Note regarding comments

I love comments. I enjoy debate. I welcome both praise and thoughtful criticism. However, I've had to change comments-permissions to require self-identification. No more anonymous messages, please!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


     If our energy had been flagging, events of the past few weeks remind us that this work has meaning and purpose. Through the years, we've pointed to relatively obscure extremists that hit our radar, worried that domestic terrorism based on white supremacy or other hate-filled messages could begin to dominate the national conversation.
     After the rampage at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the January 2012 firebombing of a mosque in Queens, together with the August 7 arson of a mosque in Missouri, it's clear that we may not keep silent.
     We see this in Europe too, with the rise of right wing politicians using minorities ("immigrants") as scapegoat of choice to gain and hold power. Whether Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, Heinz-Christian Strache in Austria, or more recently, the outspoken neo-Nazi Artemios Mathaiopoulos in Greece, these demagogues endanger freedom and liberty for all of us. We only need look to the Third Reich to see this concept in action. We may not keep silent.
     Nor may we keep silent when we see politicians and commentators in our country targeting human beings on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Individually we may have a hard time bringing down a person like Rush Limbaugh, who has become a multi-millionaire pandering to bigotry. But we can in fact make a difference when we refute friends and colleagues who repeat his nonsense. By way of example.
     The same holds true for any pundit who would denigrate Mitt Romney solely because he is Mormon, not simply disagreeing with him for political or ideological reasons. We may not be able to shut down those writers' blogs, or prevent them from sermonizing hate, but we can and must change the conversation around us, taking a stand for what is right and true.
     If enough of us do this - demonstrating backbone and courage when it costs us so little - perhaps we can slow the bloodletting. As we are seeing, words will eventually become action. Would that words were whole and healthy, bringing life instead of death!

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