Entering a Dark Era

Had Jewish community centers and Jewish cemeteries been vandalized when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have been surprised. The neighborhood I grew up in was infiltrated by anti-Semitism creep. Though largely unseen, it needed to be experienced in order to be recognized. 

I grew up near Yankee Stadium and often passed a Catholic high school during mid-afternoon. On more than a few occasions, I heard the taunt of “Christ killer”—and threats to do me harm—from guys in their blue blazers hanging around outside. I guess it was my schnoz and Semitic good looks that gave me away.   

I lived in a mixed neighborhood, inhabited by a good number of Polish and German male immigrants who worked mostly at menial jobs. They had no love for Jews and their sons expressed it—in school and on the playground. I had to be careful about which blocks I walked on and be ready to defend myself. I guess I also wore my attitude on my sleeve: I cared little for them, as well.  

Sign Up for E-News

Years later, a punch in the face in the middle of the night startled me awake. 

“Hitler should have killed you all!” some southern dude with an upturned nose screamed at me, throwing fists wildly and reeking of cheap beer. 

That was during advanced infantry training, overseas. A few days later, a staff sergeant demanded I meet him behind a string of tents so he could kick my ass after I told him to stop picking on a guy that he said “acted too much like a f....g Jew.” 

But that was more than 50 years ago, and not only had I changed, but I felt the country had matured as well. Many social progressives, myself included, hoped that when Barack Obama became president it had signaled the end of racism and overt bigotry. Instead, we’ve seen a dramatic upsurge toward the poor, people of color, non-Christians, and those who march peacefully to the sound of a different drummer.

Yes, anti-Semitism is on the rise, as is hate of all kinds. It was evident during the presidential campaign and even more so now that Trump has assumed office. The instigators of this anger and aggression are mostly Trump devotees—people emboldened by his bitter, contemptuous campaign; individuals who hide behind false names and false news.  

Trump’s candidacy and subsequent election brought prejudice and bigotry out of the shadows. In the last two months alone, 63 different bomb threats have been phoned into various Jewish community centers and synagogues and four different Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized. We’ve seen two mosques burned to the ground, one torched just hours after the Trump administration announced executive orders that comprised the so-called “Muslim ban.” And a radical anti-government group plotted (unsuccessfully) to kill hundreds by blowing up a large apartment complex housing Somali immigrants in Garden City, Kan.    

News outlets and social media have reported numerous incidents of swastikas painted on walls at schools and places of worship, racist taunts, hate-fueled attacks on people with differences, and acts of gross intimidation toward the defenseless. In addition to bias attacks across a wide swath of America, hundreds of menacing phone calls and threats of bodily harm have been directed at reporters and news organizations.  According to substantiated reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), groups of angry, aggrieved, economically struggling men—predominately white—feel freer than they have in decades to lash out at anyone who is unlike them.

The message of hate that was at the core of Trump’s candidacy, and dominates White House policy today, is lionized by many in Trump’s inner circle. It is causing real harm and alarm. One recent SPLC study makes known that out of 10,000 K-12 educators polled nationwide, 90 percent believe the election has created a negative climate in their schools and 80 percent of non-white students report that Trump’s election has raised serious fears in their lives. No particular locality is immune, though the politics of hate is especially on the rise in areas where economic hardship is confronting rapid social change.

Trump’s rhetoric, as well as that of his most ardent followers, implies that Caucasian Americans are the most deserving and must remain homogeneous and in control of this country. The “parasitic underclasses”—Muslims, immigrants, black people, brown people, LGBT people, Jews, and so on—must not be allowed to take unfair advantage of our “democracy” and take away our country.   

Sadly, it can be predicted that white supremacists will keep lashing out, especially as the numbers of whites continues to shrink nationwide in an ever-more diverse population. Under Trump, the United States has entered a dark era. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness

Facebook Provides Verification Badges for All TAPinto Facebook Pages

June 4, 2018

TAPinto and its 75 partner sites have been verified on Facebook with the social media platform's blue badge, which is given to news organizations that meet Facebook's authenticity criteria. 

Facebook gives the blue verification badge to "eligible brands, media organizations and public figures," based on factors that include policy compliance and public ...