It’s been a week since January 6th. It’s taken some time to collect my thoughts.
You won’t see his name in this piece. Saying his name would give him SEO power. And I refuse to do that.
We saw it happening.
Growing up attending Hebrew School, we heard the stories of Passover, Purim, Masada, and Fiddler on the Roof.
We watched Schindler’s List and The Devil’s Arithmetic, read Night, and were fortunate to hear from Holocaust survivors tell their stories.
Before I get too far into this, I need to acknowledge my privilege. I’ve never been a direct victim of violent white-supremacism or Nazism. I’m a cis-white-heterosexual male who falls more in the cultural/agnostic vein of Judaism. I’ve seen buildings vandalized, heard slurs and tasteless jokes, but that’s the extent of my personal anti-Semitic experience.
I’ve been fortunate in that regard.
There are roughly 7 million Jews in the US. Out of 330 million. Or just over 2%. Despite presenting predominantly as Caucasian, we are a minority in our own right.
(and there’s a whole discussion out there about being white and being able to hide our minority status better than BIPOC, which I am acknowledging, but not using this piece to discuss).
It started with “a 1991 book. John O’Donnell, the former president of the Voldemort Plaza Hotel & Casino, said “he” had told him: ‘Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.’”
We saw it happening in 2008 when he tried discredit Barack Obama’s Presidential bid by claiming he was born in the US and was Muslim. To no success.
We saw it happening in 2009, when the TEA party sprouted in response to a black man being elected President.
Then on June 16th, 2015, we saw it simmer up again when he descended that pyrite escalator, declared his candidacy, and accused “others” of “having (sic) lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
On June 17th – the next goddamn day – Dylan Roof killed 9 African Americans in Charleston, and later found to have posted images online of himself with Nazi and white supremacy symbols.
In December 2015, he didn’t let up. Speaking to a group of Jewish Republicans, he said, “I’m a negotiator like you folks, we are negotiators. Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates them – perhaps more than any other room I’ve ever spoken in.”
We were scared when he was elected.
When he tried to place a ban on people coming into our country “from countries with links to terrorism” – but we know it’s because they are predominantly Muslim countries.
When he romanticized nationalism and isolationism and scapegoated people who looked and sounded different than white people.
When bomb threats against synagogues spiked, and he said something, but did nothing.
When Confederate flags made a resurgence.
When the demonization of George Soros, “Globalists,” and “Coastal Elites” persisted.
We saw the parallels.
When neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville in 2017 shouting “Jews will not replace us” while carrying torches, killed a woman in peaceful protest, and then said there were good people “on both sides,” we saw the threat had manifested into reality.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of similar instances of inflammatory rhetoric leading to violence, but I want to highlight two more.
We saw on Monday, October 22nd, 2018, when the FIRST (of many) bomb the MAGA bomber sent was to George Soros’s house. And more sent throughout the week before getting caught.
And on October 27th, 2018, we saw it when Robert Gregory Bowers committed the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Before the attack, he posted on Gab “The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
That was 8 days before I got married.
On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, my and Jessica’s family gathered at our synagogue for our aufruf – pronounced “oof-roof.” (I’m fully expecting this to be the most-clicked internal link of the piece.)
Showing their support and solidarity, the mayor of Richardson attended services that Saturday. As did other Richardson faith leaders of various faiths. As did six armed police officers. Normally on a Shabbat morning there are one or MAYBE two police officers, keeping their post at the main entrance.
These six were in the sanctuary. In the front row. Armed. They showed their support for me and my fiancé by cheering and throwing candy at us.
That was the moment that broke me.
Seeing these officers, joyously celebrating my upcoming marriage – there because 11 people were murdered a week before. They were there in solidarity, and for our protection.
That was the moment that I knew with absolute certainty that supporting “him” was supporting people who wanted me dead.
Voting for him enabled racists, misogynists, neo-nazis, white supremacists, and slews of other deplorables to tear off their white hoods, releasing their decades-building rage, and even during a pandemic, lay siege to the Capitol building without covering their faces – thankfully leading to dozens of arrests, and more to come.
A sobering reminder that violence by
white-supremacists Nazis against BIPOC, Jews, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, etc. is very real, and as we saw last Wednesday, ready to act.
A man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. A man wearing a , “6MWE” shirt, which means “Six million wasn’t enough” – a reference to the number of Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
And a Jewish fraternity house at my Alma Mater, UT Austin, was vandalized. Enabled and encouraged by him. He’s made radical violent nationalism “okay” again.
Your Jewish friends are not “okay.” That’s why 70+% of us voted for Hillary, and again for Biden.
We saw what was happening. We saw it continue to happen over the last four years. What we saw on January 6th was Kristallnacht. Hopefully that’s the worst of it.
I’ve been at this point in my piece for a solid day and a half, not sure how to end it.
Why did I write this? I wanted to organize my thoughts. Put pen to paper, as it were. It’s therapeutic. Will it change anyone’s mind? Doubtful. But in the tradition of my people, ima get Old Testament on your asses:
There’s really only one hope I have for America going forward:
18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Thanks for reading.