With Thugs at the Desk

In a Florida County Government I worked with questionable characters

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

During the ten years I worked for Pinellas County in Florida, I was gradually subordinated to a number of people who seemed richly suspicious. While most of my coworkers were normal people, others gave me the impression of rather scraggly birds who actually belonged in the innermost part of the institution where I worked: the Pinellas County Jail.

One of them was a temporary worker who regularly disappeared from the office with his briefcase around 10 a.m., sometimes earlier, and told me the recurring sentence as soon as he passed my desk to the exit door: “Uwe, I am heading for the fire station.” Meant was a County project in Tierra Verde south of St. Petersburg, and that was also the direction to his dwelling. The saying “Heading for the Fire Station” became a common phrase among us colleagues whenever we wanted to jokingly imply that we would rather go home now than work.

The other was a ruthless character, unscrupulous to the point of going far beyond what was legal, as I was soon to learn for myself on one occasion when he called me into his office and threatened me in a very illegal manner.

As if my assumptions at that time were still looking for confirmation, I recently came across a television report from News Channel 8 and suddenly saw two very familiar faces. I encountered many shady characters in the GDR dictatorship abusing their authority by intimidating others to achieve personal advantages – but these two crooks in Florida surpass in my memory everything that happened in my life before and after. I would not trust any of them with even five dollars.

Why did I have a constant gut feeling at the time that something was wrong? I could only suspect and knew nothing, because I was in the lowest position and in a sense no more than a pawn in the game of intriguers, who at the expense of the taxpayer carried out their frictions among themselves almost on a daily basis. And most of the time, I admit honestly, I didn’t want to know anything. I had my personal load to carry and was glad to have a semi-secure income with the County Government.

It is interesting to see how criminal energies in the U.S. can develop not only at the top national level, with the executors always getting away with it. Watch this and make sure to turn on the sound. By the way, Andrew Pupke, who was also overpaid, should have been fired simply for the intentionally stupid answers he gave the reporter as a public servant in a senior position.

https://www.wfla.com/…/you-paid-for-it-pinellas-county…/ The report is certainly informative, even though it is several years old.

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. Instead of dealing with the unpleasant things of the past, 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 demagogues 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.