Took a While
AP Photos by Alex Brandon
. . . for enough outrage to build up! But now it has, between the murder at the Holocaust Museum in Washington on June 10th and the increase in neo-Nazi and other hate groups because of the election of President Obama. Obama's historic election has set the extremist fringe groups, mostly white power types, or Holocaust deniers, like the 88 year old nutcase who killed security guard Stephen Tyrone Powers
Stephen Tyrone Johns; AP photo by Alex Brandon
at the Holocaust Museum, apparently because the killer thinks the Holocaust never happened, into frenzies of activity, trying to assert their skewed vision of how the world should work. That von Brunn, the murderer, has a long history of far-right-wing crime, further indicates the depth of this depravity. It's a further irony that the Holocaust Museum was to host a reading of a new play, Anne and Emmett, by Janet Langhard Cohen, this week, which dealt with an imaginary meeting between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both victims of bias and hatred, to mark Anne Frank's 80th birthday. That means Frank and von Brunn are of the same generation, to further compound the irony.
James von Brunn, Holocaust Museum murderer; Talbot County (MD) sheriff photo
The impact of all this is made clear by the photo from this morning, of President Obama, in a Secret Service limosine, being driven past the Holocaust Museum. von Brunn parked in front of the museum, and walked in the door with a loaded shotgun, according to press reports.
AFP photo by Tim Sloan
While it's pretty clear what motivates these white people who feel dispossessed from what they regard as their birthright to have power and control -- and it's significant that most are underemployed and undereducated, and so have no particular prospects other than their self-perceived superiority due to their ethnicity -- it's less clear how to deal with them. They can be marginalized, as they have been, even when (as in the American Nazis marching some years ago in Skokie, Illinois, in an area heavily populated by Holocaust survivors) given a platform through their right to freedom of speech. They can also be characterized as pathetic losers, which they often are. But those pathetic, marginalized losers can arm themselves, and create chaos. And their numbers seem to be growing; who'd have thought that relatively stable Riverside, California, could be home to an American Nazi barbeque, created by the new youth leader of the Riverside chapter of the Nazis? But here they are, in all their superior race glory, in a photo taken from their website, at the January barbeque in January, 2009.
2009!!!. Who'd have thought there would still be people spouting the Nazi hatred 60 years after the Nazi movement was brought to an end? One wonders if any of those happy Riverside barbequers had grandfathers or fathers or uncles who fought in the war. Or if any of them have bothered to learn what the Nazis were all about.
But we all know that anti-Semeticism thrives, both as bias/prejudice, as well as in national policies by a number of Middle Eastern states. And, of course, in the United States as well, as this cartoon, also from the American Nazi party website, indicates
One wonders when will it ever end? When will this futile blaming others for one's own inadequacies finally end? And history gives us a grim answer: never. Humans have always created an 'other' who can be blamed for failures/failings. Columbus's own James Thurber eloquently captured that in his classic fable, "The Last Flower." Why must each generation, each nation, each ethnic group, each religious group, each neighborhood manage to recreate the tensions/hatreds/inside/outside. When will we ever learn (to quote Pete Seeger)? When will we ever learn?