When I was a kid...and I do mean little kid...our Hebrew school teacher read us large sections of MILA 18 by Leon Uris. A single paragraph in chapter 3 has stayed with me all these years for many inexplicable reasons:
He turned away from the river and into a tree-lined street of lovely new homes in a area stamped with upper middle-class wealth. Andrei spotted a large stone on the sidewalk and began to dribble it with his feet with the dexterity of a trained soccer player, his leg muscles fairly rippling through his trousers. He gave the stone a final swift kick of the boot, speeding it down the street toward an imaginary goal, and turned at the gate of Dr. Paul Bronksi’s house.
To this day, I cannot pass a stone on sidewalk or street without kicking it like a soccer ball. Seriously, and I think of Andrei Androfski every time. I think I fell a little bit in love with the Jewish Ulan cavalry officer and his rippling leg muscles. At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, I fell in love with Uris' writing style. He was a master craftsman. He brought more than the people of the Warsaw Ghetto to life; he gave us their world, their fears, their joys, their desperation, their humanity. I cannot tell you the number of times I read MILA 18 over the years...I can only tell you that paperback finally crumbled.
The images of the ghetto vividly created by Uris were, for many of us kids, the first graphic literary images we had of the Nazi occupation. When the red-headed girl stuck the pipe grenade into the treads of the Panzer tank, I knew she was going to die and I wept before I even read the words. Because of those characters, not to mention the survivors living all around me, I took the horrors to heart. They were real to me because they happened to the people around me. I relied on books like Mila 18 to help me internalize those events. I cannot explain it any better than that, only to say that the images, photographic and literary, are totally part of my brain process for understanding the world.
And that's why I abhor what is happening here, in Minnesota, where assholes wear Nazi armbands as masks in Walmart, a councilman in St. Cloud suggests people attach yellow stars to their lapels if they've had COVID-19, and the Republican Party of Wabasha County compares wearing masks to the Gestapo telling people to wear yellow stars. And we are supposed to be okay with these? Like Brandmire didn't know what a yellow star meant? Folks, not to vaff schmutz on those fine people, but clearly they are not the sharpest spoons in the Minnesota sideboard. They must've been absent when they taught World War II in school. Maybe they just stopped learning when the Confederacy won? Hard to say. The results are about the same.
And while this tempest in a hotdish is going on, the focus slides away from the real Gestapo action happening in the Portland, while "liberal Democrat" led cities, including New York and Chicago, are in the crosshairs of this new private army masquerading as ""Federal Officers." Since Feckless Leader cannot sent the army into these cities, he is sending Border Patrol and US Marshals to create a war zone. This is intended to divide and create a fictional civil war... one which can be manipulated into a real one.
The following is part of a post from Nate Cohen's Facebook page. He was on the front line at Portland. [The photograph is Nate Cohen.] Follow the link...read the whole thing...and weep for our nation.
What scares me is these officers have no clue what they're doing. They are highly trained Border Patrol tactical troops and US Marshals, but most of them don't have protest training, and most of them haven't been trained on the weapons they're being asked to use either (this is per an internal DHS Memo by the way, not just random hearsay). Many of them at any given time are carrying live-round AR-15s. It makes them unpredictable, not because they are being clever but because they are doing shit that is illogical and makes no tactical sense. They're shooting weapons designed to explode overheard directly at people's chests. They're firing into crowds with things they can't aim. And they're doing it to black youth, and vets, and moms, and clergy members, and reporters, and medics. The first night I was there a vet at the fence around the courthouse went into a PTSD-induced catatonic attack when the first flashbang went off. Another medic and I ran to him and when we realized we couldn't move him (he was a big dude and clenched up tight in a ball), we tried to cover him with our bodies as the tear gas was going off. The feds response was to toss 7 more grenades over the fence directly at us, even though we were clearly no threat to them. All seven exploded within five feet of me. Later that evening I was treating a young woman who'd been hit in the hand with a canister. She told me she'd been hit in the head with a baton round two days before but came back because "what they don't understand is I'm ready to die for this shit. It's been too long, we're not letting it go away this time. I don't want to die, but if these fuckers kill me I'll know I died for something that fucking matters." It made me cry and she and I held each other for a minute as we moved out of the advancing cloud of tear gas. Despite Chad Wolfe's claim in a recent press conference that there were "no reports of injuries to demonstrators" hundreds of people each night are requiring medical care for gas, and dozens more for impact and burn injuries. But we keep coming. I've been treating anywhere from 15-50 people a night and I'm just one of the dozens of medics out here. You can taste the tear gas as soon as you get within a few blocks of the courthouse, it's been used so much it's just lingering in the air now. (Someone out there with an environmental or public health degree, there is a case study here with your name on it!)
The real purpose behind this "embedded army" is to maintain the level of white supremacy in those cities, not to keep people safe, so let's call these guys what they are: Storm Troopers. They are being sent to round up and ultimately terrorize. They gas-bombed the Mom-Line. How can you gas mothers lined up to provide a barrier for their kids? These are like pictures we used to see of war-torn places, where moms threw themselves in front of all manner of things to protect their families. Like the Argentine Mothers of Mayo who are still looking for the kids that disappeared between 1977 and 1983.
If you think this is legal, please move to another country immediately so the rest of us can begin to pick up the pieces.
Meanwhile, back at the polling stations, we are faced with another, possibly more dangerous problem. In a Fox interview with Chris Wallace last week, Feckless floated another bizarre trial balloon:
WALLACE: There is a tradition in this country -- in fact, one of the prides of this country -- is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. OK?TRUMP: And you know what? She’s the one that never accepted it.WALLACE: I agree.TRUMP: She never accepted her loss and she looks like a fool.WALLACE: But can you give a, can you give a direct answer you will accept the election?TRUMP: I have to see. Look, you – I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.
Despite his bragging about passing a cognitive test, which all by itself is a) pretty stupid, b) a sure-fire indicator you are missing a few cognition links upstairs, and c) totally meaningless, I'm not all that convinced this guy is as impaired as he's coming off these days. Oh, he's impaired, that's without question, but he's still got enough functioning grey matter to at least partially comprehend the actions of his cabal...at least well enough to sanction them. And enough to keep talking long after the people behind the curtain are telling him to shut up.
More and more respectable sources are questioning whether or not this is the twilight of American democracy. It might very well be. I cannot discount the underlying discomfiture of psychological warfare being waged upon us. I look at the Feckless Leader ads on the tube and wonder how the stations can even play stuff that is lie after lie after lie. I look at the comments on Nate Cohen's post about his injuries and I gotta think these people were absent from history class, civics class, and maybe even reading class. I cannot follow their hate-speech riddled conclusions without wanting to vomit. And then I think these are the people taking over this country....if not by rhetoric, but ultimately because they have guns and they are going to use them. And they will be backed-up by the new black-shirt brigade in unmarked vans.
Oddly, one I really feel sorry for, oddly enough, is John Roberts, Chief Justice over at SCOTUS. That guy did not sign on for this. He may be the only thing standing between We, the People of the United States and a dictatorship. Congress is missing in action; they're not gonna help one way or the other. SCOTUS is going to have to do something about the rule of law and paramilitary occupation within our own borders. If they demur, there won't be anything left to discuss besides what country you are planning to immigrate to.
You know that's what it's coming down to, don't you?
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
On a marginally brighter note:
Whatever you do, do NOT start watching
Jhansi ki Rani on Netflix.
There are 480 episodes condensed to 70+.
If you thought Downton Abbey was confusing.......