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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Angelo Lopez » Archives for Angelo Lopez

By Angelo Lopez on April 20, 2017

This week I watched a wonderful PBS documentary on World War I titled The Great War. It talks about the war from the point of view of African Americans, Native Americans, women suffragists and the diverse spectrum of American society. One of the things that I learned from watching the documentary was the extent of the prejudice that German Americans faced during World War I. Wartime propaganda depicted Germans as inhuman Huns, and this led to mutual suspicion of the large German American population in the U.S. This type of anti-German hysteria is sadly a darker part of human nature where a whole group is stereotyped based on the bad actions of a few individuals within the group. In World War II, Japanese Americans were victims of a similar type of war-time hysteria. Today Muslim Americans and undocumented immigrants are facing a similar type of unfair prejudice.

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By Angelo Lopez on March 30, 2017

In this time, news stations like Fox News has injected a hyper partisan political climate that has caused a deterioration of civil discourse on the many important issues facing this nation. The sort of intellectual debate on ideas that are a basic foundation of a democratic republic is becoming more difficult as Americans from different regions have become more ideologically and economically isolated from people with different viewpoints. I am a liberal Democrat, but I have to admit that progressives can be just as partisan as conservatives.

There have been some recent efforts by liberals and conservatives to engage in a civil debate on ideas. A few weeks ago, for instance, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz engaged in a civil debate on health care reform and both Senators answered questions from members of the audience. I think these type of debates and discussions of ideas are an important part of what makes this country great. One of my favorite books is The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams. These three great Americans were close friends even though Jefferson was an ardent Republican who believed in strong local contral while John and Abigail Adams were fervent Federalists who believed in a strong federal government. They used their letters to debate on their different ideas on government and political philosophy.

To try to understand more about the various issues facing the nation, I've gotten into the habit of listening to discussions and debates in youtube videos by various organizations I respect. To understand an issue better, it's good to listen to people who have spent years researching and learning about the subject. In most of these videos, the speaker takes a short time to speak, then they take questions from the audience. Some of these videos are from institutes, some from colleges and universities. I listen, do some research to listen to diverse views of the subject, then I slowly make up my mind on what I believe. Even when I disagree with some things that the speaker says, I learn from different viewpoints. In listening intelligent arguments of people I disagree with, I learn about the strengths and weaknesses of my own opinions.

Here are some youtube channels I listen to.

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By Angelo Lopez on March 18, 2017

In the past few months, one of the things that has given me hope during the first few weeks of the Trump administration is the passion of people who are engaging in protests and political rallies. There is a renewed interest in civic activism and in protecting the rights of Muslim Americans, immigrants, LGBT people, Jewish Americans, and other vulnerable minority groups. Recently, though, I have read about incidents in Berkeley and in Middlebury College that has me a bit worried when protests go too far. In Berkeley, protesters committed acts of violence and vandalism to stop Alt Right leader Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at a university event sponsored by a conservative Republican student group. Milo Yiannopolous is a provocative Alt Right speaker who has promoted racism and religious intolerance. In Middlebury College, students shouted down conservative author Charles Murray from speaking at a college event organized by the school's conservative Republican student group. The reason for the protester's ire is Murray's book The Bell Curve, which suggests that some races are genetically superior and more intelligent than other races and that may account for the class stratification in the U.S.

Like the protesters, I too worry about normalizing racism and other types of bigotry. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of prejudice should be challenged and protested. I'd support protesting Charles Murray and Milo Yiannopolous through tactics like having audience members turning their backs on the speakers, or boycotting the event so that the speakers talk to an empty room. But if the conservative students group want to invite Murray or Yiannopoulos to speak, Murray or Yiannopoulos should be allowed to speak. There are other ways of protesting rather than shouting people down.

I think the Middlebury administration handled it in the right way. Instead of a monologue where there is no give and take and the audience is asked to just be passive in the face of Murray's views, the college set up a dialogue where Murray's viewpoint could be challenged by a liberal teacher and in a question-and-answer period by the audience.

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By Angelo Lopez on March 18, 2017

Yesterday the country celebrated St. Patrick's Day. It's a day to celebrate the many contributions that Irish Americans have given to our great country. In this time when Muslim Americans, Hispanics and immigrants are facing much prejudice and discrimination, it is important to remember that the early Irish immigrants of the 19th century faced many of the same problems. Many native born Protestant Americans thought Irish were criminals, were racially inferior, and thought the Roman Catholic faith was incompatible with American democratic values.

Christopher Klein for The History Channel wrote an article about the discrimination faced by Irish immigrants in 19th century America titled When America Despised the Irish: The 19th Century’s Refugee Crisis. Klein wrote:

There was a time, however, when the thought of Americans honoring all things Irish was unimaginable. This is the story of the prejudice encountered by refugees from Ireland’s Great Hunger and how those Irish exiles persevered to become part of the American mainstream.

The refugees seeking haven in America were poor and disease-ridden. They threatened to take jobs away from Americans and strain welfare budgets. They practiced an alien religion and pledged allegiance to a foreign leader. They were bringing with them crime. They were accused of being rapists. And, worst of all, these undesirables were Irish...

...The Irish filled the most menial and dangerous jobs, often at low pay. They cut canals. They dug trenches for water and sewer pipes. They laid rail lines. They cleaned houses. They slaved in textile mills. They worked as stevedores, stable workers and blacksmiths. Not only did working-class Americans see the cheaper laborers taking their jobs, some of the Irish refugees even took up arms against their new homeland during the Mexican-American War. Drawn in part by higher wages and a common faith with the Mexicans, some members of the St. Patrick’s Battalion had deserted the U.S. Army after encountering ill-treatment by their bigoted commanders and fought with the enemy. After their capture, 50 members of the "San Patricios" were executed by the U.S. Army for their treasonous decisions...

...In 1849, a clandestine fraternal society of native-born Protestant men called the Order of the Star Spangled Banner formed in New York. Bound by sacred oaths and secret passwords, its members wanted a return to the America they once knew, a land of "Temperance, Liberty and Protestantism." Similar secret societies with menacing names like the Black Snakes and Rough and Readies sprouted across the country.

Within a few years, these societies coalesced around the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant American Party, whose members were called the "Know-Nothings" because they claimed to 'know nothing' when questioned about their politics. Party members vowed to elect only native-born citizens—but only if they weren’t Roman Catholic. "Know-Nothings believed that Protestantism defined American society. From this flowed their fundamental belief that Catholicism was incompatible with basic American values," writes Jay P. Dolan in "The Irish Americans: A History.”

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By Angelo Lopez on March 11, 2017

One of the greatest worries that I have in the past 2 years is the rising incidents of racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia and the anti-immigrant harassment around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has recently reported that the number of hate groups in the U.S. from 892 groups in 2015 to 927 groups in 2016. The rise in hate groups is concurrent with the rise in the Alt Right movement, a white nationalist movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes how Alt Right leaders like Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Mike Enoch are promoting the idea that "white identity" is under attack by multicultural forces and that has led the Alt Right movement to attack immigration, the Black Lives Movement, refugees and Muslim Americans. Richard Spencer has specifically stated that the Alt Right movement has as one of its goals to create a new kind of conservative movement to supplant mainstream conservativism.

Because of this, conservatives as well as liberals are concerned about the Alt RIght movement and the racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia that they are trying to incite in the wider society. Conservatives like David Brooks, George Will, Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck and several mainstream conservatives have denounced the Alt Right and its bigotry and xenophobia. I don't agree with their politics, but I admire the integrity and courage of these conservatives in denouncing the Alt Right and withstanding the criticism of their fellow conservatives. These conservatives realize the long term damage that the Alt Right will do to the conservative movement.

In the 1950s and 1960s, William F. Buckley used his magazine The National Review to fight the attempts of the John Birch Society and other racist groups from gaining a prominent voice within the conservative movement. Conservatives have a similar challenge right now with the Alt Right.

One of the things that gives me hope is a recent article I read in PBS Independent Lens about a group of former white supremacists who are working to get other white racists to reject bigotry in all its forms. Scott Shepard, for instance, is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who now fighting racism to atone for his past behavior. Reformed racists like Derek Black, T.J. Leyden (a former member of Hammerskin Nation, a neo-Nazi group), and Duke Schneider rejected their racist ideals when they were forced to confront the humanity of the individuals they were taught to hate. One former white supremacist, Arno Michaels, helped found a group called Life After Hate where former white racists help people leave hate groups and build a more positive life.

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By Angelo Lopez on February 20, 2017



Every day since Donald Trump became President, I have been worried about the latest actions coming from the Trump White House. From his executive orders banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries, to the gag rule imposed on the EPA and the Department of Agriculture from making public their scientific findings, to the attempts to de-legitimize the press, I've gotten more and more worried about the tone that the Trump administration is setting. I called a few friends and asked their advice. A good friend gave me advice that really helped me. He said to view politics as a marathon and not a sprint. If you get worked up at everything that comes out daily from the Trump White House, you'll get burnt out. He suggested to focus on only a few issues and to take breaks every so often from politics just to stay sane.

I've tried to do that. It hasn't always been successful, but I try. Over the next four years I have two personal goals when it comes to politics. I want to oppose Donald Trump's policies without demonizing Trump's supporters. And I want to support efforts to bridge the divide between working class white communities and minority communities that have been the source of so much national strife.

At one time liberal Democrats like the Kennedys, Paul Wellstone, Jesse Jackson, Hubert Humphrey, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman drew strong support from both working class white communities and minority communities. These liberal Democrats held together this coalition by enacting policies that benefited both communities. Among the liberal policies that helped benefited these communities were Social Security, the G.I. Bill, the Minimum Wage, the Wagner Act, Medicare, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Meals on Wheels program. One of the challenges of today's progressives is to heal the breach between minorities and those working class whites who threw their support to Donald Trump.

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By Angelo Lopez on February 5, 2017


There has been a lot of news lately comparing U.S. President Donald Trump to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. They have many personal qualities in common: both tend to be bullying in their public pronouncements and in their dealings with the press; they tend to simplify issues; they are very critical of dissent and name call anyone who disagrees with their policies.

There are differences between the two men. Duterte has had 20 years of experience as mayor of Davao with dealing with government bureaucracy while Trump has no government experience. Duterte's policies are more left wing, while Trump's policies draw from ideas from the right wing.

Since my political views tend to lean towards the left, I support some of Duterte's efforts at agrarian reform, expanding social programs for the poor and in reigning in the power of mining companies that have been the source of much human rights abuses in the Mindanao area of the Philippines. For instance, I support the The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) decision to close 23 mining operations in several areas in the country that are near watersheds.

But I cannot support Duterte's support of extrajudicial killings in his war against drugs in the Philippines. So far over 7,000 people have been killed by either the police or vigilante groups for only being suspected of a crime. These victims had no opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. They had no way of seeing the evidence against them.

Many groups have spoken out against the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 22, 2017

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, my niece and I participated in the Women's Day March in San Jose, California. I had never been to a political march that was so large. We wandered around and really enjoyed reading all the signs and talking to the people.

One of the things that filled me with the most joy was seeing people speak out for the rights of all groups who feel vulnerable or afraid. I saw Muslim women with signs supporting LGBT rights and immigrant rights. LGBTQ people holding signs supporting immigrant rights and Black Lives Matter. Women's rights activists speaking out for environmental issues and religious tolerance. And so on and so on. I firmly believe that a person should not just fight for the rights of your particular group, but you should fight for the rights of all people. I'm glad there are other people who agree.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 20, 2017

On Monday January 16, 2017, my niece and I rode the Celebration Train from San Jose to San Francisco to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day and to commemorate the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. My niece has expressed a strong interest in social justice activism, so I thought this could be a good chance for her to experience her first march.

It was kind of a civil rights weekend for us. The previous night we watched the movie "Hidden Figures" and it got us in the mood for the march.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 19, 2017

On Saturday January 14, 2017, I went to an immigrants rights rally in San Jose, California. I was debating whether to go or not, as I'm still recovering from a flu that I've had for about a week and a half. San Jose's City Hall is only a 15 minute drive, though, and my brother and niece wanted to go. So I took my camera and went.

Wandering through the crowd, I met some Filipino American activists who I knew. I introduced them to my brother and niece and we talked about immigrant issues, especially those pertaining to Filipinos and the DACA program.

Read more of this post here ...

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