Damnacio Memoriae

recently I took a tour with other military veterans through the Penn Museum, just across from Franklin Field on South Street. (https://www.penn.museum/) We toured through exhibits of the various ancient civilizations-Egyptian,  Babylonia, and Sumerian- ending up a the Ancient Rome exhibit, where the guide introduced us to the Roman custom of damnacio memoriae, “damnation of memory-”  the cursing of the name of someone who brought same, terror, or disgrace to the nation, such as the maniacal emperors Nero and Caligula; or others, like Lucius Aelius Sejanus, who, as commander of the Praetorian Guard, tried to usurp the throne from the Emperor Tiberias in 31 CE. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lucius-Aelius-Sejanus)  In that custom, all of the statues of that person would be torn down, and their names would be chipped off of public monuments, Thereby erasing his name from public memory, as if they never existed. It was a sort of final insult to someone who brought pain and suffering to the community.

That is what I see happening to the buildings bearing donald whatshisface’s name-the various hotels, casinos, and apartment complexes he didn’t build but he leased them their name. Supposedly, his name was a guarantee of quality and luxury. Now, it’s the name of a traitor who tried to destroy our democracy, with a minority of violent maniacs, in the January 6 rampage that tried to overturn the results of a free and fair election; and his name has been torn down from many of the buildings that had it (https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2019/10/23/heres-every-trump-property-thats-dropped-his-name/?sh=5c8926b03571) ; and I enjoyed seeing the implosion of the trump Plaza in Atlantic City.(https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2021/11/25/smash-and-grab-robberies-retail-store-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/stories-worth-watching/) 

We must never forget the real story of the events of January 6, no matter how the republicans try to revise it; but the parallels to what’s happening to the trump brand, and the Roman practice of damnacio memoriae, are just TOO close to ignore.

(Fun fact: the Penn Museum is free to veterans who show their veteran’s card, it’s their “thank you” for our service.)

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Remember January 6

The riot that pro-trump terrorists-yes, call them that-was one of the most horrible events in this nation’s history; it showed how a hate-filled, ignorant, violent minority, guided by a self-serving charlatan, rampaging in the halls of Congress trying to overturn, by force, the results of a free-and fair election, thus showing how fragile is that which passes for “democracy” in this country.

It also shows how the Republicans, trying to attain the votes of such people-it’s their real constituency anymore-are glassing over the riot, saying that it was more like a nice group of tourists having fun, or trying to distract from the riot-“but BLM!” in that riot, they tried to find and kill members of Congress and vandalized federal property ,and police officers were injured-one of them gouged out the eyes of a DC cop, others were beaten, and one of them was killed. And this is the faction screaming “back the blue” and “blue lives matter”-as alone as the cops attack non-white people protesting for their rights.

Forget about it? No way! We have commemorations for the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the 9/11 attacks, and rightly so-human lives were lost that should not have been, just like in January 6. I propose there be annual commemorations of January 6,  where we rededicate ourselves to preserving our democracy and expanding on it, to make sure more people have access to the ballot box. we can do this with a voter registration drive; discussions in our local libraries, houses of worship, unions, and neighborhoods, etc., about the issues affecting our communities; discussions about the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism, and violent extremism in our communities and over the internet; food and clothing drives and other volunteer activities; and voting when ANY election day comes, and NEVER allowing ANYONE to prevent us, either by voter-restricting laws, gerrymandering of legislative districts, or brute physical force.

Never allow the terrible events of January 6 be forgotten, and may our enemies remember they WILL NOT intimidate us.

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The Mason Missile, November 24, 2021

 

Greetings, Americans!

My novel, Soldier Of The Cross, is still on the market, on Amazon.com. (https://www.amazon.com/Soldier-Cross-John-Oliver-Mason/dp/0578988402/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=john+oliver+mason+soldier+of+the+cross&qid=1637014919&qsid=144-5381896-0671915&rnid=2941120011&s=books&sr=1-3&sres=0578988402%2CB01NBBUMIH&srpt=ABIS_BOOK) But I urge you to check first with your local neighborhood bookstore, which is where grassroots literary talent is fostered and is connected to the community.

Alas! Kyle Rittenhouse, the little boy whose mommy drove him from Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, carrying an AR-15 assault rifle like he was acting out a Rambo fantasy,  and killed two unarmed men and wounded another, was found “not guilty” in his murder trial. I had a sense Rittenhouse would walk, since the “judge,” Bruce Schroeder, told the jury to call Rittenhouse’s victims “rioters” and “looters.” (The prosecution did a sloppy job of preparing as well; did the state deliberately try to undermine the case against Rittenhouse?)

Now Rittenhouse is a hero for the neo-fascist elements who will be emboldened to start shooting at progressives, LGBTQ+ people, and people of color, sensing they could get away with it. Rittenhouse himself has been offered congressional internships by Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina), Paul Gosar (Arizona) and Matt Gaetz (Florida). Cawthorn went so far as to say in a Twitter message, “Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral.” (https://www.complex.com/life/republican-lawmakers-are-giving-internship-offers-to-kyle-rittenhouse) Truly, the Republican Party is in a sunken place, and sinking deeper and deeper.

The results of the 2021 election were pretty disappointing. The Democratic candidates constantly warned of the danger of trump-and he remains a danger-instead of concentrating on issues related to people and their communities. The republicans, however, talked the same trump themes, such as the evil Critical Race Theory (Do the even know what that is?), mask mandates, etc. That seems to be the new formula the Republicans are using, which I call “trumpism without trump,”  hitting on the fears that trump evokes among his followers, without mentioning his name-but the Republicans have played on racial fears for decades, and now the mainstream republicans see that trump’s influence is a danger to the party, but they’ll take the votes of his followers.

Now, Fox “News” and the other right-wing propaganda sites are talking about how they’ll win the House back in 2022 (while it’s still 2021) eleven months away, and they’ll use that to attack the Biden administration: and some of the mainstream news media are hinting at that idea. Excuse me, but the election is NEXT year, plenty of time for us progressives and pro-worker activists to analyze what went right and wrong this year, and to organize our grassroots campaigning to educate our neighbors and co-workers about the issues we’re facing-abuse of LGBTQ+ people and people of color, homelessness, the terrorizing of school board members and election officials this year, organizing unorganized workers, etc. t-p is not on the ballot so we don’t have to bring him up; rather, we discuss our opponent for whatever office, and provide a more viable alternative.

We decide NOW how the election turns out. IT happens all the time in our elections; the media hints that our guy will lose, and the republican has it in the bag already-all the way through to the election. It’s like psychological warfare, to try to bring down the morale of progressives, trying to depress us and ready to give up before the poll are open. We must change our thinking on this-the Republicans DON”T have the elections in the bag, we CAN and WILL organize and educate our neighbors for the election, and we WILL increase our numbers in the House. (Doesn’t that sound better?)

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! America will be free! Bye!

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CLUW Coat Drive

The Philadelphia AFL-CIO and the Philadelphia chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) is holding a coat and blanket drive, where you can donate your new or lightly-used coats and blankets for those in need during winter. You can drop them off at the AFL-CIO building, 22 South 22nd Street, until December 3rd. The phone number of the AFL-CIO is 215-665-9800.

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The Mason Moment, November 15, 2021

I speak about the need for voting, the need for organizing at the grass roots, The Kyle Rittenhouse case, and Steve Bannon.

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Giving Thanks and Giving Help

 

I will be joining my union sisters of the Temple University Hospital Allied Health Professional and Nurses (TUHNA), and the Philadelphia chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), in a Community Friendsgiving Partnership event, to be held at Zion Baptist church, 3600 North Broad Street in Philadelphia, where, with other community partners, we’ll feed a number of families, in the spirit of the holidays. This is what the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are really about-people coming together, looking out for each other, and sharing a meal in community-definitely NOT about standing in line at the Walmart for 48 hours, to buy junk you can’t afford, supposedly for Christmas.

I urge you to look for some volunteer opportunity in your community over the holidays, to lift the spirits of people, like just about all of us in this country, who have been impacted by the pandemic and the results of it, like loss of a loved one, losing a job or a home, or inability to see family members. What better present is there?

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The Praxis With John Mason, November 3, 2021

people doing group hand cheer

Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro on Pexels.com

I speak about the recent election, and of the need to keep the fight up.

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The Mason Moment, November 1, 2021

photo of person dropping a vote

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

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