My dear friend Sibel Kekilli — Shae, for all you fans of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES — emailed me recently to alert me to some distressing news out of Turkey. (Sibel is German, born and raised in Germany, but of Turkish descent). Turkey, under the Erdogan regime, has officially withdrawn from the Istanbul convention that combats violence against women.
Here are the details:
Sibel herself has first hand knowledge of what it means to experience violence, and she has long been an advocate fighting violence against women all around the world. She is not only an amazing actress (she gave Shae a depth the character never had in my books), but a very brave woman, and a true hero. I admire her immensely for all she has done, and continues to do.
And I would like to echo her message to the women and girls of Turkey: Selam Ve Sevgiler.
Current Mood: determined
What is happening in Washington right now is shocking and dismaying… but I can’t say I find it entirely unexpected.
There have been all too many days, these past couple of years, when I feared that the United States was going the way of the Weimar Republic.
And now the moment of coup is at hand. Rioters breaking into the Capitol, even the floor of the House and Senate. One of them trying to haul down the American flag and replace it with a Trump flag. Congressmen and senators being forced to recess and seek safety.
This is an attempted coup. Make no mistake. I am still hopeful that it will end as a failed coup, a Beer Hall Putsch, but we shall see. The inaction of law enforcement thusfar has been shocking.
Make no mistake, these are not protestors, these are not patriots, these are rioters attempting to destroy our democracy.
They are traitors.
And the traitor in chief is Donald J. Trump.
He should be arrested, removed from office, tried for treason, convicted, and imprisoned. And Rudy with him. This is their work.
Current Mood: angry
Every time Veteran’s Day comes rolling around, it brings to mind one of my favorite poems, the profoundly moving “Last of the Light Brigade,” by Rudyard Kipling.
To really understand this one, it helps if you know Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade.” I am old enough to be part of a generation that learned that one in grade school. It was not quite as ubiquitous in New Jersey as in the UK, but it was taught here, at least in the 50s. In its own way the Tennyson is also a great poem… but the message of the Kipling resonates much more strongly with me.
Every November 11, we honor those who fell in our wars… even as we forget those who fought them, and survived.
Current Mood: contemplative
Joe Biden gave a marvelous speech tonight: eloquent, uplifting, stirring, a speech that spoke to all that is best in America, to our hopes and dreams rather than our fears. Time will tell what kind of president he will be, but everything about the campaign he waged confirms the fact that this is a good, decent, and intelligent man.
It brought to my mind the classic Democratic hymn that was FDR’s campaign song, and later used by JFK, LBJ, and many others.
I fear that the next few months will be very hard, the transition the most brutal of my lifetime… but come January 20, it will be over.
Current Mood: happy
The past few days have been hard ones. Like millions of others, I finally went to sleep on Tuesday night — very late, I stayed up as long as I could, watching the election returns trickle in — in a state of near despair. Things did not look good at all. By the time I woke up Wednesday morning, however, the picture had brightened considerably, and it has continued to brighten ever since. A Biden victory now appears all but certain. Arizona and Nevada are trembling on the brink, and Joe has moved ahead in Pennsylvania (which everyone saw coming) and even Georgia (which no one saw coming). It should not be long now before he hits 270, and I can start to breathe again.
Maybe. For a little while.
I have read too much history to be entirely sanguine, however. I get very little reassurance from those who say “it cannot happen here.” It can happen here. It can happen anywhere. Donald Trump has broken all the rules, and plainly he has no regard for democracy, for our traditions, for the rule of law, for anything beyond his own power, his own ego. He is the worst president this country has ever had, and the first to really represent a threat to the Constitution, to the electoral process itself (no president in the past half century has ever floated the idea of a third term, or expressed admiration for the concept of “president for life,” but Trump has). This is not the first close election in American history. It is not even the first “disputed” election — through Trump has absolutely no proof for these absurd claims he is making — but where past candidates like Samuel Tilden, Al Gore, and even Richard Nixon had too much love for their country to risk ripping it apart, Trump loves no one and nothing but himself. I do not expect a gracious concession speech from him, like the one Al Gore gave in 2000. I do not even expect a grudging, sour concession. He may need to be dragged from the White House.
And yet there seem to be millions of Trumpies who will believe any lie he chooses to tell, no matter how outrageous. I mean, insane as it seems, when the new Congress assembles there will be a Q-Anon believer in the House of Representatives. That sound you hear is the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves. Regardless of what Trump may say and do, I can only hope that sanity will prevail in the days and months to come. “Hope,” I said… but I will not pretend to be certain. Not when armed men are being arrested on the way to the Philadelphia convention center, when militants are trying to kidnap the governor of Michigan. I can only hope that these are outliers, a few fringe cases, who do not represent most Americans.
These are… interesting times. And not in a good way.
I do not envy Joe Biden. By the time he is sworn in, the death count from coronavirus may well have reached half a million. Biden wants to unite us, not divide us, but that is easier said than done. Let us hope that he can indeed bind up the nation’s wounds, as Lincoln once urged. It will not be easy.
But at least there is a glimmer of light ahead.
I will dare to hope.
Current Mood: hopeful