations are much worse off. Everyone is angry.

7. New diseases and viruses are evolving that can “destroy humanity”. They are usually weird, come from Africa or Asia and are transmitted by animals to humans. All illnesses due to environmental toxins are on the rise.

8. I just googled can hate destroy the world to see what people had to say and I was directed to websites spouting hate rhetoric for every race, country and religion. If you want to hate someone, you will find a group on the internet who hates them also. So I would have to say yes and with our advanced social media we can spread hate faster than ever.

9. World War lll  can happen with everyone having nuclear weapons and the belief that they are right.

I’m sure there are more. The future looks bad right now.   I wish that when the new society  arises, they will not look back and see that it was our human stupidity and selfishness that caused the destruction of most of the planet. I assume there will be a small part left and a peaceful, less complicated group of humans or somethings will thrive there.  When they tell our civilization’s story, I want it to be that we cared  and we tried our best to save it.

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Top Five Countries Americans HATE

Top Five Countries Americans HATE

“They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged. And they do not know why; they are powerless pawns in a blind play of social forces.” Richard Wright, Native Son

CNN did a news report on the top five countries that Americans hate. It must have been a slow news day. Hate is a very strong word to use for countries. I looked at the list and it should have been the top five countries Americans fear. Isn’t hatred really fear? If you start making a list of the countries you hate, it will be easy to add more. A little hatred goes a long way.

5. Palestinian Authority

4.Afghanistan

3 Pakistan

2. North Korea

1. Iran

I looked up the countries Americans love and couldn’t find any. According to the internet, we only like or hate countries. Here are the top three countries Americans like. I guess Americans like countries they connect with or that make them feel safe. We seem to have forgotten WWII now so maybe the War on Terror will some day be a thing of the past .

3. Japan

2. France

1.Canada

This led me to my own list. Countries I will probably not go back to. I certainly don’t hate them. There were many things I liked about them. It helps if they have great art , architecture, Machu Picchu, shopping and beaches. But the reality is, if I don’t like the food, I’m not coming back.

4. Russia

3. Hungary

2.Lithuania

1. Latvia

I do really like the bread in these countries. Lithuania would be my #1 country in which  to eat bread because I love dark dense bread.

My favorites list  is not based on food, but coincidentally  consists of countries that serve my favorite foods –  fish and pizza. Everything else they serve is equally delicious.  I am starting to see a relationship  between dining and favorite countries. Food is definitely a big part of the cultural experience.  I didn’t have a lot of fish or pizza in Turkey but I did have pide ( bread melted cheese and toppings). My favorite countries (and food ) so far:

5. Italy

4. Peru

3. Croatia

2. Japan

1. Turkey

I will be happy to keep adding countries to this list !!!!

Fly safe.

JAZ