Photo Credit: Brett Weinstein (Wikipedia user Nrbelex) from Washington, DC
Vehicles on fire during a George Floyd riot in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2020

{Reposted from the author’s website}

Things are really starting to fall apart. I never thought I would live to see the world turned as upside down as it is today. Past Orthodoxies are now seen as lies. Heroes are now seen as villains. Protests against things that have always been considered the ‘givens’ of a free society are now common. There are now more protests than ever, some of which have turned violent – with public officials unable to do anything about them.


The media has now almost abandoned all pretense of objectivity. Free speech seems to be free only if it supports progressive ideals.

On top of all that we are in the midst of a pandemic that seems to have no end. People are still dying in record numbers. Hospitals in highly populous states like California and Florida are filled to capacity with sick COVID patients – many of whom will not survive and die alone.

The economy is tanking. Because of this pandemic, many businesses have closed down. Some of which will never reopen. People have lost jobs and will not be getting them back. People who had steady jobs are now unable to meet their financial obligations – in some cases unable to pay their mortgages or their rent… or even feed their families.  Schools have no idea how to open safely this fall if at all.

Entertainment venues that have been taken for granted for over a century are now gone. Concerts, live theater, movies, sporting events with cheering crowds, have all but disappeared. No more banquets, weddings with few guests.

Meanwhile half the country treats the pandemic as if it doesn’t exist while the other half takes it seriously. Which has caused violent confrontations in some cases. People walking around the streets with masks, and those who refuse to do so. Fights breaking out between them in some areas. Shuls operating under the weirdest of circumstances.

Legitimate protests against racism have given way to irrational demands challenging some of the basic institutions of a free society. More than ever – turning violent in some cases.

Last week there was a protest demanding the removal a statute of Columbus in a Chicago’s Grant Park. Friday night, the mayor removed the statue instead of protecting it. I know the mayor wanted to avoid conflict. But we should not be giving in to  mob rule. And yet that is what Mayor Lightfoot seems to have done.

The same thing is true in Portland where for over 8 weeks – a mob has taken over a police station and has not moved – demanding the police be dismantled. Portland’s mayor has basically conceded that territory to them  – saying that they are merely exercising free speech!

Yesterday there were even more protests in Chicago. One demanding that the police be de-funded since they only protect the wealthy. Another supporting the police whose job it is to protect the public without which there would be a major increase in violent crime. There was also a protest marching for peace. Meanwhile a group of up to 1000 motorcyclists (or more) rode wildly through the streets of Chicago – speeding through red lights – in some cases riding on sidewalks.

Public officials seem to be conceding to the protesters demands against all common sense. Chaos now seems to be the new normal.

Politically the country is more divided than ever. With each side continually moving further away from the center. Where we were once a nation guided by religious ideals, we are now guided by humanist ideals. More than ever – being religious is being compared to being ignorant – especially by the powerful entertainment industry.

The 2 candidates for the highest office in the land are both less than desirable (to say the least) for different reasons.

I’m sure I have only scratched the surface of the problems we have now that  – less than a year ago were barely on anybody’s radar.

  1. It’s not the Holocaust. Not even close. There is no genocide. No one is being rounded up and being sent to concentration camps. Or kept in ghettos under guard of the Gestapo in unlivable conditions. There is no world war with soldiers being killed on the battlefield.

But we are not exactly living in paradise either right now. The world has gone mad – without a single shot being fired except by gangs shooting at each other and increasingly killing innocent bystanders.

I am discouraged. Is this the end of America as we know it? …the America I know and love? Will this combination of events descending upon us all at once be the end of us? I sure hope not. If this democracy continues down the path of radicalism, I fear the replacement will make the former Soviet Union look like Paradise!


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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at