I must write. This would be a huge scandal in any other year, but for some reason seems to be seen as another ho-hum moment in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Breitbart—a vastly popular publication some call “alt-right,” although who knows what that really means—has just published a piece critical of a Washington Post columnist, Anne Applebaum. I read her from time to time; she hasn’t made much of an impression. The Breitbart writer feels differently.
So far, fair enough. Criticism is good for democracy.
But when this writer adds of Applebaum: “hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned,” I must say something.
I say in the strongest terms that her faith, or heritage, must be off-limits. Jews are not monolithic. Her background in this case is entirely irrelevant.
It must be called out. Now.
Because this website is, to my eyes, increasingly seen as acceptable and honest and is obviously pushing Donald Trump as President.
Because before he became Donald Trump’s campaign CEO in August, Breitbart was led by Stephen Bannon, who as far as I can glean, says nothing in objection to the content he posted, or is posted now.
Though, alas, for months this kind of trash has surfaced, and much has been written on it, we cannot let our outrage dim. On Twitter, journalists with faintly-sounding Jewish names are targeted with the most vile of images: faces superimposed on concentration camp uniforms, or images of the shower or oven.
Others of different backgrounds are pelted with similarly unnerving, disgusting insults.
This is not a tribal issue for me—it’s a human issue.
I don’t vote for journalistic reasons. Though it really doesn’t matter, I should add that my family has a long political affiliation with Republicans, Democrats and none-of-the-above. Members of my extended family are voting for Clinton, Trump and Johnson.
Where I must take a position is expressing my hope that we marshal more outrage at this creeping, numbing familiarity with the obscene.
I’ve been doing this long enough to recognize that politics can appeal to our worse impulses. I’ve tried my best over nearly two decades to do what I could to forward civic discourse. It’s the least I can do for a city and a country that saved my family generations ago from all-but-certain death.
If you share my anger, it’s up to you what you want to do with it.