Critical Race Theory: The Paradox is DeSantis

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

At the instigation of Governor Ron DeSantis, the State Board of Education has banned Critical Race Theory from public classrooms in Florida. He wants to confront students “with [his and his kind’s] facts rather than trying to indoctrinate them with ideology.” Is the man afraid that American schoolchildren might know too much, ask awkward questions, or even end up becoming Marxists? It is preposterous.

From the historic standpoint, it is hard to deny that the United States of America was built on the oppression of others. From the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, only one never owned a slave (John Adams). Writes US-Historian Edmund S. Morgan: “To a large degree, it may be said that Americans bought their independence with slave labor… The paradox is American, and it behooves Americans to understand it if they would understand themselves”.1

Morgan also wrote: “For the historian it poses a challenge to probe the connection: to explain how a people could have developed the dedication to human liberty and dignity exhibited by the leaders of the American Revolution, and at the same time have developed and maintained a system of labor that denied human liberty and dignity every hour of the day.”2

Twelve Nazi years of my native Germany have profoundly damaged our history forever, and in school it became the core of our consciousness – the unimaginable atrocities committed in the German name. The nation of inventors, innovation, poets and thinkers. Should the Germans remain the only nation today to thoroughly come to terms with their past? 3

Of course, remembrance and admonition of evil must nowhere take a back seat – we owe that to the victims, no matter which country it concerns.

Racism is an unpleasant topic and does not lend itself to desired images. Yet, righteous Americans must be careful, not least in light of what continues to happen in their country, that they and their own history are not completely muzzled. Florida’s Governor is one of those dangerous, power-obsessed people who want to distort facts in order to make their own people compliant under the guise of a misconceived patriotism. This no longer has anything to do with freedom and democracy – it only deepens the division of American society.

Notes:

[1] See Edmund S. Morgan: American Slavery, American Freedom, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975, pg. 5.

[2] ibid.

[3] For the sake of historical-political truth, it must be mentioned here that one of the main interests of the communist leadership in East Germany (GDR) was to address the crimes of the Nazi regime down to the smallest detail. After all, Nazis and Communists had been ideological mortal enemies since the Weimar Republic. In contrast, in the other part of Germany – the Federal Republic – the society struggled of coping with German Nazi history until the 1970s, not least in public schools.

DeSantis, the Story Teller

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

“The idea that you can just push God out of every institution and be successful, I’m sorry our founding fathers did not believe that.”

It’s laughable: These words actually came out of the mouth of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday in Surfside, Fla, in the presence of Florida Legislature and leaders in the local Jewish community. The background is that starting next school year, all public K-12 schools in Florida will be required to hold a moment of silence at the beginning of the day. The phrase “Moment of Silence” clearly replaces the intended wording “prayer” to circumvent the American Constitution. DeSanti’s own, historically untenable commentary unmasked the true intentions, allowing no other conclusion.

This feeble-minded person should receive some history lessons, whether with or without silent remembrance – about the past of his own country. For the “Fathers” during their constitutional convention from May to September 1787 in Philadelphia left the question of religion completely aside to not to prefer one religion over another. For similar reasons, the word “God” does not appear a single time in the American Constitution, on the contrary: The framers of the Constitution in their First Amendment’s Establishment Clause explicitly excluded any endorsement of any specific religion over another as well as the preference of religion over non-religion on the side of the polity, thereby establishing the American Republic de facto as the first secular state in the modern Western world.

DeSantis should quote the founders of his own country instead of putting words in the mouths of the dead. But these lies are purely intentional: American adolescents are to be brought into line before they can even read and write properly. Of course, the better one succeeds in controlling the thinking of others, the better such tactics serve to achieve one’s own goals. Liars like DeSantis have no qualms about hoodwinking the Americans, and they don’t even shy away from children and teenagers. And clearly – “provisions” like the one announced yesterday bring easy votes from the clueless.

Not even the communists in East Germany lied to me to such an extent as Americans lie to their own people.

Dangerous Mixture

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

The remaining Republican constituency, however numerous, has solidified into an unsocialzed, deluded bunch over a laughingstock like Trump: His followers are filled with a pathetic, populist mindset camouflaged as patriotism, fed by fabricated catchphrases that even the mentally deficient can easily memorize and then parrot as the familiar bird can.

Thematically, most can hardly produce anything coherent from their own thoughts that would make any sense to support their views. Apart from repeating propaganda platitudes, they do not provide any answers to problems that exist in reality. An own fact check with appropriate background knowledge does not take place, because the mental energy is missing and often probably also an honest intention.

It is frightening to observe how much this propaganda-pushed mentality is becoming entrenched in other developed countries as well – but nowhere else as intensively as in the USA. Trump embodies the intellectual decay of much of American society.

There is no end in sight to the dangerous blend of misinformation, lies, conspiracy theories, not-knowing, misdirection, and delusion. For there are millions of people who blindly believe every claim, no matter how abstruse, as long as it only corresponds to their own paranoid fantasies.

Work Ethic is Dying?

It doesn’t get any more cynical than this

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

See the image below:

This person unknown to me is much better than I am at expressing the American problem in a few simple words. The irrefutable facts he mentions apply to more than half of the US-population with rising tendency, even though the wealth in this country exists to provide remedies that would benefit the society as a whole. To deny this would mean to dispute reality. I’ve been there, I’ve worked at Walmart for eight years, with great difficulty trusting my eyes and ears and at the same time knowing that I’m in the United States of America, which (almost) everyone in Europe considers the leading country in the world.

It should not go unmentioned who pays for said food stamps. Not Walmart, not Corporate America, who are shirking their responsibility because they cannot get enough down their greedy throat. It’s the common taxpayer, you and me, which makes it doubly outrageous. This is how Americans in their own country are being cheated good and proper, and they’re letting it happen to them.

Of course, politicians have a moral obligation to intervene through regulation in the interest of the common good. Multi-billion corporations should pay their employees decent wages, so that no public tax money has to be spent on food stamps. Ration cards came into use elsewhere in post-war times – not at all in the 21st century.

And where are the Churches? Here all of a sudden, where it is about the real, earthly problems of the little man, they do not interfere in politics – that is very strange. Are they afraid of having to pay taxes like their flock of sheep, so that their hypocritical business will no longer yield enough profit? You don’t have to open your eyes too wide to see how representatives of politics and the clergy work together hand in hand to play the little man for a sucker and line their own pockets. This is arranged to keep the masses in line.

After all, one crow does not peck out the eye of another. Amen.

“Far-Left, Radical Socialist Policies”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Under the influence of a primitive demagogue, the Republican Party leadership continues to feed its base with whopping lies.

After Trump’s presidency, many Americans believe that the current administration is destroying cherished American values and drives the U.S. toward socialism. In this context, Elise Stefanik, chair of the Republican House Conference, uttered a phrase that makes a person who had lived involuntarily in a socialism for almost thirty years cringe:

She called the agenda of the current US-Administration “far-left, radical socialist policies.”

At this point it should be noted: Whoever uses dull slogans exposes himself to the suspicion of wanting to take others for fools; he also reveals that he might be unable to contribute any conclusive arguments for the solution of real problems. By no means for the first time in its history is the GOP summoning the specter of socialism to scare Americans away from any acceptance of policies other than its own.

In contrast to Stefanik, this writer experienced socialism firsthand, opposed it in the GDR (“East Germany”) with modest means as much as possible, put up with personal disadvantages in the process, and experienced with millions of others the fall of the Berlin Wall as a result of a peaceful revolution.*

I can say with certainty: this woman has not the faintest idea what she is talking about when she mouths the word “socialism.”

I repeat here what should be easy for even the average person to understand: Socialism is when the means of production are not in private hands, but in the hands of the state. Period. There is not even a hint of a precondition in the USA that can bring the country toward socialism.

What the country lacks are accompanying governmental measures to curb social injustice, which cries out to heaven in the United States. Previous presidents have already denounced this and/or used government power to fight social injustice: from John Adams via Teddy Roosevelt (by the way: a Republican), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman to Lyndon B. Johnson.

None of them was a socialist because of it.

Whoever manages to compare a policy of social justice with socialism, and in doing so also falls on open ears among the population, is in my eyes an unscrupulous populist. A person who has a minimum knowledge of history and is still of sound mind, will not follow these pipers.

By the way – anyone who fobs off his own base (de facto: his own family) with cheap, propaganda-ridden phrases should not deserve to be elected to any responsibility whatsoever.

What has the Republican Party turned into?

Notes:

*I was born in 1961 at the junction of the Cold War, just 21 miles from the deadly border that once separated Germany. Bear in mind that I grew up behind barbed wire not because of a non-functioning socialism (which we did not want), but as a direct consequence of World War II sparked by Germany. In the further historical development, the inner-German border was built by communists in the midst of increasing tensions and the collision of interests between the U.S. and its erstwhile ally, the Communist-Bolshevik Soviet Union, which eventually morphed into hostility. – Without this illegal, impenetrable border, millions more people would have fled from the Soviet sector to the free West than had already done so before 1961.

Social Media Reveals the Mind of Trump-Supporters

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

President Biden wants to unify his country to overcome the polarization between left and right, Democrats and Republicans. My assessment is that he cannot achieve this goal. Four years, still difficult to bear, under a president who managed to manipulate the minds of millions of people with untruths using the most primitive methods, have reignited the division of the country – a division that exists since time immemorial.

The majority of those who voted for Trump in 2020 and continue to support him will not be swayed. They have long since left the path of independent thinking. Church and military, preferably both together, seem to be the ideal environment and breeding ground for the perfect brainwashing – for the acceptance of foreign ideas, for the parroting of cheap slogans that easily catch on. The proof is nowhere more evident than in the social media.

People of this type post anything, as little school children do: Cartoons, colorful pictures with slogans, macabre jokes about people who think differently – just nothing of their own. They are obviously incapable to summarize their own thoughts, neither verbally nor in writing, and certainly not in an essay.

Their thoughts come from other sources, and they merely copy what is convenient for them, however absurd it may be, how little logic exists in the context, and no matter how old they are themselves. Here one can see the true intellectual background of the Trump insanity.

They are sick, mentally sick, and they cannot be helped. It is no wonder that the psychopath Trump was elected by such people.

And the ignorant will continue to support him.

Germany: Conservatives Choose Candidate for Chancellor

…but the next person in charge could be a woman again

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

It was obvious that the CDU Federal Executive Board last weekend would push through its own party colleague and not the man from the sister party, the Bavarian CSU. After all, there are many members on the board with their own ambitions for power. The meeting, the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion, had been more or less arranged to ensure Bavaria’s popular Minister President Markus Soeder (CSU) a face-saving retreat.

At the CDU base, the mood probably looks a bit more honest: Most of the regular party members would have preferred Soeder as their candidate for chancellor, and with him the conservatives would probably have a better chance winning the upcoming federal elections this September. Now, the two-party-Union consisting of CDU and CSU (the latter exists only in the Free State of Bavaria) is in for a payday for playing a lousy power game: For it would be a surprise if Germany’s next chancellor is to be the far less popular Armin Laschet.

Instead, after Angela Merkel’s retirement this coming September, it might well come down to a female chancellor once again, as the Green Party is at a polling high and could emerge as the strongest party nationwide for the first time. Consequently, for the first time in their history, they are competing with their own candidate for chancellor. The party leadership has recently decided on the 40-year-old, resolute Annalena Baerbock without any further ado – quite in contrast to the grueling, pernicious power struggle in the conservative CDU/CSU.

Although many experts fear negative economic consequences in the event of a Green government takeover, it must be borne in mind that there will hardly be an absolute majority possible for just one party in Germany. In that sense, it is almost certain that the country will continue to be governed by a multi-party coalition, maybe even with the conservatives as junior-partner involved. Such government naturally operates on the basis of compromise. But even in this scenario, the Greens can give priority to their dominant issue, climate protection – supported by the broad public opinion that climate change is caused by humans and must be urgently counteracted; a view held also across all political camps with the exception of the polarizing and in parts extreme right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

It feels like the next generation is already knocking on the door in my home country to take on top political responsibility. Approval for this seems to come from almost all camps. 30 years ago, when I was a city commissioner for the CDU in my little hometown of Wolmirstedt, the party book still played a dominant role. But in the historically short time that has passed since then, the whole world has changed dizzyingly. As a consequence, thinking between party lines has become more and more mixed, out of the need to solve increasingly complex problems together – not only across parties, but also across countries. The Coronavirus is only the most prominent example of many.

Although there is still a lot of water to flow down the Rhine before Germany’s election in September, I can very well imagine the next woman in the German chancellorship. And why not? Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, especially New Zealand – all these countries have relatively young women at the head of their governments, and they almost all do well with it. Above all, Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister of New Zealand does an excellent, refreshing job – almost completely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

So, in Germany it could be Annalena. Let her do it.

“Government Overreach”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Recently I read an interesting essay about the American self-understanding of individual rights versus government overreach. It was about the perceived sacred right of private gun ownership. American society, the author criticized, is about the only one that values freedom over life. This is what makes America so unique, and the same thirst for freedom – back then in a justified way – had already led to the separation of the former American colonies from the British colonial yoke, at a time when this world was quite different from today.

This may well be true – and if it really is, many things would have to change today in people’s mind. The American problems are not too difficult to identify, provided that the ubiquitous partisanship does not resonate in the assessment.

For a more just society it is undoubtedly necessary that the collective good of the community stands decisively above the individual interests of few people and institutions, which are legally granted special rights through the power of their money – and from which the masses have to suffer. There are only two ways that can stop such a tragic development: Either governmental intervention, or a revolution from the bottom up.

It is sometimes hard to grasp what Americans think when it comes to individual rights. Because what most of them pray for actually signals something quite different compared to what is going on in their heads.

Aren’t brotherhood and mutual compassion the noble goals of an upright Christian? Oddly enough, they coincide with the goals of communism: We are all brothers and sisters – that is their common confession. As a consequence of such credo, the common good takes precedence over self-interest. The strange thing is that mankind has never put into practice either of these ideals, as much as they invoked them throughout human history.

Power, greed and egoism always stood in the way, but unfortunately also the stupidity of clueless pretenders who pray to their God and see no contradiction between their precepts and their actual behavior, including their views. If they would – Donald J. Trump could never have received a single vote from a “Christian” electorate, which in reality turned out his strongest base.

Abused power and injustice remain untouched as long as there are gullible people with limited horizons who make themselves stooges of a wrong cause.

America is Black and White, with a Lot in Between

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

I was very impressed because it was perfectly organized, and I would like to express my gratitude to Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security for their overseeing assistance, to the state agencies, including the Georgia National Guard, State Patrol, and the many Healthcare workers. They all ensure that the free Corona mass immunizations in Clarkesville/Georgia run smoothly, day after day.

Especially among the National Guard – and I noticed this – were many African-Americans, with whom their white colleagues worked hand in hand, sometimes even having a kind word to say. That’s how it should normally be. They harmonized with each other and together like normal, civilized people, which otherwise cannot generally be said of this country.

As a long time resident of the United States, I can only say that you have given me hope and confidence today after these shocking four years of Donald Trump, this hatred towards dissenters and people of different skin color. Every normal feeling person knows that this cannot be the right way. Don’t let too many white farts ruin your country and your future. America is black and white, with a lot in between – that’s a good thing, that’s the great opportunity.

Change the Paradigm

The President indicated those “on the top” should pay higher Taxes

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

He did not know that 20 years ago?

The new president, two days ago, talked about the trickle-down effect: “We’ve seen time and again that trickle-down doesn’t work.” He was alluding to the huge tax cuts for “those on the top and [the hope] that the benefits they get would trickle down to everyone” – tax giveaways granted the richest people and enterprises over the past 15 years (it was most likely a few more years, probably reaching back to the Reagan-Administration). He now sees a need “to change the paradigm.” That’s correct.

“Eine Kraehe hackt der anderen kein Auge aus”, as the old German saying goes. Freely translated: There’s honor among thieves. Because representatives of both parties are able to wheel and deal with lobbyists from the “very top”, my fear is that in the end not the billionaires, but representatives of the higher educated class will have to pay for the bulk of a new tax burden. In other words: those who were not eligible for the latest stimulus check because they are above a certain income level. If this happens, it would be a serious mistake by the Biden administration – because it would hurt America’s innovative future.

What Joe Biden did not say last Friday in the Rose Garden is the following: It is a misconception to assume that a national economy regulates itself in such a way that there is justice in the end for the many. From this follows what already John Adams and Teddy Roosevelt knew: The state needs to implement government power to tame nefarious profiteers permanently (the true “top”, which I hope Biden meant) and protect those Americans in their rights that are toiling day after day at the edge of the society to no avail. Will it take another 20 years before a majority of Americans come to this realization?

Because he left this part out, Biden was only talking about half of a plan that would really improve the livelihoods for the majority of Americans. Or did he omit this part on purpose and is clandestinely already on a path to “social democratize” the United States – a path that most Americans seem to confuse with “Socialism?” Has anyone actually realized that the Corona crisis is the last point in which it becomes clear that the United States, with all diversity and disparity, cannot go on as before if it wants to be prepared for the future?

The churches in particular have supported Trump and hatefully painted the specter of Socialism on the wall, fearing that Satan in the form of a Democrat might come after them, brandishing the tax bill with glowing eyes. Unfortunately, it is to be feared that hardly such a thing as taxing the churches will occur, although the President also said the following: “By the way, we don’t have anything against wealthy people. (If) you have a great idea, go out and make millions of dollars, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. But guess what: You’ve got to pay your fair share.”

Amen, Mr. Biden.