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Trouble Makers

• Topics: USA & World, Law & Justice,

Barbara Z. Rofkar guest writes this article. She is a 50 year resident of Bellingham.

Toni Morrison said, “If you can only be tall if someone is on their knees, then you have a problem.” She sums up too many leaders in the world! And the USA’s treatment of too many people and nations.

The longer this president is in office the more I have stopped asking myself what the German people were doing as Hitler was consolidating his power and corruption. People have been comparing Trump and Hitler since his election and I originally thought his ego was so big he would not do anything too erratic. Now all I can do is walk around in circles watching history repeat itself and asking myself what to do as he goes after anyone who does not think like him

Destroying families by separating them, keeping people in cages, and taking babies away from their parents…...and we watch and march and have a Congress that cannot seem to muster any consciousness to speak out or uphold the Constitution. We have four young and exceptional women who speak ‘truth to power’ and are often attacked. Other members of Congress are so quiet one has to wonder if they are awake

As Dr. MLK reminded us, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal”. And, “In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Both Republicans and Democrats in and out of Congress who know better have lost our respect by their silence and reticence not to call out this illegal, immature behavior displayed by Trump.

Trump attacks the four women of color who were duly elected by the majority of people in their districts. On the other hand, Trump was put into office by the electoral college with a minority of people of this nation voting for him. He portrays them as “Trouble Makers” because they see all people as human beings! His anti Black, anti people of color and anti Muslim attacks are the antithesis of our ‘stated’ values and our Constitution.

As a Muslim, I grew up believing we had a truly great nation whose Statue of Liberty was a symbol of who and what we were and could work toward. They haven’t started the mass rounding up Muslims yet. But when I have people ask me why do I stay here if I think the policies being promoted are not Constitutional, well, I answer, we learned that we fight for what are the stated principles of this nation are. That is why so many of my family members served in U.S. Army and Navy.

Being taught to work for the freedom, democracy, equity and justice was what this nation was supposed to be about. Yet, looking at what is going on in the southern border, is a shock. I had the opportunity to volunteer in Greece with refugees two years ago. Greece is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Yet, they somehow managed to house thousands of helpless and hopeless FAMILIES! They kept them together! Gave them water, bread, pasta, a place to lay their heads and bodies as they were in shock.

There were many volunteer organizations that helped with food, fresh veggies, protein, fruit and other staples for families. Volunteers were allowed to come in and play games with the children, give mental health services. The sick were taken to hospitals, never separated from their moms or dads. The whole situation was incredibly sad, BUT it was HUMANE!!

Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” How fitting and connected to Toni Morrison’s words! How have we allowed ourselves, one of the wealthiest nations in the world to ” ...only be tall if someone is on their knees”? We in the USA have an incredible problem! Only the ‘ruthless’ shall prevail now?! Especially with a Congress that appears too comfortable or is too well compensated by the oligarchy to act. We all need to reread and bring the Constitution and values we learned in grade school of what this nation stood for, back into life. The U.S. is great when it stands for all human kind!

Comments by Readers

Bob Burr

Aug 12, 2019

We have already seen in Europe and in the USA how mass migration leads to autocratic governments. And, Baby (a generic term not directed at anybody), you ain’t seen nothing yet!  By 2050, there will be over 2 billion people who will become migrants or who will die because of extreme high temperatures and/or lack of food and water This will lead to more autocracy and/or a complete breakdown of our socioeconomic system.The USA is not exempt. We will see mass migration from the South and Midwest  in  Northernly and Westernly directions. While Birch Bay may be under water by then as well as tulip country in Skagit County, we will escape the next 30 years relatively unscathed. Like it or not (and it will be mostly not), Whatcom County is going to see an “invasion” of climate refugees from other states, Yet I see little or none governmental planning towards these inevitabilities.

Life on earth is in the beginning throes of a dire climate emergency; yet, I don’t sense the necessary  sense of emergency among our elected officials and certainly among the public. It is sad that Jay Inslee has not garnered more attention with his concentration on global heating and other parts of the accelerating climate disaster.  We are headed headlong into the Sixth Mass Extinction and do not have the will to stop it.

My word to those of you on the sidelines is stolen from the youth who care about their futures even though we don’t. DO SOMETHING!




Dick Conoboy

Aug 14, 2019


All true.  We are, without a doubt, fucked.  I am not so sure an admonition to “do something” will get us anywhere at all.  I posited in my article here and in the Whatcom Watch that it is very likely we are too late, beyond the tipping point.  This earthship cannot be turned around in time as there are no trained pilots and even if there were there is widespread ignorance of where to steer the ship .  The toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube.  The US is an oligarchy and therefore will not change one whit, 2020 election notwithstanding.  The forces of money are in control.  

The Supreme Lord, Shree Krishna,  said [Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 11, Verse 32]: “I am mighty Time, the source of destruction that comes forth to annihilate the worlds. Even without your participation, the warriors arrayed in the opposing army shall cease to exist.”  Krishna was wrong - it is not time but greed.


Bob Burr

Aug 14, 2019

Divk, I am not necessarily positing that Doing Something will change anything;  however, many of us elders will exit the River Of Life more contented knowing that we tried, however barren our attempts may have been.  My grandchildren will remenber as society collapses that their grandfather Bobby tried to make a difference. Other grandchildren will think why did not my grandfather DO SOMETHING.


John Servais

Aug 14, 2019

Sigh.  Me thinks she was writing about how we people treat each other.  And the manner that our president is trying to destroy the humane progress we have made in the past decades towards treating each other better - that is, with more respect, tolerance and understanding - leading to more equality and opportunity for all.  We see that being destroyed. And she is lamenting.  This was about how humans treat each other.  And we can all make a difference now and for the rest of our lives that is very real.  We can each do better starting tomorrow.  

The concern with our earth is real also but this article was not about our earth.  And even in any type of government - autocratic, monarchy, republic, - we can have equality and respect for each other and for those different from us in ways we invent.  


Bob Burr

Aug 14, 2019

Indeed, she was John; but, she was also talking about oligarchy, how dictators come to power and refugees. Forgive me if I pointed out how Global Heating and other aspects of the climate crisis will vastly exacebate the refugee crisis and lead to even greater ill treatment and lead to autocrats governing. That is how I see the future playing out. As society disintegrates, the rich and powerful will rule and they will rule with an iron hand to “protect us” from the invaders.

Are you more accepting of man-made climate change than you were however many years ago when I made one of my ptrrhic attempts to run for office?

In closing, thank you for Northwest Citizen—a great service to our community! I have not donated for awhile. I will donate forthwith.



Trouble Makers

By Guest WriterOn Aug 11, 2019

Barbara Z. Rofkar guest writes this article. She is a 50 year resident of Bellingham. Toni Morrison said, “If you can only be tall if someone is on their knees, then [...]

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