Friday, October 16, 2020

Today's Democratic Party, A Jewish American Writer, and a Polish American Writer


"Well, look what's happened. Look what started to seep in, beginning and probably even with candidates during our administration. We stopped showing up at the Polish American club. We stopped showing up, and we all went to you, the really smart people. We had a new kind of coalition we were putting together. College-educated women and college men and boom, boom, boom and so on."

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, New York Times, January, 2020.


A couple of interesting articles came my way this month. One was by high profile author Bari Weiss. Weiss argues in the Tablet that there is an as-yet-unnamed phenomenon at work in America culture that is dangerous to Jews. Some call this phenomenon "wokeness" or "Social Justice Warriors" or "anti-racism" or "political correctness." Weiss denounces Trump, but is wary about this phenomenon, embraced to the bosom of the Democratic Party.


The other article is by Tom Zoldak, who, unlike Weiss, is not famous. Zoldak is writing in Intellectual Takeout. Though Weiss is Jewish American and Zoldak is, I would guess, Polish American, they both send a very similar message. Today's Democratic Party is not what it once was. The previously mentioned, as-yet-unnamed phenomenon has taken over the Democratic Party, and it is hostile and dangerous to Polish Americans, as it is to Jews.


Here's a quote from Zoldak's piece:


"Biden supported NAFTA and Most Favored Nation trade status for Communist China, which resulted in thousands of American factories shutting down, causing millions of American manufacturing jobs to disappear. Biden also supported the Iraq War, a misadventure planned and executed by the type of Republicans who have endorsed his candidacy. That fiasco killed thousands of Americans and grievously wounded many more, devastated the ancient Christian communities of Iraq, and wasted hundreds of billions of dollars that places such as Scranton could have used.


Now Biden is embracing critical race theory and the concept of 'white privilege.' This latest project of 'the really smart people' promises to work out as well for the people of northeastern Pennsylvania as Biden's earlier brainstorms did. It is absurd to describe Eastern European immigrants who came to northeastern Pennsylvania with nothing as 'privileged.' Their families were serfs in Europe, and the work they did once they came here was always hard, often debilitating, and sometimes deadly. Mining anthracite coal put bread on the table, but also put coal dust in lungs.


Polish immigrants like my friend's grandfather worked long days deep in anthracite coal mines without masks, respirators, or other basic safety equipment. They would not see the sun, or their children, for months – except on Sundays for Mass – yet they showed up every day, on time, without complaint. My friend's grandfather died from black lung complications at the age of 57 – true senior citizen status by NE PA standards in the 1970s. His remaining retiree buddies toasted his memory with nickel beers at the Polish Club in Dupont, PA, the same type of club Biden admits the Democrats abandoned for the 'really smart people.' Now he wants to abandon their descendants by accepting the theory that what their families have earned in America is the result of an unfair and underserved 'privilege.'"


Here's a quote from the Bari Weiss piece:


"By simply existing as ourselves, Jews undermine the vision of a world without difference. And so the things about us that make us different must be demonized, so that they can be erased or destroyed: Zionism is refashioned as colonialism; government officials justify the murder of innocent Jews in Jersey City; Jewish businesses can be looted because Jews 'are the face of capital.' Jews are flattened into 'white people,' our living history obliterated, so that someone with a straight face can suggest that the Holocaust was merely 'white on white crime.'


This is no longer a fringe view. As the philosopher Peter Boghossian has noted: 'This ideology is the dominant moral orthodoxy in our universities, and has seeped out and spread to every facet of American life— publishing houses, tech, arts, theater, newspapers, media,' and, increasingly, corporations. It has not grabbed power by dictates from above, but by seizing the means of sense-making from below.


Over the past few decades and with increasing velocity over the last several years, a determined young cohort has captured nearly all of the institutions that produce American cultural and intellectual life. Rather than the institutions shaping them, they have reshaped the institutions. You don’t need the majority inside an institution to espouse these views. You only need them to remain silent, cowed by a fearless and zealous minority who can smear them as racists if they dare disagree.


It is why California attempted to pass an ethnic studies curriculum whose only mention of Jews was to explain how they, along with Irish immigrants, were invited into whiteness.


It is why those who claim to care about diversity and inclusion don’t seem to care about the deep-seated racism against Asian Americans at schools like Harvard.


It is why a young Jewish woman named Rose Ritch was recently run out of the USC student government. Ms. Ritch stood accused of complicity in racism because, following the Soviet lie, to be a Zionist is to be nothing less than a racist. Her fellow students waged a campaign to hound her out of her position: 'Impeach her Zionist ass,' they insisted.


It is why the Democratic Socialists of America, the emerging power center of the Democratic Party in New York, sent a questionnaire to New York City Council candidates that included a pledge not to travel to Israel.


It is why Tamika Mallory, an outspoken fan of Louis Farrakhan, gets the glamour treatment in a photoshoot for Vogue."


I sometimes call this as-yet-unnamed phenomenon "Team Anti-Western Civilization." I write about this phenomenon for Front Page magazine; you can find those pieces on my other blog, here. A recent piece on Team Anti-Western Civ is here.


What Weiss and Zoldak describe is nothing new. It's been going on for some time. Barack Obama, two-time president of the United States, gave voice to it in 2008, specifically targeting the very Pennsylvania Bohunks Zoldak champions. At a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said,


"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest … they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."


I'm a lifelong, registered Democrat, child of two registered Democrats. I oppose Trump. To my great regret, I cannot vote Democrat this fall.


My choice doesn't matter; I live in a blue state, and it will go for Biden who, by all predictions, is set to win.


Poles and Jews have reason to be wary.


  1. While American core values have been under assault for some time courtesy of academia, Hollywood, the media, and various corporate elite, radical leftists like Antifa and Black Lives Matter have begun to undermine the law and order that protect our communities’ peace and security. As you rightly point out, the Democrat Party of old is no longer. Reluctance by prominent Democrats to denounce radical leftists’ hijacking of peaceful protests and creating violence and destruction is one of many indicators that the party has undergone significant structural, and apparently permanent, change.

    There are also valid policy reasons to refrain from voting Democratic in the upcoming presidential elections, e.g., ninth-month abortions, elimination of fracking, packing the Supreme Court, open borders, sanctuary cities, defunding the police, confiscation of citizens’ firearms, welfare for illegals, elimination of personal and corporate tax cuts enacted by Republicans, taxing 401k accounts, free college, single-payer health care, etc.

    Tom Zoldak’s piece is straightforward and makes the point you articulated well in a previous blog, i.e., ascribing “white privilege” to East European immigrants and their offspring is absurd.

    As for Biden’s statement “We stopped showing up at the Polish American club”, he can kiss the PolAm vote goodbye. PolAms make up approximately 10 percent of the populations of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and they vote in larger numbers than other residents in those states, accounting for almost 15 percent of the total vote in 2016.

  2. In the quotes above, Bari Weiss notes that Jews are flattened into white people.

    That is exactly what is done to Polish-Americans. They are now part of an undifferentiated mass of "privileged white people."

    1. It's a miracle! Jan and I actually agree on something! I think.

      I didn't like that aspect of the Weiss article -- that she was talking about Team Anti Western Civilization as a threat to Jews. It isn't just a threat to Jews alone.

  3. Hi Danusia - Interesting discussion here. If I could offer an outsider's opinion, I'd say the main issue in the upcoming election is not a question of left or right, but which party is likely to deal with the pandemic in a more effective way. Trump's record so far has been abysmal. But the politics, of course, plays a major part.

    From the point of view of Polish Americans, there are one or two issues. PolAms may see Biden as some kind of elitist, but they also need to ask themselves about Trump's attitude to Putin. Putin has been engaged in an anti-Polish campaign for some time now, trying to blame Poland for starting WWII, justifying the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, etc. Some of his local underlings have even tried to question the facts about the Katyn Massacre. But, for some reason, Trump continues to remain a big fan of Putin. I've never heard him say a single critical word about him. And again, has anyone heard Trump personally condemn what is going on in Belarus? Lukashenko's barbaric regime is being supported by Putin, as everyone knows, yet Trump stays silent. It's almost as if he doesn't want to offend Putin. Is Trump really a friend of Polish Americans?

    Added to this, there is the question of whether Trump would leave office if he were to be defeated. He hasn't exactly made it clear that there would be a peaceful transition. So there are questions about the very institution of democracy.

    I was lucky enough to go to a US Army school in Europe back in the late fifties/early sixties, so what happens in the USA is important to me, since I have family & friends over there. My teachers from those days would not have recognized today's Republican party and probably would have been appalled at what Trump has made of the presidency.

    So if anyone wants to vote out the Trumpists, the only feasible way is to vote for Biden/Harris. Abstaining, it seems to be, is likely to keep Trump in office.

    Best wishes to all - cheers from me

    1. Michal, thank you for that interesting, civil, and fact filled post.

      Michal, I'm very anti Trump. I think he's a total disaster.

      On the other side?

      Not sure how much coverage this got in the UK, but the US has been racked by nihilistic pogroms for the past several months.

      These pogroms are rooted in hate and lies taught to young people in the leftist academy.

      There is an anti-civilizational force at work in this country and yours as well. People don't know what to call it -- Political Correctness, Wokeness, Cultural Marxism, social justice warriors, etc.

      I call it "Team Anti Western Civilization."

      These folks shot down a really good Dem candidate, Pete Buttigieg. Why? Pundits decided that blacks would not support a gay man, so they decided, in their smoke filled rooms, that Joe Biden, a man showing signs of dementia, would be supported by blacks, because he was Obama's veep.

      Biden was ordered by the PTB to choose a black woman veep, and he chose Kamala Harris, who is in fact a Brahmin -- India's highest caste, and who lives in a segregated, wealthy enclave.

      Harris was such a bad presidential candidate that she couldn't win a single vote in the primaries.

      The Democratic Party is hand in glove with Team Anti Western Civ.

      Trump is pneumonia. The Dems, right now, are cancer.

  4. If Biden/Harris do win, as seems increasingly likely, then I sincerely hope for the sake of all Americans, that they will put aside any political considerations and address themselves first and foremost to dealing with the pandemic. Circumstances in the US are not all that different from those in the UK in the sense that the people who are not able to work from home and self-isolate but who have to go out to do their jobs are far more at risk and need more financial support.

    I can't comment on the individual Democratic candidates simply because I'm not familiar enough with their histories, but the damage which Trump is doing to America's reputation abroad has been pretty evident for some time.

    Maybe Biden/Harris need to pay far more attention to the Polish American vote. As far as I can make out, it's a sizeable and well-informed category of voters with quite a bit of influence these days, whom neither party should take for granted. All power to your voices.

    Signing off for now but hope to be in touch whenever.

  5. Off topic, so feel free to move it elsewhere.

    1 liter is 33.8 ounces.
    1.75 liters is 59.2 ounces.
    190 proof is 95% alcohol.
    56.2 ounces is 95% of 59.2 ounces.
    56.2 ounces of those 59.2 ounces of Everclear consist of alcohol.
    $36 divided by 56.2 ounces of alcohol is $.64 per ounce of alcohol.
    $36 divided by 59.2 ounces of Everclear is $.61 per ounce of Everclear.

    $7 divided by 32 ounces of alcohol is $.22 per ounce of alcohol.

    Therefore, the Everclear is almost 3 times more expensive than the isopropyl.

    $7 is 19.4% of $36.
    19.4% of 56.2 ounces is 10.9 ounces.
    32 ounces is almost 3 times as much as 10.9 ounces.

  6. Interesting post, as ever. And you might be interested in this article from The Guardian:

    And also interestingly even The Guardian - which is surely a bastion of PC/Wokeness/the Zeitgeist (however it should be defined) - does not pick up on the way in which Polish-Americans are contrasted with "very intelligent people". Yet isn't that a blatant and brutal bit of prejudice?

    Now if Joe Biden had made that comparison using a group that has PC protection, surely The Guardian - the whole media world - would have been all over it. He is at any rate a competent politician, he knows a safe target when he sees one.

    So, even if I had a vote in this election, and even if I did vote (which I don't), who is there I would want to vote for?

  7. I remember reading some of Leszek Kołakowski's impressions from US universities in California in late 1960s. He was utterly disgusted aby the degeneration of the university culture, Marxist students bullying the professors, political fervor dominating over scholarship and intellectual achievement. When I read your comments and news from US I am reminded of that. Maybe we could have hope that just as American culture survived what was going on in Kołakowski's times, it will survive today's degeneration too.

  8. Something for you

    Chris Helinsky


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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