Clifford Rieders

Watching Old News Reels

Have you ever watched the old news reels of the run up to World War II in Spain, Italy, and Germany?  Tightly knit, well organized squads of fascist youth are seen marching down the streets in military fashion.  They have a leader who shouts out the call and the young would-be soldiers cry out a rhythmic response in unison.  This was the build up to the fascist enterprise that was the cause of World War II and the ultimate death of over 50 million people.  At the time, people like Charlie Chaplin just made fun of the youth inspired by Spain’s Franco, Italy’s Mussolini, and Germany’s Hitler.  They seemed to be misguided youth, caught up in the excitement of a party-like atmosphere.

Fast forward to 2024.  Just after the start of the Sabbath on Friday night, January 26th, a group of perhaps 100-150 young people went marching up Route 30, Lancaster Avenue, in Haverford, Pennsylvania.  They were in that in that same familiar tight formation, led by a woman with a bullhorn.  She would shout out the call for action and the loud, absolutely uniform response was: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  There were also shouts of: “End the occupation” in response to the leader’s prompting.  The occupation that the modern fascists are talking about are Jews living in their 3,000 year old homeland.

What was most interesting about the display was that police cars both preceded and followed the marchers, effectively closing off Lancaster Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the Mainline of Philadelphia. Other police cars shut off the side streets.

The people who call themselves protesters were not relegated to a park, as is customarily the case, but rather were given the protection of the police. Later I found out that the organization of this event took place on the Haverford College campus. Haverford College is one of the elite small colleges in the United States. My oldest daughter went there. Now parents spend upwards of $60,000 a year or more for their children to learn to hate America, to hate the Jews, and to abuse the freedoms which we take for granted.  They are taught that White people are oppressors, and they drink the propaganda of the Third World, like the Kool-Aid consumed in Jonestown.

What was most impressive was the imitation of what works for dictators. We have seen the displays of hate intoxicated youth in North Korea, China, and Russia.  In order to captivate the mind of the young and the ignorant, it is necessary to have a melodic, rhythmic, and catchy phrase. Those phrases are prompted by leaders who fully understand that minds can be trained to hate and ultimately to kill.

The youth of pre-World War II Europe were explicitly and logically manipulated to assure that the recipients of the fascist message would respond affirmatively when called upon to assault people labeled as “enemy.”

Perhaps we have made a mistake by delegating our responsibility as parents and citizens to schools, colleges, and the government itself which is hypocritical in their assertion that they support freedom of speech, enhancement of personal liberties, and respect for others.  There is no mind more closed these days than that of a fired up college student and many distorted professors.

The marchers frequently wear masks and refuse to engage in dialogue.  It is important for those training the young haters to make sure that their nascent army is not polluted by different points of view or open mindedness.  What is key is that the message be blunt, simple, direct, and musical.  That’s right, there is a certain musical quality to the chants that we hear in the streets.  We have advanced well beyond, “LBJ how many babies did you kill today?”  The Vietnam War was a bad mistake and the American people were not dealt with honestly, but Lyndon Johnson was not interested in killing babies and that is not why we fought the Vietnam War.  However, the slogan stuck and the message was not forgotten.

It is important to realize that words and conduct have consequences for future action.  The students, before they left the Haverford College campus, were addressed by women in Muslim garb who delivered a succinct, clear message, devoid of nuance or reality. The message was about spreading the fabrication that Jews are responsible for all of the world’s problems, including the corruption, crime, and militarism spread by Islamic Jihad in the Middle East, and now in America.  Somehow Jews and their accomplices, which is most of the rest of America, must be bad.  What makes these enemies of Jihadist fundamentalists so evil?  The fact that they exist!

The billions of dollars that have flowed into American higher education from Saudia Arabia, Qatar, and other Arab regimes has not been wasted money.  The events, such as marching up Lancaster Avenue, are not inexpensive to pull off.  It takes social contact, professional agitators, transportation, and very good political connections to close down a main artery in a very busy suburb of Philadelphia; in order to promote spreading a message of hate and intolerance.

It also takes great political connections to be able to get police protection for the neofascists, while denying or ignoring the requests of other individuals or groups who would like to train their own soldiers in the political fight for dominance of the American mind.

It would be nice to see our political candidates have a real debate as to the importance and limitations of the First Amendment but, more importantly, whether as a nation we should be funding and supporting the teaching of bigotry.  Let us not forget that reasonable time and place restrictions on speech are permitted by the United States Supreme Court.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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