I wanted to write something cool and coherent, educational even, about Rebekah Jones and her history as the architect and manager of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard, and what happened to her yesterday. But that is not the post that I felt compelled—or even able—to write.

Florida Agents Raid Home Of Rebekah Jones, Former State Data Scientist—NPR

Supreme Court rejects bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results—The Seattle Times

A Black Michigan lawmaker criticized Giuliani’s voter fraud claims. Now she’s getting racist, lynching threats.—WaPo

December 8, 2020

A nightmare actualized
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, Washington

Jones was fired in May from her job as Geographic Information Systems manager. According to her, she was fired because of her refusal to manipulate data. Yesterday, Florida law enforcement agents entered “her house with weapons drawn as they carried out a warrant as part of an investigation into an unauthorized message that was sent on a state communications system.”

Last night, Jones was a guest on Chris Cuomo’s show. She must have a security camera set up in her home because the footage she shared is sharp and stable, and the sound is equally clear. You can hear almost every word shouted by the uniformed men who came through her front door wielding guns, one pointing his up the stairs, bellowing at her husband to come down and get out of the house. You can hear Jones screaming, “He just pointed a gun at my children!”

As I stood in my kitchen watching this footage, I started shaking. I grew up with nightmares about large jackbooted men suddenly storming my home. They could come at any time. You never knew when they might show up. The unbreakable connection to my never-known grandmother runs through this nightmare. She and my grandfather lived in their apartment in Berlin until January 12, 1943, two days before my grandmother’s 55th birthday. On that day, they were sent to Auschwitz. There is no more known about how their lives ended, though much can be imagined.

I’ve also never known how my grandparents were rounded up and taken away. They might have received a notice to pack a suitcase and report to a certain place in the city. Or did uniformed men bang suddenly on the door, perhaps in the dark of the night, perhaps on a cold and rainy afternoon, filling the space with their large bodies and loud voices, demanding that that their orders be followed?

The night Trump was elected, I felt that I suddenly popped into my grandmother’s reality. That unbreakable connection to her told me that we were all in a kind of danger that had been almost unthinkable in this country before. Watching the actualization of my nightmare on TV now is almost unbearable.

We are not out of danger yet. Trump and the majority of the Republican party are doing their best to dismantle democracy. Two hundred and twenty members of Congress aren’t willing to acknowledge that Joe Biden is our president-elect.

As I’m writing this, a Florida GOP appointee, Ron Filipowski, is on with Chris C. Today, he quit his job over the raid of Rebekah Jones’s home. “Their intention is not only to intimidate Ms. Jones,” he said to Cuomo. “They also want to intimidate current employees.”

Joe Biden is terrifyingly correct when he says we are in a fight for the soul of the nation.

6 Comments

  1. Ruth, The video of police bursting into the home of Mrs. Jones was horrifying. Even though I don’t have quite the same background, I found it chilling also. That could happen to anyone of us. It was vindictive, totally unnecessary and brutal. It didn’t need to be that way. The children and their parents will have nightmares for years to come. What will it take for people to wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth, your piece today was very well said, though painful to read. Such horrors your family must have gone through. It hurts my heart that these imaginings are still so prominent in your mind—though with what is now going on here, I can understand why that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Ruth. I share your deep concern about the future of our democracy – and your outrage at the Republican Party for their cowardice and complicity as Trump and his minions continue to put up every roadblock possible to hinder the transition to the Biden/Harris presidency. It looks like it’s going to be rough ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been sick and home from work this week and watching over 30 hours of the Holocost Survivors’ Testimonies on the USC Sho’ah Foundation Institute Youtube. With each person’s testimony the expression of greater humanity was so deep, vivid and compelling, the message so relevent today, the fact that many of the survivors were speaking to students in schools and in virtual format and that the students were interested, awed by what they felt and thought, there was for me hope for the future of an Aware and Awake movement of people to bring about the new world into which we want TO LIVE…Thank you Steven Spielberg for the desire, as you said,
    to continue the work of Schindler’s List, so that these testimonies live on with the possibility of changing the course of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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