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Remembering Captivity in a Strange Land

David Stowe, professor of religious studies at Michigan State University writes about the power of remembering. Too often we are encouraged to forgive and put the past behind us. But certain religious traditions and shared national experiences stick with us. Captivity in Babylon appears to have a lasting impact on Jews with respect to social justice. The memory of famine has stuck with the Irish and have made sensitive to food insecurity around the world. They were lessons in compassion. Read it here at The Conversation.

I think that someday the people who visited Trumpism on this country are going to want forgiveness. Yes, forgive quickly and let's put this whole sorry experience behind us. But the destruction that will be visited on individual lives could be severe. It will be because we allowed a segment of our fellow citizens to gain control and de-humanize the rest of us for no other reason than because of who we are: poor, women, children, foreigners, not Christian, LGBTQ, elderly, liberals, the list goes on.

And I think we should resist that push for forgiveness until the people who wrecked havoc on our country have been held accountable and we commit to remembering what it was like so it never happens again.

29 Responses

  1. I don’t recall anyone apologizing for Obama.

    • Are you serious?

    • You’re right. And we let the DNC get away with some bad behavior in 2008. In a way, they made Trump’s rise more likely.

      Obama was the wrong choice for the time. But even he wasn’t on the same level of malice and destruction as Trump and Bannon are. There are orders of magnitudes of difference between Obama and Trump.

      • If we don’t recognize the kind of crazy and danger this Trump train is and the section of this society that brought him, it is all downhill from here.

      • I have told my husband many times since Nov. 9, 2016 that even if Hillary had run against McCain in 2008 and lost that we would not be worried about McCain driving the country into a ditch the way we are with Trump.

        I regularly receive the “surveys” from the Democratic party that serve to solicit donations. While I would like to send them back and vent the continuing frustrations from 2008, what good would it do?

        The Democrats aren’t likely to realize or admit how the selection of an inexperienced man led to Trump eight years later or how the man’s unwillingness to fight for the people who were counting on him left many people feeling that they were worse off than in 2008.

        We tried standing up to the DNC in 2008, but it wasn’t enough. It was as much about winning even with the wrong person in 2008 (Obama) as it was for the Repugnants in 2016.

        I’m tired of hearing people excuse Obama for not doing more because as a black man he was afraid of impeachment. He was elected to lead. Since he did not do it legislatively, he did it through executive orders which are being reversed. And like John Oliver, I am tired of Obama’s statements from a billionaire’s private yacht or island.

        I found the following to be an interesting read this morning and I can only hope it is true.


        • Sounds good. Wish I could believe it. By putting Trump in the White House, we got Gorsuch. The tea party got what it wanted. Or should I say the ultra wealthy backers of the tea party got what they wanted.

          We’re locked into crazy land for a long time. The rest of OUR lives probably.

        • There was no way McCain would have got elected against Hillary in 2008. That is beside the point and to your larger point, yes.. other republicans would have feared to tread where this buffoon has gone. This guy was installed to do damage and he is faithfully executing it. He has the character defect to do it unlike no other (may be Pence and his ilk and even they would not go as far as he has).

          • I think that you are underestimating the misogyny that existed in 2016 and certainly would have existed in 2008.

            2008 might have been a better time coming off eight years of W, but the misogyny that existed in the Democratic party favored Obama over Hillary.

        • I think Hillary would have won but yes, the misogyny would have been rampant. The only reason Obama won was because of the economic collapse. If Obama had been the candidate in 2016 he would have lost.

          • I agree, but for a different reason. I think Obama would have lost in 2016 primarily because the Supreme Joke gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, whenceforth the GOP got busy with voter suppression schemes. If Obama had been required to run under the same voter-suppression laws in 2008 that Hillary ran under in 2016, we would be talking about the recent illness of “former President McCain”.

  2. There is a Bernie supporter (she is a woman) who still goes around calling Hillary, that bitch.

    • They can eat crow after a Bernie supporter shot Scalise and now we’re all seeing Bernie in ads. She needs to get a clue.

  3. @RD: Spammy is holding a comment of mine in the “Character Defect” thread.


    Maybe RD or one of the other women here can explain this: Why do so many women eagerly echo the misogyny, such as the Bernout whom pm317 cited?

    • Well, imagine you’re 20 with your whole life ahead of you and you fully realize that you’ll be going through that life with 50 lb concrete blocks on each foot. You’re going to be disregarded, passed over for promotions in favor of some male turd, have to face humiliation, possibly torture, every time you’re on the street (yes, I know we don’t call the shit women face that, but that’s what it is). And you fully realize it’ll never ever get better.

      Might be nice to put a bag over your head with pretty pictures on the inside and tell yourself that’s real.

      • The women need to go Full Metal Lysistrata.

        I am given to understand that, ahem, the recreational industry makes damn good vibrators these days. 😈

        • And Icicles.


        • “The personal recreation industry” would be a good name for it.

        • Something called the rabbit?*

          *Asking for a friend.

        • Ivory Bill, I think you’re missing the essence. It’s not about sex. Going Lysistrata will accomplish nothing except a lot of maimed and murdered women, unless it means that all women have got their head out of the bag and are never going back.

          It’s about power. It’s about a caste system. It’s about enforcing the caste system, so that you have personnel to clean up shit and do the dishes and make dinner and provide rubber doll services.

          And since, as Steve Biko said, the first weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed, the essential element is for women to believe it’s not about what it’s really about. Believe me, losing the delusion is the most strongly punished thing of all. Social shunning, job loss, or if no paying job, then divorce and poverty.

          Everybody knows that in their bones, which is why so many work so hard to deny it.

          • At least the women who haven’t yet made the mistake of hooking up with a man could avoid doing so.

    • IBW: I’ve been in regular contact with 20-yr-old Bernie supporters on a regular basis. My support of Hillary in 2008 led to angry emails from co-workers after I was horridly misquoted in a WaPo article at the time. In 2016, my support of her turned me into an ignorant old lady in their eyes, overnight. Most of them had no idea at all how much sexism there is in the US. They thought it was over.

      They were young, angry, college student, father-seeking and mother resenting young women (I spoke with no one vociferously supporting Bernie who favored her mother over her father, BTW–kind of interesting). We talked about how “we all know” feminism accomplished its goals and “is so over,” it was stunning to watch how gendered the attacks on her were. They were confused when the campaigns were cast in this light. Then we’d just go down the list.

      Was she being called (check one or multiple): whore? bitch? fool? demented? witch? slut? incompetent? power-hungry? liar? bad mother? cold? unfriendly? should smile more/less? shrill voice? annoying? like one’s ex-wife? and all the other permutations of shut-up-and-let-the-men-work? Why these specific, recycled across time, slurs without any of the facts of her actual experience, particularly when a year earlier, and for a decade, she’d been the most popular woman in America?

      Then we looked at what Bernie was being called: savior, brilliant, compassionate, tells it like it is, brave, fearless, honest, understands us, will get things done. Three young women wanted him to be their grandpa. There was a forum where young women fantasized about this. The worst adjective he got was unrealistic.

      The man was perfect; the woman was beyond redemption. They didn’t like how that sentence made them feel; they recognized it in their own limited life experience. “Vote for her or not, but make your decision with your eyes wide open.”

      Long-winded way of saying, I believe many of them were getting back at their moms, expressing all the years of rage at her and fear they’d grow up like her by turning against Clinton en masse: “We know we need to live in the world of the Fathers; Mother can’t help us, screw her.”


      • Thanx.

      • I tried in vain to convince a young woman, Bernie supporter to give Hillary a chance and to not believe all the stuff she reads/hears. Now we know there was Russian propaganda aimed at Bernie supporters and of course, Bernie didn’t do much to dispel the negativity toward Hillary among his supporters. That young woman’s younger brother was a Trump supporter. This is an Indian family. I blame the parents for not educating their children about right and wrong.

  4. JMS, I remember a lot of enthusiasm for Hillary in 2008 when it first began before the media started propping up Obama. There were a lot of Republican women supporting her. I do think she would have won. In 2016, she got hurt by her association with Obama and then Bernie’s interference. He also stoked misogyny with his supporters. Trump made much of the misogyny normal by saying things that nobody would say out loud.

  5. RD, good post and that link to article on psalm 137. Boney M, who remembers them? My husband of course and he even started singing that song, by the river.

  6. I’m in moderation. 😦

  7. @Lady V: “I’ve been in regular contact with 20-yr-old Bernie supporters on a regular basis. ”

    Serious question. How do these women feel about dating, finding a man, marriage and related things? Asking because I don’t have access to this demographic and even if I did, I wouldn’t know their dating and such life.

    I would like to know if these women are looking for an equal partner in life when they think of marriage?

    The two women in this podcast (link below) discuss that very issue at around a third of the way, that many women these days are looking for equal partners whereas men are still looking for someone in the traditional sense of a wife and family.

    (look for Christine Hassler episode)

    I was blown away hearing these two talk about it in the very words that my friend in India and I had discussed about 10 years ago! She had said Indian landscape was changing quickly with women getting into IT and having jobs/career of their own and they were looking for partners and not traditional husbands and the men were slow to adjust to that and that conversation was ten or so years ago happening in India! It was surreal to hear these two women talk about it now.

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