He was corrupt. He was petty, angry and resentful. He was also one of the most astute politicians in the annals of the American presidency. Time after time he overcame obstacles and defeats to rise again. His genius, ultimately, was this: He envisioned a new coalition and knew how to channel white resentment over the civil rights and antiwar movements into political triumph. This was his gift, and his legacy. Americans today inhabit the partisan universe that Richard Milhous Nixon crafted. Republican leaders to this very day speak Nixon’s language and employ Nixon’s tactics of fear and anger to win massive white majorities in election upon election. Indeed, though Nixon eventually resigned in disgrace before he could be impeached, the last half-century has been rather kind to the Republican Party. Only three Democrats have been elected president in that period, and Republicans have reigned over the White House for a majority of the post-Nixon era.
Back when I still wore the uniform of a U.S. Army officer, and well before many of my former brothers in arms labeled me a traitor, I taught freshman (“plebe”) history at West Point. I loved asking my cadets provocative questions, the sort of queries they never heard in high school Advanced Placement U.S. history courses. Consider just one. At the end of the class on World War II, I always asked: “What is the moral difference between flying three planes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon—killing 3,000 civilians—and using hundreds of U.S. planes to firebomb Tokyo on March 9, 1945—killing some 90,000 civilians?” Suffice it to say that most cadets didn’t like this question at all.
Cenk Uygur, host and co-founder of the progressive online news show The Young Turks, closely covered the 2016 election chaos. Although he regularly condemned Donald Trump in the days leading up to the election, he also did not hold back from criticizing the Democratic Party. Disillusionment with that party ultimately led Uygur and others to launch a political movement, the Justice Democrats.
Introduced by Uygur three days after Trump’s inauguration, Justice Democrats is a branch of the Democratic Party dedicated to promoting progressive ideals and replacing establishment politicians. Along with Uygur, Kyle Kulinski of the program “Secular Talk Radio” and leaders from Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign are also at the head of the movement.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer and the Truthdig editorial team sat down with Uygur to discuss the new political movement, as well as media political coverage in the age of Trump.
Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus. Although the New Testament survives in koine Greek, likely it had an Aramaic substrate. The Gospels make clear that Jesus spoke Aramaic by occasionally quoting his original words in that language. Jesus says to the little girl he heals, “Talitha qumi,” little girl get up (Mk 5:41). On the cross he says, “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani,” my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46).
Between 600 BC and about 1000 CE [AD], the dominant spoken language in the Levant and the Fertile Crescent was Aramaic. Sometimes it is called Syriac or Chaldean. In some of this 1600-year period (sort of the span of time from the sack of Rome in 410 to our own day) sometimes Greek, and later Arabic, served as administrative and literary languages, but probably most people in what is now Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria-Palestine, even parts of Iran, spoke Aramaic for daily uses.
So after Trump’s electoral victory, an Assyrian Christian woman named Ivet Lolham was riding the BART commuter train in the Bay Area and she called her father and spoke to him in Aramaic, requesting him to pick her up from the station.
She alleges that she started being verbally abused by another passenger, who termed her a terrorist and told her: “I think you are an ugly, mean, evil little pig who might get deported and I pray that you do.”
Lolham recorded the scene on her cell phone and warned the woman it would be put on YouTube. The abusive passenger replied undeterred, “This woman is a stalker from the Middle East. She’s a Middle Eastern terrorist, she’s terrorizing citizens like me and she will probably get deported.”
In northwestern Iran around Lake Urumiya in Azerbaijani province, there are about 55,000 Chaldean and Nestorian Christians who speak Aramaic. Iran also has a small Jewish community, some members of which speak Aramaic.
So this is where Trump’s foreigner-hating America has ended up: speaking the language of Jesus in public is now equated to terrorism. Watch the video of the incident below: