Sneak preview of the forthcoming book I Am Worthier Than You: Racism in the United States and its Multidimensional Effects by Marcelle Bartolo-Abela:
(A section from Chapter 2):
2017 – Blood and Soil! Never Again!
The Charlottesville Rally
On August 12, 2017, a Unite the Right rally led by a White nationalist, Jason Kessler, took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the aim of protesting the town council’s suggested removal of the statue of Robert Edward Lee from Emancipation Park, after the council had been pressured for a long time to do so by non-White residents (Fausset & Feuer, 2017; Montgomery, 2017). Lee had been a general of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War and the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, with which he invaded the North and won various battles against the Union with tactical brilliance, until his defeat in 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg and his surrender two years later to Ulysses S. Grant (A&E History Network, 2017). Lee has been portrayed as a legendary figure in American history and is revered by the American South as a heroic symbol of their ‘Lost Cause,’ a revisionist narrative of the Civil War (Contreras, 2017). Historic documents have, in fact, shown that Lee was a known racist and “cruel figure with his slaves [who] encouraged his overseers to severely beat slaves captured after trying to escape” (ibid.). Given the above context, the Unite the Right rally soon escalated and turned violent, leading the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, to declare it unlawful at the request of the Virginia State Police (BBC, 2017; Ford, 2017; Katz, 2017). He also proclaimed a state of emergency.
Unite the Right clashed repeatedly in downtown Charlottesville with a broader-spectrum group of anti-racism counterprotesters who descended into the streets to challenge the former’s ideology. Unite the Right consisted of groups of hundreds of White nationalists and White supremacists, neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis, ‘patriot’ militias and supporters wearing paramilitary protective gear and armed with guns, semi-automatic weapons, clubs, rods, three-foot wide wooden shields, and pepper spray among several other items. They sported Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats, Confederate flags and swastikas, and carried both Trump/Pence signs and various banners with anti-Muslim or anti-Semitic screeds. ‘Hitler salutes’ were reported to be frequent (Lithwick, 2017). Among the identifiable Unite the Right groups were Identity Evropa, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, Proud Boys, the Traditional Workers’ Party, the Three Percenters, and Vanguard America (Cicero, 2017; Montgomery, 2017). Continue reading “SNEAK PREVIEW: ‘I Am Worthier Than You’”
“This is a very fair book. It reminds us that being Catholic is being neither right nor left. One of the great joys of belonging to this Church is that our outlook is always universal: that is what being Catholic is.
“In the past, there seems to have been a widespread assumption that a Catholic in the US will vote for a Democratic candidate. Rather like Catholics in the UK who generally voted Labour. So when these parties became virulently “pro-choice”, Catholics, even those who took their faith seriously, continued to vote for these parties. But ought Catholics identify themselves with the Right as an alternative?” Continue reading here.
The Revised Edition of the book Who Are You? What is Your Faith? America’s 21st Century Alt-Right and Catholic Social Doctrine has now been released. It is available in paperback and ebook editions from the usual outlets.
Regarding the book Who Are You? What is Your Faith?
“Progress in our nation happens when everyday Americans get involved and come together to chart our country’s course. It’s that uniquely American character—enhanced by a rich diversity of beliefs and a deep reservoir of ideas—that has always propelled us forward. As long as citizens of every party, every background, and every walk of life continue speaking out on the issues that matter to them and working toward the future we know is possible, our best days will always lie ahead . . . You have my very best” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States. Dated October 5, 2017.
Houston, we’ve had a problem (James A. Lovell).
Ask and you shall receive (Mt 7:7).
On April 11, 1970, the seventh manned mission in the US space program, Apollo 13, was launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 2016). The astronauts on board the mission were James A. Lovell, jr., Commander; Fred W. Haise, jr., pilot of the lunar module, Aquarius; and John L. Swigert, jr., pilot of the command module, Odyssey (National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], 2009). The mission was intended to be the third lunar landing attempt and Apollo 13 was set to land in the Frau Mora highlands of the moon (US Congress, 2010). But the unexpected took place.
Two days into the mission, which had been characterized by uneventfulness and being “bored to tears” (NASA, 2009) as reported by the capsule communicator, John Kerwin, the second oxygen tank on board the service module exploded after it had been stirred as part of routine maintenance procedures. The explosion resulted in the failure of the first oxygen tank. The mission of Apollo 13 became crippled.
Critical supplies of electricity, light, and water were lost aboard the spaceship. The oxygen supply started being vented out into space in an uncontrollable manner at a high rate per second and the fuel cells started to die. The entire Sector Four panel of the service module had been blasted away by the explosion and wreckage was hanging out. Aquarius became a ‘lifeboat’ for the crew, despite having been designed to hold no more than two men for just two days (The New York Times, 1970). The astronauts were 200,000 miles away from the earth. Continue reading “Chapter 10: The return”
Does Protecting the Nation Serve America?
The bow was wedged in and could not be moved, but the stern began to break up under the pounding . . . Once we reached safety, we learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold (Saint Paul).
The Executive Order 13769 titled Protecting the Nation and its revised version, Executive Order 13780 with the same title, were enacted by President Trump and his administration to ostensibly protect the American people from terrorism (Salama & Caldwell, 2017) “because you don’t know who’s who . . . We can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States” (Jarrett, 2017). According to the President, “hundreds of refugees are under federal investigation for terrorism and related reasons . . . We’re talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people” (Trump, 2017g). Prima facie, the intent behind these two Orders seems good – but is it?
At this time of writing, at the level of law, six courts (and counting) have struck down the two Executive Orders as violating both the letter and the spirit of the US Constitution. Some courts have found that there is no probable cause for the Orders in terms of specific evidence and that taken in the context of their construction, they represent nothing more than codified religious animosity toward a different people and a group of territories.
At the level of Christianity and the moral law, President Trump has been known more than once to pray with evangelical leaders, even in public, and it has been reported that he has a longtime spiritual advisor, the megachurch pastor and televangelist Paula White (Timm, 2017). The President has admitted that “we all are made by the same God” (Trump, 2017g). But this public declaration as well as the no-less-equal and public manifestations of faith, taken in context of the design, construction, rollout, and implementation of Executive Order 13769 as shown in the first chapter and Executive Order 13780, beg the question: Are we really all made by the same God? Continue reading “Chapter 9: Does “Protecting the Nation” serve America?”
The American Alt-Right
All are brothers and all are children of God (Pope Francis).
The American alt-right has been defined as a broad group of people or movement who tend to ascribe to far-right ideologies that include “preserving and protecting the White race . . . in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes, and strict law-and-order” (Daniszewski, 2016). The movement has been considered to be “an offshoot of conservatism” (ibid.) that is characterized by the confluence of racism, White nationalism, and populism (SPLC, 2016b). It has also been critical of “multiculturalism, and more rights for non-Whites, women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants, and other minorities” (Daniszewski, 2016).
Several individuals who ascribe to alt-right mentality, whether declared or undeclared, tend to reject the fundamental right that all human persons are equal under the law irrespective of creed, ethnicity, gender, or race. The core belief held in alt-right mentality is that “‘White identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice,’ to undermine White people and their civilization” (SPLC, 2016b).
The original alt-right. The term alt-right was first coined in 2008 by Richard B. Spencer, the now 39-year-old president of The National Policy Institute (NPI; Wallace-Wells, 2016). The NPI is a far-right think tank in Arlington, Virginia, that is involved with the ideology of White nationalism and the preservation of Western civilization. The motto of NPI (2017) is “For our people, our culture, our future.”
White nationalism has been defined as “the belief that national identity should be built around White ethnicity, and that White people should maintain both a demographic majority and dominance of the nation’s culture and public life . . . [thus] maintaining political and economic dominance, not just a numerical majority or cultural hegemony” (Kaufmann, in Taub, 2016). Western civilization has been defined as “a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe” (Wikipedia, 2017a). Populism has been defined as a Manichean-based “thin-centered ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogenous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite’ (Mudde, 2004; Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2013). The goal of populism is to unite the “uncorrupt and unsophisticated ‘little man’ against the corrupt and dominant elites (usually the established politicians) and their camp of followers (usually the rich and the intellectuals;” Wikipedia, 2017b).
According to Spencer, the alt-right was defined by
“A break with establishment conservatism that favors experimentation with the ideas of the French New Right; libertarian thought as exemplified by former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul; anarcho-capitalism, which advocates individual sovereignty and open markets in place of an organized state; Catholic traditionalism, which seeks a return to Roman Catholicism before the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council; and other ideologies” (SPLC, 2016b).
Two revealing examples of alt-right thought are shown below: Continue reading “Chapter 7: The new American alt-right population / A presidency of hatred?”