The perils of being a political blogger.

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I waited for the day Donald Trump would be defeated and banished to fascist purgatory with almost the same amount of enthusiasm I had when I was about to get my Sega Genesis for Christmas in the mid 90s. When the results of the election became official, I was truly happy, so much that I decided to celebrate by drinking more martinis than I should.

But when the hangover ended two days later, I was hit by a worrisome thought.

“What if all of this, the celebrations, the mass resistance, the protests, the millions who suffered and agonized while gaining consciousness of the country’s problems, the kids who proudly got to wear their “I voted” stickers for the first time… Ends up being for nothing?” …

American presidential elections resemble a display of theatrics meant to keep constituents entertained while their pockets are looted by Wall Street.

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(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

In these unprecedented times, we should take the opportunity to celebrate the defeat of Donald Trump — the first American President who was hesitant to condemn neo-nazis, who doubled the rate of drone strikes in Yemen, and brought the country to the brink of war with Iran. For four years, he demonized minorities, separated immigrant parents from their children, and used the White House as a megaphone to bully our collective mental health on a daily basis.

However, although it is relieving to have a bit of human decency back in the White House, we’re back at the same starting point we had before Trump, or possibly worse. For the country to achieve significant change, there is a long and hard way to go. …

Accepting the killing of non-menacing suspects on sight opens dangerous precedents for the American police.

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Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

Far-Right extremists account for the vast majority of politically motivated murders on national soil, according to research. And the narrative of “Antifa” constituting an organized violent existential threat to the U.S. remains mostly an unfounded conspiracy theory disseminated by ultra-conservative media and politicians.

However, on August 29, the city of Portland, Oregon, apparently witnessed an exception. Aaron Danielson, a 39-year-old Trump supporter affiliated with the group Patriot Prayer was killed by Michael Reinoehl, a 48-year-old Antifa activist. Both of those men had been sturdy participants in the long-running street battles between leftist and far-right groups.

Portland, An Ideological Battleground

Reinoehl was a beaten-down middle-aged man with a failed snowboarding career who was estranged from his family and drowning in debt after going through a difficult divorce. According to his sister, the eruption of the Portland protests against racism had given his life a new purpose and direction after the hardships he had endured. …

In my childhood home, there were no tales of the boogeyman, for our boogeyman was real — it had a face, an ideology, a history, and it had massacred and murdered people we knew.

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(Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels)

A few weeks ago, in the wake of the Trump administration’s reaction to the Portland protests, I heard several more people drawing comparisons between our current political climate and fascism. These claims have been somewhat recurring throughout the past four years.

Most of those who are more educated in history believe that these assertions remain, for the most part, inaccurate. The president may be a threat to democracy and human rights in his own way, but yet he apparently has never been in the same league as the more pragmatic menaces of Mussolini and Hitler.

However, this does not mean that Trump isn’t a sympathizer and strong leaner towards that political spectrum. From his rebuttal and claim that some of those on the side of the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were “very fine people”, his efforts to undermine democracy, the recurrent demonization and mistreatment of minorities, his apparent interest in Hitler’s speeches, his complicity with Steve Bannon and other extremists, the praise of white supremacist killers, his love letters to authoritarians, and the fact that his rhetoric is inspiring a new wave of nationalist far-right populists to come out not just in the U.S. but across Europe as well. …

In the fight against this historic pandemic, the dichotomy between private and public health sectors has been a defining factor.

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Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

The mortality rate of Covid-19 patients in some of the public hospitals in the poorer sections of New York City can be as much as three times higher than that of the more elitist private ones. Why does this happen?

The government-run facilities are the ones most likely to deal with infected people who are either covered by Medicare, Medicaid or, in some cases, have no insurance at all. The private sector, on the other hand, caters to the wealthier citizens who are either covered through their employers or privately.

Police Brutality

“This is not a de-escalation strategy — this is flat-out urban warfare”, claimed the city’s Mayor.

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Photo by Tito Texidor III on Unsplash

Abuse of power, unnecessary violence and unidentified extrajudicial detentions -, those are some of the events being witnessed by people protesting against systemic racism on Portland in the wake of George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths. The perpetrators were sent there by Trump in late June through an executive order. The city’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler, describes the situation as “an egregious overreaction” and “a direct threat to democracy.”

The protesters' actions throughout the past weeks have largely been peaceful. However, the Department of Homeland Security has justified dispatching a new federal task force citing fears of destruction of government property. Now, the policing is not being made by officers of the local police as it should, but by militarily equipped officers of undisclosed agencies who have been operating without any identifying badges in the eyes of the local residents, who were initially left completely clueless as to the identity of those men. …

28 years later, the unedited version of the band’s video clip for the song “Jeremy” has resurfaced on their YouTube page for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

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Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

In January 1991, Jeremy Delle, a 15-year-old sophomore from Richardson High School, Texas, shot himself with a Smith & Wesson Model 19-4 .357 Magnum revolver in front of his English class. The event inspired Pearl Jam frontman, Eddie Vedder, and bassist, Jeff Ament, to write the track which would end up becoming the band’s debut album third single.

In that same year, Pearl Jam became one of the bands launched into stardom in the wake of the explosion of the Grunge movement. The group had emerged from the ashes of another of Seattle’s promising bands, Mother Love Bone, whose tenure was ended abruptly after the death of singer Andrew Wood shortly before the release of their acclaimed first album. Vedder, who at the time was a blue-collar worker and drifting California’s surfer with a taste for both Classic and Punk Rock, joined the band after composing melodies and lyrics for an instrumental demo tape created by the remaining members of the group. …


Rafael Pinheiro

An idealistic journalist trying to save the world one reader at a time. Get in touch:

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