Vote!


I was working on my computer when my husband walked into my study and said, “Something terrible has happened.”

“In Israel or in London?” I said, my breathing stopping, for my sister’s family lives in Israel and my daughter’s in London.

“No,” he said, “in Pittsburg.”

The details emerged quickly. An armed gunman burst into a Synagogue, killed 11 people and wounded several more. Six minutes before the act, the man who branded Jews as “the children of Satan,” posted on his Facebook, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered… I’m going in.”

“You know,” I said to my husband, “I’m starting to feel as if we’re reliving 1932 in Germany all over again. The Kristallnacht has not happened, yet, but it is coming.

He just hugged me. “I’m so sorry.”

Next day, we went to a vigil in honor of the victims. Before we left, I said to my non-Jewish husband, “Maybe I should go alone. You never know what may happen. You have children and grandchildren. You have responsibilities to them, too. I don’t want to put you in harm’s way.” “Nonsense,” he said, and we went together.

The crowd, assembled on the lawn of a small city park, wasn’t very big – mostly Jews of our Midwestern college town, but others as well. The ceremony was emotional and sad. People spoke of their feelings, the need for all good people to unite in the face of evil, about the Holocaust, and all the other things people say every time a mass shooting takes place. Then a rabbi read Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd

……
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

His words struck me. Was he talking about a different event? Did he even notice how ill-suited his words were? The slaughtered were in the Lord’s temple named the Tree of Life, of all things!

“They comfort me?” When? At the moment of death? As they comforted those six million Jews killed during the Holocaust? What comfort…

Of course, nothing was the rabbi’s fault. He did what he was taught to do – pray and read passages, which, hopefully, gave solace to some. To me, they triggered anger. “I fear no evil”? Really? I do. And I’m sure I am not the only one! He would have done better to just read the names and the ages of the victims, which ranged from 54 to 97–people who could be no threat to anyone. But, again, that was my anger talking.

Many said that what’s been happening in the last two years is Trump’s fault–that he created this ugly and hateful wave. Yet I also heard another voice. Trump didn’t create the wave. He’s just riding it.

I agree with that. Like Pandora who released evil spirits into the world, Trump didn’t create greed, hatred and other human ugliness. They have been smoldering for a long time. He just released them, he gave them a voice. The scary part is that now that they are out, it will be very hard to reverse this evil wave. (In fact, this wave may, one day, crush Trump himself. But, as a Russian colloquial expression has it, “A person who behaves like a dog deserves to die like a dog.”)

And if we fail to stop the wave, it may crush us, too. Look at the people at Trump’s rallies. Don’t they look – and sound – like German Nazis? Look at their youth. Don’t they remind you of Hitlerjugend? And their women? Can you picture them as capos in a concentration camp? Think I’m exaggerating? Take another look! Listen to how angry they are!

Oh, I see, you think you’re not in danger because you’re not a black or a Jew, or a Mexican or gay. Don’t kid yourself. Today it’s not about you. But tomorrow it could be. Tomorrow, they may come after the old (Republicans have been talking about getting rid of social security for some time now), the Muslims, the mentally ill, the intellectuals, and other minorities. It will happen! Unless we stop them today.

And so, don’t just pray or turn off the news. Vote!

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~~ Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

©Svetlana Grobman.  All Rights Reserved

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22 thoughts on “Vote!

  1. Svetlana, thank you for a wonderful post written with deep feeling about what is going on in our country. Yes we need to vote to destroy this red haired monster or else he will destroy us.

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  2. Thank you Svetlana for your thoughts and call to action. I appreciate and share your anger. Anger can be harnessed and used positively, while fear really can be paralyzing, so I do appreciate the rabbi’s words. After the shock of learning of the recent tragedy, I also recalled the shootings of worshipers in S. Carolina in 2015 (where 9 people were killed) and in Texas 2017 (where 26 were killed).

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  3. Svetlana, I am so, so sorry. This is an awful escalation of the hate that Trump has been inciting for two years. I do think he is ultimately responsible, just as Hitler was, for using his position to legitimize the very worst of human behaviors on a national level. The main hope I see right now is that voices are being raised everywhere, and loudly, in protest. I do believe we can’t be fooled by this fool.

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  4. Svetlana, I am so, so sorry. This is an awful escalation of the hate that Trump has been inciting for two years. I do think he is ultimately responsible, just as Hitler was, for using his position to legitimize the very worst of human behaviors on a national level. The main hope I see right now is that voices are being raised everywhere, and loudly, in protest. I do believe we can’t be fooled by this fool.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Sveta, I’m sorry about tragedy in Pittsburgh too, I’m worry about increasing anti-Semitic accidents in New York. But I disagree with your conclusions and this conclusion of your follower. Comparison Trump to Hitler is really nonsense, I do not want to say more rudder words, but, probably, it comes from our “independent” media, who not even once confirm achievements of our president ( and they are a lot) and they blame him in everything, including this tragedy. But maybe they forgot that his daughter and son-in-law are Jews, and his grand kids are Jews. And he moved Israel capital to Jerusalem, which should happen long time ago and he withdraw US from all of that shameful organization in UN, where everybody blame Israel for everything. And after all of that he is anti-Semitic? You said “Look at the people at Trump’s rallies. “, have you seen people in anti-fa rallies? It’s ironic , that they called themselves as anti-fascists but in reality they are fascists. And all high ranking democrats including Hilary Clinton, called to kick low, no civil and harass all Republicans. They shoot people. And all that swing to extreme left – socialism direction? Maybe, people who live here do not completely understand what is this devil “socialism”, and for them it’s paradise. But you do not worse than me know what it’s in reality. And that is cause why we escaped here. And now is “Deja Vu”. I understand that here we have choice for election and our voice could make change, and that what we do not have in Soviet Union. But I do not want to change this beautiful country into my country of birth. Just open eyes and mind.
        Vadim.

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        • Vadim, tank you for your opinion. I NEVER compared Trump with Hitler. Not because I forgot to do it, but because I don’t think that is the right comparison. (If I wanted to compare him with any person from that era, I would compare him to Mussolini.)

          Yes, his daughter married a Jew. Unfortunately, she married a deeply corrupt Jew. Not every Jew is a person I admire. Remember Bernie Madoff? He is a Jew, too. Are you proud of that fact? I’m not.

          About “horrible” socialism. My daughter lives in London. And can you imagine this? Healthcare if FREE! What a “nonsense”! The divide between the poor and the rich is not as deep as it is in this country. Terrible, isn’t it? Public transportation is EVERYWHERE. Another “horrible” trade of socialism. And, you know what? Guns is NOT sold freely — not to mention assault weapons!

          “They killing people?” Whom did they kill? When? I don’t remember a gunman killing Jews in Tree of Life synagogue, in Nevada, in that school in Florida. Do you?

          Also, about the country of your — and mine — birth. I hate Russia and I hate Putin. Having said that, the reason you’re doing so well in America is that you got good education back in our truly horrible country. And it was FREE! Even more, you probably got a stipend, didn’t you? And when you got sick, you had FREE healthcare — maybe not great but free. Today, in America, you have a good job and decent healthcare. But what happens if you — or your loved ones — loose jobs and require some expensive surgery? Ever though about that?

          I know that many Russian/Jewish immigrants think like you. My response is this, “Do you ever think about those less fortunate? I don’t think so. But I do. This is not to say that every homeless, drug addict, alcoholic, etc. deserves public support. I’m not a leftist, so I don’t think so (unlike you, I worked with people of ALL SLICES OF LIFE, and I know about them much more than you ever will.)

          About Jerusalem. My sister’s family lives in Israel. They’re happy with that, too. Is that a good move in the long run? I’m not sure. In fact, you don’t know ether. Nobody does. Life will show us. (By the way, do you have very close relatives in Israel? I don’t remember if you do. For me, its future is very important.)

          All in all, we live — so far — in democratic country. We both have the right to vote. So, let’s do it! 🙂

          P.S. I never liked Hilary, and I don’t admire Bernie Sanders either.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sveta,
            Regarding socialism in Europe, you can see where it brought them. Now is some collapse and swing to right. And you try to compare public transportation in London with US. We have public transportation in New York City too, so what? And in small towns everybody have cars, because our gas much chipper than in England. And regarding free medicine, couple years ago we have been on trip with Canadian couple. And they told us what is free medicine there. If you need some more complicated test like MRI, you can wait it months or even year. And why everybody from the world try to come to us for some medicine procedure. PLus, tell me how much taxes they paid in Europe. Nothing can be free. And about our life in USSR, what they could suggest to us with what they pay to us? And all of that come to logical end – collapse, it’s not alive concept.

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            • Well, I do not mind paying more if that can help not just me but others, too.

              BTW, I don’t see many people leaving Canada. Why is that? True, people who care just for themselves and don’t worry about the rise of anti-Semitism, violence, etc. comes here.

              This is my last reply. Have a good day 🌞. Say hi to Angela, too.

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  5. Svetlana, I think you are right to fear this ugly, hateful wave that seems to grow larger with every passing day (and every Trump rally). We live in a democracy that is not that old, and democracies die all the time. I will vote!

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      • Just find out brilliant quote about our President: “President Trump will not fix all our problems, but he has a better shot than most, because he approaches the country’s and the world’s problems with an untutored eye. He does not have rafts of experts telling him what to think: he has common sense.” I agree for 1000%

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        • Sure — if you believe that a crude and ignorant individual can advance our country. So far, I didn’t notice that. Neither did all developed European countries. I guess, people there were tutored to much.

          Let’s stop this discussion. It’s useless.

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