It Can Happen Here: A Lesson from Charlottesville, Virginia

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ItCantHappenHere

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

This will not be a post about my normal subjects.

In 1935 Sinclair Lewis’ book It Can’t Happen Here spoke to the issue that many Americans held that fascism could not occur in the United States of America. His book is satirical, frightening, and, unfortunately, still applicable.

Erik Larson’s nonfiction history book In The Garden of Beasts, 2011, detailed the experience of Ambassador Dodd in Berlin in the 1930s, during the rise and solidification of Hitler’s power, and it is a terrifying read.

We must always remember that it can happen here, that bigotry and hatred can lead to terrible results. That white nationalists and neo-nazis brought their horror and bigotry to Charlottesville, VA yesterday, resulting in violence and death should make all Americans, regardless of political party, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, aware of what can happen.

We should all be frightened of the possibilities of such hatred. We should also speak to the singular lack of condemnation by President Trump of the neo-nazis and white power groups. As President, he should not have said “on many sides.” This is an issue of hatred, brought by those who worship hatred and the defeated, in World War II, obscenities of Hitler. The President should have, without equivocation, stated his condemnation of their actions and beliefs.

We must always remember that fascism, bigotry, hatred, and dictatorship can occur here as it can anywhere. As Americans, whose freedom was paid for in blood, by those who fought in World War Two, we must speak out against such injustice and horror.

There should be no place for neo-nazis, white nationialists, and bigotry in the United States of America.

 

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A Few Quotations on Reading

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WAR AND CONFLICT BOOK
ERA:  CIVIL WAR/BACKGROUND: SLAVERY & ABOLITIONISM

https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

                                                                  Frederick Douglass

 

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(https://en.wikiquote.org)

“You’re never too old,

   too wacky, too wild,

   to pick up a book

   and read to a child.”

                                                                  Dr. Seuss

 

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

                                                                 J.K. Rowling

Importance of Freedom of the Press

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In our current political climate, in which the Press has been attacked as somehow against the people, it is important to remember that a free Press was seen by the founders of the United States of America as a crucial element to keeping the nation free. Other thinkers have argued for the maintenance of the free Press as a necessary aspect of battling tyranny and supporting freedom. The Press is one of the institutions that must be preserved if the nation is to remain a free democracy.

One of the writers whose work most clearly illustrated the abuse of power and the effects of the suppression of the Press was George Orwell.

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“Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all,
means the freedom to criticize and oppose.”

                                                                            George Orwell

 

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In an example of the use of the free press itself, Teddy Roosevelt said, in an editorial in The Kansas City Star, 1918:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

 

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Perhaps the most important words about the Press come from the paramount document for the country: The Constitution of the United States of America, The First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

 

 

Needed Books For Our Time

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Some books speak to a specific time, and some reach across eras with their messages. Some include a message for a definite audience, while others span a more general readership.  And some times call out for certain books to be read.

Books are one form of the Media, which must remain free if freedom itself is to survive. Given the turmoil of our present time, I am suggesting these books as crucial reading for today’s world:

1984

 George Orwell

1984

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Night

Elie Wiesel

wiesel-elie

(http://night2011.wikispaces.com)

It Can’t Happen Here

 Sinclair Lewis

itcanthappenhere

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

 

Quotations on Idealism

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I am an unapologetic idealist, a dreamer, and an optimist. As a writer and teacher, I find these qualities to be essential. I continue to see ways to improve the world, no matter how many losses or setbacks occur.

We must always stand up for what is right, what is worth fighting for, and those who cannot fight for themselves.

Here are a few quotations about idealism:

john_lennon_portrait

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

                                                                                John Lennon

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Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

                                                                            Robert Kennedy

 

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

                                                                              J. R. R. Tolkien

Quotations on Trying Hard

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(https://en.wikiquote.org)

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

                                                                  Robert F. Kennedy

 

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

                                                                         Theodore Roosevelt

 

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

                                                                        Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Independence Day!

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I wish all a happy and safe 4th of July.  Please celebrate safely, have fun, and take a moment to remember all those who sacrificed to bring freedom.

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Let us also remember that freedom includes everyone of all races, religions, ethnicities, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, creeds, and neurodiversities–and any others I may have forgotten.  Freedom demands inclusion, not exclusion. We must always remember that. We are all connected. We, all of us, are the people.

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