Why “Neo-Nazi” should scare us

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I have been bingeing on “The Man in the High Castle” on Amazon Prime.* The Nazis won World War II and, after dropping an A-Bomb on DC, established the Reich in the eastern part of our country while the Japanese had the western.

If you can suspend your knowledge of history a bit and enter this alternate reality, it becomes very frightening. The Japanese are despotic with a vengeance but it is the Nazi government, white supremacy personified, that is the most striking to me.

Swastikas are everywhere in one form or the other, Heil Hitler and Sieg Heil ring out, the less than ‘perfect’ human specimens are euthanized, the brown-shirted young people stand with the Nazi salute, on and on.

Normally, such a story, similar in tone to Phillip Roth’s “The Plot Against America”, would just be fascinating fiction. But consider Charlottesville, Virginia in the Summer of 2017. White nationalists marched on the University of Virginia campus. Counter protestors gathered. Chaos ensued with violence, the worst of which was the death of young anti-Nazi protester when a white supremacist drove his car into the crowd.

New American Nazis represent the absolute worst of racism and anti-Semitism. They must be taken seriously. Never, for even a moment, think like Trump that there is “good” amongst them. History, if we could only learn from it, is clear about that danger.

Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, wrote: “We have seen” (referring to the Holocaust) the mounds of corpses and visited the camps where they killed us. . . . By our sides were the ghosts of those who were no longer, whose blood was shed like water because Jewish blood is considered cheap. We saw their outstretched hands and looked into their burning and soul-searing eyes that peered into our very being and heard them say: Never again. Promise us. Never again”

If ever there was a time to renew this promise, the time is now.

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*This series is based on a Philip K. Dick book, one of 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories. Dick died much too early at age 53. That  he was so prolific and creative was a gift to the world nonetheless.

 

 

 

The days of our lives

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My father and his children. c. 1956

On New Year’s Eve we had a funeral at 2nd Church Newton. We celebrated the life of a man who was 106 years old, born in December of 1912.

Had my father not died at an early age he would have been 106, too. In fact, his birthday was actually on December 31, 1912. He jokingly told us that he wasn’t sure how old he was, especially since was born near midnight. Born in ’12, at 11:30 PM, 106; born in ’13, at 12:30 AM, 107? Not really but fun to think about and no wonder it was confusing.

He had a short life ending with couple of heart attacks, the first at age 53 and the fatal one at 56. He smoked as most men did then and had a nerve disease that required him to start using a walker in his 40’s. Cardiac imaging and coronary artery bypass surgery were in their infancy but who knows how those advancements would  have helped anyhow.

I guess you could say that I was close to my father. I worked with him in his wholesale hot dog business in my high school years. Memories of delivering many seven pound boxes of bulk wieners on the Jacksonville Beach boardwalk are seared into my brain.

I have outlived my father by quite a few years but does more time mean that much? I have good quality of life, all in all, I have been able to take advantage of modern medicine. I share life with a wonderful woman who is the mother of our two great children.  They undoubtedly want me to stick around and I plan to do my best. So for them if not for me, added years would be excellent

I  have no meaningful answers but about the simplest yet most profound way to see it is this: “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” –Martin Luther King

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Afterthought: One memory I treasure more than others is when years later he told me that to the contrary, he hadn’t pushed me into the ministry. He had hoped I would take over Turner Distributing Company.

 

‘’Enuf said?

May be.

On the other hand, some semblance of our constitutional checks and balances has been sparked by the Blue Wave.

And for us here in West Newton, there is a new home as a part of ministerial compensation in a great new congregation.

In fact, a “good things” list could go and on. So, once again, the keyword is gratitude. With love to our family and friends, new and old, we say: