A very big family in a very small house: my childhood home. The youngest of six, fights terrified me. Four older brothers, all over six feet, athletes, hunters, trappers, and archers. When the borscht hit the fan, crimson spattered the walls. Smaller and softer than they, less angry, eager to please, I shuddered. What sparked these swift, hard fists, these over-the-top curses? We had food, shelter, chicken on Sunday, school, church, friends, movies; life was good. I was just a lump of dough, praying for quiet to return.
I’m feeling the same fear again, of witnessing irrational hostility and fraternal violence, the despair that I am a bystander who has no power to influence events that terrify and depress me.
As far as I know, I am the only one of my Facebook friends who condemned both the BLM riots of 2020 and the January 6th assault on the Capitol. To the left-wing tribe, BLM violence was sanctioned. To the other, right-wing violence did not call for condemnation. My right-wing Facebook friends call me “liberal.” The left-wingers call me “conservative.” I think of myself as neither, but rather as a Christian, a patriotic American in awe of the Founding Fathers, a grateful inheritor of Western Civilization, and a capitalist. I lack the language to reach either side. We are all in the same boat, and a hole in your end sinks me. I don’t know enough other people who feel the same way, so I feel alone.
On January 27, in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof published a letter to conservatives, attempting to reassure them that, now that the presidency, the House and the Senate are all in Democratic hands, no one is out to get them. Team Biden says they are all about “healing” and “unity.” I support both healing and unity and I wish our new president well. But Team Biden is planting landmines that will spark future conflict. I will discuss some of the more prominent landmines, below.
Biden nominated Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health. Levine has been accused of bungling Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 response, and practicing a double standard when it came to Levine’s own mother. Anyone who points this out risks being canceled as “transphobic.”
Levine was born a man, and now wishes to be regarded as a woman. There are already calls for a schoolboard member to resign after tweeting an understated criticism of Levine’s physical appearance. Mentioning that the plainly masculine Dr. Levine, with a double chin, scraggly hair, and flabby flesh, is hardly the picture of vigorous, glowing health, is a career-ending offense. Rabbi Jennifer Schlosberg, who began the petition calling for the firing, compared a tweet commenting on a public physician’s physical appearance to “this hate … that lead to the murdering of MILLIONS of people” that is, the Holocaust. “Thank God we have each other,” Schlosberg wrote.
Schlosberg’s hyperbolic invocation of the Nazis reflects a liberal double standard. An obese man, John Goodman, depicted Linda Tripp on SNL. Liberals repeatedly mocked Republican governor Sarah Palin’s Down syndrome son. Michelle Wolf was praised for flaying Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ physical appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. During that cruel verbal assault, Huckabee Sanders sat feet away from Wolf, and the camera was on her as she squirmed. The most brutal depiction I found online of Dr. Levine was in fact a political cartoon skewering Levine for the alleged bungling of COVID-19.
Dr. Levine delivered a censorious sermon about “transphobic” commentary. Everyone, in both public and private life, faces hurtful comments, and Dr. Levine’s depiction of helpless victims v. evil haters is not the healing or unifying approach. Rather, this approach is polarizing. When liberal talk show host David Letterman confronted Republican governor Chris Christie about his obesity, Christie responded humorously, by eating a donut. In effect, Christie reassured voters: Yes, I am obese. I’m aware of it, but I am qualified to meet your needs as an elected official.
What if Dr. Levine, rather than emphasizing personal victimization at the hands of murderous “transphobes,” had said, “I was born a man. I am most comfortable living as a woman. I know this is a challenge to many of you, and I am truly sorry for any discomfort my appearance causes you. I prefer to be called ‘she,’ but I understand that your beliefs may prevent you from doing that, and I accept it and honor your choice in the same way that I hope that you accept and honor my choice. I hope that my excellent job performance, protecting and advancing your health, wins you over, and reduces my transgenderism to a non-issue.”
That approach, of respecting one’s fellow citizens, even those with which one disagrees, rather than resorting to identities of victim on the one hand and “haters” on the other, and focusing on the job one performs, rather than the identity one adheres to, is one the left could benefit from adopting.
During the presidential campaign and in her Twitter bio, Kamala Harris introduced herself by saying, “My pronouns are she, her, and hers.” On his first day in office, Biden issued an executive order stating, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.” This sounds very kind, doesn’t it? No worried children! No discrimination!
This is what I mean when I say I lack the language even to penetrate the minds of those with whom I disagree. Using “he” to refer to a human with XX chromosomes is “kind.” Using “she” is “hateful.”
The left criticized the Trump administration, and people on the right generally, as being anti-science. They point to the COVID-19 response, and to teaching Intelligent Design in schools. My Church teaches that there is no conflict between science and faith. In fact it is leftism-as-religion that cultivates conflict between belief and science, and between believers, who are all virtuous, and non-believers, who must be burned at the stake as heretics.
Team Pro-Choice still, in the age of detailed photos of fetal development, insists on referring to the fetus as a “clump of cells,” as merely the “product of conception,” and never as a human life. Abortion is called “healthcare,” when in most cases, abortion has nothing to do with healthcare.
In September, 2020, former Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue cover model Chrissie Teigen had a miscarriage at twenty weeks. Teigen is a person of color, she’s married to an African American man, and she is a Trump critic. In short, the media love Teigen. CNN, The Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times all told us that she lost a “baby.” Candace Owens is a conservative black woman who has encouraged her fellow African Americans to rethink their fealty to the Democratic Party. If Owens had had a miscarriage at twenty weeks and publicly mourned the loss, we all know the media would treat her differently than it treated Teigen. When is a fetus not “a clump of cells” but a “baby”? When a celebrity whose identity earns her points has a miscarriage. So much for science.
Not religion, but hard science, determines that a human with XX chromosomes is female, and a human with XY chromosomes is male. In healthcare and in law enforcement, the difference between “he” and “she” is the difference between life and death. Feminists labored for years to get doctors to address how differently women’s and men’s bodies respond to disease, drugs, and treatments. Feminists pointed out that these differences might cause women to die of America’s leading killer, heart disease. “A general lack of awareness of women’s heart disease may lead to doctors or patients missing heart attacks in women or delaying their diagnosis.”
Given their different anatomies, differences corelated with women’s role as mothers, males and females have different gaits. Doctors know this, and tailor treatments for muscles and bones to the gender of the patient. Good law enforcement officers intuitively grasp this as well. If they are seeking a “he” suspect or a “she” suspect, they will peruse pedestrians differently. Now, though, the words “he” and “she” are hate speech, and cannot be used accurately.
Years ago, a liberal friend told me that “Heather,” who was only an adolescent at the time, was, now, a man. Henceforth, I was to use the pronouns “he, him, his,” when referring to “Harv.” In fact, I barely knew “Harv” and never talked about “Harv” at all. My friend told me that calling this girl “she” would be “hateful.” “Aren’t Christians supposed to be kind?” I’ve thought about that conversation ever since. The reduction of our disagreement to “the hateful” versus “the kind.”
Peter Vlaming was a beloved schoolteacher. He was ordered to use male pronouns to refer to a female student. He agreed to address the student by her new name, but he declined to use any pronouns when referring to the student. His avoidance of using any pronouns at all was blameworthy. He was fired. Maya Forstater, a researcher at a British thinktank, lost her job because she tweeted that “men cannot change into women.” Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling stood up for Forstater, and has been canceled. Government agencies are disempowering and demonizing parents and pushing for “transition” of underage children while actively working to keep parents out of decision-making. A male rapist was placed in a women’s prison, and allegedly assaulted a female prisoner. Men claiming to be transgender have harassed women and girls in public restrooms. The left adopted trans rights only recently, and the left is already using that concept to destroy lives. How is any of this “kind?”
Was it really kind for my liberal friend and her allies to tell Heather/Harv that she was a boy? Heather was doing okay till she hit puberty. As is the case for every girl I’ve ever known, puberty was hard. When I was her age, I dreamed of being a Hollywood star. A high school teacher informed me that I lacked the looks or the luck to make my fantasy real. I hated the sudden need for a bra and sanitary pads, and the onset of cramps. I wanted to surgically remove my womb and breasts. My mother and her friends told me that that wasn’t an option, that I just had to deal. These adults hurt my childish feelings, but they saved me from wasted years trying to be something I can never be.
Heather was a vulnerable child. She had grown up without a father and with a very loving but imperfect mother. Before Heather reached the age when the human brain attains full maturity, she had amputated her breasts, and begun a lifelong dependence on potentially dangerous drugs (see here, here, here, here.) Was it “kind” for adults to encourage a girl to batter her body just because it was female?
When I was younger, bullies mocked me as a “he-she” because I liked to read and hike, and didn’t like to wear make-up or high-heeled shoes. But feminists insisted that, yes, girls like me were no less valid. Women scientists were women. Women athletes were women. Women who never married or had kids were women. Women like me face a lifetime of struggle to communicate that we, though we are, by some measures, traditionally “masculine,” are, in fact, women. Worthy women. Part of what it means to be a woman. Petite blondes who take spa days, who sing “I enjoy being a girl,” who defer to men, are not the be-all and end-all of womanhood. We are part of the mix, too. Tall and assertive Eleanor Roosevelt was a real woman. Dowdy Marie Sklodowska Curie, who excelled in “masculine” STEM fields and won one Nobel Prize in physics and another in chemistry, was a real woman. Ink-stained spinster Louisa May Alcott, with neither husband nor children, was a real woman. Frances A. Seward, an activist in the Underground Railroad and wife of Lincoln’s Secretary of State, wrote that “The moral and intellectual degradation of woman increases in proportion to the homage paid by men to external charms.” Feminism tried to exchange focus on “external charms” to inner worth.
Now liberals are turning back the clock. They insist that there is a “male brain,” devoted to war, barbecues, and car repair, and a “female brain,” that’s all about flirtation and Manolo Blahnik heels. The flirty, superficial, and vain are “real women” see Ru Paul. In the leftists’ “kind” definition, a “real woman” is Kaitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair, displaying impressive cleavage, almost a hundred thousand dollars in plastic surgery, and a coquettish head tilt.
If I were a kid today, some school counselor and liberal “concerned family friends” would be insisting that I am transgender. Chop off her breasts. She clearly doesn’t have a “female brain.” She’s not living up to stereotypes. Heather liked animals, the outdoors, and other girls. So rather than letting her keep her body and her hair, the liberal adults around her encouraged her futile effort to turn into a boy, so she’d conform to their idea of what a girl and a boy are supposed to be.
How is any of this “kind,” “unifying,” or “healing”? Ask Keira Bell, who sued the Tavistock clinic for pushing her to “transition” when she was too young to decide. She called what she went through a “harmful experiment on vulnerable children” that “seriously harmed me in more ways than one.” What did she, and other girls like her, need? Not “transition” but “better mental health services” “for children suffering with gender dysphoria” “to reconcile with their sex.”
Ask the young ladies of the Pique Resilience Project. They were encouraged, as children, to “transition.” They were part of a trend, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, affecting young girls. They regretted their transition, and are now speaking out. They are not alone. Go to YouTube and type in “detransition.” You will see video after video, like this one, of people in incredible pain.
The left is pro-science? Then why did the left try to bury the research that could be saving countless girls? In 2018, Lisa Littman published on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, a social contagion or fad striking vulnerable girls who were suddenly convinced, often through social media pressure, with adult reinforcement, that they were transgender. In response to pressure from trans activists, Littman’s work was suppressed.
What should we be doing? We should be talking about this, in a free exchange of ideas. They left won’t have it. Posie Parker, aka Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, is a British feminist, wife, and mother. She paid for a billboard that said, in its entirety, “woman noun adult human female.” The billboard was removed as “hate speech.” She is now denounced as a hater and police have interrogated and warned her. When asked about her activism, Parker said that forcing people to call a man a woman is “the thin edge of the wedge.” “A trans man rapes a woman, and we call him ‘she.'” Men who identify as women were filmed drop-kicking and stomping on a victim in a tube station in June, 2108. Referring to the assailants as “she,” Parker said, robs women’s ability accurately to describe reality, including male violence against women.
Biden wants children with gender dysphoria to be allowed access to school sports. That is “kind.” Girls are different from boys. Acknowledging that is “hateful.” In the past, girls competed against other girls. When girls win against other girls, they sometimes get scholarships. Now boys compete as girls, and, in those mixed-sex competitions, no girls win. Girl athletes thus lose scholarships. Sabotaging girls’ athletics is “kind.” Protesting this is “hateful.” See this video, and this one and this one.
I lived for a time in the old Soviet Empire. Like many Americans whose families came from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other Iron Curtain countries, I am ready to fight when someone tries to do to me what the two totalitarian powers, Nazism and Communism, did to my elders: force us to lie. Totalitarians don’t necessarily march into town and force you to renounce your faith on day one. On day one, you can still go to church. But, see this apple here? From now on, we will call it a pear. It’s a small thing, right? No big loss. Just call apples pears. Through intermediate steps, we will advance towards your renunciation of your faith, your family, your personal dignity.
Tadeusz Rozewicz fought, and survived, the Nazis. Afterward, he wrote a poem, “Saved,” expressing his wish, only, just, to call things by their true names again – “niech jeszcze ras nazwie rzeczy i pojecia” That’s what I’ll be marched to the Gulag for. The integrity to say “he” and “she.”
The “kind” versus the “hateful,” continued. The New York Times reports that in Khartoum, Sudan, “when Mr. Trump was eventually declared to have lost the vote, Monzir Hashim and his wife, Alaa Jamal, hugged with joy and erupted in wedding-style ululations … Joseph R. Biden Jr., hours after being sworn in as president, rescinded the entire raft of Trump-era orders that had blocked … mostly Muslims … from entering the United States.”
Monzir and Alaa are ecstatic that they can leave Sudan. Sudan is one of the worst places on earth to be a woman. Sudan’s government commits massive human rights violations. There is no freedom of speech or press in Sudan. About 90% of Sudanese women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, and over a third were married as children. Sudan is one of the most violent countries on earth, with a relatively low literacy rate. Life expectancy is 65.
Sudan is not unique. Between 2002 and 2009, the UN published a series of devastating Arab Human Development Reports. The Arab, largely Muslim, world lags behind comparable nations in everything from peace and security to technological innovation to production of new scholarship or even translations of scholarship published elsewhere. As The Economist put it, The Arab world’s “autocratic rulers, whether presidents or kings, give up their authority only when they die; its elections are a sick joke; [women] are treated as lesser legal and economic beings, and more than half its young, burdened by joblessness and stifled by conservative religious tradition, are said to want to get out of the place as soon as they can.”
During Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman announced that
“we are striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures.”
If we are committed to all cultures, are we committed to allowing child marriage, the suppression of free speech, and FGM in the United States? American Muslims have called for the suppression of free speech, see here, here and here, and Biden team members have as well. Muslim immigrants to the US do practice FGM here. Jumana Nagarwala performed FGM. All charges against her, and against the mothers who “tricked” their “screaming” seven-year-old daughters into having their external sex organs removed, were dropped on the grounds that the law banning FGM was unconstitutional. And of course a New Jersey judge denied a petition for a restraining order from a teen Muslim arranged bride whose husband beat, raped, and tortured her. The judge said that the man had the right to do these things; it was his religion. Muslim leaders, citing the example of “the perfect human,” Mohammed, who married his favorite bride when he was over fifty and she was six, have declared child marriage to be unassailably Islamic. Is committing ourselves, as the Biden inauguration announced, to “all cultures,” including cultures that mandate FGM, wife-beating, and child marriage, “kind”?
If any liberal reads this, they will scream at the above paragraph. How dare I suggest that some cultures are different from others, that some are less felicitous for women’s rights, intellectual activity, free speech, than others? In fact liberals do this all the time. The front page of the New York Times is doing that as I write this. The Capitol insurrection was the fault of Christians, a Times headline announces. The blacks and Hispanics who participated in the insurrection are really white, the Washington Post told us. White women are instruments of terror, Charles M. Blow wrote in May, 2020. Liberals, as easily as they breathe, blame white skin and Western civilization for every evil, yet they can’t find evil in the most overt Koranic exhortations to violence cited by Osama bin Laden himself.
Kindness? Here’s kindness. On December 2, 2015, Shannon Johnson, a 45 year old Christian and former truck driver from Georgia, was at a boring workplace Christmas training session and luncheon, seated next to his coworker, 27-year-old Denise Peraza. Two jihadis entered the room and began shooting. Johnson and Peraza ducked under a table. Johnson wrapped his arms around Peraza. “I got you,” he told her. Indeed, he did have her. He took the bullets and died. She survived.
“While I cannot recall every single second that played out that morning, I will always remember his left arm wrapped around me, holding me as close as possible next to him behind that chair.” Shannon Johnson, a white, male truck driver from Georgia, is the kind of person liberals stereotype as worthy of hatred. He was truly “kind.”
Years ago, I fell in love with an eight-year-old boy just through his photo. I get a lot from photos; I feel I can look into someone’s soul. I look at that photo of Martin Richard at a hockey game, and I see pure innocence, pure sweetness, a precious gift from Heaven that every adult is honor-bound to protect and nurture. Except we didn’t protect Martin. As a photo shows, jihadis stood mere feet from Martin when they planted their pressure-cooker bomb. The Tsarnaev brothers knew what they were about to do to Martin. Their act would not be kind.
“Shrapnel – including small nails, plastic, pellets and wood – from one of the homemade pressure cooker bombs set off by Tsarnaev and his older brother had punched through the boy’s 69-pound body. He suffered a six-inch-by-six-inch wound to his left abdomen, which exposed his intestines, and caused damage to his liver, left kidney, spleen and two ribs … His left arm had also nearly been torn off and his left leg suffered a broken bone and lacerations. The youngster also suffered third-degree burns as well as scrapes to his head and neck. ‘Overall, the injuries… would be painful,'” testified a doctor.
Martin’s soul lives on. “The Martin Richard Foundation works to advance the values of inclusion, kindness, justice and peace.”
Trump announced his plans for a Muslim ban on December 7, 2015, five days after the San Bernardino shooting. I do not believe that his ban was inspired by “hate.” I believe it was inspired by the deaths of Americans he hoped to protect.
What should be done? We should have a free, open, national conversation. I want to see Hatun Tash engaging with Linda Sarsour. Robert Spencer debating Reza Aslan. David Wood probing Keith Ellison. Ayaan Hirsi Ali taking on Wajahat Ali. Ridvan Aydemir challenging Ilhan Omar. Yasmine Mohammed chatting with Ingrid Mattson. Why can’t I live out this fantasy? Liberal media’s illiberal suppression of thought and speech. The former of the two pairs, above, is an Islam-critical person. While the latter, pro-Islam voices are cherished in media, elected to Congress, and appointed to powerful positions, Islam-critical persons have yet to receive their invites to powerful media. Instead, they receive death threats, live off of Go-Fund-Me donations, and are demonized by the SPLC.
Americans experience, over and over again, what Bill Maher and Sam Harris experienced from Ben Affleck when Maher and Harris tried to talk about Islam. Affleck shut them down. In fact, Nick Kristof, in his open letter to conservatives, scoffs at “hate and hysteria while grabbing at your wallet,” in reference to reservations about Islam as it is taught in the schools. Again, the liberal playbook. Disagree with someone? Call them “hateful.” And don’t address any facts.
If I could, I’d say this to Joe Biden, or to Nick Kristof. Shannon Johnson and Martin Richard are not the last kind people to die in a hateful jihadi attack. If, in the future, you were sitting across from the mourning loved ones of the next victim, what would you say you did in an attempt to forfend that attack and keep their loved one safe?
Brian Sicknick was a kind guy. “There was a shared humanity. My job was very much dependent on him keeping me safe,” said Caroline Behringer, a Hillary Clinton supporter and Capitol worker, of Capitol Officer Sicknick, who supported Donald Trump. Sicknick died after being injured at he Capitol on January 6. I mourn him.
I also mourn Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, who believed BLM-style narratives about allegations of white police officers killing unarmed black men without cause. Neither Ramos nor Liu was white. I mourn the five police officers killed in Dallas in 2016 by yet another killer who believed anti-police propaganda. I mourn David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired police officer, who was attempting to guard a friend’s pawn shop during a BLM riot. A rioter shot him dead during a Facebook livestream.
The Wikipedia entry devoted to Dorn’s killing is barely four pages long. The Wikipedia entry devoted to the police shooting of Michael Brown, a known criminal, is fifty-one pages long. America has decided that a black man who serves his community rather than preys on it is less worthy of attention.
My liberal friends on Facebook insisted, during BLM violence, that “A riot is the language of the unheard,” a Martin Luther King quote. I asked them why they thought that African Americans were unheard. African Americans have occupied all levels of power in the United States, from president to the mayor’s office. There are, and have been for decades, government and private programs devoted to the needs of African Americans, exclusive of all other groups. There are scholarships, recruitment offices, hiring quotas, publishing houses, congressional caucuses, holidays, curricula. I received no answer. No such comments were made after January 6. No liberal on my page said that pro-Trump protesters needed to be heard or understood or placated with new government programs.
Broken glass, Molotov cocktails, screamed slogans, injuries, blood, and death: features of both a BLM event and the January 6 protest. In one incident, these features arouse sympathy and concern. In another incident, these same features arouse rejection and condemnation. Why, if not a skewed double standard? My team’s violence is good; your team’s violence is bad.
Numerous, highly disturbing videos reveal violence at BLM events, including a Portland man being kicked in the head by a BLM supporter. In another video, a man in Dallas was stoned in the street until the blood from his head stained the pavement, and his assailants believed him to be dead. One “kind” but never “hateful” liberal Facebook friend said, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap. America has had this coming for a long time.” America was being punished for slavery, you see. My “kind” liberal Facebook friends erased the 364,511 Union soldiers who gave their lives to end slavery. In fact, BLM activists desecrated and tore down a statue to one such casualty, Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant and dedicated abolitionist who died a hero’s death at the Battle of Chickamauga.
Just like Joe Biden, I want healing and unity. Suppression of free speech, demonization of persons based on their thoughts, rather than on any destructive behavior, unilateral and dictatorial social engineering from above, double standards, virtue signaling, and a refusal to act on proven security threats will not lead to the unity and healing that will benefit us all.
Danusha Goska is the author of God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery.