Category Archives: Newspaper Opinion Columns

Opinion Columns originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hate enablers should not prevail – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Have you heard that Kanye West might buy the self-styled free speech platform called Parler? Supposedly “conservative”, the app was used to organize and recruit for the Capitol siege. Parler continually enables hate with accounts that use swastikas as their profile pictures along with posts with Holocaust denial, antisemitism, and racism. Proud Boys, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-government extremists and white supremacists have all promoted their views on Parler.

Continue reading Hate enablers should not prevail – by Deborah Levine

Counteracting the “Heil Hitler” phenomenon – by Deborah Levine

 originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

On the morning before the Jewish New Year, I walked into a neighborhood grocery store and was greeted by a customer with “Heil Hitler!” and a Nazi salute. My stunned silence prompted the man to shout “Heil Hitler” even louder.  He eagerly came closer to me, repeating the Sieg Heil salute, which was adopted in the 1930s to signal national obedience to Adolf Hitler. The crowd waiting in line for the cashier giggled. I gagged, and hoped it was all just a bad joke.

But it wasn’t. He turned to the crowd and explained why they should join him. “Hitler could rally the crowd, inspire everyone to join him. So follow me, Heil Hitler, then we’ll all say a prayer.” Hearing this linking of  Hitler to faith and prayer, the cashier turned green. I turned purple. 

Continue reading Counteracting the “Heil Hitler” phenomenon – by Deborah Levine

Royal Ripples – by Deborah Levine

originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I remember when my daughter first heard the queen speak on the radio. “Wow! I never heard English spoken so beautifully. Who is that?” I smiled because I’d grown up trying to imitate the “Queen’s English” as a youngster in the British colony of Bermuda. I was doubly saddened by the queen’s passing because it came just days before my birthday. How does one celebrate life and death at the same time? My first instinct was to ignore my birthday. Who wants to celebrate getting older anyway?  So I vacillated between mourning and sulking. 

Continue reading Royal Ripples – by Deborah Levine

Brace for hard lessons in Ken Burns’ new documentary

Originally published as opinion column in The Chattanooga Times Free Press)

To all of you who, like me, have been long time Ken Burns fans, his documentaries have been mesmerizing: Civil War, Jazz, Baseball, Vietnam and The Roosevelts. And while I eagerly await his upcoming movie, The U.S. and the Holocaust, I have a certain amount of dread about its release. We’re living in a time when even The Diary of Anne Frank is controversial. The banning of Maus demonstrated how divided we are over telling the stories of the Holocaust. And given Ken Burns’ focus, I expect the outcry is going to be loud and vicious. Somewhat like the outcry to President Biden’s “semi-fascism” term for MAGA extremists. 

Continue reading Brace for hard lessons in Ken Burns’ new documentary

Why Diabetics need to vote – by Deborah Levine

originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

It’s amazing that Medicare recipients just gained a cap on insulin prices. It’s truly incredible considering the pharmaceutical industry lobbying efforts against any price controls or negotiations. Spearheaded by The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, often known as Pharma, those efforts have been ongoing for years. And in September 2021, it was reported byThe Hill, a media company based in Washington, D.C., that Pharma was launching a seven-figure ad campaign against the proposals moving through Congress to allow negotiation of drug  prices. 

Continue reading Why Diabetics need to vote – by Deborah Levine

“Domestic Infant Suppliers” buckle up – by Deborah Levine

originally published in  The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Writing about abortion is like leaping into a tornado, but here goes. I’ve always hated the idea of abortion, the term evokes pain and suffering as well as sorrow and mourning, whether you’re pro or anti-abortion. But I’ve advocated for giving women choice over their bodies since joining the many Jewish women involved in the first Women’s Liberation March in Manhattan in 1970.

While the protests of the seventies were a revolution, touching multiple area of our lives in the workplace and community,  anti-abortionists saw us as irrational, unattractive feminist shrews. They called us “anti-family,” “angry battle-axes” and “radical Commie lesbians.” The “Domestic Infant Supply” language in the current supreme Court draft doesn’t just echo those sentiments, it magnifies them.
Continue reading “Domestic Infant Suppliers” buckle up – by Deborah Levine

Culture Wars: Can artists win? – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press   

Why do we now say Kyiv instead of Kiev? It’s because Kyiv is the Ukrainian pronunciation and Russia’s invasion is a culture war.  Their disputes are old-as-dirt and Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev tried to enable a Ukrainian revival with the transfer of Crimea from Russia. But, Soviet repression went beyond land and sovereignty.

With the USSR dissolution, Ukraine established a new government with its own national anthem in Ukrainian, not Russian. It’s no accident that Putin’s treaty demands include protection for the Russian language. It may seem trivial, but imagine if England suddenly tried to re-establish British control over America and insisted that we revert to British English. If England were like Putin, you might go to jail if you refused to spell “color” as “colour”, the original, British version. Or what about our patriotic song, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”? That melody was originally an unofficial national anthem of England. We wouldn’t tolerate going back to its original title: “God Save the Queen”. We’d fight a new War of Independence.

Continue reading Culture Wars: Can artists win? – by Deborah Levine

It’s called war, folks – by Deborah Levine 

 Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

In the days since Russia invaded Ukraine, we’ve tried to avoid World War III. There’s no doubt that the economic strategies are impressive. Putin is right to call out the sanctions as war. The Russian ruble has lost much of its value.  The Russian stock exchange closed for days with one financial analyst toasting its death saying, “Rest in peace dear comrade”. Corporations exited in droves including Ikea, Exxon, Boeing, Ford, Harley-Davidson, Volkswagen, Disney, Nike, Apple, Dell, and Google. Visa and Mastercard suspended their Russian operations.

As devastating as these sanctions have been, Russia continues to demolish cities, take over nuclear facilities, and bomb neighborhoods. And while we’d hoped for a cease fire, plans to bomb Ukrainian military-industrial complex to smithereens were just announced.

Continue reading It’s called war, folks – by Deborah Levine 

Ukraine’s aching pain: Cold War 2.0 – by Deborah Levine 

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press
(First of 3 columns on Russia-Ukraine war)

Back in 2019, my opinion column called, Don’t Underestimate Putin’sThreat, was published. I quoted Ukrainian-born comedian Yakov Smirnoff’s joke about how the KGB, Soviet Russias secret police, stood for Kiss Goodbye Your Butt. Today’s Russia is “…a world erupting with new money and new power” says British producer Peter Pomerantsev in his book, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible. Not much has changed. Russia still uses the KGB false flag” strategy, claiming that the current conflict is Ukraine’s fault, pseudo-annexing Russian-leaning parts of Ukraine and sending in its military as “peace keepers”.

Continue reading Ukraine’s aching pain: Cold War 2.0 – by Deborah Levine 

Playing the political discourse game – By Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

 Remember those playground rumbles after school? “You’re wrong!” “No! I’m right and everybody knows it.” In case you’re wondering, this back-and-forth wasn’t between a couple of kids arguing over kickball. This was the former President and Vice President arguing over the United States constitution. Will this conversation be quoted by future generations? Who knows? Maybe it’ll sound like Shakespeare given how the Republican National Committee (RNC) is trying to redefine the violence of the Jan. 6 Capital riot.

The RNC condemned the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 and censured Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for participating in the almost 400 interviews about the “Stop the Steal rally” that day.  The investigation was called a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in “legitimate political discourse”.

Continue reading Playing the political discourse game – By Deborah Levine