Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

America, Please, Don’t Do This!…by Robert M. Katzman

America, Please, Don’t Do this!

By Robert M. Katzman © July I, 2018 (Canada Day)

Eyes flicker open in the darkness. I hear the battery wall clock ticking, so I must still be living. Pale morning light is peeking past the loose drawn shades covering some of this small house’s dozen large windows. If this were a fort, no way to defend it. But on a sunny morning, cool wind outside, shades up and windows open a bit on four sides, I don’t need electricity to clear the stale air or illuminate my house.

Wearing my usual long black T-shirt with the screaming American Eagle on it, the one that stops near my knees so I always appear modestly dressed to a morning visitor, expected or not, except for the fact that its only about five ounces of opaque cotton, I decide to do my morning routine, parts of which I’m recording here for future anthropologists. Present day people may be less entranced.

I swing my legs over and the swiveling helps me sit up better, overcoming lower back pain, which may or may not be there. Habit. The momentum works. You get older, if you’re smart you use science to function better, especially if, like me, you’re presently the only bee in your hive.

Some morning, or middle of the nights, too, I wake up to a familiar voice, realizing I was in another dream with unscripted dialogue and when my character in the dream began speaking, so did I. My eyes are still closed when this happens and the words keep coming before I realize its me speaking in the dark and that the person I’m speaking to is still not here, nor ever will be, again.

I stand up, go to the windows, pull then down an inch and let go and the shades quietly fly up and the light pours in.

The bedroom faces my twenty shades of green back yard. No wind this morning, sun is slightly up so the shadows are grey, not black. No birds, no chirping, no rain, no clouds, no rabbits hopping, a Wisconsin still life looking back at me.

July First.

Canada Day.

Where my Dad’s family most likely snuck into this country one hundred twenty years ago, from Windsor in Ontario Province around 1900, five brothers, to seek work in the Detroit factories or whatever they could get. Windsor was a small village, all horses, no cars yet, probably no phones or little electricity either. But no murderous Cossacks on horseback thundering after them, swords raised, ready to slash flesh. No. The five brothers were in Canada.

None of them spoke English, a strange language where one word had several meanings; the language seemed to be composed of words from many other languages, a conqueror of other people’s tongues. The words weren’t male or female, the order of the sentences was so different from Mogilev, Byelorussia where if a man or woman didn’t speak the several languages of the closest countries, death might follow a chance meeting on an empty highway. Caste was permanent. If you were a peasant in Europe, you would remain a peasant in Europe, like your parents, as would your children after you.

My family was unwelcome here. Our skin was darker, like our eyes and hair. We didn’t know the laws or customs. We had too many children. Our clothes were rags and we were Jews, a strange Biblical people lingering through time, dispersed by the Romans from Biblical Israel to wherever roads took them. West to Iberia, later called Spain, who didn’t want them, or eventually wouldn’t.

North to what would become Germany and Poland, Lithuania or Ukraine, Latvia or Russia, who didn’t want them because they weren’t Christians or because they were different. East to India and later to China, places who were more welcoming perhaps because skin color didn’t concern them so much. Places where the civilizations were older than the Jews, and ideas and concepts were as welcome as trade. Shanghai became a safe exit by boat from the deadly Asian continent in the centuries to come.

To be a Jew in ancient times and now in modern times was to know who was behind you, ahead of you, north of you, south of you and if there was a safe place to flee, when that time came, and that time always came. America was the distant legendary civilized place where myth promised security. Where strangers were friendly. Where you could become whatever you were able to become.

One hundred twenty years later, I am sitting in my kitchen in Wisconsin, south of what many people in my country now consider Canada to be, that civilized country north of us, where strangers speaking other languages and having different skin colors, customs and religions are still welcome. Will the Jews move there next? Some of us are there now, and seem safe. After thousands of years, the mysterious Jews remain the “canaries in the mine” of world civilizations, or the breakdown of it.

We sense the poisonous air first; we sense the vibrations of insanity below our feet, like deadly lava boiling and churning unseen to suddenly erupt through the surface of the earth in pandemonium. I looked up the meaning of that word, a Latin word stemming from the now dead language of a long ago massive Empire which only today exists in history books, old maps and everyday speech. Those superior Romans who dispersed the Jews upon the world, like we were a despised virus. I am in America today, dangerous hate-filled America today, because of similar Roman attitudes toward strangers in their land two thousand years ago.  Strangely, to me now, it seems only moments ago.

Pandemonium is defined variously as “demon” to “Capitol of Hell”. Is that where I live now? Is an insane Nero ruling in Washington DC? Have the dark-skinned defenseless people crushing against the Texas border to the south who are fleeing here from terror behind them, become the Jews of today? Will America become the Rome of the past because of whom it decides to hate?

I woke up this morning thinking about light and color and doves resting on my Wisconsin roof, and the beauty of words and the beautiful poetry of communication, then remembered it was Canada Day, became trapped in my genetic Time Machine, torn from July 2018 to thousands of years ago to the destruction of a series of old civilizations destroyed by hate, and deep within me, a very, very old part of who I still am, is every so slightly becoming afraid.

Please, America, don’t do this. I am a remnant of an ancient civilization, a people who wrote things down, took their history with them from country to country, leaving their dead behind them, learning language after language after language to try to be safe, to try to find a home where different was welcome. The monsters never seem to stop chasing us. Or even today, people seemingly like us.

Melting ice may eventually end civilization. But hate will end it before that.

America, please, don’t do this.

I know how this story ends.

In the end, the Romans always lose.

(If anyone seeks to reprint this, my plea for peace and reason, bless you, yes, do it, all I request is you don’t change the meaning of what I wrote in some way, and please attach my name as the author–thank you, Robert M. Katzman)

Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262) 752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by Charlie Newman

July 1, 2018 @ 8:18 am

Nicely said, Bob.
As is usual.
But expecting humane behaviors from humans is a pipe dream in the current.
Maybe later.

Comment by Bob

July 1, 2018 @ 9:03 am

C, never expected to write it. Honesty always pisses someone off.
But, no, I will not be timid on this Canada Day.
Thanks for responding first, like you frequently do, old friend.

Comment by Rhonda Manthei

July 1, 2018 @ 9:24 am

Hi Bob, I am going to copy some of this for my FB page and share it…I see your comment to please reprint, so am doing so with your permission. We communicated once about about having gone to Camp Chi at the same time. I went to Bowen and LIved close to you…8737 Merrill. My best to you. I always enjoy your writing.

Comment by Bob

July 1, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

I never write about topics like this, about terror and Jews, but I was making a fire last night, sitting in my old cedar swing watching the flames and the ideas for what I wrote this morning began to form. i have a graph that tells me people are reading it, but not nearly enough and i want to help using whatever talent I possess to join the battle against the screaming baby in the White House. I forgot to remind people if they want to use the article, please include my name as the writer. I hope it is helpful for you, Rhoda.

My first girlfriend was at Camp Chi was Mickey Bluestein,also my first intentional kiss. I remember also that incredible attack on the boy’s building by a mob from the girl’s building. These unknown girls jumping into my bed in the dark and doing things and I was completely terrified. 55 years and I haven’t gotten over that yet. My regular email is robertmkatzman@gmail.com in case you want to write to me again.

Comment by Brad Dechter

July 2, 2018 @ 8:02 am

There’s so much hate right now in our country, my wife and I are starting to not watch the national news. (We can’t take it!) We hope and pray that in November, the elections will set in place a muzzle for the whining little bitch in the White House.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the screaming baby- the same way his are with those affected by mass shootings caused by his lack of leadership on gun control.(Fake news.)

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