OT: On Tweets and Social Reach re. Muslim Ban

Although I said to someone bts the other day that I shall abstain from political comment on my blog in the future, I just cannot keep quiet on the recent/current developments in the US, i.e. the Muslim Ban. Disclosure 1: I am *not* a US citizen, but I believe that world politics are significantly shaped and influenced by the US, which in turn shapes and influences my world as a non-US citizen. Disclosure 2: I am an immigrant in a foreign country. I know what it is like to live far away from my own country. It is immaterial whether anyone leaves their home for political or economic reasons, all immigrants are united in their hope for a better future for themselves and their family. Disclosure 3: My country of origin and nationality is Germany – where the Holocaust was “invented” and mass discrimination was implemented on a never-before-seen scale. My own (Jewish) great-grandfather was killed in Theresienstadt, my (half-Jewish) grandfather survived internment in a labour camp. Hence I have an opinion – and an obligation to prevent history repeating itself.

The recent developments are reminding me of the well-known poem by Pastor Niemöller.

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Social Democrat.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

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

For me, that poem explains why it is essential that *everyone* speaks up and voice opinion, directly affected by what is happening, or not. Because if we don’t, we may end up in the same position as Niemöller, with no one left to take a stand. And thus I was glad to hear this morning that RA had voiced an opinion. Time difference prevented me from seeing the tweet that was posted by Mr A overnight. Thanks to other people’s record-keeping, I have seen it now. And let me say that I was really glad that I did. The point made by other bloggers, that in this case, maybe the wishes of the tweep in question ought to be respected, and the tweet ought not to be re-posted as a picture, is valid. So I am not going to do so. I do not want to criticise RA for taking down his tweet because I understand that it can be unwise to expose oneself like that. I am simply glad that it was up, even if only for a short while. And my respect for him has grown a good bit, despite the delete. This little manip, a collaboration by @tannni3 and myself, comes to mind:

Liberty

No criticism, but a thought experiment: Who can counter a populist such as Trump if not pop culture with its concentration on celebrities, with the former greedily consumed, and the latter eagerly followed? Just imagine, if RA’s celebrity friends had taken his lead, posted their own immigration status, or their experience with being an immigrant/a foreigner, working in another country, like so many of them have in their film careers. It could have snowballed, and it could have made an important point – that so many of us nowadays either are living an immigrant life, or are depending on being harboured by a country (initially) not our own, to work and live to our full potential ourselves, or that we follow a celebrity for whom that is true. It might make the supporters of such a ban think again. I find it important to remember that, because a ban based on religion affects us all. It’s an infringement of human rights, discrimination on the basis of religion. Something that I never, ever wanted to see as blatantly, again. RA’s tweet created awareness, and for that reason I applaud him, yet regret the tweet is gone. But as I said – I do understand.

The reports from US airports where massive protests are taking place, are heartening. Lawyers are volunteering to help those who are being detained or denied entry in the US. My hope is that what is happening right now, is going to politicize people.


I can’t join the protests there, but I join in spirit and I make my voice heard here. I believe that I owe that to my great-grandfather who was banned and murdered because of his religion. I am a legal permanent resident in Ireland.

91 thoughts on “OT: On Tweets and Social Reach re. Muslim Ban

  1. I’ve signed the petition you linked to, and tweeted my MP. I can’t find the exact word to summarise my current thoughts, but in a very British way, I am so unimpressed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for doing that, Hobbit! I wish I had more political power (as in: a congressman, an MP to write to), but all I can do at the moment, is express my concern. We need to be vigilant and make our opinion heard. “Down with this sort of thing” (> that’s the Irish way of being slightly self-deprecating about our way of protesting… comes from a show called “Father Ted”, in a different context, but has become a catch phrase on protest marches here).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m a fan of Father Ted and recognise the quote – I didn’t know it had made it as a catch phrase though. I approve.

        I’m not sure how much I can do at the moment, but I’m not going to stay silent.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think that is actually a lot, Hobbit! Not staying silent is important, and it angers me when people belittle protests, and marches, and the voicing of opinion as useless. It’s not.
          And hehe, yes, the catch phrase is visible literally at every protest. Check here: http://bit.ly/2jrQ53W

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  2. Hear, hear, Guylty! I can’t begin to understand why Richard makes a stand and then takes it down again but I do find it a pity…
    As for the Muslim ban itself… I see people say it is not a Muslim ban but “only” a travel ban from certain countries and that makes it all OK. Well, that doesn’t make it all OK! It essentially boils down to discriminating against ALL people from a certain country and yes, if you look at the countries, it really does boil down to a Muslim ban. Well, except from Saudi, of course. Why? Because of business interests there? Saudi is deemed less dangerous (erm, if you really want to ban terrorists, weren’t the 9/11 terrorists mostly from Saudi?). And if you want to protect US life, aren’t way more people killed by gun violence in the US than by terrorists? I know, separate issue… oh man, better stop my rant here…
    Yes, like you, I find it hard to keep quiet now as well. And I too have been thinking of that Niemöller quote.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. There is nothing rational about any of this activity. It is a fear monger playing to an audience of fearful narrow minds. I’m horrified that this is what has become of my country’s politics. I’ve voted in every election since I was old enough to do so, and never have I had so little faith in democratic process. Plato knew it 2500 years ago – democracy can only work if there is a reasonable and rational electorate, and that certainly seems not to be the case.

    I’m not sure how exactly to affect change in my remote corner, but I can’t sit idly by and follow the frequent advice I’ve heard to “give him a chance”. A chance to do what? A chance to foster hate , fear and intolerance? A chance to destroy the world my children will inherit? And for what? To line the pockets of a hundred already rich men with more wealth?

    I don’t always agree with the policy’s of my government, but I have never been more ashamed to bear the name “American” as I have the past week.

    Liked by 6 people

    • In your – and America’s – defense: Popular vote figures were different. And no, I do not want you to feel ashamed to be American (and I hope that is not how my post came across – this is not about shaming Americans. If anyone, I am shaming Trump and his political team who are devising these devious policies). I am seeing a lot of things right now that evoke the opposite – people standing up for the rights of others. Peaceful, but strong protest. That gives me courage. However, I’ve been discussing at home, too, whether the democratic processes are truly democratic, if a position imbued with as much power as the US presidency, can be decided by a “meta populace” (i.e. the electoral colleges) rather than the people themselves. And that is not just the case in the US, but in other countries, too (Germany being one – we don’t vote directly for our chancellor, but we vote for the parliament, which in turn determines the chancellor).
      But I agree that what he is doing, is irrational and motivated by greed, and is counterproductive to making America great again. And it goes against everything that we have been fighting for since the end of WW2. I really wish that the governments of the world would take a stand on this and voice their disagreement. If they are our representatives, that’s what I expect. How else can individuals feel safe to do so, too?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t be ashamed. No one should judge all Americans just like no should judge all Syrians or all Iraqis (or whatever other nationals were banned from entering the US).
      And it’s not only happening in your country… This fear mongering happens here as well and I am feeling very apprehensive…

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks Esther – it is all almost surreal. I go to bed expecting to wake up and it was a nightmare, but here we still are. A small ray of light – a cousin I thought was dyed in GOP was able to see the danger of this populist rhetoric. Hopefully enough people will see and the midterm elections will swing the Congress – but that’s two years out.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Who knows how many supreme court judges could die in two years. If he’s around ling enough to swing the court, things could be set in stone for years to come. The only hope is to block the nominee the same way they have for the last year.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. I honestly don’t know what is going on here. I know people are probably saying is this person stupid, naïve.etc. i am smart, but not when it comes to politics,etc. i don’t watch news and i don’t read the newspaper, i mean i do read the newspaper(comics, citizen’s voice,dear abby, and once in awhile the crime report in our city. i do try to read other things but to me it gets confusing and when i asked somebody to try to explain it to me they looked at me like i am the most stupidest person in the world, so now i just keep quiet and listen to people talk to get information on what is going on in the world, and what i can tell is Trump is causing a lot of problems for the United States and other countries and it might turn into World War III or something. if Trump is causing so much problems and he has only been in office for a few weeks. what is going to happen in a few years till next election. why can’t they throw him out of office and tell him that he is never allowed to run for anything ever again. maybe have somebody go and ask Obama to come back or get Hilary to come. i know in president history there were a few presidents who were asked/thrown out of office because they were causing problems. why can’t they do that to Trump.

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    • First of all – I feel really sorry that you have been discouraged from asking questions by other people. Asking questions is never stupid. It means you are willing to learn – and that is clever, if you ask me!
      Many of the questions you have mentioned, I am asking myself, too. I admit I do not know enough about the US political system but yes, it also surprises me that Trump can implement these changes at the stroke of his pen (especially when Obama seemed to have to argue for everything he ever suggested, in the parliament… but I guess that has got something to do with the majority in the congress/senate?). He can’t be simply thrown out, after all he has been democratically elected to his position. And that is fine. But I do wonder whether the people who elected him, really also voted for discrimination and hatred. Is this done in their name? I cannot believe that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There are only certain things that can be invoked via executive order – all presidents have used them, but generally not with this tone of aggression. They can be reversed by judicial review, but that is a long process (already underway with the travel ban)

        The fact of the matter is that Congress has enormous power to limit the actions of the President, hence Pres. Obama’s constant battles with an opposition majority congress. The Speaker of the House ( Paul Ryan ) Senate Majority Leader (Mitch O’Connell) lead the Republican controlled houses of congress – “check and balance” starts with them. So far they haven’t done much to check or balance, but I think eventually, this president will run into resistance from his own party.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Bloodangel, in case you weren’t asking a rhetorical question

      The president can be impeached (this is like being charged with a crime) under Article II, Section IV of the Constitution. The impeachment requires a simple majority vote by the US House of Representatives, which makes it unlikely this will happen soon at present — because the House is controlled by Trump’s party, the Republicans. Once an impeachment has occurred, the sitting President would be tried in the Senate. After the trial, in order to remove him from office, 2/3 of the senators must find him guilty. The Senate is also controlled by Trump’s party, so it would also be hard.

      For this to happen, in other words, something would have to happen that was so bad that not only the Democrats, but a significant proportion of the Republicans, agreed it meant Trump should be thrown out.

      Even if that happened, however, the 25th Amendment provides for a succession to the office of President. First in line is the US Vice President (Mike Pence, a Republican); second in line is the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Paul Ryan); third in line is the president pro tem of the Senate (Orrin Hatch); fourth in line is the Secretary of State (I think we don’t have one at present).

      President Obama served two terms and is prohibited by the 22nd Amendment from serving again as president. Hillary Clinton is not eligible to serve as President of the U.S. because she is not in the line of succession to the presidency.

      No president has ever been both impeached and removed from office. Nixon was impeached and resigned; Johnson and Clinton were impeached but acquitted in the Senate and remained in office.

      Liked by 2 people

    • In his first week, he has already been slapped with many lawsuits. It is possible to impeach him, but that is a slow process, and he can do a great deal of damage before it happens.
      Please never feel stupid. If you are confused by it, please ask. Many of us would be glad to help. ♡

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You didn’t shame Americans at all. The fact that the popular vote was what it was yet we are still here is indicative that the process is broken. In my own state (an electoral swing state) a federal judge just ruled that the 2011 redrawing of district lines (to consolidate voting blocks For guess which party) was unconstitutional an needs to be fixed. Our *auspicious* governor has vowed that Wisconsin will take the decision to the Supreme Court. Perfect. At every turn, these duly elected officials act in their own interests, in the interest of their party, in the interest of their morality, all ignoring the best interests of the nation. The problem is, they were all elected by the same people – people who apparently think they are doing the right things because they continue to elect them.

    That’s why I’m ashamed (and afraid). I thought these were my people, now I think I am living on a tiny island surrounded by hostile strangers who hate the very things I hold dear. I am ashamed that I thought democracy would work and that people would do the right thing. It’s a complicated thing, complicated more by other things going on in my life, but I find that lately I can barely look at some people I’ve known for years as they reveal their self centered ignorance.

    The Congress has the power to “check and balance” some of this activity – will they? I’m not holding my breath.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Whoops, I missed your comment here. Your example shows that *maybe* the time has come to reform our political decision making processes. This is a by-product of the current upheaval, and I think that is a good thing. We are waking up and realising that we need to keep the people we put in power, on their toes.
      Democracy is a fragile thing, possibly a dangerous thing. I am also thinking that what is happening currently in your country, is an “Endzeitsymptom” – a symptom of impending doom, a sign of democracy killing itself. It’s not isolated to the US, btw, but happening in many Western countries. The far-right is getting stronger everywhere.
      As for the congress to provide the checks and balances – let’s wait and see. McCain’s statement could be a first step for more people to come out?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so glad he has left the remaining three tweets up. I am sure an actor of his standing is somewhat of a cottage industry, his success supports a few other people as well so I can understand why the first two were replaced with the remaining three. I am not a US citizen but as you pointed out, US policy affects the world (and not just there economic policies). It seems like their ideal of a shining beacon of hope and freedom and justice for all has been temporarily switched off by those in power. It is so heartening to see the citizens resisting and switching it back on. So many people who have sat on the sidelines are now feeling the urge to mobilize too. I’m filled with anxiety but also hope and a growing sense of purpose. I loved your blog today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree. I am glad there is *something* there.
      Interesting point re. RA having “dependents”, hence taking his tweets down. Might be an explanation. And fair enough.
      The anxiety is palpable everywhere. I feel it, too. But seeing the resistance and the protests, I choose to hope rather than despair. The battle has probably only just begun. But it looks as if the people of America are not going to take this lying down. Good on them!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Although I respect Armitage’s decision to speak (and totally understand the actors that could influence his decision to delete, having been a person who lived on successive Aufenthaltserlaubnisse for years of my life, and by all reports US immigration is much, much worse to deal with than Germany), I doubt that a celebrity movement would have any positive impact at all. Current research on this topic shows that celebrity positions are neutral to negative in impact (referenced here: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/11/election-celebrities-trump-clinton-endorsements-beyonce-springsteen-david-jackson-bowling-green/507383/ ). What celebrities said in DC last weekend is largely being held against the women’s movement and it is fairly certain that they do not influence people who do not agree already. Armitage’s tweet was up for perhaps fifteen minutes, and in that time I saw close to a dozen people (not fans, I believe) tweeting back to him (paraphrasing) “no one’s stopping you from getting on a plane tonight.”

    What Americans need to do is call their representatives (not write, not sign online petitions — these are ignored), ask to speak to the staffer in charge of the particular question they want to address, and say their piece in a few minutes. (The White House political comment line has been disconnected; although there is a movement to call the Trump resorts as a sort of nuisance effect, it doesn’t have any effect on policy makers). Everyone of us should be making about six phone calls a day (1 representative, 2 senators, local offices and DC offices), and possibly to the Speaker of the House, as well. It is important to call even if we agree with our representative’s position, because they need support and some of them seem to be wavering. Because Trump in particular seems rattled, right now anyway it is important for those of us who can to put our bodies out there. I can’t venture to say what non-citizens should do except that I feel strongly that pushback, not cooperation, is the way to go. I understand the US is the huge elephant in any debate but I hope the rest of the world will also show they will not cooperate with these unjust (and illegal) measures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting research – and confirms what has been discussed on blogs recently, i.e. that most of us do not feel as if our favourite celeb would or has the power to influence our political decision-making. However, I am not really sure whether those findings really pertain to what I was thinking about in my thought experiment, as the tweet in question wasn’t quite an endorsement of a politician. Those findings are probably indisputable, but for some reason I like to think that occasionally a new fact or facet disclosed by a celeb, may make a reader think again. Or it might build a momentum. Maybe that’s a pipe dream. Personally, I need these glimpses of hope that the protest that is currently visible, MEANS something.
      Agree with you that pushback is needed. For those of us not in the US, showing our solidarity is the only way forward. And reacting to our own governments when and if they respond to the developments in the US.
      I have seen a number of my online friends become active/activist the last week – not only on SM but also by calling their reps or signing petitions etc. Again, great to see that. I hope people are aware of the steps you have suggested – it’s not always easy to know what one *can* do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think about the Meryl Streep statement in this context. It was invigorating to some people who already agreed with her (although most of my leftie friends thought it was arrogant). It also served as fodder for all the people who did not agree (which is not a reason for her not to speak) about privileged, snotty celebrities. (It didn’t help that it was poorly informed and what she said about MMA was tantamount to an insult and revealed just how informed she was on the topic of something that was supposed to be a throwaway line.) People react poorly to being shamed and celebrity comments on politics often make those of us who do not necessarily agree with them feel like we are being jeered at.

        If, indeed, we are persuaded more by people who are most like us, we should try to persuade our friends who may be hesitating. And we should make sure those people have the facts in framings that are as neutral as possible.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Touché on the reaction to being shamed. Mind you, I think that applies equally to all who do that, whether it is deliberate or inadvertantly done, celebrity or not. No one likes it when they are made to feel stupid or wrong. But personally, I would find it much more offensive if someone who I know *personally* made me feel like that, rather than a celebrity whom I do *not* know. As easy as it is to ignore a celebrity’s appeal, it is also as easy to dismiss their attempt at shaming.
          Also, I think this is extremely hard to navigate, especially for a celebrity who has a voice and feels an urge to use that voice on an important issue. Essentially, there will always be *some* who feel offended, shamed, annoyed by what they read. I don’t think that that should hold them back from expressing what they want to express. It goes without saying that they need to make sure they know their facts, of course.
          But I do agree that it is a good approach to start with those around us, in a sensitive way.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think the one way that celebs can remotely influence such topics is when they humanize the issue. RA tweeting that basically reminded people that he has specific things in common with the detainees. That humanizes the issue. Strident political speechifying and lecturing doesn’t usually help much, except to give those who agree something to celebrate on social media and galvanize their energy.

            But if a celebrity has some personal experience of note (like helping refugee kids in a center or having similar immigration experiences), sharing it can help his or her audience to put a human face on the issue – a face they may value. To just stop and think for a second.

            But sharing those personal stories can make anyone feel pretty vulnerable, celeb or otherwise. So I understand the circumspection.

            Liked by 4 people

            • That is a great point, Heather. The whole thing of “I have that in common with you”, is a great motivator. I suppose we all use that strategy when we are writing our posts. Whether it is me mentioning my own life as an immigrant, or whether it is you (in a different context) writing about your life as a director and theatre professional – it serves to make an issue/topic less abstract. It can take a bit of courage to out oneself like that. I’m grateful if people do it (celeb or otherwise), but I respect and understand if they can’t.

              Liked by 2 people

  8. Dieser Mann ist absolut verrückt. Er kann machen was er will, das ist das erschreckende und er fängt gerade erst an 😦
    Das einzig richtige ist, dass möglichst viele Menschen ihm zeigen dass es Grenzen gibt, auch wenn er zu den mächtigsten Menschen der Erde gehört, dass man ihn nicht machen lässt wie in unserer unseligen deutschen Geschichte, sondern dass möglichst viele Menschen ihm eine Grenze setzen….
    jede Stimme zählt 🙂

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    • Genau so ist es. Das haben wir doch alles schon mal gehabt – demokratisch gewählte “Führer” usw. Dem Ganzen ist natürlich nur beizukommen, wenn die Staatengemeinschaft da auch deutliche Worte spricht. So ganz zufrieden bin ich ja noch nicht mit Gabriel und Merkel. Zwar haben sie sich sozusagen distanziert von Trumps Hassideologie und Diskriminierungspolitik, aber das ist mir eigentlich zu wenig. So etwas muss deutlich kritisiert und abgelehnt werden. Es muss Konsequenzen geben. Ein Unding, die Genfer Flüchtlingskonvention so mit Füßen zu treten. Eigentlich erwarte ich, dass die UN etwas dazu zu sagen hat.

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  9. I was talking about this with Abby and told her that if anyone had told me a few decades ago I’d become part of the “resist” movement against the President, I would have laughed to their face.

    I have always considered politics to be a dirty game I have strongly disliked. However, I can no longer remain silent. As I’m sure most of you know, the talk on Twitter has been uninterrupted and heated, with people creating alternate accounts for the whistle blowers of the Federal Agencies. The fact that top scientists gathered at UCLA in California before the orange clown was sworn in to copy the scientific data (especially the ones related to climate change) and saved it in European servers is something unheard of in the history of the USA.

    The trending hashtag was #StopPresidentBannon when I logged off last night. Many of us are convinced that Trump is a puppet of Steve Bannon and simply signs whatever the man tells him to sign. The fact that he omitted mentioning the Jews who died in the Holocaust because “five million other people who were not Jewish were killed by the Nazis” (I’m paraphrasing) is simply outrageous and very offensive. I was livid because: 1) I have a heart and, 2) It’s like saying “I won’t mention Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion during Easter because other men were there hanging on crosses too.”

    Bannon is a fascist and and asshat whose exterior appearance reflects the evil nature of his mind. Aside from the #MuslimBan in the name of “protecting America” while ironically not including the actual countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan whose citizens have committed terrorist acts here in the USA, the past nine days have resulted in:

    1.) Eliminating $500 the tax credit for first time homeowners.

    2.) Submitting the documentation for Trump’s 2020 re-election bid FIVE hours after he became President (effectively creating a mayor problem for non-profits in this country – long story).

    3) Ordering the beginning of the process to repeal Obamacare without having concrete plans on how to replace it with “something better”.

    4) Ordering construction of the Wall on the Border with Mexico and saying “they will pay for it”.

    5) Approving the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will contaminate the tribe’s water supply.

    5) Getting his Senate buddies to approve the appointment of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as top White House Advisor (thus forcing his daughter Ivanka to quit her job).

    6) Not establishing a Blind Trust for his corporation because “My children will be in charge and I’ll have no involvement whatsoever in it.” Uh-huh. Guess when he studied at Wharton, he skipped the lesson about what a Blind Trust entails.

    7) Getting his Press Secretary to flat out lie to the White House Press Corps since Day 1.

    8) Not taking questions from reporters who ask the hard questions because “Your organization is FAKE NEWS!”.

    9) Letting Bannon say that the Press should shut their mouths.

    10) Submitting a Bill to dismantle the Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/622?r=80

    11) Submitting a Bill ordering the sale of public lands (part of our National Parks and Lands) in a number of States: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/621

    12) Talking to his “golden shower” buddy Putin about how to deal with the Ukraine “problem”.

    13) Threatening North Korea directly, saying he’s ordered a new weapon to stop them.

    14) Taking steps to repeal Roe V. Wade.

    15) Defunding Planned Parenthood to stop women from getting free abortions, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and contraceptives.

    16) Threatening to take away Federal Money from all the Sanctuary Cities, like Dallas, NYC, and other important cities.

    Need I go on? I don’t even know what he’s done today! We are living a nightmare. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know – it is only possible to stay out of politics for so long. My blog post is a case in point. I didn’t really want to get political here, but there comes a time and an issue when you just *have to* stand up and speak. I am certainly very worried by what I see happening. It just looks so similar to something that has happened before, and I am totally dumbfounded that it can be done in such a blatant way. Your list is comprehensive. It is shocking to see it all there. And the thing is – I am sure that even Trump voters do not blanket-approve of all of this. It just goes to show that populism is dangerous. I sure hope that the resistance will continue and that the administration will find that the population is vigilant and protective of their civil rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for understanding where I’m coming from on this matter. There is no way we can win a war against China. Japan would react immediately, then Russia, then the UK…you know what that will mean for the world. We simply cannot afford to remain silent. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start rounding us up over here; it’s beginning to scare me.

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      • You’re welcome. I know that the way things are going with that evil fascist controlling Trump, people like me might one day be rounded up and disappear, but I cannot remain silent.

        The nominee for the vacant seat at the Supreme Court is a man whose mother once tried to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.

        “Gorsuch comes from a well-known Colorado Republican family. His mother, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, was Environmental Protection Agency director for the Reagan administration for 22 months. She slashed the agency’s budget and resigned under fire in 1983 during a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste dumps.”

        You may read all about him here:

        http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/30/neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-donald-trump/

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  10. Thanks for posting this. One of my biggest pet peeves of late is people outside of the US being attacked for voicing opinions about the US presidential election. You’re absolutely right in that US policies & politics have a major influence on the rest of the world, so outside opinions DO matter. And while I wish that RA wouldn’t tweet-and-delete the way he does, I do understand why he might have done it this time.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your great-grandfather. No sensible person wants that dark moment in history repeated, though I worry that hard times are ahead. I hope that the resistance to Trump’s dangerous agenda is constant and strong enough to remind the powers that be that they work for us, the people, and that the elected officials with the power to stop him will remember the Constitution they’re supposed to be following and take action to put the country ahead of petty party politics.

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    • I think that this issue is actually opening the minds of *some* people because we are talking about the very ideals that the US was built on. The fact the foreign nationals who have visas and permits to travel to the US are affected by this ban, means that there will be a backlash from abroad, and the voicing of opinions, too. And backlash and opinion are IN SUPPORT of American constitutional rights, so hopefully that is seen as something positive and not some meddling from abroad. It affects us all when a powerful country such as the US changes its policies.
      I always thought that mankind never learns from history, but with an issue such as this, and obvious parallels to that darkest moment of recent history, I think we must learn that lesson. I’m not just thinking of those who have died because of fascism, but I am also thinking of my own children – I don’t want them to live in a world where discrimination is state-sanctioned. My hope is placed on the millions of Americans who are protesting, and on the legislators who have the power to do something.

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  11. I hadn’t been through Richard’s page today, so I hadn’t realized he deleted some of the tweets until I read it here, and in another of your tweets. So I also have no idea what the rude comments were, or who made them. Were they fans, or Trump people, or other celebrities?
    I know you started by saying you wanted to abstain from politics, and that’s your right. However, look at the conversation you inspired.

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    • I didn’t see those comments, either, Jane. By the time I looked for his tweet, it had already been deleted. I guess there are always people who defend themselves by attacking others. Servetus mentioned that the comments were the usual reply when a foreign national *dares* to voice an opinion on a country they are not a citizen of – something along the lines of “if you don’t like the US, you are welcome to leave”. Apparently those comments were not from fans, either.
      And thanks for your encouragement re. starting a conversation. I am interested in politics, I enjoy discussing it, but I also enjoy the light relief that my blogging about a “frothy entertainment personality” brings, and I don’t necessarily want to jeopardise that. If there is to be debate, I am happy to discuss opposing opinions – as long as it is done with respect and courtesy. This issue was just too important to let it slip, and I really want my American friends within the fandom to know that I stand in solidarity, and that I take their problems very seriously. It concerns me also because they are my friends, they are American, and they live with this – that makes it important for me, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for this – but I’m with Obscura – it is so difficult not to feel ashamed – and this seems to be the case even with Americans who are only surrounded in America with other Americans. There’s a collective shame that somehow we let this happen. As to celeb endorsements – I have also read that they seemed to harm more than help in terms of support. In my own case, I came across a few celebs I’d always admired who demonstrated support in ways and for candidates, positions that shocked me – and I’m sort of boycotting them ( Susan Sarandon, I’m talking to you) – but I can’t say that it worked the other way, where a celeb changed or affected my opinion in favor of anything or anyone. But then, I have my own strong opinions. I also think there’s a time and place, so sometimes, even when I’m in agreement with what is said, I cringe at the venue in which it’s being said. There was a time when political statements by actors at awards show were really frowned upon, but more recently, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. I like Meryl Streep but I wish she would have focused on some other outrage when she spoke out – something other than the disabled reporter She had plenty of fodder.

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    • So with you on Susan Sarandon. But I was already hostile to the Sanders campaign. She just sealed the deal.

      I have felt, while living abroad, that I’m a representative of America — that many people may not meet other Americans, or that I could be the one they know best — and I try to behave at my best in those situations for that reason, and in the wake of all of this I feel like everything I’ve been telling people about the U.S. for twenty five years is wrong. Devastatingly wrong. I don’t know if it’s shame, but maybe it is.

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      • I was hostile to the Sanders campaign, but I hated the manner in which she supported him and dissed Hillary and Obama. Her puss at the convention disgusted me. She’s always been more liberal (and very outspoken) on more issues than I, but I never minded- I sort of put up with it, but she went way to far before and after Sanders, for my taste. I was also pissed at Viggo Mortensen, but not as much.

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      • It doesn’t surprise me that you have felt that way (about being representative of the US abroad) – certainly in Germany people tend to see it like that. (And btw – that is one of the reasons why I think it is so important for people to take the opportunity and live abroad for a while, if they can. Nationality and nationalism takes on such a different meaning once you have experienced living as a foreigner abroad…)
        Before I try to appease you and say that you didn’t tell people lies for the last 25 years – what did you tell them about the US? The battle is not yet lost, though, and even though Trump is currently trampling on the constitution, that doesn’t mean all Americans do… But yeah, you know me, always hopeful…

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        • That the US is incredibly diverse, and that although it doesn’t always live up to its press, unfortunately, still that most Americans want it to and work within their communities to improve things so that it does. (paraphrasing) It’s also changed. In Germany in the 1990s I would still meet people who believed questionable elements of the GDR propaganda about the US, for instance (we’re all drug addicts or all black people are living in abject poverty or whatever).

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          • I see. From my perspective, I don’t think you have told them any lies. The protests have shown that (even though I have totally taken your point about the dominance of white women on the women’s marches. But we have been through that…).

            Liked by 1 person

            • LOL, well I won’t discuss my perception of the segmented quality of the airport demonstrations, but they did have one feature that the women’s march did not have that says a lot for them IMO — they were spontaneous. I have nothing against political calculation but what it means is always less clear to me.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Hm. Well, I have just seen that there will be a protest outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Thursday, and I am planning to attend that. Spontaneous decision now, action planned for Thursday 😉

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                • I watched / read / listened to people debate for several weeks what clothes they were wearing for Washington, what the weather would be like, and even which restaurants they wanted to visit while there. During those weeks, I tried to remind myself of the basic Jewish maxim that if they do the mitzvah that is the point, everything else is irrelevant, but I couldn’t get rid of my basic Christian thinking on this point, that motivation matters. I suppose if / as the airport protests become more normalized, more of that stuff will creep into it, too, and I can see the photo opportunities occurring already. But what I saw on Saturday was simply huge groups of people dropping what they were doing and rushing to the airports to protest, and I will never forget that.

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                  • Yes, that sounds more honest, indeed. However, logistically, if you want to make an impact in a place like Ireland, where even the whole population is less than half of the population of New York City ALONE, you need to tell people where and when they can turn up.
                    Honestly – in about 20 years of protesting I have *never* heard other people discussing their clothing choices… or treat a protest as a sightseeing trip. Maybe I have been to the wrong demos.

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                    • It’s pretty standard here — demo as social occasion — but I saw a lot more of it this time around. It has to do with the social segments of people in the U.S. who are willing to demonstrate.

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                    • Yeah.

                      The next things are going to be hard to know how to protest (the purge of all upper State Department officials last week who are not political appointees, and the advance response of the White House telling all officials who disagree with Friday’s executive order to get on board or resign). Beyond protesting with calls, letters, I don’t know where to go on that one. But it will cut down on people who like the appearance aspect of it, I suspect.

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    • I’m still not advocating shame or the shaming of Americans for what is happening, but the expression of feeling shameful is almost a positive sign for me. It just means that people are aware of how bad it all is, and that they feel personally affected by it. That is the best motivation for resistance and pushback. In that sense I am “glad” that people feel ashamed (although I do not want any of you to feel bad about yourself or the role that you play in this. I suspect, those who feel ashamed now, are the ones who did not vote for Trump, anyway… what a perverted world, where those who are not the perpetrators, have to feel responsible…)
      I am not really familiar with Susan Saradon and celebrity endorsement – but I take your point that the venue where things are said occasionally seem to trivialise issues, or makes it look as if the celebs are jumping on the bandwagon to get some PR out of it. Sure, sometimes my knee-jerk reaction to a celebrity opinion is “oh shut up, what do you know, you privileged, rich dreamer, you don’t live in the real world”. But I’m aware that that is grossly unfair. In the end, they are just citizens, too. And somehow they just can’t win when it comes to political opinion – if they speak out, they get accused of meddling with things they don’t know anything about or are too rich and famous to feel affected by. If they don’t, they are accused of being ignorant and shallow. No, I don’t pity those poor, poor celebs. They have a cushy life. But it’s a tricky thing to navigate for them, too.

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      • I think there’s a significant difference between “being shamed” (by someone) and “feeling ashamed” (of oneself). The first is what celebrities typically do, and it’s practically never useful. A personal transformation where one realizes that one has been behaving incorrectly and changes one’s behavior is a good thing, but IMO it almost never happens because national figures tell people to change their minds.

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      • I understand exactly what you mean about the shame/no shame issue. How nuch orse it would be if most Americans just took it in stride or took the My country Right or Wrong view. The best hope is that eventually some reasonable republicans jump ship. As to Susan Sarandon, one of my faves before Bernie – she has always been politically active and usually well informed, but she went over the top, IMO, during the election and tweeted some unforgivable things.

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  13. I have been so consistently wrong in my assessment of Trump’s political fortunes I hesitate to comment. As a US citizen traveling abroad, I had been asked countless times prior to the election about Trump and his support in America. I have progressed from “Don’t worry, he’ll never be the nominee,” to “Don’t worry, he can never win the election,” to “Don’t worry, it’s only four years, how bad can it get?” Now there is a serious effort in my state (California) to secede from the US. I don’t see that working out, given our history. But I didn’t take Trump seriously, either. So I guess I will eliminate “don’t worry” from my political discussions from now on. I know nothing.

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    • You are not alone in that, Kathy. I think a lot of people underestimated the discontent of the people.
      Wow, California is exploring the option of breaking away from the US? That’s an interesting idea. Not sure what to think of that.

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    • I have to admit that there’s a certain irony to that possibility from my perspective given my many jokes about CA over the years, but I’m going to stick with my goto on this, which is that if TX never succeeded in seceding in all these years, CA won’t either. Of course, as you say, nothing we “know” has been right for at least a year.

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      • Before the election, I would have said California leaving the US was a non-starter. Now, not likely but possible??? The other option being explored is essentially a tax revolt by the state gov., not paying tax revenues owed to the feds. We live in interesting times. Sort of a tea party, from the other side.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The argument in TX for it was always that b/c TX had been a nation, it wasn’t legally in the same situation as a state that had only been a territory before petitioning for statehood. Even in practical terms it would be a huge mess. However, I would move in with you and apply for citizenship in California, how would that be? And then maybe I could stop using my taxes to pay for drone strikes which would make me very happy.

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          • I would love to have you move in with me. Please apply for citizenship as soon as possible. New citizens will probably have to pledge to maintain a tan and have at least two plastic surgeries. California has something in common with Texas, besides sharing a border with Mexico and a star on our flag. We called ourselves a republic for 25 days, before becoming a state. Maybe that will help our case for leaving.

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  14. Sorry for late reply, i’m constantly trying to juggle the workload with the onslaught of news which gets grim and grimmer. I agree with everything you say and i don’t think one needs a passport to have an opinion. For what it’s worth i think it is important that people speak up and speak out about their experience in similar situation and issue warnings. At this moment in time i am not very optimistic about the warnings being heard. But being silent is almost like participating, it’s not an option as far as i’m concerned.

    As you have seen i’m sure it’s all but rosy here and it’s downright disgusting. i had to go back to take photos of pages on the values of the UK from the book new residents have to learn, issues by the Home Office to remind me that at least in principle this country is tolerant and defends the vulnerable and doesn’t allow discrimination. Because the people representing us seem to want to sell those values out cheep and to whoever asks first. It’s just beyond belief, reason and dignity that they/she will stoop to threatening European allies and then scurry to huddle up to some of the worst politicians out there but some of the worst possible deals. And her party lackeys all to happy to find excuses (even when UK citizens have been affected by the discrimination already). There is a hard and long fight ahead 😦

    As to the tangerine situation across the pond the repercussions are not only national, they can never be just that with a country with such international and above all military clout. But even more than the utter discrimination in his last act and the stupidity and blindness to international consequences what scares me is that he is an utter dictator and i am not sure the representatives will be willing to admit it in time to make sure the safeguards of democracy still work. His measures so far have been extreme, un-enthical, illegal and probably in contradiction to the constitution But behind those are even more evil and perverse measures: hiding the truth, including the scientific one, lying about it non-stop, banning scientists and professionals from speaking, trying to shut up the press, eliminating professionals from the leadership of key state institutions, including those concerned with security, and replacing them with those ‘loyal’ to him. What comes next? Surely those persecution and elimination of all those perceived to be ‘against’ him. The words are already out there, one only needs to listen to his press representatives and even the new ambassador to the UN who apparently said they were ‘taking names’ of those speaking against Trump. How many more signals do people need to see him as the dictator that he is? It’s a horror movie of deja vu which i find utterly frightening, i’ve lived this half of my life and i can’t believe i am seeing the exact same thing all over again.
    There may be safeguards in democratic institutions but not if somebody is not playing by the rules and is setting about to undermine and subjugate them all to his will. The danger is that if no action is taken now before he infiltrates every single corner of state institutions with people ready to crawl up his backside he will be impossible to shift. Protests are necessary and thank God press is not only printed these days so he simply doesn’t have the means (yet) to stop others from speaking up but if Congress continues to give him free reign i fear soon it will be too late and they will be altogether useless. Which is why i think it is important for international politicians and institutions to speak up so that those in the US don’t loose courage and are encouraged in their doubts and concerns and hopefully will find it in them to fight for democracy.
    And the discussion needs to expand beyond his last measure to encompass all as only the totality of them paints the full picture. Beyond his racist and limited personal views he’s also a politician who does not intend to play by the rules and who does not respect or abide by any democratic values. And who has already surrounded himself by people just like him who now have their hands on all state institutions who could oppose Trump.

    I just feel that at present that message is not getting across 😦
    But we all need to speak up and repeatedly show and say why his actions go against all humanitarian and democratic principles. Hopefully we’ll get through to the people who can actually do something about it before it is too late..

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  15. Oh and as to the lovely one as usual Er hat das Herz an der richtigen Stelle i appreciate him speaking out especially as this is not that common. And his testimony about the visit to the shelter must move people it illustrates who they are and how great their need it makes them humans, people like us all ❤

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    • “must move people” — if you read the Richard Armitage tag (mentions) you can see how it affects people. People either agree the images are moving, or they say, yes, that’s very nice, but _______________. It’s more or less the same reaction people had when he first posted them (a little more distilled now).

      I won’t get into my issues with appeals to empathy and the critiques of this position raised by human rights scholars, but they often seem to have little effect, or the effect they have is temporary. I remember horrifying pictures from the Mediterranean this spring, of a child dead on a beach. That was the image that was going to change the debate. Right.

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      • Still it may move some people even temporarily from just feeling empathy to doing something about it. Every year Children in need collects many millions in a big obe off effort based on human stories like this. Those millions do make a difference. I’m not referring to those for whom people miles away are just too far from their lives to care. But if at least some of those who do can be moved to act well it might have been worth it.

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        • I’m guessing, though, that Children in Need gets money from people who are already susceptible to appeals to sympathy. What I am saying is that someone who has already decided they have no sympathy for refugees is not going to be moved by Richard Armitage’s or anyone else’s photos. What most of those people say on his feed is that yes, it’s unfortunate that children are dying but that they are more concerned about US / their own children’s security. If you are willing to feel sympathy, an appeal to it can work. If not, it’s potentially worse than pointless.

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        • To give a trivial example — I am not especially interested in animal welfare charities. I’m not in favor of animal abuse, certainly, and I’m mostly opposed to animal testing, but on the whole I have a limited number of things I have emotional time for and animals are not really on the list. (I’m also one of those people who’s mostly annoyed by “cute animal” posts on FB and doesn’t think it’s fun to pet random dogs and so on, so it’s probably a more generalized pathology of some kind.) If a suffering animal crossed my path, I would try to help it (if it wasn’t a dying bat or something that might have rabies), but I would never voluntarily have an animal in a house I lived in for more than a few hours.

          There are a few cable channels I watch from time to time that run frequent ads for charities that help animals that are solely appeals to emotion — poor suffering animals. I see them and I roll my eyes. (ducks). You would never get me to donate money on that basis because I feel very little sympathy with animals beyond my belief that they should be treated humanely. (I won’t get into my issues with animal policy and so on.) I have many friends who are big animal lovers and I have donated to animal charities on their behalf as a present or a condolence gift, and I don’t think there’s anything reprehensible about sympathizing with animals — I just don’t, really.

          Everyone’s going to proceed in protest in the way that seems most sensible to them, and obviously appeals to sympathy have a place. However, appeals to sympathy have been going on in the case of Syrian refugees for years with very little effect. IMO what is really necessary is concerted political action by organized pressure groups who coerce, cajole or threaten their representatives to do something. However, that kind of action takes the risk of making people angry, whereas appeals to sympathy make everyone more comfortable.

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          • I agree with what you are saying and i think the possibility of changes people’s minds radically is slim, but i do think one can make some difference as there is a big gap between sympathy and action. Even if only in fundraising sometimes celebrities can make a difference, and then those funds can pay for action, lawyers, etc can help move those with further influence and so on. It rarely changes worlds but on the other hand for the many homeless even the few hundred thousands collected because some actor prompts it can be the difference between life or death, even if sadly they don’t offer the complete solution.
            I agree that a lot more action from pressure groups and those with influence on political decisions is needed but that that in itself is also no reason for smaller actions not to happen.

            I know it’s not the same and the issues are different but for example 2 names come to mind, take Bardot and her animal right campaign. She certainly made a difference in how we approach these today. Or Jamie Oliver and school lunches/dinners. May seem trivial but it did provide healthier meals to children of whom many may only get that one decent meal in school and nothing else. It all depends on context and how the issue is approached and so on but celebrity input can in the best of cases have a positive domino effect. However it does not replace political action, but it may complement and support it.

            On this exact question of ‘why bother’ there was an interesting interview with Forest Whitaker at Davos just the other day :

            In my own recent experience my workplace survived nearly unscathed or with only bruises what was a chopping ax coming our way due to own efforts but also in equal part due to significant public messaging and defending by celebrities. They literally saved us. And i do wonder if more famous names had gotten involved in the pre-referendum campaign and had made life in the EU a story, something relatable if this couldn’t have possibly swayed the vote and we wouldn’t be in this shit we are now…

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            • I guess people have a really high opinion of Jamie Oliver in the UK (I’ve heard varying things), but in the US he was ignored by everyone except the people whom he then alienated when he flew in to try to “help” them. At the end of it school districts were more or less cringing if they heard Oliver wanted to come in to “help” them. In contrast, although Michelle Obama is often also vilified by some for her efforts on school lunches, it’s generally not by the people who were occupied with the issue before she got interested in it. She has done a fair amount to improve school lunches — through political action, by actually helping to push through standards at the USDA about what is offered to children at school. This is still extremely controversial (and like Oliver she has the issue that often the kids didn’t care to eat the food they were offered) but she’s effected some real change here on a serious problem, whereas Oliver? Pfft. It was always just an opportunity to grow his brand. Just like the breastfeeding thing. Whatever, is my response when he opens his mouth about anything these days.

              I guess I just know so many examples to the contrary that I’m unwilling to say “celebrities help” or “appeals to empathy are the right way to go” without more information about the context in which they are acting and knowing what they want to do. There are celebrities whose political appeals I respect but many that I don’t.

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  16. For me the example of Mme Bardot is not a good choice, because she also stands for a extreme far right opinion and is a supporter of FN. I am living in an area with 35% supporter of FN and it scares me that I can hear the opinion “we also need a man like him”. So I think it is important to react in our little world even if it is difficult

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