A re-hash in response to Heather Cox Richardson

I might start off by explaining that references to German-Americans occasioned my being banned from Dailykos. That people took offense to a frank expression of opinion did not surprise me. After all, when I arrived in Los Angeles in 1949, the first directive from our German relatives was that German was not to be spoken in their house. They had sponsored our immigration in the expectation that my mother would add to their household income, which the only son was obviously incapable of doing.

As a matter of fact, German Americans are the largest ethnic group (19%) in the U.S. As German-born myself, it is my considered opinion that it is a culture of obedience that is antecedent to the antagonism that erupts in concerted violence. While obedience is a natural virtue, growing out of the impulse to imitate, the culture of obedience is perverse in that it is coerced. Coerced obedience is like rape, another perversion of a natural virtue (intercourse).

Coerced obedience generates a host of resentful victims whose anger is deflected onto those who did not protect them. If we were to investigate their backgrounds, we would likely find that all the street gangs have a history of being abused children in common. Humans do unto others what was done to them. We can see evidence in the Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians.

U.S, law has a hard time dealing with abuse. In part that is probably because humans were once considered property and using property badly is considered a right. Also, crime has to be evidenced by permanent physical loss or damage. Abuse, whether of wives, children or slaves, leaves little evidence. Moreover, a victim resisting abuse becomes complicit in his own injury. To be effective, a response to abuse has to come from outside and the culture of self-reliance argues against that.

The authoritarian agenda is encapsulated in the dictum “If you do not comply, I will have to use force.” It not only shifts responsibility to the victim, but relies on a potential use of force to coerce. Ergo, like a choke hold, it leaves no evidence. In the slaying of George Floyd it was the duration of the video that was determinative in demonstrating the killer’s guilt. Had it been shorter, the defense could have argued that Floyd expired from stress and basic ill health. Did Chauvin become mesmerized by the presence of the witnesses who did not intervene as other officers stood guard? No doubt. We all have to reconsider our response to abuse.