Post # 682              JOYS AND LAMENTATIONS OF A FIRST GENERATION AMERICAN

This will be the second occasion in our hundreds of writings that, for the purposes of clarity and emphasis, we have chosen to state our conclusion at an essay’s beginning. The theme and conclusion of the present writing, simply, and  dejectedly, put, is: “This is not the way it was supposed to be.”

In an early series of essays depicting our life as American-born children of Ashkenazi -Jewish, European immigrants, self- transplanted to the novel ambiance of  1940’s Brooklyn, we sought to portray the ethnically warm, immigrant subculture, reprised, in a new and exotic context. We offered a few verbal  snapshots of our lives and those of fellow immigrants, and their earnest efforts to adjust and acclimate themselves to  a dizzying conglomeration of a new language, new folkways and social expectations,  the trolley cars, movie theaters, telephone and radio, retail stores, the automobiles, the remaining horse-drawn wagons, the coal and ice sellers, the aging residential apartment buildings, the mix of new and old-world food aromas and in general, the immigrants’ mundane experience in the then extant America,  previously dreamed of as the “New World.”

The emigrants had endured painful and dangerous sacrifices in their escape from prior lives of dire poverty, arctic-like cold and horrific peasant pogroms for a better life. They very soon discovered that America, previously transmogrified as the “ Di Goldene Medina” [the golden land] was, demonstrably, far from golden but nevertheless, a safer and better place in which to live, with the added promises of liberty and above all, opportunity for their future children.

Throughout childhood, we would, covertly, overhear the subdued adult recital of the horrific details of poverty and religious abuse, inherent in their European Jewish existence. We learned at an early age, to appreciate the good fortune of being fully vested Americans, coming to take for granted, the rights promised by law to all Americans, regardless of ethnos, relevantly inclusive of the progeny of Naturalized [immigrant] Citizens.

As related in our earlier writings, parents, regardless of the limited extent of their formal education,  emphatically stressed to their children, the existential importance of education, not merely for its own sake, but, as the route to a better life; the professions of Medicine, Law, the Rabbinate and Teaching, often being among the targeted goals. Schoolwork and study times were set aside as singularly important, during the pendency of which, parents would observe an appropriate period of silence. Their compliant children learned to dedicate themselves to success at their studies as the path to a better life.   

Until the recent appalling events, as set forth below, reconfiguring the entire traditional context of the Nation, the educational route for the attainment of “the American Dream,” was uniformly seen as a realistic goal. The children of the described immigrants, generally, went on to pursue higher education and lives as educated American citizens, many occupying the various professions and excelling in education and the arts; and, for the most part, attaining comfortable middle and upper-middle-class lives. Proper education and the democratic criterion of universal equality were recognized, in a uniformly felt context of gratitude, to be concomitants of immigrant success in the New World. Gradually, but significantly, as secure, and self-assured citizens, they acquired a mindset consistent with America’s historic mantra of universal rights.

However, in time, they became appallingly aware of the shameful and inconsistent National blemishes consisting of the past enslavement of black people and the immoral dispossession of indigenous Americans and personally experienced indications of the persistence of perverse racial, gender and anti-Semitic prejudice. Many immigrants and their children, based upon their painful memories of their past lives, became empathic and ardent supporters of civil rights and of the principle of separation of Church and State; the persisting problems of racial, gender and anti-Semitic prejudice,  universally seen as being antithetical to the historically articulated tradition of  American equality.  

America’s progress toward universal equality began to noticeably improve in citizen sentiment and government legislation in the decade of the 1960s. In 1964, Congress passed The Civil Rights Act which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or sex. The Civil Rights Act of  1968, prohibited such discrimination, targeted more specifically, to the sale, purchase, rental, and financing of homes. There was an observable, steady and slow, but consistent, progress towards the mitigation and hopefully, the elimination, one day, of racial and other bias in America.

Significantly encouraging was the election and the reelection of Barack Obama, the first black American President,[we would maintain, to date, the Nation’s finest Chief Executive] to two Presidential terms [2009-2017]. During the period of the Obama [eight] years, the longtime hopes and aspirations of right-thinking Americans looked positively attainable.

The state of the  American union remained empirically hopeful and encouraging, until the lamentable election [2016] to the American Presidency of Donald J. Trump. As observed in previous writings, this Nation, like others, has historically suffered a substantial cohort of eternally discontented, inadequately educated, useless, and at times, harmful, the underbelly of citizens. We have, at times, unceremoniously, referred to them as the Nation’s inadequately educated, semi-literate, “flat earth”  ”population. The appearance on the political scene of Donald J. Trump,  an ignorant but wily and effective populist demagogue, and a canny snake oil salesman, was one with whose ignorance and manner,  many of the Nation’s sleazy underbelly might comfortably identify. With an unprecedentedly large vote of this underbelly, together with the huge financial support of many large, industrial sociopaths, who dedicatedly value profits, gleaned from dangerous air pollution, over human life and health, the incapable, former sleazy television game show host, i.e., the neurotically egocentric, Donald J. Trump was unexpectedly and lamentingly, elevated to America’s, Oval Office.

Trump, in his one term in office was impeached two times and remains the poster boy for ignorant, corrupt, incapable, ego-centric autocrats, about who’s publicly known, harmful, and incapable performance we have profusely, written. Trump, succeeded, in his short tenure, in casting a veritable, Dark Ages style shadow over the Nation. To relate the plethora of unspeakable acts of shame and disgrace, yet again, would be needlessly redundant. We can sufficiently precis the National experience as shamelessly incapable, ignorant, and morally reprehensible. He was perniciously successful in causing, among many citizens, a populist regression to the atavistic and regressive un-American, Jim Crow era and Christian White Supremacy, an autocratic assault upon the responsible press,  and, devastatingly, a successful attack on the existential societal institution of “truth,” itself. The latter gave carte blanche to the extant, unstable conspiracy practitioners, whose delusional reality then extended from rockets sent to earth by Israel from outer space, hidden tracking micro-instruments in medical vaccine, and thermostats or bamboo that alter voting results, [delusionally] enabling Biden to “steal” the past election from Trump.

The most dangerous threat to democracy, however, consisted of  Trump’s craven choice,  to, rather than stepping aside for a new, successful candidate, asserting a tactically manufactured complaint, messaged to his delusional cult, that the Biden people have “stolen” the election from him. Armed and incensed with this bogus claim, and at Trump’s not-so-subtle invitation, many hundreds of his cult, [notably, including the various Christian White Supremacy gangs] on January 6, 2020, [the date designated for installation of the new President, by the Electoral College] launched a violent, Bastille- like, bloody insurrection, at the U.S. Capital Building, causing deaths, injuries, property damage to historical artifacts, and worst of all, damage to our democracy, by an attack upon the efficacy of the American vote.

We find very alarming and truly bizarre, the incredible facility of Trump, analogous to the similarly, ignorant and psychotic, Adolph Hitler, to hold thousands of ardent sycophants within in his demagogic sway, in cult-like acceptance of his manufactured and distorted reality. The reality-based citizens of America are dumbfounded by Trump’s ability to convince so many others, of the verity of his neurotic contortions of empirical reality. His ignorant and atavistic anti-science stance has proximately led to many thousands of preventable deaths, due to the covid virus, caused by his downplaying its seriousness and his overt opposition to preventative masking, distancing, and vaccination.     

Despite his[ multi -certified] loss to Biden Trump has continued to supply his gullible and enthusiastically responsive followers with daily doses of vile and poisonous propaganda, dangerously and emphatically confirmed by those practitioners of cognitive dissonance known as the right-wingnut media; not only regurgitating Trump’s “Big Lie,” about the “stolen” election, but spewing dangerous and false “news” and commentary which is in accord with Trump’s ubiquitous distortions of truth, and with his message of support for the anti-American, Christian White Supremacy groups.    

At this time, the dark cloud of threatened autocracy has darkened hopes of enlightenment and societal advancement, as well as universal brotherhood and equality. Only a large, spontaneous, vote of right-thinking Americans can suffice to purify the atmosphere.

Benjamin Franklin when asked, “What kind of a Nation have we created?” providentially answered, “ A Republic, if we can keep it.”

-p.                     

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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