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Friday 23rd Feb 2018

If you read my stuff, or follow me on Twitter because you want to see my thoughts on baseball, football, rock and roll, and I suppose now golf, and are sometimes irritated or put off by my writing about politics or social events, I need to write three things here.

First, I am sorry but this will kind of be another one of those. Second, I would appreciate your indulgence in continuing to read. Because third, I want to explain my reasoning.

As a prelude, I vote to the left. I supported Bernie Sanders, am seriously pro-choice and believe climate change is a serious issue all of us Earthlings need to collectively attack.

It is no secret that my parents fled the Holocaust. My father was pushed out in 1936, at age 19, from his home in Leipzig and the rest of his family that did get out settled in London. In fact, my grandfather and uncle were arrested on "Krystalnacht," and it was only due to money and political influence that my grandmother was able to secure their release.

My mother, conversely, was 14 when her family fled from Stuttgart, also in 1936, paying a fortune to be able to leave and drag some possessions with them (my folks met in San Francisco in 1939). And, again, they had money, but were forced to spend it for their passage to America was on the Queen Mary, believe it or not. And, for the archives, both my grandfathers served loyally in the German Army just 20 years earlier in WWI.

It has always been ironic to me that my parents, who claimed to be and embrace left-wing liberal ideals, though, still remained bigoted in so many ways. A lot of this was their German roots, but both my grandfathers were orthopedic surgeons and my folks grew up relatively wealthy and they retained those sensibilities even though upper middle class--which was actually quite remarkable--was the best they could really claim in America.

For example, my Jewish parents, who fled Germany with their lives because of that quirk of how and when they were born, looked down their noses at our fellow Jews who spoke Yiddish instead of "Hoch Deutsch" (meaning "high German," or that of the elites), something that puzzles me in so many directions my head spins.

Even as a kid, I knew that was wrong for some reason, not that I too don't have my snotty side from time-to-time, that judging others as you were judged either had to be filled with objectivity and understanding, at least to start for each of us, or it was simply bigotry. In fact, our temple proudly boasted "Love thy Neighbor as Thyself," words I bought into. And, I need to add we are all bigots of one kind or another, depending upon the circumstance. But, the challenge is acknowledging this and trying to move forward as humans if we want to be a successful species and planet.

Somehow, through all this, I seem to have come through with a sense of justice and my country of birth as a first generation American, in a kind of Superman way, if you know what I mean.

I believe, above all, in our freedoms of speech and thought and movement, and I believe all men, as in humans, are created equal and should be treated acccordingly unless they give us as society a reason to be isolated. And, for some reason, it is important to me to speak out when I feel these basic human rights are being abridged or taken for granted. For, they do not just belong to a place or time, but must always be defended even if speaking out is uncomfortable (which it usually is as people don't want to move out of their comfort zone) or even seems contrary. After all, there are indeed always two sides.

In sharing some of the thoughts above with friends, in columns, and even on Twitter, I have often got the response, "I know, but I hate politics and I just want to live quietly," which is something I understand, to be sure. On the other hand, that is what my Great Uncle Leo said to my grandfather as to why he was staying in Germany while much of the family was exiting. 

Uncle Leo and his family were arrested a short time later and sent to Brikenau, we all believe, their possessions seized, never to be heard from again. Sadly, they were not the only members of my family to be exterminated, for that is indeed what it was.

As a result, I try to speak out on what I see as statements or thoughts that are bigoted or ignore the fact that there could be another side to a story. I try to be neutral when I do this, trying to frame my thoughts to "I think", noting that my thoughts do not represent anything other than mine. But that is the point, for most of the bigoted statements spoken would take on a different sheen if we all just paraphrased with something being our opinion.

Second, I do like facts. If you read me, you know I like statistics, even if I am not a math guy. So, reading things like "all the immigrants want to do is come here and overthrow us" (not quoting anything or anyone in particular) is not true until someone shows me the numbers to back this up. Similarly, especially if you like baseball, you live by stats, so ignoring those that don't seem favorable does not make them go away, or any less true.

I don't believe in censorship. I will never block someone on Twitter, though I accidentally hit the wrong button once and did and was then blocked on the other end. That made my trying to apoligize for the mistake even more crazy, right? But, I can always unfollow or just ignore someone if I choose.

So, I try hard to be objective and even-keeled.

If you are a reader, or follower, or hopefully both, and this stuff clogs your timeline, or causes grief when you really want to read about the Eloy Jimenez/Dylan Cease for Jose Quintana swap, I am sorry for these occasional divergences.

But, unfortunately, at least to me, sometimes our freedoms and thoughts and speaking out about and against what is wrong is a lot more important than baseball, or football, or god forbid, even golf.

Thanks for indulging me. I try to keep it to a minimum.


You can publicly disagree with me @lawrmichaels. 


0 #3 da_big_kid_94 2017-07-15 19:42
And we seem to get the idea that bad things won't necessarily happen to us, yet there are Holocaust deniers out there. People who wish to hurt us run a different playbook (and all who think that sounds a lot like Nazi Germany, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and other such Club Med spots, raise your hand). People seem to think you get to choose what orders to follow from the Commander-in-Chief Depending on whether you like him or not. You don't, kids ...the man's got the job. Don't like him? Fine ...wait 3.5 more years and vote him out. That's the way things go. You don't have a right to throw a three year old's style tantrum and want things now. Respect the office if not the man in it.
0 #2 da_big_kid_94 2017-07-15 19:35
I agree with many of the points you've made, Lawr. it is unfortunate that many items presented as fact are simply ideas or possibilities that someone wrote and allowed the reader to assume the voracity of those "facts". There are many people who say one thing and do another because they don't want folks to know how they really feel on issues. Also, memories and the preservation of thoughts and histories seem to become a lost art. We came a long way to get to the instant satisfaction lifestyle many currently engage in and enjoy ...yet no appreciation for the path taken to get here. The caste systems also seem to change with technology. People want to be "left alone" yet they are on Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook, etc. Remember when MySpace was all the rage? Now it's a relic in the discount bin - because we replaced it with something spiffier for the nonce. Everyone wants to pass judgement on the world yet control everyone's access to them. We need to open our eyes.
0 #1 Ryan Hallam 2017-07-15 17:41
What a great read Lawr! Such a fascinating back story and look into your heritage. Well done sir and thanks for sharing!

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