Salem rises again in modern America

witch with broom

Over the past few months I have been called some truly vile names on Twitter. The people who debase themselves to such an extent are people who support Donald Trump. I have asked them repeatedly to explain why they are so angry but they have been unable to clarify the cause of their rage. Rather than answer they have sunk even lower into the turgid mire they inhabit and called me even uglier names. My friends who have bravely tackled them with the same question have been similarly targeted with incendiaries of name-calling and bullying. Because  my friends and I stand united and at a safe distance from this aberrated witch-hunting we dismiss them as fools.

But we do not laugh.

Why? Because whilst we are safe from their wrath, others are not. People are dying in a fomentation of hatred spurred on by a movement in America that has gained momentum and sanction under the titular head of POTUS 45. Whilst Trump did not perhaps knowingly start an ugly conspiracy movement which is getting more dangerous by the minute, he does nothing to disavow people who are using his leadership as incentive to snowball hatred fuelled by feelings of inadequacy.

Anger is fine if it is founded on fact. It can be a great motivator for change – personally and globally. But indiscriminate anger arrows into rage and becomes a lethal weapon.

Be clear in your anger. Be specific. Attacking strangers on social media in a storm of disproportionate abuse only serves to ostracise and court discrimination.

Americans do have cause for complaint but I’ll get to that.

Ever since Trump took office I have been feeling nervous about his followers. They seem unduly aggressive. I am aware of a massive fiscal imbalance in America. It is beyond disgraceful and every hard-working, underpaid person has the right to feel both duped and angry about a system of government that favours the indecently rich. It is corrupt and it is fraught with potential injustice but above all else it is keeping an unworkable system of government firmly in place.

Now I could understand if this was the spearhead complaint of Trump’s followers but it isn’t. They have bought into a conspiracy theory called QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged “deep state” against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters. Only a dedicated and manipulative victim could sanction such insanity.

Crazy? Obviously to those of us who are not fuelled by lurid and vague accusations of victimization.

Trump’s followers are evangelistic in tone when they decide you are a witch, as many of them did yesterday on Twitter when I dared suggest that Trump is far from the flawless embodiment of righteous ire, far from the avenging angel sent by God to smite the sinners. Far from Trump being the victim here he is a dangerous bully who cries witch when he doesn’t get what he wants.

The only clever thing about Trump is his ability to tune into the neuroses that flows like a sewer through the minds of followers warped by Puritan Christianity.

Which leads me full circle to Salem and the notorious witch trials, which echo the governance of POTUS 45 and his circle of entitled friends like Kavanagh and O’Connell and of course his family who might very well fit this 1692 profile like a glove: “As a group, the judges represented the proverbial 1 percent – the merchant elite who were wealthy, intermarried, and exercised power in social, political, and military circles. In short, they were the superrich of Massachusetts. Simply calling them ‘merchants’ short-changes them…Most had considerable political experience, having served as deputies and assistants in the General Court.”

Quote from

“The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts, a special court convened in Salem to hear the cases; the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop, was hanged that June. Eighteen others followed Bishop to Salem’s Gallows Hill, while some 150 more men, women and children were accused over the next several months. By September 1692, the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials. Though the Massachusetts General Court later annulled guilty verdicts against accused witches and granted indemnities to their families, bitterness lingered in the community, and the painful legacy of the Salem witch trials would endure for centuries.”

And here is a list of the men who facilitated the process of murdering nineteen innocent people.

Quote from

“The Salem Witch Trials judges were several men who served as judges during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

On May 27, 1692, Sir William Phips appointed nine of the colony’s magistrates to serve as judges on the newly created Court of Oyer and Terminer. The court was created specifically to handle the growing number of cases in the Salem Witch Trials.

According to a letter that Sir William Phips sent to the Earl of Nottingham in October of 1692, he chose these specific men for the job because they “were persons of the best prudence and figure that could then be pitched upon.”

These judges had a lot in common. They were wealthy merchants and high ranking militia officers. All nine had been judges for years and were all members of the Governor’s Council. Six of them were also related by marriage and five of them had attended Harvard, a training ground for young ministers, yet none of them became ministers.

According to Emerson W. Baker in his book, A Storm of Witchcraft, these nine judges were considered the elite of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

“As a group, the judges represented the proverbial 1 percent – the merchant elite who were wealthy, intermarried, and exercised power in social, political, and military circles. In short, they were the superrich of Massachusetts. Simply calling them ‘merchants’ short-changes them…Most had considerable political experience, having served as deputies and assistants in the General Court.”

Baker points out that they were also all middle aged, with Sewall the youngest at 40, while Richards, 67, and Stoughton, 60, were the oldest and the rest were between forty-five and fifty-three.

The following is a list of names of the Salem Witch Trials judges

Judges at the Examinations:

Jonathan Corwin

John Hathorne

Bartholomew Gedney

Thomas Danforth

Court of Oyer and Terminer Judges

William Stoughton, Chief Magistrate

Jonathan Corwin

Bartholomew Gedney

John Hathorne

John Richards

Samuel Sewall

Nathaniel Saltonstall

Peter Sergeant

Waitstill Winthrop

Superior Court of Judicature Judges

William Stoughton, Chief Magistrate

Thomas Danforth

John Richards

Samuel Sewall

Waitstill Winthrop”

Quoted from

witch with moonA person would have to be blind or wilfully ignorant not to recognise the correlation of privilege and the miscarriage of justice occurring right now under the banner of “draining the swamp” in America. It’s easy to see the rise of the #MeToo movement in response to misogyny and historical injustice, more difficult to trace the current fomentation of reckless name-calling and accusation as trembling fingers point at every man who dares question Trump with the fire branding screech of “I saw him at Epstein’s”.

“Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6, 2019 on charges of sex trafficking, the media have been scrambling to make sense of what happened on Little St. James, his 70-acre private island in the Caribbean. But on nearby St. Thomas, locals say Epstein continued to bring underage girls to the island as recently as this year—a decade after he was forced to register as a convicted sex offender—and that authorities did nothing to stop him. Two employees who worked at the local airstrip on St. Thomas tell Vanity Fair that they witnessed Epstein boarding his private plane on multiple occasions in the company of girls who appeared to be under the age of consent. According to the employees, the girls arrived with Epstein aboard one of his two Gulfstream jets. Between January 2018 and June 2019, previously published flight records show, the jets were airborne at least one out of every three days. They stopped all over the world, sometimes for only a few hours at a time: Paris, London, Slovakia, Mexico, Morocco. When they left St. Thomas, the employees say, they returned to airports near Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach and New York City.”

Child abuse, sexual assault and terrorism are hot-button topics worldwide today. Any man can be brought down with an accusation of paedophilia or sexual abuse, many deservedly so, some malevolently so. But even as a woman who believed and supported Christine Blasey Ford and Pell’s accusers, I would caution temperance before levelling an historical accusation of  sexual abuse or child pornography at a man you don’t like. Or a woman for that matter. It can so easily become a malevolent cry of “witch” that ends at the gallows or in regret.

And as for terrorism, Julian Assange is the latest “witch” to face the figurative gallows in the American system of mob justice.

“Julian Paul Assange (/əˈsɑːnʒ/;[4]  Hawkins; born 3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video (April 2010),[5][6] the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and Cablegate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.”

It’s easy to whip a mob into frenzy with a whisper of terrorist or paedophile. It’s easy to hang the wrong people. The burning question is, ‘Who has the right to mete out punishment?’ The mob led by an insufferable Puritan with an axe to grind? Or God? I say no-one on earth has the right to take a life under any circumstances. Life and its demise is the provenance of minds far more elevated than any human I know. If you are concerning yourself with punishment then leave a person characterised by indifference, cruelty and lust alone long enough with a rope and they will hang themselves.

A man’s punishment is between him and his conscience.

A woman’s sins are a matter of speculative subjective assessment clarified by self-awareness.

Humans are not fit to judge humans.

All we are entitled to, as a matter of course and jurisprudentially serving the evolution of our own souls, is an opinion. And God knows aren’t we all over-brimming with them! Myself included.

America, the land that banners “freedom of speech” has a dreadful problem with people who don’t echo its prejudices. Terrorism and Satan are invisible forces malleable enough to be massaged into weapons of mass destruction in the turgid minds of angry mobs who lack the clarity to responsibly amplify their complaints.

Does America have cause for complaint? Yes. Is the system broken? Yes. Is a Salem-esque judge and jury going to fix it? No.

There have been voices raised in calm dissent offering viable solutions to America’s most urgent issues but they do not chime with the hysteria of the mob hungering for bodies swinging from gallows. Salem has lived with the shame of its witch-hunts for two centuries. Reason found no traction in minds inflamed with hatred. And there were people who tried to instil reason in 1692 but they were shouted down as being in league with the devil. American shame will cast a very long shadow if Trump followers have their way and it’s hardly fair to liberal-minded Americans.

Anyone who dares raise a voice against Trump is accused of being in league with the devil, sanctioning men like Epstein and being unpatriotic, that worst of all offences. Heads up, I’m Australian but it doesn’t stop me asking hard questions of those who share my home planet with me. I will ask you for clarity around  your prejudiced accusations no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.

Be angry by all means but be clear about your complaints and make sure you are seeking resolution rather than torture framed as righteous vengeance.

How convenient the devil has been for those who lust for temporal power. How marvellously useful he has been for scapegoating those who stand between desire and satisfaction.

I was told repeatedly yesterday by irate, wasp-maddened Trump followers to “look in the mirror” where I would doubtless see a deluded woman condoning the evil of faceless nameless others whose appetite for juvenile flesh and the extrapolation of state secrets was writ large on my brow. Disappointing as it may be for my accusers I saw a woman I have become inordinately proud of over the past few decades. A woman who speaks up despite the rips and fickle tides of public opinion. A woman who has persevered with her Art against the odds. A woman who will try to look at every side of a question before arriving at a conclusion beyond all doubt, and lastly, a woman who knows herself to be disarmed in the presence of bullies. I am proudest of that. I do not carry a weapon any more permanently lethal than my opinion which you are free to take or leave.

But do consider it.

Some people think I hate men and I hate the rich. This is untrue. I hate people whose wealth exceeds their capacity to spend in a lifetime. That they happen mostly to be men is coincidence. This is my opinion and my prejudice and I own it.

If I had a mountain of food and everyone around me was starving and I preferred to let that food rot rather than share it what would you think of me? Well that’s what I think of the people on this list of shame.

Modern shame list:

Rank Name Net Worth Age Country

Jeff Bezos

$112 Billion 56 United states

Bill Gates

$109 Billion 64 United states

Bernard Arnault

$98.1 Billion 70 France

Warren Buffett

$85.1 Billion 89 United states

The Mars Family

$80 Billion N/A United states

Mark Zuckerberg

$74.2 Billion 35 United states

Vladimir Putin

$70 Billion 67 Russia

Amancio Ortega

$68.9 Billion 83 Spain

Larry Page

$61.7 Billion 46 United states

Larry Ellison

$61.1 Billion 75 United states

Charles Koch

$60.7 Billion 84 United states

Sergey Brin

$59.9 Billion 46 United states

I make no apology for publicly shaming these hoarders of gold. They are the personification of greedy selfishness in my opinion. Yes America and humanity you DO have cause for complaint but these are the people who should be brought to justice. And by justice I do not mean, hung, drawn and quartered for the putrid amusement of the mob. I do NOT condone Kristallnacht or the Guillotine nor do I suggest leaving them destitute. They may keep their mansions and their private jets. But they are not entitled to the mountain of gold they can never spend in a dozen lifetimes.

So what do I suggest for them?

I suggest TAX and a redistribution of their wealth to progenate a sustainable and fulfilling quality of life for all the tenants of earth. The responsible and compassionate dissemination of the excess wealth of the people on this list and many I left off would build housing and food gardens and theatres and schools and provide medical care and opportunities for multitudes. And isn’t that fair? Isn’t that equitable?

And is that what Trump is proposing? No.

Apologies to my few wonderful and loyal readers – this is the angriest post I have ever written. There are points I have wanted to make for some time and feelings I wished to express but I would never leave you without the hope of light.

So, here is the crack that lets the light in: even if these hoarders never find their way back to their souls don’t let it stop us all from building a sustainable, earth-honouring way of life. We can join together and buy houses and land upon which we can build communities where we look after each other. We can plant vegetable gardens and share the produce. We can be kind to the homeless and spread love wherever we go. We can listen to each other’s dreams and be the wind beneath each other’s wings. Those who hoard and seek power through greed may never wake up but we who are already looking up at the stars do not need to wake them or bother with them.

We can do this alone.


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