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The “Hottest Place In Hell”
by Philip A. Farruggio
September 25, 2004

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Dante wrote that the “hottest place in Hell is reserved for those, who in time of crisis, remain neutral.” One would ascertain that our America, circa 2001-present, is without a doubt in a terrible time of crisis. Many who know me consistently state how much of a “doom and gloomer” I have become these past four years. Mea culpa. As history, hopefully the “revisionless” kind, looks back at our nation throughout this dawn of the new century, gloom has in fact taken center stage. One can now imagine what transpired in Salem Massachusetts when a cult of overzealous “so called Christians” held sway. More recent in our history, we know, from historical and eyewitness accounts, just how comprehensive was the propaganda of Goebbels and Co. To ponder how that many Germans, rich in such political diversity, could just stand there as the brownshirts and swastikas took control of everything certainly boggles the mind. Yet, look no further than two decades later, when America was held hostage by “witch hunts” and “red baiting”. This climate of irrational aggressive thought was precursor to the fallout shelters and shouts of  “kill a commie for Christ” during the early ‘60s. James Bamford, in his fine work Body of Secrets, states how US Intelligence knew, from the successful use of U2 flights, just how “weaker militarily” the Soviets were to us (hear that Dick Cheney?).

John Kerry certainly is not the solution to our “crisis of priorities” -- he is, however, the answer. On a treadmill at the gym yesterday, I found myself next to a 30-something female member who I had spoken with before. She is a pleasant, no nonsense kind of person. Unfortunately (for her) she is not well read at all. When she heard me rambling on (as I do a lot these days) about the need to defeat Bush and crew, the young lady interrupted me with “Kerry is a jerk, and not fit to lead this country.” Why, I asked? “He is not a true man of faith like our president. He doesn't understand that this whole thing over there is what Revelations spoke about... right now!” I challenged her as to this “faith” of Bush, and asked her if Jesus, Bush's “role model” (Bush said it, not I) would preemptively attack another nation, one that was in fact not even a threat to us? “Oh, come on,” she snapped back, “they were all in on 9/11, the whole bunch of them... read Revelations.” All of them, meaning that Iraq was in with al Qaeda on the 9/11 attack, I asked? “They're all Moslems, aren't they?” Wait a minute, I countered (my voice rising along with my frustration level), are you aware that there are ONE BILLION Muslims in this world? The percentage of them that are fanatical and aggressive is about this much (placing my thumb as close to my index finger as possible). How can you indict an entire religion!? “It's all in Revelations” was all she could respond. She then stated that she, in fact, was a Democrat. She just did not like Kerry at all. “Oh, he's some rich elite guy who never had to worry about money his whole life. What does he know about working Americans? He's a phony!” I shook my head as you, the reader, quite well realizes what my logical next retort would have been. I didn't go there at all. If, this late in the presidency of George W. Bush, someone still did not know his history of total legacy and privilege.... at least, in her apparent ignorance of the facts, she is not neutral.

Ben Franklin stated: “Dissent is the lifeblood of democracy.” Frederick Douglas more eloquently stated: “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has. It never will.” These are truly times that try our souls. A wise person once said that “knowledge brings with it added responsibility.” Many of us “know better,” by studying all of historical perspective, not just what Fox News and middle-of-the-road authors feed us. What follows from this knowledge should always be some kind of action.  For what good is it to just “know” and then remain mute? The challenge of a keener understanding of history and facts and motive etc. is to share what we know with our community of fellows. That is how change can, and in fact does, occur. That is how we, as a people, can hold our leaders accountable to our needs, our truth, and our demands. To do nothing, as Dante wrote, deserves but only itself in return.

P. Anthony Farruggio is the founder of Citizen Activists of Volusia County, FL, a progressive action group.  This Brooklyn NY born, bred and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman has had over 42 columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election, including  He can be reached at:

Other Articles by Philip Anthony Farruggio

* Hurricane #2: Are We Learning?
* The Eye of The Storm
* The Real Reagan
* Oh What A Lovely War -- One Year On
* Medicare For All: Now or Never?
* The Cleaning Lady

* Circuses and Sleeping Giants
Judgment At Bushemberg