Author Archives: Alyson Chadwick

This is how genocide starts

This was reprinted from Firebrand Left. As that website is no longer up and running, I found it on the Way Back Machine. I think we are past three and have reached five.

Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of things I have heard Donald Trump say to be upsetting, frightening or just plain confusing, nothing I have heard him say comes even close to what his supporters say. They say the United States Constitution is “outdated.” They do, support the Second Amendment but the rest was written by people who did not have to deal with modern-day terrorism. This is how they justify hating Muslims. Islam, they say, is not a religion but a political ideology.

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This is not helpful for any real conversation but that is not the real problem. While I do not think it is appropriate to define 1.6 billion people this way but that is not the real problem either. The problem is not even that anti-Muslim rhetoric makes gives the extremists more ammunition to use against us or that it makes it harder to fight terrorism. The problem is that when you start defining this way, we are taking the first step towards genocide. That’s not the America I think we want to live in.

You may be thinking, “That’s pretty extreme.” It is but there is something that people do not realize about genocide. If you look at the phenomenon across centuries and continents, you will see genocide follows a predictable pattern. From Armenia and Germany to Rwanda and Sudan and then to Cambodia, there are ten steps all of these genocides follow. They are (per Genocide Watch):

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanization
  5. Organization
  6. Polarization
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

We are hovering somewhere between step one and three. We have not quite gotten to the point of actual discrimination but there are measures that have passed or considered to ban Sharia law in all but 16 American states. Who is behind all of this? A number of high profile Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have spearheaded the “anti-Sharia” movement.

This belief, that Americans need to be protected from Muslims, has been advanced by the Trump campaign. HIs famous promises to build walls along the Mexican but not Canadian border and to ban entry by Muslims advance the cause of racism and Islamophobia. We need to be protected from what we see as “them.” Americans are Christian (and sometimes Jewish). That’s the ‘us.” Muslims are not true Americans who pay their taxes, love their families and serve in our military, they are outsiders to be feared and demonized.

Trump and his supporters point out the recent attacks throughout Europe, in Orlando and in New York and New Jersey. They do not mention the fact that the gunman in Orlando was born in New York nor do they talk about the Oklahoma City bombing by a United States born terrorist or the multitudes of shootings by Americans. No one was talking about religion when they looked at the massacres in Sandy Hook, Columbine or at 101 California Street. We are not being killed in mass numbers by Muslims coming into the country. We are too busy killing ourselves.

The problem with the people who think, and my feeling is that they really believe the things they are saying, that we are facing an existential threat. Adolph Hitler really believed that the world was engaged in an epic battle for survival against the Jews.  When people say things like, “there are no good Muslims and bad Muslims…” they are reading right out of the Nazi Germany playbook:

This is not what this country is all about. We cannot become complicit to the mentality that is promoted by the Trump supporters. We are better than that. I hope.

Photo by Gage Skidmore 

When did I join the Empire?

I am watching you. Stop using the airwaves to promote panic.

I was reading a Stephen King book this evening and a strange thing happened. In his introduction to Everything’s Eventual, he recounts a story about a radio station stunt he wanted to do to bring in my advertising dollars (he and his wife, Tabitha, own two radio stations in Bangor, Maine). It was going to be along the lines of the War of the Worlds. He says he never did it, to which I thought:

Thats a good thing because that would be a terrible misuse of government authorized air waves, it could incite panic, as it did with the War of the Worlds, and is shortsighted, selfish and myopic thing to do.

Of course, King’s reasoning had nothing to do with a concern for the public welfare, nor was it because he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the FCC. He failed in his PR mission because he just didn’t think what he wrote for the stunt was good enough.

Now, I stand by my thoughts about his stunt (seriously, in a country so paranoid that people try to shoot up pizza places because they read crap on Four Chan and Alex Jones exists, this would cause way too much havoc) but this is not a new response for me.

Not too long ago, I was out and people were watching a movie. It matters not what movie it was nor where it was being shown but it was a bootleg version of the movie and I had to leave because I felt badly about the copyright issues around watching stolen art.

I am not sure what the two really have to do with each other but while intellectually, I stand by both positions, I see that I am no longer the rebel I thought I once was. Then again, maybe I never was. Who knew I would one day join the Empire?

WTF, Florida?

If you are upset about a 10 year old boy with Autism being arrested, hauled away in handcuffs and forced to spend a night in juvie, well, you should be.

If you don’t know about it, you can read about it here.

The mother has asked people to write or call (be respectful) Okeechobee officials. If you do not live in Okeechobee but live in Florida, you should reach out to the people who represent you in the state House & Senate. I would say to contact Governor Voldemort but well, he’s evil.

If you do not live in Florida but still want to call someone, call your Congressperson and Senators. This school district gets federal funding, too. I think they do.

You can reach all three at 202-225-2131. Now, that is officially the House number but it is easier to get through and you can get both sides of the Hill. You can look here as well: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ or you can text your zip code to 520-200-2223 and get everyone who represents you.

If you live in Okeechobee:

Okeechobee City

Mayor: dwatford@cityofokeechobee.com

City Council

dwatford@cityofokeechobee.com

moconnor@cityofokeechobee.com

nchandler@cityofokeechobee.com

mclark@cityofokeechobee.com

Okeechobee County

Okeechobee County Commission

http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/board-of-county-commissioners

Go here to find your commissioner:

http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 1: http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 2: http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 3: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

District 4: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

District 5: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

Florida State Senator for Okeechobee County: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s26

U.S. House of Representative Rooney: https://rooney.house.gov/

This is a link for a number of your reps. FL House & Senate, US House and US Senate:

https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/districtdetails.aspx?housedistrict=55&senatedistrict=26&SenateMemberID=4587&MemberId=4551&SessionId=83&CongressionalDistrictID=17&LAT=27.24334&LONG=-80.827&houseDistrictId=55&senateDistrictId=26&congressDistrictId=17

PS. to this story. I just received this:

“Good Evening, I recently saw Luanne Haygood story on your page and wanted to share that this also happened to another kid last month in Florida. Only it was Orange County and the kid is a 14yr old Autistic teen with no history of behavioral problem who was also assaulted by the school VP and school resource officers. https://sso.cmgdigital.com/static/server.html?origin=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wftv.com%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Fparents-of-orange-county-student-with-aspergers-question-schools-handling-of-sons-outburst%2F499498721

What really should scare you

This week, the United States carried out air strikes against Syria. This was in response to the dropping of sarin gas on a rebel held town. I will get to that but I have something else I want to write about first. You see, a number of people I know are worried that the U.S. air strikes are going to lead to war with Russia (it won’t) and are upset with me. While that is their right, their fears are misguided and are, in my opinion, in the wrong part of the world.

If war is what you want to avoid, you need to be looking at Asia. During the campaign, President Donald Trump made a lot of statements about China and its access to the South China Sea. During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he echoed those statements. This did not go over well with China. That government went as far as to say they would send nuclear weapons our way should be continue to meddle in their affairs. This is clearly scary and had me up at night worried about the possibility of war with China. When I was getting myself all worried, I found the graphic

This is a map of where China would send its nuclear weapons, should it want to bomb us.

This is from a Chinese magazine. Now I am encouraged by what looked to be a good meeting between President Xi and Trump so maybe we have come back from the brink of nuclear war with them but then you have Kim Jung Un.

Kim is unstable. That is not my opinion, it is pretty much everyone’s opinion. He has developed nuclear weapons and seems hell bent on developing a missile that can hit, well, us. If he can’t get it that far, he has Japan and South Korea to hit. This is incredibly scary because of how crazy Kim is. China could do something but they a, don’t want a unified Korea and b, don’t want more refugees crossing their border. Trump has made statements that we should give South Korea nuclear weapons, because more nuclear weapons always makes sense. This is a scary situation made worse by an American president with no real foreign policy. For his part, Tillerson responded to a missile test by saying, “We’ve talked enough about North Korea.” What the hell does that mean?

Speaking of Tillerson, we are now back to Syria. During the campaign, and other the last few years, Trump has said we should do nothing in Syria. Last week, Tillerson said that the fate of Bashar al Assad is up to the people of Syria. Several days later, 86 people are killed with Sarin gas. Many people believe that Assad was under the impression that he had the blessings of the current White House to do whatever the hell he wanted to his people. That is why I think the strike against the airfield was not a bad idea.

The big question is what happens next. One thing is sure, it won’t be war with Russia but what happens in Asia is anyone’s guess and that is the scary thing.