(10-26-2017, updated 07-11-2018) From Toxic Masculinity to Total Annihilation? Machismo is a problem the world over, but in 'the West" America is unique in some aspects of society that nurture and encourage male aggression and toxic masculinity. Gun ownership, football, anti-intellectualism and the need and pressure to all be leaders. Also: more comparisons between Trump and Hitler.
(10-24-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Trump's Calls For Violence in Historical Perspective. Fascists don't mind violence, as long as they're meting it out, through violent and intimidating government policies and actions, and by encouraging a militarized citizenry. This post explores America's history of violence and intimidation, Hitler's Nazi Party in Germany, Trump rallies, and his encouragement of violence against his opposition.
(10-21-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Totalitarian governments don't acknowledge individual liberties. Everyone must support the state. No dissent, democratic elections, freedom of speech, or a free press. North Korea is a totalitarian state, as are theocracies like Iran and Pakistan. In a theocracy the leaders' holy book is the supreme authority, not democratically created laws. American Christian extremists want this as well.
(10-20-2017-updated 07-08-2018) Respect: American For Blind Submission to the Authorities. Americans, you sacrifice too many freedoms to institutions. The president should not be an adored god, the police are not heroes (as a collective group) and you pay schools to educate and care for your children, not to police them. It's ridiculous how you let them abuse their powers to the extent that they do. Powers that, half the time, they shouldn't even have,You really need to take a step back and have a good look.
(10-13-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Respect For Authority: The Dutch Learned From WWII. The German occupation (1940-1945) was a watershed moment for us. Before discussing authoritarianism in America, I'll talk about authoritarianism and the police in the Netherlands, so you understand where I'm coning from. And I'll describe 1980s Dutch police training, which focused more on de-escalation training than on using force.
(10-03-2017, updated 07-11-2018) How Language Shapes Americans' Attitudes Toward the Outside World. "America is the greatest country in the world." If you're born in America you've heard it all your life. This kind of nationalistic language is not just an innocent expression of patriotism -- it stifles curiosity, it prevents necessary dialogue about serious issues and it even leads to xenophobia.
(10-01-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Nationalism is Both Dangerous and Dangerously Naive. Americans aren't special or immune to fascist tendencies -- I think we all know that now. I have said for decades that it's dangerous to make kindergartners pledge allegiance to the flag, because it's nationalist indoctrination and it can easily lead to fascism. The response was always a breezy "Oh, that would never happen here. We're just proud of our country--nothing wrong with that."
(09-30-2017, updated 07-12-2018) American Fascism: Don't Get Me Started! I was invited to speak at an anti-fascist group meeting today, to give my Dutch perspective on American fascism, since Holland was under German occupation during WWII. Folks, be careful what you wish for! I had way too much information just getting through a definition of fascism. That's okay, though. It gave me fodder for another series of posts (and a year later it's the reason I'm starting a separate blog on the topic! 07-12-2018).
(09-26-2017, updated 07-12-2018) What Are American Values? What Is Patriotism? NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem!They're disrespecting the troops! The country! The flag! You are confused, but I understand. The symbols have become so important to you that you forget what they stand for. Do I need to remind you what your ideals are? Well fine, if you insist. Here's a little refresher, from an immigrant. You're welcome.
(08-31-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Also, My Own White Privilege and a Peek at Life While Black in Trump Country. Topic: white privilege and responsibility for racial disparity in the Trump era. Am I a racist? Are you a racist? Many whites say they're not racist, but neither are they responsible for race problems they didn't cause. Here are my thoughts, about Dutch responsibility, my personal privilege and responsibility, and a few shocking encounters.
(08-14-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Hostages, Domestic Abuse Victims, White Southerners, Working-Class Trump Supporters and Cognitive Dissonance. I read this and sympathized. Just like Trump's base always believes him, despite overwhelming evidence that he's lying. They won't face facts either. Why do they act against their own interests? Collective Stockholm Syndrome and Battered Wife Syndrome could offer some insight.
(02-25-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Trump's Muslim ban on refugees from majority Muslim countries that isn't a Muslim ban and the attack on three Men from the Middle East who were from India. No refugees from the banned countries have killed anyone in America in at least twenty years. American extremists, on the other hand, have murdered, injured and harassed plenty of Muslims in America.
(12-01-2016, updated 07-13-2018) Bullying bigots beware: I'm an obese middle-aged white bitch and I'm not afraid to use it. I pledge intolerance to bigotry. I will wear a safety pin as long as Trump is president. I will wear it as a warning to any bullying Trump supporter. I won't stand by and do nothing.
(11-16-2015, updated 07-14-2018) Where is our compassion? France and America are promising to basically bomb the blazes out of ISIS and at least sixteen American states have already said they don't want any Syrian refugees, including Texas, where I live. Because some terrorists might enter the country disguised as refugees.
(10-13-2015, updated 07-14-2018) Conspiracy theories and other craziness, what to do about the disinformation and lies on the Internet. Previously I wrote that I believe that in the long run humanity is getting better, in part due to the ready availability of information. In the short term, though, easy access to information has it's downsides as well.
(09-28-2015, updated 07-14-2018) The U.S. fights the Taliban and ISIS, but if Kim Davis had her way, America would be a theocracy like most countries in the Middle East. Both Kim Davis and ISIS look to ancient books--the Bible written mostly in the Bronze Age and the Koran in the early Middle Ages--for their moral justification of exclusion, hatred and violence.
(06-22-2015, updated 07-14-2018) But they're still careful not to offend the folks who are proud of their Confederate heritage. Southern politicians are falling over themselves in their haste to leap over the fence or off the fence, so they're on the record as having been on the right side of history. Only just in time, but hey, at this point, who's counting hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries?
(06-20-2015, updated 07-14-2018) Speechless, but trying. A young white man has killed nine people in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Several republicans say it wasn't a hate crime. One NRA board member, African-American himself, claims that the pastor who was shot brought it upon himself, because he was against open carry laws. The Charleston morning newspaper with the headline about the shooting carried an attached ad for a gun store.
(01-12-2013, updated 07-15-2018) Point in Case, this guy Piers Morgan tries to chat with about gun rights. When Dickens visited America in 1842, he was shocked at the pride Americans took in carrying weapons. A few days ago, another Englishman attempted to confront an American who just loves his right to bear arms. . . Okay, forget the awkward segue from Dickens to second amendment rights. Honestly, I just want to show this video.