Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville’s Unite the Right Rally



It was July 8th when I last wrote about world events and politics, the G20 Summit to be exact. And no matter how often I vow not to write about controversial and divisive topics here I am again, ready to broach the event that brought homegrown hate groups together last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia---the Alt-Right, Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, White Supremacists and the KKK. Their Friday night Unite the Right torch-lite rally where at one point hundreds yelled obscenities in front of a church filled with area clergy who were inside praying as part of the counter-protestors was shocking and downright scary. “You will not replace us!” they shouted along with “Blood and soil!” and other Nazi inspired slogans. 

The next morning many of Unite the Right attendees donned their protective gear, grabbed their guns, flag poles and shields and took to the streets and we all know what happened after that including a young neo-Nazi from Ohio plowing his car into a group of peaceful counter-protestors killing one and injuring nineteen. President Trump still has not called that deliberate mowing down of people an act of domestic-terrorism. If the driver had been a Muslim, he would have tweeted that out within an hour and that fact is a dog whistle telling the hate groups all they need to know. Silly me, why would I expect any better from a president who installed Alt-Right Steve Bannon and White Nationalists Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller into key positions in the White House? Even before the latter two were added to the administration, one of Trump’s first acts in office was to shut down the arm of Homeland Security that kept track of home-grown domestic hate groups. Thanks, guys, for helping to elect me.

Many people, no doubt, saw nothing wrong with what the president said on the weekend: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” The president dug the hole he found himself afterward by adlibbing the words “on many sides, on many sides” that weren’t in the written text of the statement he was given to read. Almost immediately people took that to mean he was lumping the counter-protesters in with the hate groups who converged on Charlottesville. Surely, a president should be nuanced enough to know there is no moral equivalent between the white supremacist groups and those who came to counter-act that kind of hate. Senator Kamala Harris made that point more bluntly when she tweeted: “It’s not hard to spot the wrong side here. They’re the ones with the torches and the swastikas.” The Tweeter-in-Chief could have put this controversy to a rest swiftly after it started, but he didn’t. It took him over two days to come before America to read another scripted statement, trying to undo the damage he did with the first. 

“As I said on Saturday, we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America…,” he read off a teleprompter Monday, looking like a hostage forced to do it. “We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” 

Was that statement too little too late? Was it sincere? I guess that’s for each of us to decide for ourselves, but for me I was surprised he didn’t choke on the words, “we must love each other, show affection for each other…” His entire campaign fanned the flames of prejudice and divisiveness, his tweets are nests of nastiness and as president giving Bannon a strong voice in policy decisions is not the act of a man who wants to bring us all together for a rousing round of We are the World.

Republican strategist and CNN political commentator Ana Novarro said: “I've been embarrassed about having Trump as President, many times. But no time, worse than today. I'm beyond embarrassed. I'm ashamed.” I share that shame and embarrassment with Ann, especially now after Trump made his third statement made on Monday about Charlottesville, showed his true colors and emboldening those in the White Supremacy Movement. Make no mistake about it, Trump came down on the wrong side of history and I hope I live long enough to see him pay a heavy price for that. ©


 Bella in the comments suggested this video. My God, half way through watching it I was choking up. It's 22 minutes long so if you can't watch it now, come back. It's worth it if you are still struggling to understand what happened. The girl reporter, Elle Reeve, is impressive and very brave.


Stephan Colbert's Response to Charlotteville

 Jimmy Fallon's response to Racism

 This photo and Nelson Mandela's words below is what President Obama tweeted out in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Always a class act.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

39 comments:

  1. I am ashamed of our country. This whole thing makes me sick.
    I remember when this photo was taken in Bethesda at a day care center. I loved this photo. I loved this man. He never embarressed us across the world. He was a class act and SMART. Neither can be said for this idiot in office. If you don't think he is a racist then stop and think for a minute, he has made racists remarks against muslims, mexicans and blacks. Gee, are the people that voted for him really that low in IQ or are they too repulsive racists? This makes me so angry!

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  2. I think we know the answer to the question you asked at the end but no one wants to admit it out loud. Trump voters are people we know, for crying out loud. One guy I know has been telling racist jokes since I've known him nearly 50 years. Another woman I've known for just as long shocked me when her racism came out of the closet when Obama was elected and voted for Trump because she thought he's wipe Obama's legacy off the books. She was a high school drop out. Both get their "news" exclusively from Alt-Right websites. A third person I know who is a Trump supporter I just met recently and don't well enough to understand her vote. I do know that things are going to get worse before they get better, I'm afraid.

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  3. I cannot even begin to describe my disgust and outrage at this:

    https://politicalwire.com/2017/08/15/trump-blames-sides/

    At yesterday's "Press Conference", he doubled down on blaming the victims and defended the white supremacists, again. If you haven't seen it, you probably should.

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    1. I saw it in real time but thanks for the link for those who might not have seen the president give cover to the torch carrying neo-Nazis and hate groups in America. When he said there were some "very fine people" mixed in with the others on Friday night I was shocked. As one of the news pundits said, afterward "If you found yourself at a rally full of people shouting out hate, you would leave if you were a 'very fine person.'"

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  4. Such a horrible disgusting incident. I wish there were some way to use common sense along with "freedom of speech" BEFORE granting a rally permit. Although that would not stop everything.

    Let's hope they can prove that Fields crossed state lines intending to do harm ... so he doesn't skate off with "second degree manslaughter".

    There are no words ...

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    1. The day before the rally the local officials tried to relocate the permit to an area where they could better keep the the Neo-Nazis separated from the counter-protesters but a judge wouldn't let them. I wonder if that judge is questioning himself today.

      Fields is a scumbag with a history of violence, even against his own mother.

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  5. Just when you thought he couldn't get worse, he spoke yesterday basically blaming the alt left for the violence. Good God, we have a mad man at the wheel.

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  6. "You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate, you've got to be carefully taught..."
    Rogers and Hammerstein, "South Pacific.

    My family was racist, probably out of fear rather than hate -- or I'd like to think so anyway. We lived in the Midwest, Kansas, and the blacks were segregated to live in N-----r Town, the ghetto for black families. I've just returned to live in Wichita and the ghetto is still there, teeming with young gang members, trying to kill other gang members. Things have not gotten better since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, they have gotten worse.

    Somehow we white people must extend our hands to these black, Hispanic, and all migrant peoples so that they can enjoy the freedom the whites want to keep for themselves alone. And we have to do it now!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that. We also have to speak out against the idea of White Supremacy whenever, where ever we hear it before we find ourselves on the same slippery slope that Germany found themselves on in the 1930s.

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  7. I've had a lump in my throat for days. I've never seen such a pathetic response to a national tragedy by a sitting president. You've expressed it so well here.
    For me, his first response was inadequate and a dog whistle, his second response was too late, and his response at the so-called news conference on Tuesday was a window into his dark, dark heart.

    Love your description of his tweets, " nest of nastiness."

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    1. "...window into his dark, dark heart." Perfect description of his Tuesday so-called press conference.

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  8. I cannot for the life of me, understand how they were granted a permit. Anyone with a head on their shoulders had to know the outcome. It was wrong on so many levels. I'm just disgusted ...

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    1. The constitution gives them their first amendment rights for a "peaceful assembly" but you don't come to a peaceful assembly with shields and torches. I heard at one point the Unite the Whites attendees on Friday were better armed than the police and the police had to go back some place to get suited up with better riot gear. I hope other towns learn from the mistakes made here.

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  9. If you haven't seen this, check it out. It's 22 minutes, but worth it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIrcB1sAN8I

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    1. Oh. My. God! I can't believe the courage of that young woman narrating that video. I was choking up half way through it and I added the video to my blog above. It makes me sick, that guy who organized this whole thing and that Trump is giving him a wink and a nod.

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    2. She did a fabulous job, didn't she? You could see the emotion/fear in her expressions, but she stayed cool and kept asking questions. I don't know how she did it. Everyone should see that video.

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    3. It's been posted all over the large political site I go to (not by me, though) and so far the ones who should see it aren't. They're just saying it's "fake news" or edited to make the "Alt Right look bad." It's very scary that people are so stuck in their thinking.

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  10. Germany strongly repudiates Nazi-ism; USA's President tacitly supports. Topsy-turvy Land, indeed!

    I wonder what will be the straw that breaks the camel's back? - or, will that moment arrive?

    This current 'house-divided' is such an inexpensive way to break up a country's strength by a foreign power. ~ Libby

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    1. I don't see this past weekend as the straw that breaks the camel's back...in Trump's world but it could be coming soon as the Neo-Nazis are planning more rallies across the country and Trump's is already skating on thin ice in his handling of this one.

      I have not seen any suggestion that a foreign power has a finger in what's going on but it's possible. These fringe groups got to get their funding from some place.

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  11. I keep thinking this has to end, that the country can't take 4 years of this childish venom and petulance. I don't hate this man, but I do wonder about his mental health.

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    1. My fear is that people will get fed up with all his drama and tune out and then he can totally destroying the office of the presidency, if unchecked by public outcry. I don't think his mental health is any different than it was 10 years ago or 20. We're just not used to seeing such a self-centered, selfish egotistical person in such a high office.

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  12. If you can, watch Seth Meyers introduction to his show from two days ago. It's under statement on Charlottesville and it runs 2:45.
    I have been disgusted, ashamed, revolted, offended and scared since November 8. Silence is not an option now.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I saw it. The late night comedians have really stepped up to the plate with great editorials.

      This week there are supposed to be more Unite the Right rallies. We're in for a scary fall if Trump continues to act as he's been doing.

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    2. If you can, watch Keith Olbermann, too!

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    3. I can't find anything of him commenting on Charlottesville. Maybe it's too soon, if he just did something.

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  13. I don't know why people have ever expected any behaviors from our Prez other than what he repeatedly demonstrates. He showed us who he was when he was a candidate. His words are generally not reliable, but his spontaneous outbursts show us his true beliefs. Charlottesville's violence is dispicable -- a family member had a former classmate injured (not seriously) in that melee protesting for peace and against hate.





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    1. He did show us who he was during his campaign. I fault the people who didn't process what they were seeing and who too easily dismissed his major character flaws and voted for him anyway.

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  14. These events happened just as I'm re-reading J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, about growing up in white, working-class Appalachian culture, in preparation for my book group's discussion of this book next week. (This book was on the New York Times list of books to read to understand the election of Trump.) One of our local television reporters, an African American,found and interviewed a Maine white nationalist who attended the rally in Charlottesville. The man distinguished between white nationalism (which he owned) and white supremacy (which he rejected). He argued that mixing the races had not worked well, so it made more sense for each race to have its own "homeland." The reporter pressed him on this by asking "who would move?" The man replied that it would probably make most sense for the black homeland to be in the part of the country where lots of blacks already live, like the south, and for the white homeland to be in places which are already largely white (like northern New England). In other words, the reporter would have to move but this particular white nationalist would not. No mention of the visible populations of Native Americans in Maine who were here first (or maybe their existing tribal lands are seen as a sufficient homeland for them). It was a chilling discussion, especially during this week of reporting on the 70th anniversary of the violent India/Pakistan partition and migration. -Jean

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    1. Theses people work really hard at justifying their racism but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. It is chilling how open they are about it now and how by doing so they are hoping to grow their numbers.

      Your book club tackles some meaty topic and serious books.

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  15. What would have happened if the Alt. Left had stayed home? The Alt. Right would have marched and there probably wouldn't have even been coverage on the news. All this did and the continuing news coverage does is give them publicity--which they loved--and bring in more members. If you don't want to get caught up in a protest and perhaps become hurt or killed, stay away from a protest. By the way, the permit does not HAVE to be approved. One of the haters wanted to speak at MSU and they denied his request.

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    1. What would have happened if the Allied Forces hadn't stood up to Nazis during WWII? Think of all the American GI's who wouldn't have died. Were they victims because they didn't stay home? Were they 50% to blame for all the people who died during the war because they didn't stay home? Or was the power hungry, hateful Nazis regime 100% to blame because the world decided to stand up against hate and Hitler? White Supremacy groups are growing in the U.S. Ignoring them and hoping they'll go away is not going to stop the movement.

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  16. I don't understand how the Alt Right fits in to America. As I understand it, they are white supremacists. Part of your Constitution says that all men are created equal. So how can people who believe they are better than others be tolerated in the USA? How can the President refer to them as fine people?

    I've been reading your blog and some blogs you link to from here in Perth Western Australia. Although I am heartened by some (including yours), I am horrified by the justification in others of the shameful events in Charlottesville.

    Good on the people who are standing up to the neo Nazis and white supremacists.

    Marie

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    1. Our Constitution does say all men are created equal but the Alt-Right is proof not everyone believes that. The vast majority of people don't tolerate them and are horrified by them. Until recently the White Supremacist have not been so open about it. The internet has allowed them to network into what we saw in Charlottesville, and I understand what is coming this weekend. I wish I could explain the people who are justifying the rally/White Supremacy Movement including the words of the president. I can't. I hope and pray they are in a small minority.

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  17. I love Ana Navarro, and I am beyond disgusted with 45.

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    1. She's not afraid to speak her own mind, is she.

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  18. Thank you, Jean, for adding to the many voices condemning this outrage.

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