bookmark_borderThe statue genocide in Minnesota

Last June, among the hundreds of despicable acts of brutality inflicted upon statues, a particularly reprehensible act took place in St. Paul, Minnesota. A group of mindless, vicious excuses for human beings cruelly tore down the statue of Christopher Columbus that had been erected at the State Capitol building by the Italian-American community in 1931. Members of this mob tied a rope around Christopher’s neck, pulled him to the ground, repeatedly kicked him, stomped on him, and then danced in celebration. Making matters worse, police officers cravenly stood by, doing nothing to prevent this sickening assault, to stop the sadistic celebrations, or to punish the perpetrators. The photo gallery at the top of this Star Tribune article shows the disgusting actions, and the captions provide the identities of some of the perpetrators, including: Mike Forcia, Gabriel Black Elk, Shelby Black Elk, Ricky Jones, Hehaka Pejuta, and Genether Thornton.

I can think of nothing more morally wrong than what was done to this statue of Columbus. To see a man that I love, admire, and consider a hero being treated this way makes my blood boil, makes my stomach sick, and makes my heart feel like it is being ripped out of my chest. Since I first saw these pictures a few weeks ago, I have had nightmares, had difficulty sleeping, and had difficulty concentrating on anything other than these horrible actions. In addition to inflicting indescribable and unbearable suffering on me personally, these actions are despicable because they are an attack on the Italian-American community and on Columbus himself. To perpetrate such a vicious assault against a beautiful statue that was doing absolutely nothing to hurt anyone, and a heroic man who can no longer do anything to defend himself, is cruel, mean-spirited, brutal, vicious, bigoted, intolerant, hateful, and sadistic. It is appalling that someone would have such intolerance and hatred of other cultures that they would deliberately inflict this type of brutality on another culture’s hero.

The actions of a despicable excuse for a human being named Genether Thornton merit special mention. A particularly disturbing image in the Star Tribune’s gallery depicts Thornton proudly posing for photos with her knee on the fallen statue’s neck, just as Officer Chauvin infamously did to George Floyd. This action, and its symbolism, are completely reprehensible. Many people, of course, think that what Chauvin did to Floyd was wrong, and I probably agree with them. But how could someone think that the appropriate response to this situation is to do the exact same thing to another individual who had nothing to do with Floyd’s death? Because Floyd was suffocated to death, Thornton chose to symbolically suffocate to death both Columbus and the entire Italian-American community. In other words, to protest against perceived injustices inflicted on black people, Thornton chose to stomp on and symbolically murder an Italian person. This is deeply wrong and disgusting beyond words. Just as George Floyd was a human being who did not deserve what happened to him, Christopher Columbus was a human being who does not deserve to be repeatedly kicked, smashed to pieces, burned, stomped on, strangled, and brutalized. If you believe that what Chauvin did to Floyd was wrong, you must also believe that what Thornton did to Columbus was equally wrong (if not more so, because Thornton does not have the excuse of being in a stressful situation with a suspect who had the potential to be dangerous). Thornton is a bigot and a bully, and her cruel, hateful, and sadistic actions need to be condemned by all people in the strongest of terms.

In my opinion, each and every soulless lump of flesh and bone (the word “person” is not appropriate) involved in this vicious assault on Columbus deserves nothing less than the death penalty. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. Mike Forcia, who led the bigoted attack, was charged with criminal damage to property. However, instead of holding him accountable for his disgusting actions, the district attorney’s office abdicated its responsibilities and “opted for a restorative justice process that involved convening three traditional Peacemaking Talking Circles,” according to the Associated Press.

Peacemaking is not an appropriate response to this situation. By sadistically torturing and murdering Christopher Columbus, these vicious excuses for human beings have declared war on me, on the Italian-American community, and on every person with any sense of decency. Peacemaking is not the appropriate response to those who are deliberately inflicting excruciating pain, attempting to eradicate all cultures other than their own, and destroying everything in the world that makes life worth living. These bullies must be punished, they must be held accountable, and they must be made to pay for the needless and undeserved suffering that they have inflicted.

An additional note on this horrible situation: those who destroy beautiful statues frequently make the argument that they are victims of “oppression” and that the statues somehow represent “oppressors.” This argument is, to use a very technical philosophical term, baloney. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the images of the despicable mob kicking and strangling the Columbus statue. If you choose to pose for photos while kneeling on someone’s neck, you forfeit all right (if you even had such a right to begin with, which is very questionable) to claim that you are oppressed and that the person upon whose neck you are kneeling is somehow your oppressor. This despicable attack on Columbus, as well as the hundreds of similar attacks that have taken place around the country and world, prove that indigenous organizations and the BLM movement are the real oppressors, while Christopher Columbus and the Italian-American community are the ones who are actually oppressed. Someone who kneels on the neck of another culture’s hero is an oppressor, not the other way around.

bookmark_borderThe statue genocide in Delaware

Last June, the city of Wilmington, Delaware cruelly removed two beautiful statues: one depicting Christopher Columbus and the other depicting Caesar Rodney. Intolerant bullies had threatened on social media to destroy the statues, and had also vandalized a memorial to police officers by hacking it with an axe and placing urine-soaked flags on it. Naturally, instead of punishing them, the city decided to give them exactly what they wanted by removing the statues so that the bullies didn’t have to. 

“We cannot erase history, as painful as it may be, but we can certainly discuss history with each other and determine together what we value and what we feel is appropriate to memorialize,” Mayor Michael Purzycki said at the time. “In this period of awakening for our City, State, and country, we should be listening more to each other and building a more just City and a better America.”

I’m not sure how taking away statues makes a city more just or a country better. Having statues of a diverse collection of historical figures is a crucial part of what makes the world a good and beautiful place. Taking this away makes the world a bad and unjust place, the opposite of what the mayor said. Additionally, for everyone to determine together what to memorialize is not the right solution. Not everyone has the same values or the same opinions about who or what is appropriate to memorialize, and if consensus or popular vote is used as the method for deciding, then those with a minority view will end up having no statues that reflect their values. This is unjust and discriminatory, and is the exact opposite of listening to each other. It amounts to telling those with unpopular views, or any views that differ from those of the establishment, that they have no voice and that their feelings and perspectives do not matter. 

According to the same article, Joe Sielski of a group called “It’s Time to Remove the Columbus Statue” said, “I would rather give the City the chance to have mature conversations and do this the polite way instead of just crashing in on the statue with a bunch of hammers.”

These comments are disgraceful. There is nothing “mature” or “polite” about violating the rights of other people or inflicting pain and harm, which is exactly what statue removal does. The fact that Sielski would even mention “crashing in on the statue with a bunch of hammers” as an option is beyond reprehensible. Neither the city nor a mob of protesters with hammers has the right to remove the Columbus statue or the Rodney statue, because doing so violates the rights of people who like those statues. It is horrible that a person would consider himself entitled to demand the removal of a beautiful work of art that brings joy to people’s lives, and to threaten to violently destroy it if he does not get his way. This demonstrates a complete disregard for the rights, feelings, and perspectives of others.

The events in Wilmington were in the news again recently because this month the City Council voted on a non-binding resolution about whether or not to make the statues’ removal permanent. Six members voted to permanently obliterate Columbus and Rodney, one named Nate Field bravely voted against the idea, and six simply voted “present.” Therefore, the resolution did not win majority support and did not pass. 

According to local news station WDEL, Trippi Congo, the City Council President and also a bully and a bigot, “said there’s no decision to be made.” I agree with that statement, but in the opposite way that Congo meant it. Congo continued: “There’s no place for those statues in any public place in our city. They are not heroes. America has never taught true history, so I don’t think we can depend on that happening. If those statues go back up, it’s definitely going to instill mental trauma on our residents.”

These comments are absolutely infuriating. How could someone think that there is no place for a statue of Christopher Columbus or Caesar Rodney in any public place in their city? Having statues of a diverse group of historical figures is crucial for having a world that is worth living in. Therefore, Congo is demanding that the world be stripped of everything that makes life worth living. It is utterly incomprehensible that someone could consider this a good thing.

Also, how dare he state that Columbus and Rodney are not heroes? Columbus came up with a revolutionary idea all on his own and risked his life to do something that had never been done before. Rodney rode overnight through a storm to help America declare its independence from Britain, and also battled cancer. And Trippi Congo, who has never accomplished anything even remotely close to what these two men did, has the audacity, the ignorance, and the disrespect to insult them, flatly stating, as if it is obvious, that they are not heroes. Nothing could not be more wrong. Instead of recognizing these two individuals as human beings with remarkable lives and rich and interesting stories, Congo chose to flippantly condemn them merely because Columbus came to America from Europe and Rodney was born into a family that owned slaves. This is mean-spirited, ignorant, cruel, vicious, stuck-up, arrogant, bigoted, and intolerant.

As for Congo’s claim that restoring the beautiful statues would “instill mental trauma on our residents,” that statement is beyond ridiculous and demonstrates an appalling lack of empathy. Statues are not traumatic; the removal of statues is traumatic. Restoring these statues to their rightful places after they were so brutally and cruelly taken down would provide some small measure of comfort and healing to those who have been hurt. Providing comfort and healing is the opposite of trauma. Congo’s comments are a slap in the fact to me and to all people who were traumatized by the removal of the statues. He is a bully and a bigot, and his comments, like the ones I discussed above, demonstrate a complete disregard for the rights, feelings, and perspectives of other people. 

In conclusion, Mayor Purzycki owes everyone who loves art and history an apology for ordering the removal of the Columbus and Rodney statues, and City Councilor Congo owes us an apology for for his appalling comments. Returning the statues to their original locations is the only acceptable outcome in this situation. Because of the recent City Council vote, there is theoretically some hope that this may happen, but due to the fact that only one councilor voted for this and six voted against it, it seems doubtful. Hearing about these terrible happenings and reading politicians’ comments about them is mentally exhausting, demoralizing, and infuriating. Existing statues must be left alone, and every statue that has been removed must be returned.

bookmark_borderCuomo stands with Columbus & Italian-American community

I don’t agree with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on many things, and I have even criticized him on this blog. But I wholeheartedly agree with his statement on a recent disgraceful act of vandalism perpetrated against a Christopher Columbus statue. Cuomo’s statement can be found at this link or as follows: 

I was disgusted to learn of the offensive, vulgar graffiti that was found spray painted on the Columbus Monument in Manhattan recently, a source of pride for the Italian American community for 130 years.

When New Yorkers encounter acts of hate, we don’t remain silent. One attack on any culture is an attack on all cultures, and we will stand united in condemning all acts of bigotry and intolerance.

I am directing the State Police hate crimes task force to provide the NYPD with assistance in its investigation and to hold the criminal responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

I am pleasantly surprised that Cuomo chose to stand with Columbus and the Italian-American community instead of with the vandals, as many politicians have done when similar acts of vandalism have taken place. This was indeed an act of bigotry and intolerance, and it is encouraging that this is being investigated as a hate crime. Thank you Cuomo for defending a historical figure who has been under constant, vicious assault and for providing a small measure of comfort to a community that has really been hurting.

bookmark_borderFighting back: Italian-American civil rights lawsuit

Italian-Americans are fighting back against the politically correct bullies’ assault on Christopher Columbus. In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Philadelphia, the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, the 1492 Society, and City Councilmember Mark Squilla are suing Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and his administration for replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, removing a statue of Mayor Frank Rizzo, and attempting to remove a statue of Columbus. 

“While both groups’ ethnicity deserve recognition, Mayor Kenney may not take action that discriminates against Italian Americans to exalt another ethnic group in its place,” says the lawsuit, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The canceling of Columbus Day is the most recent — but probably not the last — act in a long line of divisive, anti-Italian American discriminatory actions taken by Mayor Kenney during his Administration.”

“Even if you don’t agree with whether Columbus was a genocidal maniac who started the slave trade or whether he was the first civil rights leader who came to the new world, there still should be a process,” said Squilla.

In a separate, but somewhat related, piece of good news, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans is fighting back against Chicago’s removal of Columbus statues. Through a FOIA request, they discovered a contract in which the city’s Park District promised not to make any changes to the statue without the organization’s permission. The city’s decision to remove the statue in the middle of the night seems to blatantly violate this agreement.

“We are hopeful that the Chicago Park District will honor what we feel to be a solid, enforceable contract with us,” said JCCIA President Ron Onesti. “These statues are very important to our community and represent generations of traditions, including the one day of the year that we celebrate our culture on the federal Columbus Day holiday. We know the original intention of removing the statues was one of safety, but that was months ago, and it is time to return them. I look forward to a dialog towards a resolve of the Park District obtaining the statues from the city and putting them back to their original locations.”

bookmark_borderAttack of the anti-Italian bigots

The town of Wellesley, Massachusetts recently made the disgraceful and unjust decision to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Even more disgraceful than the decision itself are the comments made on social media by Kisha James, an anti-diversity activist who advocated for the holiday change, and her mindless sycophants.

Here I will rebut the statements made by James and her sycophants one by one. Warning: so many disgusting and reprehensible statements were made that this blog post is going to be pretty long.

First of all, James and her allies treat the debate about whether or not Columbus should be honored as a joke. Their primary way of addressing an issue is to ridicule those who think differently than they do. Instead of expressing their views in a respectful manner, they personally attack and ridicule their opponents. I don’t understand what her comment about saying something “with your whole chest” even means, but it is clearly an attempt to ridicule her opponent’s statement. This is what bullies do. Also, “lmao”? I am not sure what James finds humorous about this situation. A beautiful, courageous, and brilliant man is being brutally obliterated from the world. As someone on the autism spectrum who loves history, the destruction of historical statues, place names, and holidays that has taken place over the past year has been nothing short of heartbreaking. Because history is my passion, history-related things such as Christopher Columbus statues and Confederate statues make my life worth living. James and those who think like her have deliberately destroyed the things that make my life worth living. Therefore, most days I am filled with rage, grief, and despair, unsure if it even makes sense to go on living. Maybe I’m just a debbie downer with no sense of humor, but I don’t find this particularly funny.

Continue reading “Attack of the anti-Italian bigots”

bookmark_borderBiased article about statue genocide in Richmond

This article is old but still biased and inaccurate enough to merit blogging about. The article in the Richmond Free Press, from last June, describes the brutal and heartless destruction of a statue of Christopher Columbus and a statue of Williams Carter Wickham as follows:

Decrying police brutality and white supremacy, Richmond protesters have taken an active approach to removing symbols of oppression by pulling statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham from their pedestals in public parks.

The Columbus statue in Byrd Park was brought down with ropes, briefly set on fire and dragged into Fountain Lake on Tuesday evening following a protest and march down Arthur Ashe Boulevard led by members of Richmond’s indigenous community.

During a a peaceful protest in Byrd Park, demonstrators reaffirmed a commitment to inclusivity and solidarity with all marginalized and oppressed peoples.

“We no longer leave behind people in this movement,” said Joseph Rogers, a member of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality.

Taking an active approach? That’s an interesting way of describing the brutal and vicious destruction of beautiful works of art that are not yours to destroy.

Additionally, the statues destroyed were not symbols of oppression; they were symbols of freedom, liberty, diversity, independent thinking, and fighting back against authority, all of which are the opposite of oppression.

Furthermore, the author describes the actions in question as a “peaceful protest,” despite the fact that in the previous sentence, the author wrote that the statue of Columbus was brought down with ropes, set on fire, and thrown into a lake. (Just typing those words makes me feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest.) These actions are anything but peaceful.

Plus, the claim that demonstrators “reaffirmed a commitment to inclusivity and solidarity with all marginalized and oppressed peoples” is blatantly false. Destroying statues is inherently non-inclusive, particularly when those statues represent unpopular minorities, which the Columbus and Wickham ones did. And destroying statues that represent marginalized and oppressed people, as these statues did, is an attack on marginalized and oppressed people, which is the opposite of expressing solidarity with them. So the demonstrators actually did precisely the opposite of what the article characterizes them as doing. The quote by one of the protesters that “we no longer leave behind people in this movement,” is preposterous. This movement, by destroying statues that represent cultures and viewpoints other than their own, is actively attacking and trampling on people who do not think the way they do. That is inherently leaving people out and leaving people behind. The name of the organization is also preposterous: by destroying statues of unpopular minorities, the organization’s members are actively advocating against freedom, justice, and equality.

Later in the article, the author inaccurately describes the events in Charlottesville in 2017 as a “deadly white supremacist rally.” The rally was actually to express opposition to the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, which has nothing to do with white supremacy. Additionally, the rally was not deadly; it was the counter-protest by intolerant bullies that caused violence.

The article also describes Edward Colston, whose statue was viciously destroyed in a similar incident to Columbus, as a “17th century slave trader.” This is an inaccurate characterization. Colston was a merchant. He bought and sold a variety of goods participated in many different industries, of which the slave trade was only one.

Finally, even the article’s headline – “Columbus and Wickham statues come down” is biased. The brutal, vicious, disgusting, and intolerant destruction of statues should never be treated as something even that is remotely acceptable. This headline completely fails to capture the moral wrongness of the actions described within it. Any article needs to characterize the deliberate destruction of statues as the atrocity that it is.

bookmark_borderChristopher Columbus statue in Revere, MA

The city of Revere, Massachusetts is home to a wonderful, beautiful, and (sadly) rare thing: a statue of Christopher Columbus. Located at St. Anthony of Padua Church, the bronze statue is now a lovely light green and depicts the explorer gazing skyward and pointing to a globe with his right hand. The statue was made by Alois G. Buyens in 1892. He was originally located at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston but moved to Revere in the 1920s. He and a statue of St. Anthony stand on either side of the church’s front entrance. 

Here are some photos of this version of Chris, who has so far (knock on wood) managed to survive the genocide that has claimed so many of his brethren. 

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Continue reading “Christopher Columbus statue in Revere, MA”

bookmark_borderRubbing salt in the wounds

As part of the senseless war against every person and thing from history that is unique or different, there has been a concerted effort to obliterate the legacy of Christopher Columbus. One of the most despicable instances of this has taken place in the city of Columbus, Ohio. Reprehensibly, the city decided to remove two beautiful statues of the Italian hero: one outside city hall and one at a community college. Making this even more disgusting is the fact that the statue at city hall was gifted by Columbus’s hometown of Genoa, Italy in 1955. Genoa and Columbus were considered sister cities until the latter decided to spit in the face of the Italian-American community by repudiating both its Italian counterpart and its namesake. 

A recent column by Theodore Decker of the Columbus Dispatch makes light of this situation in a way that I find offensive and disrespectful to those who have been hurt by the city’s actions. The column is titled, “Amid a raging storm, Columbus finds a safe harbor on Statehouse lawn.” Thinking that perhaps some entity had actually decided to think for itself and keep a Columbus statue in place, I clicked on the article. Unfortunately, the title was somewhat deceptive. Far from having announced the intention to let Columbus stay, the Ohio state government had determined that the city’s only remaining statue of its namesake, located outside the State House, will likely be obliterated along with the other two; there will just be a five-year process to make the decision official.

In the column, Decker pokes fun at Columbus and portrays the heartless and bigoted assault on him as something neutral or even positive. “Columbus the man, as you know, has taken a bit of a blow to his reputation, what with the pretty much indisputable allegations of genocide and all,” Decker writes. The allegations of genocide are actually very disputable; see this paper by the Sons of Italy, for example. Additionally, Decker points out in a flippant and almost gleeful tone that the explorer has “fallen from grace,” that the two statues of him were “swiftly vanquished,” that the city’s “love affair with Columbus the man was fading,” and that his reputation has been “tainted by, well, the complexities that accompany historical reality.” And he jokes that the statues were moved to “the city’s top-secret government base, Area 1492.”

Making matters worse, Decker seems to take delight in the fact that one of the few people with the courage to defend Columbus – State Rep. Larry Householder – happened to be arrested for money laundering. “Nobody is perfect,” Householder pointed out in defense of Columbus. Decker takes a dismissive tone towards this comment, but it is actually an important and meaningful point. The attitude of the anti-statue crowd is, indeed, that anyone who is not perfect by their standards should be destroyed. This ideology is disturbing because of its bigotry and intolerance, because of the inconsistency with which it is applied, and because it strips the world of everything meaningful, distinctive, and interesting. Householder is therefore correct to take a stand against it.

But this point is lost on Decker, who seems to care about nothing but reveling in the misfortune of others. I don’t get what the money laundering charges against Householder have to do with Columbus, and I don’t see the purpose of pointing them out, other than to further stigmatize and inflict additional pain on those who are already on the minority side of an issue. What is the point of writing a column that consists solely of kicking people who are already down and rubbing salt into the wounds of people who are already hurting? The brutal campaign of destruction against Columbus is not funny. It is a vicious assault on a brave and remarkable man who is unable to defend himself. Seeing a man who I love and admire being treated this way is heartbreaking, infuriating, and soul-crushing. To make light of these despicable actions demonstrates a complete lack of empathy for those who have been harmed. No matter what imperfections Christopher Columbus might have had, it is indisputable that he risked his life for what he believed in. Has Decker ever sailed into uncharted territory, braved sickness and starvation, interacted with people from a completely unknown civilization, and established a settlement in a foreign land? My guess would be no. Instead, it appears that he does nothing but sit on his butt writing columns that ridicule and insult people. He should consider actually fighting for something that he believes in, or attempting to contribute something positive to the world, as opposed to gleefully pointing out the flaws of others and delighting in their misfortune.

bookmark_borderOn “moving on” and “getting over it”

Something that I hear a lot with regards to statues and the historical figures that they represent, and really any issue on which people have differing opinions, is “move on,” “get over it,” or “let it go.” People say this when they think someone is not justified in feeling the way they do. Consider, for example, the beheading of Boston’s statue of Christopher Columbus and the resulting decision to move the statue to a less prominent location. When people have voiced anger, grief, and/or dismay about these events, we have been told to let the statue go, to move on, and instead to focus on choosing a replacement statue to honor Boston’s Italian-American community.

This way of responding to someone’s concerns is arrogant, patronizing, and lacking in empathy.

First of all, when someone is upset, that person cannot simply decide not to be upset anymore and then immediately cease being upset. That is not how emotions work. When people feel strongly about an issue, they are going to have strong emotions about that issue. People who love a statue and the historical figure it represents are going to be filled with grief and rage when the statue is destroyed. The grieving process takes time; a person cannot simply stop being angry and sad because another person has instructed them to do so. By telling another person to “get over” or “let go of” something they are upset about, one is dictating what the timeline of another person’s grieving process should be. This demand is illogical and unreasonable.

In addition to being impossible, the idea of “moving on,” “getting over it,” or “letting go” is not even desirable. Those who tell other people to do these things are presuming the truth of their own opinion and the illegitimacy of the other person’s opinion. The reason why numerous Italian-Americans such as myself are upset about the Columbus statue being destroyed and removed is because we like the statue and think that its destruction and removal are bad things. Specifically, we are outraged by the fact that an act of vandalism was allowed to decide the fate of the statue, and we believe it is unjust to reward the vandal(s) in this way. The “move on” crowd clearly doesn’t think the removal of the statue is that bad, or at least doesn’t feel as strongly about it as we do. But why is their opinion any more legitimate than ours? Why is it necessarily more correct to be indifferent about the statue’s fate than to be outraged and upset about it? If the act of vandalism and the city’s response were actually wrong (which I believe they were), then being outraged and upset is the morally correct response, and it is those who feel indifferent who should reconsider their reaction.

I love Christopher Columbus. I think he was an admirable and fascinating person, and he captures my imagination more than almost any other historical figure. I do not have these same feelings towards Sacco and Vanzetti, Mayor Thomas Menino, or a generic Italian immigrant or family of immigrants, all of which have been suggested as possible replacement statues. Why should I move on from a statue and historical figure that I love, to a statue about which I feel complete indifference?

Perhaps at some point, my grief and rage at the loss of the Columbus statue will become bearable. Perhaps one day my love of Columbus will be a source of joy, and I will take solace in reading about his life and honoring him through artwork of my own, instead of being tormented by agonizing psychological pain every day because of what was done to him. But I will never stop loving Columbus. I will never feel excited or happy about the construction of a politically correct, non-controversial, meaningless statue for which I feel no affinity.

In short, when you tell another person to “move on,” “get over it,” or “let go,” you are essentially telling them to stop having their opinion and instead to adopt your opinion. You are telling them to stop caring about the things that they care about, and instead to start caring about the things that you care about. You are telling them to stop loving the thing that they love and instead to love the thing that you love. It’s hard to imagine a greater lack of empathy than that.

bookmark_border2020 thoughts

It would be a cliche to say that 2020 was a horrible year. Almost everyone has been affected negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic in one way or another. For me, the most demoralizing, dispiriting, and discouraging events during 2020 were governments’ authoritarian policies imposed in response to the pandemic, Biden’s victory, and the widespread destruction of historical statues and monuments by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. In this blog post I will discuss how these events affected me personally and how I hope to move forward in 2021. 

I’ve written at length about authoritarian coronavirus restrictions. The fact that they have been implemented almost universally by governments around the world and embraced without question by the vast majority of people is beyond dismaying. Because I’ve already written about this topic dozens of times, I won’t go into it in any more detail in this post. 

The election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States was another demoralizing event. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that the reaction of Biden’s supporters was more demoralizing and upsetting than the election result itself. In every election, one side ends up happy, and the other heartbroken. But the meanness, nastiness, viciousness, and brutality that Biden’s supporters demonstrated was surprisingly irrational and inappropriate.

Social media was flooded with post after post after post expressing joy, relief, gratitude, the feeling of a weight being, lifted et cetera et cetera. Even when posting pictures of sunsets, cityscapes, pets, and babies, far too many people were unable to resist alluding to Biden’s victory as the reason for their happiness. One (now former) Facebook friend shared a meme urging people to start working on “dismantling white supremacy” now that Biden has won the presidency. Another shared a tweet ridiculing Trump supporters and calling them “weirdos” for wearing hats and flying flags with his name on them. Another opined that a vote for Trump was the same as a vote for racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny. Preposterously, people described Biden’s election as a “new birth of freedom” and posted videos of and lyrics to the song “Battle Cry of Freedom” (how, pray tell, does it constitute a new birth of freedom to elect a president who believes in giving people less freedom in their day-to-day lives than his predecessor?). Worst of all, numerous people have expressed the idea that one should not “go easy on” Trump supporters but should, in the words of one (former) friend, “focus on the harm caused.” This is based on a false premise, namely that Trump supporters have somehow done something wrong for which we deserve to be punished. Refraining from personally attacking and insulting people who have done nothing wrong is not “going easy.” It is a basic requirement of being a morally decent person. Trump supporters did not cause any harm; the only harm is that caused by the intolerant bullies who have been contaminating the internet with their vile personal attacks on anyone whose views differ from theirs.

Continue reading “2020 thoughts”