Drifting to Acceptance and Intolerance

My wife and sister in-law were sitting in the sun at the Last Frontier Saloon in Fall City, WA basking in the sunlight much like a cat does lazing about in so many peoples windows. In a prime state of relaxation. They are chatty pair and when they saw a man wearing a “Sturgis” T-Shirt, where they both have been they turned it into a opportunity to have a conversation. At first cordial, it took a U-Turn as the man used it as a political platform. His hatred of our state governor, money being wasted on meth addicts, to be frank not anything that is not being espoused these days. There certainly is a group who despise Washington State Governor Jay Inslee , but in 2020 he easily won the election over Trump candidate Lauren Culp (56% – 43%). Is this different than any other time in US history? Perhaps. The final nail on the man’s coffin or enlightenment is he is moving to Idaho, where he can now be free. Freedom is a fickle things these days, not defined by the constitution but by whomever at that moment may be interpreting it, to suit their ends.

Recently I watched a documentary about ” The American Redoubt” by an English news crew. It was exploring a right wing group of people many who had moved to Idaho seeking a life more in line with their values, very Christian in their beliefs. They have broadened there geography to include Montana, Wyoming and the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington. You always have to be careful with film, because they may film a group of people close up and crowded, giving you the impression it is a mass movement, only to discover it was 50 people. The American Redoubt is adept at playing the blame game as you can read at their online news site, the Redoubt News, which is scary given the amount of misinformation, not to mention individuals with questionable backgrounds (Matt Shea). There are lot of people moving to Idaho and not surprisingly they are white, middle aged and pissed. Looking for answers, looking for peace but look into their heart you will only find anger.

Conspiracy theories have become prevalent in America. Used as a means for action, regardless it seems of how far out they may be. It has gotten to the point there are so many to keep track of, we had Pizza Gate, QAnon, Stop the Steal, seems like dozens of COVID conspiracies etc..and the funny thing is I am a fool if I do not believe at least one of them. In some ways we are like Russia in the way we are manipulated by these ideas. In Russia, where homosexuality is not condoned the common refrain is save the children from pedophiles, turning the whole debate on its head and make all gays pedophiles and use their children as propaganda against them. Next thing you know in the states we have QAnon and Pizza Gate. Apparently we have a bigger pedophile problem. We as a society seem to revel in being in “the know”. The government is lying to us, like we are in an episode of the “X-Files”. Throughout history mankind has been susceptible to conspiracy theories especially when you make the target audience the victim. Rush Limbaugh is beaming down from heaven with his approval of the ridiculous, the absurd, the conspiracy. The victim card worked for Hitler and seemingly in can work anywhere, where a segment of the population is desperate enough for an answer that does not involve themselves.

There is a part of America that is afraid. They see a country they thought they knew drifting away. What once was “Hotdog’s, Baseball and Apple Pie”, is shrinking away. In the digital age things are moving faster than many can comprehend. Not just socially but economically. Change has always been a big part of the American experience, but now we see that change more in racial divides. When you throw up data that says by 2050 white people will not be the majority the United States, many people become terrified, which is why it did not take but a simple shove to revive white nationalism in the United States. It would be easy to dismiss these groups as racists and therefor not active or welcome participants in democratic process, but that would be a poor choice. They are growing and no one is giving them reason to turn away. They have a solution, but if you did deeper into the view. it will involve a great amount of bloodshed, that cost never has a positive outcome.

Going back to Idaho I hear of a lot of people saying I am going to move to Idaho as it is more in line with my values, rather than fight for their beliefs at home they choose the easy route and move to a place viewed as safe. It strikes me if we continue this path we will move away from red states vs blue states to deep red states vs deep blue states, the difference being you are no longer welcome when crossing from deep blue to deep red. We live in an era, as NY Times Columnist David Brooks defined it, of explosive distrust: It is not that we view opposing views as wrong, we view them as illegitimate. When all this happens you have taken away a fundamental tenant of American democracy: Freedom.

Good Night and Good Luck,

Hans Henrik Hoffmann

May 9, 2022

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The Platform

In the age of new media it seems we are all given a voice. We can share our opinions, our fears, our dreams and just put it out in the ether, hoping that someone will listen. Hoping that someone will validate our beliefs. Give us a sense of purpose. Give us meaning. In many ways this sounds very vain and it is (as i write I think of the hypocrisy of what I am saying). But when you look at society and how we choose to consume information, this makes for some frightening scenarios. There are those who get large amount of followers and begin touting ideas and opinions, some of which they know very little about. They cause controversy and raise doubts about our society and our government. They position themselves sometimes as all knowing and the truly frightening thing is people listen, worse yet they believe.

Throughout history media changes. The consequences of these changes is well laid out through history, starting with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 up until now with the digital onslaught of the internet. Without the printing press many scientists would have been denied, “The Dialog” by Galileo which scientifically proved Copernicus’ theory that the earth revolved around the sun (the catholic church was none too happy with this). It would provide us access to great literature. It gave us newspapers and the concept of journalism, but even then it was perverted for nefarious purposes. The Dreyfus affair in France and the yellow journalism of the Spanish American War. As we moved into radio and film, what first was new and cool soon became the tool of propaganda and one of the best to use it was Nazi Germany, who used to to great effect in turning German suffering toward hatred of the Jews, it would be 6 million lives later that we would learn the true horror of what had been done. Progress has consequences when used for ill intent.

The internet has followed the arc of radio and TV. At first it was very cool and exciting allowing us to link across the globe, whenever and wherever. But as time has moved forward we now enter a new phase where people begin to magnify and promote extreme views, what is slightly different is how it is controlled. Where the Nazi Party of the past or today’s Chinese communist party, they were governments that control the flow of information to promote a narrow world view point, in the free market everyone and anyone has a opportunity to share their views, but its the intersection of the public and private that create the current climate of confusion. Governments with desires of power love to manipulate their citizens, but with the web we now have the opportunity to manipulate other peoples citizens, this clearly came to light in the US Presidential election of 2016 where Russia became very adept at using social media to misguide US Citizens.

Another area of concern is the rise of outlandish conspiracy theories. They seem to come out of nowhere and then create a huge following on the web. We have QANON, Pizzagate, Stop the Steal, and a whole host of others that gain momentum in popular culture, long on rhetoric, but short on substance. We create figures with massive influence like Alex Jones and Joe Rogan. To the point they are so large and influential no one dares challenge their credentials, but there are those who want to tap into that influence. Donald Trump wanted Alex Jones listeners for his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. This is a man who falsely claimed that the Sandy Hook school massacre, which left 20 children ages 6-7 dead and 6 educators dead, was actually staged by actors. A man who lusts for influence and power knows no limits to his cruelty. Yet as a society we continue to give him a platform. The free market reigns supreme, despite its inherent cruelty.

It’s an interesting time in US history where we know the key to our children’s success is STEM, yet we hate science when it threatens our way of life. No matter what the consequences. We seek to create a world based on a past that never existed and a future that never will be. We regulate our children’s lives with schedules that never allow themselves to be bored (there is value in boredom). Soccer mom is a mom who is overworked (by definition mothers are overworked). In light of all this our children are subject to the same indulgences, the same threats. About 20yrs ago cyber-bullying was not a thing, but is certainly is now. It also means children are subject to the threat and manipulation of foreign actors. Not easy being a parent in modern times.

We live an a very emotional world, where we live life almost by moments, we live a double life thanks to social media. Sometimes creating a virtual world where we share happy photos and happy moments, perhaps to shutter the darkness that lays beneath us. It is something that criminals and foreign governments have learned to prey on. To utilize that sensitive emotional state and turn citizens against one another. The US seems particularly vulnerable to this threat. In a society built on economic consumption and instant gratification our emotions run extremely high and we find ourselves being manipulated in new, creative and fundamentally evil ways. Turning on our citizens and our nation. A recent CBS News Poll has 54% of Americans believing the biggest threat to the US In internal, granted it is one poll but whether it was 40% or 70%, it is something to ponder and wonder out loud, “How did we get here”? The Platform we participate in are a means of social escape and are subject to social manipulation. America is a envied nation, still many dream of coming to our shores and living the American dream, but with success comes nations who loathe us, either out of envy or could be religiously driven or super powers battling for influence. However if this wedge in America continues to be driven deeper, the American dream may be nearing its end.

Good Night and Good Luck,

Hans Henrik Hoffmann February 18, 2022

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Donald Trump is not the issue

We have spent a lot of time focused on Donald Trump these past few years, probably because in an era of social media and a lack of volume control he speaks the loudest He makes for good headlines and he commands millions of loyal supporters. He positions himself as larger than life. Ultimately in control of his followers. The voice either of reason or insanity depending on which side you are on. He is bombastic and not very well read (this by his own admission) . He views the world literally one dollar at a time, focused on transactions in place of deep thinking. His appeal primarily being he is not a traditional politician. At a time when public opinions view of Congress is at all time low, his promise to tear it all down was welcomed. But for all the promises, all the chaos was this all a creation of Trump’s mind? Like so many things in history it goes way deeper than that. The reality is Donald Trump is just a symptom of what has occurred on the US for the last 30-40 yrs. A period which has seen the American middle class in a gradual decline to poverty and social decay. It has been a perversion and destruction on the American dream.

That American dream was a white persons dream (in 1950 89.5% of US population was white). Largely built during the era of post World War II America, A country that came through the global war with her homelands unscathed and an economy intact with a world at her doorstep that needed rebuilding. Blue collar workers in America had strong unions and consequently had great wages. The American dream was a house with two cars, a husband and wife and two kids. The television was new and exciting with a TV dinner tray (is this where American obesity stated?). Luckily no remote, so you actually had to get up and turn the channel (there were only three). Growing up you learned about the fifties in a dreamlike fashion. Eisenhower was president and he played a lot of golf (the record is actually held by Woodrow Wilson at over 1200 rounds, Eisenhower is second). The American dream was at its crest.

Between that crest and now a lot of things happened to change the view of the American dream. When we see a dream a lot lurks under the covers. The civil rights movement exploded, trying to make up for 246 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow. It is still with us nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights act. Vietnam brought our military and political leadership into question. The labor unions slowly died as we let the free market decide peoples fate and more importantly their net worth to society. We were taught to distrust government and then wonder why it fails us. Yet time and time again during times of crisis we turned to our government (9/11, Financial Crisis, COVID-19 etc..) to save us from the mess we were in. If you think about it we seem to in crisis very eight to nine years. We seem to put our hatred of government n pause in those moments.

We did not get here over night. Where we are today has been a long time in the making. It did not start with Obama or GW Bush. We have slowly been moving this direction towards a sharp division in the United States. A trend that seems like it cannot be broken. We lack a civil discourse in the nation. We have started to doubt who we are and where we are headed. Generations have grown up with the idea of American exceptionalism. For many it was a concrete belief bordering on fact, but over time we have seen this belief begin to fragment. To see some of our darker secrets enter the national dialog. The days of the man working at a factory and coming home to a house with his wife and kids, seems like a dream of yesteryear. Most of those jobs and the wages associated with them outsources abroad. In the meantime the free market people say, “you need to find something else to do”, which always amazes me as they fail to accommodate the factor known as time. You have to find the “new” thing, get necessary training (education) perhaps relocate all while still having bills to pay. It’s easy.

Oklahoma City was a seminal moment in US history. On April 19, 1995 a bomb went off in the Alfred P Murrah Federal building killing 167 people and sending shockwaves throughout America. The immediate reaction was this was foreign terrorist activity, but what America was not prepared for was the terrorists were not foreign, they were homegrown. Timothy McVeigh would go down in history as the instigator of this crime but as time past on, in the circles of the extreme right he would become a hero and not a villain. McVeigh had grown disillusioned with the American government. The Waco siege was a defining moment for him of government overreach. He was a extreme gun rights advocate, so extreme he left the NRA, viewing it as too soft on gun rights. He was a racist, reading works like the “Turner Diaries”. But more importantly his view on government rather than being disconcerting, has become prominent in American dialog when discussing government. There is a large and growing group of people who hate their government. Like a slow moving cancerous disease it continues to spread. In those groups McVeigh is a hero.

It is ok for a society to be disappointed in government. This is what our democracy was built upon, for the people if they were not happy with their existing government leadership, they were provided the ballot box to change it. When it was created it was revolutionary. However over the past several decades we have seen Americans faith in government erode. Routine polls show Congress below 25%. Negative campaigning is the norm. Social Media has altered the discourse towards emotional outbursts rather than substantive dialog. It has altered the mood in the nation and ravaged our social framework. People routinely site a return to the constitution, but I would argue we have never really left it. The framework of our government remains intact as defined by the first three articles of the constitution. What the federal government does not decide falls to the states (article IV). If you do not like how your state is handing government, there are 49 other states to choose from. The constitution is alive and well.

Technology which really started as an industry towards the end of the eighties with the birth of companies like Apple and Microsoft, would play an increasing role in this public discourse. A big driver was the dawn of the internet into the public domain. As the web evolved it began to take on a social connection and before you knew it you had lots of social outlets (like blogging!), which included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap etc…But like so many things that started out innocently such as connecting with high school classmates you have not seen in 20 yrs turned ugly and it was not long before foreign adversary’s took note and started manipulating social media for their own benefit and detriment of the United States. In an interesting twist at the time, then President Trump chose to ignore the involvements of foreign adversaries. Anything that diminished him was unacceptable. Technology is the most hyper-competitive industry on the planet, with that in mind it forges ahead at breakneck speed only thinking of consequences when it is too late.

We are also going through big demographic changes. By now we all know that by the year 2050, based on current demographics and birthrates, white people will no longer be the majority of the US population. This is ok (I feel I need to say that). It will cause change in how we govern. If you look at the two sacred documents in the United States; The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the US Constitution (1783) they were written by white men. There were plenty of slaves at the time they just were not considered a part of the documents. As the Dred Scott decision in 1857 would teach us,if you were black you had no rights because you were not citizens. Do not get upset of your fellow Americans if they do not hold these two documents in sanctity, there is a reason. This change, feared by many should not be feared as it was the basis this country aspired to when it was created. But fear of the unknown has always created anxiety, but it will challenge us a a people and despite best efforts a wall will not prevent it.

Today we have a nation that now whispers and hints of civil war. Groups discussing secession. In Idaho there is the American Redoubt Movement, in some ways described as a movement towards a more simplistic life. In Texas some desire to be independent (may be an opportunity for Mexico to take its land back). Other groups are more extreme such as Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and a whole host of neo-Nazi type organizations. None really have a organizational structure that warrants mass public fear, but they are a regular occurance on news broadcasts. It was NY Times Columnist David Brooks who coined the term “explosive distrust”. Explosive distrust is not just that you disagree with someone’s view, it is that you view their views as illegitimate. To me that sums up where we are as a nation today. We have become so divided we cannot listen to dissenting view points. Which is exactly one of the principles this country was founded on. We are reaching a crossroads in this countries existence.

By global standards we are still a young country and one of the great experiments in human history. Can a people govern themselves? It is the question and the test of our democracy, it always has been. We are a impatient country, a product of our economic desires and lust for immediate gratification. Which is why the coming decades may be difficult. We did not get here overnight. It will take time for us to renew our belief in our nation. We have explosive and divisive issues before us, some within our control and some beyond our control . President Biden has called it “a battle for the soul of America”. That is a honest and true statement, regardless of what side of the political divide you stand with. It will be a battle that will take in all likelihood decades to resolve. It will be hard and if we descend into bloodletting and allow are divisions, anger and hate to prevail, the Constitution will die and a new America will awaken, much different than the one we have come to love, to call home. We are greater than any one individual and have never been a country looking to have one figure with absolute power, but chaos was never built on defined morality.

Good Night and Good Luck,

Hans Henrik Hoffmann

January 24, 2022

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Why Defund the Police failed

A year ago it was all the rage. George Young’s death at the hands of a police officer very quickly went viral. It became front and center in the American dialog and in the American media. Protests spread across the country, on top of the fact that we were in the midst of a pandemic. the police were not protectors of the law, they were the enemy. We need to reduce our dependence on our local police force and allocate our money elsewhere, we need to defund the police. If you were on the extreme left, it was your cause. If you were on the extreme right this was the gateway to violent revolution (and communism, if I thought they knew what communism is I would expand, but they don’t). It was a very emotional moment in the timeline of US history. But just as quickly as it came it seemed to disappear. Sure there are still few fringe groups pushing this narrative, but given the immediate results of these efforts it is retracting. Emotional responses are rarely rational responses and like a fire dying down you are soon left with slowly dying embers. Emotions burn hot but for a very short time.

Since Police forces are local operaration, city councils jumped to the forefront. We need to cut the budget of our local law enforcement. But it was all emotional and in the end burned itself out. Of late many City Councils who jumped on the band wagon, are now quietly jumping off. As they lost police officers and reduced budgets what happened? Crime went up. When crime increases people begin to feel uneasy. In my home town of Seattle, the city council jumped all over defund the police, causing a mass exodus of police officers. Not surprisingly 2021 looks to be a banner year for crime in Seattle (visit Seattle Police Crime Dashboard). Oakland has looked to create programs to fill vacancies amidst a spike in crime rates. It really is not that surprising, where there is a vacuum criminals are quick to fill. If you looked at the national level, then candidate Joe Biden never joined in. It was maturity versus the feeling of the moment.

Early on I looked into what the ideas were for defund the police. Which was not easy to find, a scattering of ideas, but nothing truly definitive . One thing about government is when you defund one organization the money you save is not going back to taxpayers, it needs to go somewhere. During its peak I tried looking online for what are some of the plans these so called civic activists had for reforming city budgets. It was a hodge podge of ideas that were kind of random and ill informed. A personal favorite was involving social workers. If we have someone who is drunk and problematic lets bring in a social worker to handle the situation. A few notes on this. Not everyone is a “happy” drunk. Some are actually angry and violent drunks. Which is why police get called in. Are social workers trained to deal with these situations especially if the drunk attacks them? Not to mention we should discuss how much social workers get paid, the mean avg salary for a social worker in 2020 was $51,760, as provided by Bureau of Labor and Statistics. We know the case loads they already have is overloaded, despite some peoples best efforts to label them lazy bureaucrats. Another idea was getting rid of SWAT teams, because the riots got a bit violent. SWAT teams are trained to handle situations beyond the capabilities of a traditional police force. Negotiations with a terrorist group in a hostage situation? In today’s world luckily not used to often, but when you need it nice to have.

Police pay became a issue. Yes, Police officers get paid well. However these are very high stress jobs and some of that pay is a bit mislabled. They do get paid well depending on where you are located, but in Seattle, go the Seattle Gov website and you can see after 3.5 yrs Seattle police officers can be making over 100k (cost of living in Seattle would be another issue). Police get a lot of overtime pay which add to their base salary. All those officers at construction sites, funeral processions etc..valued services but it’s OT and that is ok and appreciated. I find many are upset about Police salaries because they are not being paid well in their line of work, but can you put a price on public safety? In my view Police receive what they deserve, not to mention everyday they show up for work could be their last, not due to layoffs but to violence.

Part of our modern culture is the volume that social media creates. Things get loud very quickly and at times it seems like they will change the world forever, when reality they are just over blown moments in time. It is hard to disseminate what is factual and what is overblown hype. When the video of George Floyd appeared, it was naturally and rightfully viewed with horror by the American public (and global). We have seen a lot of videos over the past several years that have harmed the image of our local Police force. Let us not mince words, it has been painful. It has hurt the country. Most importantly it has hurt our police force.

Our history is far from perfect, one just need look back to the civil rights movement to see the brutality levied against black Americans. After 246 yrs of slavery and 100 yrs of Jim Crow, trust in authority will not happen in mere decades. The US incarceration rate does not help matters, where 13 % of US population is black, but make up 40% of prison population. It is unbalanced. There are areas we still have to address as a nation if we are to restore faith in our institutions For any nation to survive it needs a rule of law and the ability to enforce those rules. Our police officers provide a vital role in that enforcement and maintaining the safety of our citizens. I undertsand the hostility of black americans (as best as a white male can) and in the age of instant information things explode unexpectedly and often rightfully. We should keep in mind what we see on the internet are exceptions not rules, the majority of police officers provide invaluable service to the communities they serve.

In the end the movement to defund the police succumbed to reality. The real people taking note of this movement were not a bunch on “do gooders”, but wait for it….criminals. Defund the people who are supposed to bust us, meaning less feet on the street, a opportunity is provided with ill intent. One thing that defines the current age is our emotional impulses. We tend to move to rage very quickly, leaving rational thought behind. Our ability to think long term solutions versus immediate gratification is blunted, almost always towards the latter. Too many of us see the problem but cannot grasp the solution. The national crisis on homelessness being one that comes to mind. Defund the police was always emotional and as is typical in this day an age a blanket statement was created to define a problem, but a alternative solution was never provided. It also ignored the good work that many police officers do, instead focused on a variety of negative situations, some very valid thanks to the ability of all of us to capture events on our iPhone.

In the end every tragedy that occurs is a chance to for us to review and reform Following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO one of the reforms/innovations that took place was body camera’s on police officers. It was a step forward. People were outraged and the country looked to reform and look forward. The outcome of George Floyd, beyond the trial has not led to any reform. Despite the rhetoric it has not led to new methods of policing. As the post started our ability to tackle crime in some cities has regressed. Socially we painted the police force as a dark force in America. This was a bit dim in my view. Do we have issues of “bad” police. Yes. Do we have issues of race in the US? Yes. We have systemic issues in the US rooted in history. However the idea that defund the police was going to revolutionize law enforcement was always a dream without a foundation.

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History’s lessons

It was Mark Twain who once said “History does not repeat itself but it often rhymes”. It seems appropriate to review history given the times we are in. Over the past several decades we are a country that has become so divided we dare not speak to anyone who we consider “on the other side”. Each side viewing the other with contempt. The murmurs of a “stolen election” based on rhetoric, not fact. In a time of iPhone videos not even a stream of a crime being committed, but if you yell loud enough you will be heard and you will be followed. We seemingly scream anything these days in social media, many times ignorant of the historical context. We should not underestimate the power and reach of social media to amplify whatever sentiment we may support, to increase are level of anger and its sister, stress.

Donald Trump during one of his MAGA events said, “I am a Nationalist” to great applause. Given my personal history it made my stomach turn. Had we forgotten our history lessons or had we just become numb to what they meant? There are those that dismiss history and those that choose to learn from it. There are also those that get mired in a past that they elevate to some form of glory as if despite all the progress mankind has made we were better off before than we are now. A sentimental but sometimes dangerous tune to be swept away by. Yes as history has proven from time to time humanity chooses insanity over compassion.

Nationalism was a time in history where more was made of the leaders who led it rather than what it stood for. We are all familiar with their names: Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Salazar (ok little shout out to Portugal there) etc.. We know the promises that were delivered and the tragedy that ensued. They created a cult of personality. They were worshipped like idols so decried in a biblical sense, but believing themselves above scripture and ordained by the heavens, self ordained gods. It was a cult of personality. We are seeing a new form of Nationalists come to the forefront in Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, etc..each long on marketing and showmanship but short on details. Promising to the crowds and the applause a greater life and then returning to the safety net of individual wealth and luxury. Speaking not to the nation but only there loyal supporters. Many confuse nationalism with patriotism.

When I was born in in 1966 we were only 20 yrs removed from WWII. We were 50 yrs removed from WWI. There were still many veterans of both wars who remembered the horrors and atrocities of those dark years. We had a connection to the past and it was still vividly taught in our schools. because it was closer in time the atrocities of WWII were covered in greater detail – from the holocaust to Hiroshima. In my own home my father had participated in the Danish underground. He has walked streets that were marked with armed soldiers of the Reich. We all knew and were fairly well versed in Nazi atrocities. How had a country become some so seduced by one man? That would lead to a World War and cause levels of cruelty deemed unimaginable. Hitler came to symbolize evil. To represent a part of humanity that was hard to acknowledge that it existed or believe that it could ever happen again.

Time causes humanity’s senses to dull. WWI is now a 100 years in the rear view mirror and World War II over 75 years. A generation of young adults has little direct connection to those wars probably being steeped more in the latest wars in Iraq. Though brutal neither can hold a candle to the World War’s , where tens of millions of people perished in gulags and gas chambers, or simply on the firing line. We have begun to forget the consequences of war. In the United States the suffering caused by war was really only experienced in the South during the American Civil War and that is over 150 years ago, though the results of America’s experiment with slavery linger to this day. We now see globally a shift to the right and a return to the ideology of nationalism. It is different so far, but it is still early. The further we drift in time from ahistorical events the more clouded our mind becomes in remembering and undertstanding the consequences of those events.

One thing that has been implied but not spoken is what is the vision for the future of this nationalistic ideology? Make America Great Again makes for sound marketing, but it does not promise to build a future. To date it is a future where liberal ideas do not exist and how we rid ourselves of them has not been suggested. If we return to history we may find the answer. When I think of that my mind does not look to Fascism in Germany or Italy, but to a lesser know but equally brutal war: The Spanish Civil War. Prior to the war Spain had been mired in political dysfunction as various ideologies took root and competed for popular sovereignty(the early 20th Century was full of political ideology – communism through to fascism and everything in between). In the end it led to a civil war with land owners, the military and the church on one side and the republic, anarchists, communists, labor unions etc..on the other. Franco led the well organized military and the solution to opposition was simple – either put them in jail or shoot them. Atrocities were committed for the greater good of Spain. The dictatorship would last for 40 yrs until Franco’s death in 1975, even then Spain chose to put the past aside and focus on the future.

The mere fact that civil war is suggested in some circles is cause for concern. There would be no Mason-Dixon line this time to separate the nation, there would be only political divides. In Spain if your found to be holding any papers sympathetic to trade unions or papers that were left leaning that was enough. If you want to learn more about this period, view the documentary “The Silence of Others” (can be found on Netflix). In some ways it is more in line with modern warfare which is not driven by state lines or national borders in pursuit of political enemies. If anything America learned alot about this after 9/11. In begs the question of the future of the nation state, but that is for another blog post. Could the US actually descend into a state of chaos of civil war, Reagans beacon of shining light shred to pieces? It seems far fetched given the strength of our government institutions. But for too long we have taught a generation to distrust government and with that comes consequences, which we are only starting to face now.

It all seems a bit bleak, the classic if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. There are things that have changed in our favor. We cannot help but be in awe of the advances in science. Both in technology and the bio sciences. We are connected, but in a strange way we are also more disconnected. Living lives virtually and not really living. Seeing nature’s great beauty and rather than enjoying the moment, choosing to post it. If emotions could determine our fate then where we are headed seems a futile endeavor. Governed by humanities simplest and unkindest of emotions and descending into hatred and rage. These are not the emotions of rational people, but of suffering people. People who feel humiliated forgotten. Welcome to White America and Black America. On one side we have a group of people who saw their jobs vanish oversees and technology claim their position (these are blue collar folks, not the white power brokers). On the other side we have over 400 yrs of grievances dating back to the first slave in 1619. It is not surprising that we are endring something of a stress test. Many say it is a constitutional crisis, but I am rather dismissive of that argument. It is far greater than a written document, it is a crisis if the human spirit.

Good Night and Good Luck,

Hans Henrik Hoffmann Oct 28, 2021

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