Of Feminists and Nazis

Every morning I wake up post-election, I try to reconcile what has happened just one week ago. I cannot. Every day is a fresh nightmare. Hearing and reading each new announcement is like undergoing invasive surgery without benefit of anesthesia.

So I won’t pull any punches. I’ll leave it to others to exercise calm restraint. I’m going to indulge in the emotions we women are so well known for. Unlike the Aryan Barbie doll, aka Kellyanne, my blood boils hot and deep and Jewish. So when she and Reince try to run down Bannon’s resume, I look beyond the titles to the filthy drek he published and said – and did. He is simply a cesspool of human garbage – a wife beater, an anti-Semite, a White Supremacist.

Apparently, our country is still too backwards, unenlightened, misogynistic and racist to recognize that the devil can come dressed in designer suits. An Ivy-league educated, successful businessman can be a base and pathetic stone-cold rapist or pedophile or Nazi lover or calculating racist. He can look pretty or ugly, be a smooth-talker, or be barely capable of stringing grammatical phrases together.

Americans once elected Nixon, who was psychologically disturbed, paranoid, depressed…like our President-elect, he, too compiled vengeance lists. McCarthy, Hitler, they shared this trait, as well. It’s been researched and documented that Trump keeps such lists.

Hell, the apprentice he tormented on national television, now turned African-American Outreach Director, has stated this repeatedly. Apparently, the woman is a self-hating glutton for punishment…perhaps nostalgic for the days when men like Donald and Stephen were simply designated ‘Master’. I’ll just call her Overseer Omarosa from here on in, as that’s a more accurate reflection of her role.

For any evil regime or dictator to be successful, there must be minions willing and even eager to carry out their orders. Sometimes there is hate in their heart. Sometimes they love the power. Sometimes it’s self-preservation. But what we are witnessing at this moment in history is evil in many guises.

Take Rosen of the American Jewish Congress or Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition. They could be construed as kapos. The Kapo was the Jew who cooperated with the Nazis, who rounded up other Jews and supervised their slavery and deaths in the Concentration Camps. Of course, the term kapo in this instance, at this moment in time, is just a metaphor. America is not Nazi Germany. But if it had any chance to become so, they are paving the way.

The one thing these men in roles of Jewish leadership have in common is that they don’t give a shit about Jewish women. Because no truly decent man could ever overlook what Trump and Bannon have said and done – not to Jews, not to women, not to blacks, not to an entire list of groups of people who feel frightened and threatened by Trump/Bannon’s ascent to power.

When they attack the ADL, the single-most effective and respected organization for tracking anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any sort, when they crap all over the ADL for their own political gain, they are no longer representative of the Jewish community. When they refuse to stand up and speak out, their power and access is for naught. They have crossed over the line of mere expediency into a dark cowardice.

Their titles and money are immaterial as testaments to their character. I see through that. And so do most of you.

Hitler’s rise took place over fifteen years with another ten years of nearly unchallenged viciously destructive reign. Except for the Resistance, the Dutch safety pinners, the people who risked their own lives to follow their conscience, the German people and others allowed evil to blossom. The Germans were cultured, democratic, intelligent, even good. But there was a seething malcontent just beneath the surface that found relief in Hitler’s hate-speech and ugly promises.

If you find the comparison of 1920’s-30’s Germany to today’s America preposterous, you need only examine the Nazi regime through the lens of women. In the Weimar Republic, women were beginning to enjoy feminist strides in public and professional life. (Though women were still imprisoned for having abortions.) But that was all erased in Nazi Germany as Nazism only tolerated women in subservient, domestic roles. And Hitler was actually quite popular with women, especially the wealthy elite.

If one examines articles in Bannon’s Breitbart, there is virtually no difference from statements and articles issued by prominent Nazis. So, the question is, which does your culture more closely resemble? Nazi Germany or a Progressive Democracy? Take a good, hard look at the writing on the (swastika-tagged) wall.

Now, the one refuge we Jews have that is different than Jews and minorities in 1930’s and 1940’s Nazi Europe, is supposed to be Israel. Except, for any modern feminist, it’s truly not. Netanyahu and the power-mad ultra-right wing have made sure of that. The sad joke is that whereas Golda Meir was once Prime Minister, she likely wouldn’t even be permitted on the dais at a government or military function that included the Ultra-Orthodox today.

Women have been fighting for over twenty-five years for the right to exercise spiritual freedom at the Western Wall, which is important in and of itself, and symbolically for other aspects of women’s lives. Even now that male Reform and Conservative leaders have joined them, they’re still being ignored. Women and girls are controlled in a myriad of ways in Israel; the pedophile-ridden, spit-on women, uneducated, impoverished Ultra-Orthodox and hyper-macho have too much of a seat at the table, and the women too little.

There is no safe spot. There is no place where we can’t be grabbed. Our government is itching to wrap their grubby little hands around our genitals, our uteruses – and they believe they have all the power. Health care, equal pay, dreamers, equality, are all in the hands of narcissists and sociopaths.

I can parse this all out intellectually. But I trust my instincts, my binah, if you will. No good will come from this administration, this period in history.

Our only hope is the people marching in the streets. The Sanders and the Ellisons and Schumers can talk about the woebegone middle class nine ways ’til Sunday. They can rush to throw Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz and Brazile under the bus.

But the truth is Progressives and Feminists have not been angry enough, emotional enough. We’ve been stuck playing by the men’s rules while they ran a giant con. We’re not allowed to be angry, not respected for our emotions. Clinton only stood a chance by remaining tightly in control and even then, she was reviled for that, too.

So, yes we have to try to understand one another, find common ground, heal. But first, we claim, respect, and articulate our emotions. We let out a primal scream – with no apology. We cry in the streets. We march and sign our names to protest. We call these organizations and Congressional representatives and give voice to our frustrations, opinions and fears. We run for office.

And Jewish women, for God’s sake, stop letting men run roughshod all over us. Tell your local Federation and organizations no more tourism to the ultra-Orthodox quarters. Call Jewish organizations and let them know endorsing misogynists is verboten. Speak out. Get involved in making America and Israel safer for all women and girls, gays and minorities, on every street, in every corner.

Be unafraid of being ourselves. That’s how we engage the millenials – hearts to minds. We take no prisoners, including ourselves.

P.S. If we keep writing about it, will Times of Israel finally create a Tag for Feminism? You know, since tags are supposed to enable like-minded readers to find the subject articles we’re interested in. Surely TOI isn’t afraid of a bunch of feminists…or our oppressors?

About the Author
Dana is a Jewish feminist, writer and poet. She is passionate about her daughter, love, kindness, spirituality, the artist's voice, and speaking out for the vulnerable. She lives in Music City, Nashville, TN.
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