Current Events and Scattered Scribbles
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Xenophobic America

 

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20 Comments

  1. Wow! Stunning.

    Is that really real? I mean, I am not really having trouble believing it, but if it were discredited after posting it….

    Anyway…

    Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, America did deny European Jews a safe haven, under the doctrine of America First. There was a strict quota (so we didn’t deny all European Jews, of course), even when it began to be known that genocide was taking place.

      In addition, there was also stronger anti-Semitism in America at the time.

      Here’s this:

      As details about the ongoing Nazi mass murder of European Jews trickled out to the public in 1943, American Jews remained divided about how much pressure to exert on the federal government to take action to rescue Jews. Some worried that appeals on behalf of Jewish victims would result in an antisemitic backlash in the United States. Others insisted that public pressure would be the only way to spark government action to rescue victims before the war ended. A few tried both tactics: Rabbi Stephen Wise sponsored a massive pro-rescue rally in Madison Square Garden, and also lobbied President Roosevelt privately to assist Jews.

      The State Department and British Foreign Office officials tried to address the mounting public pressure for an Allied rescue effort by holding the Bermuda Conference in April 1943. Delegates from both countries met in Bermuda to formulate plans to aid Jews, though they were given strict instructions that limited any real possibility of mass rescue. When the conference ended with no publicized plan, rescue advocates only grew more frustrated. The American press criticized the conference as empty posturing on the part of both nations.

      Activist Peter Bergson and his Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe embarked on a propaganda campaign in the United States to raise awareness of the plight of European Jews. Bergson hoped relentless pressure from his committee would lead to government-sponsored rescue efforts. Bergson organized rallies and marches, staged an elaborate pageant, and placed full-page newspaper ads accusing the Roosevelt administration of inaction.

      The Roosevelt administration also received pleas for action from individuals. In 1942, Jan Karski, a member of the Polish underground resistance, witnessed the horrors suffered by Jews both in the Warsaw Ghetto and in a transit camp near a Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Poland. Karski met President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House on July 28, 1943, and told the president about the dire situation Jews faced under the Nazi regime. Karski later recalled that FDR promised the Allies “shall win the war” but that the president made no mention of rescuing Jews.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was aware that we turned at least one ship full of Jewish refugees away from our shores during the holocaust. It’s been a long time since I looked at that, and so the details all escape me now, but I have the awareness, and it frustrates me even after the fact.

        Like

      • Personally, I prefer the word COMMUNISM. I am an aspiring communist.

        I struggle with greed and pretty much all the American passions just like the next guy, but I idealize communism. However the term has been corrupted by the godless communists of the modern age, and I would need to distinguish my ideal from all that.

        Anyway, I am not at all alarmed by the terminology. However you are right. It sounds LIKE socialism.

        More later…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am thinking we have got about as much steam out of this parent/child debacle as we are gonna get. Maybe not. I am not generally good at predicting the future, but like schools getting shot up, its amazing that we aren’t still just in shock after Sandy Hook. The Florida HS got more mileage than most, but even that is on the back burner now along with 9/11, Y2K, and VietNam.

        So, I don’t expect to “win” the point. I bet it just gets bogged down until we lose interest.

        Reminds me of this exchange of lines in the movie Hotel Rwanda:

        Paul Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.

        Jack: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

        Paul Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

        Jack: I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

        [pause]

        Jack: What the hell do I know?

        I recall this line because I blogged it after watching the flick and thinking about my push to get the church to pay more attention to itself vis-à-vis the homeless.

        I wish I knew a better way to keep the interest up and to persuade people to action at the same time and to meaningful ends. But I don’t.

        Liked by 2 people

    • X,

      For those of us who do theology, I think we need to think long and hard about what it means to “love the stranger among you” in these times. There’s the obvious, of course, in terms of speaking out prophetically against the hatred and openly xenophobic Trump administration, but I think it goes deeper still. I believe that there are important reasons to question the existence and usefulness of nations themselves and the way they perpetrate violence. For my money, I’d suggest that humankind needs to think of nations as obsolete and to begin pondering the ramifications of global forms of human organization. I’m not talking about the United Nations or even about setting up one big international nation, because these are organized largely as hierarchies of domination and control (based on violence) — but there are options for democratic and decentralized forms worldwide governance that would (imo) better promote shalom while also providing people with more access to meaningful work and a way to share the benefits of our massive and unprecedented technological progress…….Have you done much by way of pondering such things???

      Liked by 3 people

      • Actually, yes. I ponder such things all the time.

        In short (I have my hands full at the moment with other responsibilities), AND I THINK MY RESPONSE WILL SEPARATE ME OUT FROM YOURS SINCE THIS WILL PROVE TO BE THAT RUB YOU FOUND WITH MICHAEL IN THAT PREVIOUS POST ON MY BLOG, I believe in the monarchy of Jesus.

        As you note in an adjacent way above, the organization of hierarchies of domination will not do. And though the church has indulged in such in centuries gone by (meaning God apparently gives us a long leash to explore dark corners of even the church’s heart), the Kingdom of God is NOT that kind of hierarchy at all. It is a monarch who takes a Roman cross and makes it his throne. A very upside down way of expressing authority through patience and love and sacrifice etc.

        Nevertheless, it is the world governance ultimately ordained by the one who made all things, and he should know how it REALLY works even if that is a mystery to the mortals.

        I have often thought that if we took a globe from the study and spun it around looking at all the continents represented on it and then pin pointed the little square with the name KANSAS on it, we would be looking at a little plot of land that actually could grow enough food to feed every man, woman, and child on the planet enough to survive on. It would be meager, but even that tiny portion could feed all the rest. So… how much more could all the rest feed all the rest??? If only we had a true and thorough going cooperation.

        We must deny ourselves to have this utopia, but it beats the one we have.

        In the world we live in currently, we all must look out for ourselves. In that utopia… yourself is the only one you don’t look out for first. But the trade off is that in place of you looking out for your own best interests, you have ALL THE OTHERS doing it. But that implies TRUST.

        At that level, its not really that complicated. The theory is so nice as to appear absolutely naïve and insane. But rather simple too. The real rub is… how to get there from here?

        I have ideas about that too, but they disappear in the mist quickly. And they will have to wait for another time.

        Nevertheless, it takes TRUST/FAITH, and it takes a choice with a commitment. On this, I am an insider. I am a Christian. I am one who holds to that … I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life Jesus. That part is not negotiable for those of us inside it. And that sometimes ends the conversation. Thus back to that how do we get there from here question,

        Enough for now… Gotta run, but thanx for asking and thanx for posting these things, and thanx for your hospitality here.

        God bless…

        X

        Liked by 3 people

        • I’ll look forward to more of your thoughts, then, specifically on how it works itself out in terms of politics, because the above sounds a good bit like the Law of Moses, that is to say, it soulds like socialism. =)

          Liked by 2 people

      • Personally, I prefer the word COMMUNISM. I am an aspiring communist.
        I struggle with greed and pretty much all the American passions just like the next guy, but I idealize communism. However the term has been corrupted by the godless communists of the modern age, and I would need to distinguish my ideal from all that.
        Anyway, I am not at all alarmed by the terminology. However you are right. It sounds LIKE socialism.
        More later…

        Liked by 2 people

      • … by way of continuing the ponderings…

        I look at our border issues, for instance, and see so much humanity flooding over and destroying our carefully placed order (or at least threatening to do so). And I believe it. If we let ALL THESE PEOPLE in, things as they are, will not last. (Of course, even if we don’t, they probably wont.)

        To use a very far removed idea as an example, let me say this: I watch my toddlers. I fix a blanket fort/tent for them in the living room, and they go nuts. They just LOVE it. They want to play under it. It really boggles the imagination. It is a HUGE blessing to a 2 year old to have a blanket suspended between chairs!

        But then one (or all) of them suddenly tears it down. It all comes down in a sudden crash. There is a laugh for a second or two, but then the tears. PUT IT BACK! PLEASE!!!

        The precious order by which we receive this blessing is destroyed almost immediately. As long as Pops is around to put it back (2 or 3 times before he gets tired of it), its not that bad, but someone just cannot resist destroying it everytime. And it is frustrating!

        American borders share a lot of commonality with this example. We have goodies on this side of the border. People abroad – for whatever reason (some very important too) – come here to partake in the blessings of the order established here. But if too many and/or the “wrong kind” come and/or just take and never put back into the kitty, then the order we have is threatened, and all of global civilization becomes vulnerable right behind that!

        You might think we have a responsibility even to those desparate people to tell them no for their own good as well as ours.

        Hmmm…

        But I am a Christian kind who believes in the God who claims he made it all, and I cannot find support from him for that kind of very logical thinking. In fact, that kind of thinking is extremely logical – but only for those who somewhere along the way cut him out of the equation.

        On the contrary, I find no self-preservation motive in his actions, commands, examples – at least not any that work with anything like the regular logic.

        He uses the small, the weak, the vulnerable – even the dead – to confound the powerful. He, it seems, likes to surprise the mortals and the powers with his POWER working within the weak etc…. He sends a small shepherd boy against the giant. He allows his nation of Jews to be swallowed up by the beast of Babylon. (isn’t the Jonah story a parable for this very idea?) He takes a Roman cross – and instrument of capital punishment AND terrorism BOTH and makes that into his very THRONE and his TREE of LIFE. He seems to major in this kind of IRONY.

        And it’s not an accident. It’s not a small part coming late on the stage. Look at the itinerary he sets for Moses when he confronts Pharaoh. A three day journey into the desert is a death sentence! So he has Moses tell the great power – the Son of Re – We need to embrace a nation-wide death sentence and go PARTY with our God!

        And of course Jesus harmonizes with this song completely!

        Three day journey???

        Yeah.

        He harmonizes.

        And so I see America (and particularly those of us claiming to follow Jesus) barring the door at the border in every effort of self preservation which makes complete sense when you don’t account for God in the narrative, and I call them (esp those following Jesus) to account for that narrative and found our place in it. We say we believe in this stuff. Let us put our money where our mouth is (so to speak), let us follow THIS God and TRUST him with our lives! Let us take up our cross and LOVE the alien in the land and remember that we too once were aliens in the land. This stuff all goes together – IF YOU BELIEVE JESUS.

        Liked by 1 person

      • X: “And so I see America (and particularly those of us claiming to follow Jesus) barring the door at the border in every effort of self preservation which makes complete sense when you don’t account for God in the narrative, and I call them (esp those following Jesus) to account for that narrative and found our place in it. We say we believe in this stuff. Let us put our money where our mouth is (so to speak), let us follow THIS God and TRUST him with our lives! Let us take up our cross and LOVE the alien in the land and remember that we too once were aliens in the land. This stuff all goes together – IF YOU BELIEVE JESUS.”

        But they do account for God. It’s just that their God is quite different than what makes sense to me. But more to the point: their God is very into his chosen ones while kind of not so into everyone else (hence damnation). As I see God, the most important project is to live in, with, and for the world. The religious right is in a war of aggression with “the world.” It’s a jihad, a holy war, and that’s only a partly exaggerated analogy.

        To read Scripture in the way it was intended, I believe, is to view it as a part of an unfolding vision of redemption that continually expands the circle of “Us” and seeks to simultaneously decrease the circle that represents “Them.” There was the nation of Israel, the chosen ones. This expanded into Gentiles during and after the coming of Christ. This is Paul’s theological vision, and the conservatives of the time hated it. But Paul had something like a universalist vision in mind, that much seems clear to me.

        So, one of my theological projects is to do as much as possible to avoid dichotomizing between “Christian” and “non Christian” or “believers” and “non-believers.” To me, that’s the next obvious step. I also think it’s an appropriate way to contrast with and counter the narrow Gospel of the religious right. We are working to expand the circle of redemption, not by making “Them” convert to “Us,” but by doing what Jesus did, which was to break free of the religious establishment and kind of kick it freestyle.

        Like

    • I think that xenophobia is a human thing because xenophobia is a form of tribalism and for most of human history we’ve lived in small tribes and have had an innate distrust of strangers. I think that is what makes the Mosaic Law so intriguing and even a bit revolutionary – it was always so emphatic about “welcoming the alien/stranger among you” and all about the hospitality, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s this from Wikipedia:

      “Xenophobia is the fear and distrust of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.[1][2] Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.[3] Xenophobia is a political term and not a recognized medical phobia.”

      Like

    • Laura Bush: “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Go Laura!

        Really… the responses of four First Ladies made the news tonight, and all of them were good, thoughtful, and timely.

        I am enough with the liberals on this issue that I really don’t care about security matters. But so many of my friends and family afraid that some bad guy is going to get thru if we don’t yank these kids away from their mothers… that I am open to more moderate solutions for peace sake. But really, we need to do some national soul searching.

        Doubtful we get there, but we sure need it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “They could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” Mr. Trump said of the people crossing the border. “We want a safe country, and it starts with the borders, and that’s the way it is.”

    The vulnerability of children makes them (literally) the last ones to be attacked in any war. Because of their vulnerability, our empathy naturally kicks in. Suspending our empathy for children tends to be a desperate measure, a measure of last resort.

    In this case, though, what is the threat, exactly? It remains a nebulous and vague idea about Mexican rapists and murderers. Trump and his supporters are willing to scapegoat even vulnerable children and all for the sake of an undefined threat. This is how xenophobia works.

    Like

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