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Behind the Aegis

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Member since: Sat Aug 7, 2004, 03:58 AM
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That Other Time Jews Were Hated in America and 3 Lessons To Learn from It Now


"America First!” “Absolute control of the United States by the United States!” “Return to Normalcy!” These may sound like slogans emanating from the campaign of Donald J. Trump, but in fact they date back to 1920, when Warren G. Harding was elected president.

The Harding election, like that of Trump, represented a sharp and shocking break from the policies of the previous Democratic administration, the liberal presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The ugliness that accompanied the administration of the conservative-minded Harding, and responses to it, offer lessons and perhaps even some solace for our own troubled times.

Harding’s election spelled the death-knell to the last Jewish hopes that America’s gates might be kept open, at least for victims of persecution. The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 limited, for the first time, the total number of immigrants who could be admitted into the United States and also introduced a country by country quota that made it particularly difficult for Jews from Russia and Poland to obtain immigration certificates. Meanwhile, more immigrants than ever before were deported for their political views, and entry requirements at Ellis Island were tightened. “Chauvinistic nationalism is rampant,” Louis Marshall, the foremost American Jewish leader of his day and a strong proponent of liberal immigration privately complained. “The hatred of everything foreign has become an obsession.”

Nor was hatred confined only to foreigners. Domestically, hatred of blacks, Catholics, Jews and others surged across the United States in the wake of the Harding election, so much so that historian John Higham famously dubbed the era “The Tribal Twenties.” The Ku Klux Klan, reborn as a small Georgia operation in 1915, flourished under the new administration; at its peak in the 1920s it claimed a membership of 4 to 5 million white males. Numerous municipalities and at least one state, Oregon, enacted laws effectively banning Catholic parochial schools. Discrimination against Jews likewise magnified. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and numerous other universities, private and public, limited Jewish student enrollments, as did innumerable private academies and preparatory schools. Fraternities, clubs, hotels and resorts, in many cases, shut Jews out completely.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Nov 21, 2016, 02:37 AM (3 replies)

American Jews Alarmed By Surge in Anti-Semitism

Reports of anti-Semitic vandalism and other attacks have risen since the election

American Jews gathered Thursday to wrestle with how they should confront an election-year surge in anti-Semitism, a level of bias not seen in the U.S. for decades.

At a national meeting of the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish civil rights group, about 1,000 people listened to talks expressing shock at the hatred expressed during the presidential campaign and questioned what they thought was a high-level of acceptance by other Americans.

“I’m struggling right now in this American moment,” said Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, an education and research organization, in his talk at the event. “I wonder whether I have been — and I think the answer is probably yes — a little bit naive.”

During this past year, anti-Semitic imagery proliferated on social media, Jewish journalists were targeted and longstanding anti-Jewish conspiracy theories got a fresh airing. Much of the bias originated with the alt-right, or alternative right, a loose group espousing a provocative and reactionary strain of conservatism. It’s often associated with far right efforts to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”



This American Jew wasn't surprised by this news, not the increase in anti-Semitism, nor the acceptance of it or the lack of concern. It started early in the process and got worse as time went on, and now...Bannon. Yup, sadly, it was almost what I expected might happen.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Nov 19, 2016, 04:31 AM (32 replies)

Today, 11/17, I have been "gay married" for two years.

Most people simply refer to this day, in regards to my situation, as an anniversary. It is. Two years. What makes mine so different from so many is mine was only made legal in my state two years ago (October 2014), and nationally in June of 2015. Last Wednesday, I was in tears because I didn't know if my, then upcoming, anniversary would be my last legal one. Sure, the love for my husband isn't based on a piece of paper, but that "piece of paper" makes a shit-ton of things possible for us both. There have been tons of discussions about this group or that one, but few have taken a hard look at the challenges the GLBT community is possibly facing with this new administration. Sure, the president elect has said marriage equality (and that is what it should be[/I called) is "settled". Yet, this is the same person who said in the third debate he would appoint a Supreme Court Justice with a "conservative bent" and wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Isn't "RvW" also "settled"? Not to mention his VP is a rancid, rabid, homophobic heterosexist POS and the platform for the party was the most homophobic it has ever been. The president-elect has also said he will "undo" all of President Obama's executive orders, a few which specifically protect LGBT people!

This election will have ramifications for many groups, including those of us who are GLBT. "Undoing" our marriages could lead to a host of other issues: will we have to repay tax refunds? will purchases made as a married couple be "null and void" in regards to who owns what? will children revert to having only one "real" parent?

I am thinking about what my mom says, "expect the worst, hope for the best, and you won't be surprised." The "worst" is pretty fucking bad. Will it happen right away? Of course not. However, the possibility is all too real.

Anyway, that is how I am feeling on my second legal anniversary, but I am not going to let it stop from expressing my love for my husband by making his favorite meal, mustard peppercorn rib roast, and leaving cards all over the house. But I cannot ignore the reality a part of my heart is darkened and sad. Still, I will hold him tight and remember, no matter what may come, he is the love of my life and I am richer for having him in it.

ETA: to all the "congrats" posts. Turns out my husband and I have "gay anniversary" buddies...DU's own, beaglelover! Spread the love to post #15!

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Nov 17, 2016, 06:24 AM (37 replies)

When You’re LGBT And Your Family Is Voting For Trump

November 8 is looming. It seems the closer we get to Election Day, the more heightened the emotions, thoughts, comments and stakes involved.

I’ve done my best to stay out of the fray. I’ll post funny little ditties about both candidates on Facebook, hoping to keep things light. But the reality is this election is far from light ― it’s incredibly dark. And as an LGBT individual, it’s downright scary.

We reached a milestone last summer when gay marriage became legal across the country. My mother called and left a message on my phone that nearly brought me to tears. “Congratulations!” she said in her heartwarming and adorable motherly voice. “That’s the way it should be.”

Come November, my mother is voting for Donald Trump. So is my father. Both of them love me unconditionally. Yet, both of them hate Hillary Clinton with a boiling passion that has been bubbling to the surface, across the country, for months ― even years.


My parents, and at least two of my three brothers are voting Clinton.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri Nov 4, 2016, 02:13 AM (2 replies)

These are the stories of gay women in a Nazi concentration camp

The Nazis called them ‘anti-social’, ‘criminal’ or ‘crazy’.

But the lesbians imprisoned during the Holocaust in Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp, were none of those things.

And now their modern-day lesbian and feminist sisters are setting about telling their stories and honoring their memories.

For decades these stories were lost, as lesbianism remained taboo in the post-Nazi era.

So today it is difficult to know exactly many lesbians were persecuted and murdered for their sexuality or how many lesbians were among other categories of prisoners in the camps.

But here are some stories we can tell of women persecuted under the Third Reich.

All of them passed through Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp 90km north of Berlin. For some, it was also where they ended their lives.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri Nov 4, 2016, 02:11 AM (3 replies)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Feelin' Alt-Right (parts 1 & 2)


GO SAMANTHA GO!!! Speaking out about anti-Semitism...truthfully!

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Nov 2, 2016, 12:31 AM (0 replies)
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