It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed
and the treachery of their leaders.
There are about 100 holocaust museums in the United States, alone. There probably is one a convenient driving distance from you. Many more are in nations around the world.
The largest one is in Washington DC and there is one in Skokie, IL. I’ve visited both.
The museums publish a magazine titled, “Memory & Action, the fall, 2017 edition of which contained an article titled, “History speaks to us for a reason.” It describes the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA and the dangers of accommodating such loathsome and unAmerican attitudes.
A key sentence in the article was:
“The holocaust teaches us the dangers of unchecked hatred and that while it may start with the targeting of one group, it always spreads.”
Remember those words, “unchecked hatred” and “targeting of one group.” Some may feel safe with the hatred of blacks, browns, immigrants, gays, Muslims, or Jews. Some may even join in the hatred if they themselves are not part of the scapegoated group.
But it always spreads. When hatred is officially approved it knows no boundaries.
Another article in the magazine was titled “Why I Went to Auschwitz.” It was written by former all-star pro basketball player, Ray Allen, Jr. It was one of the most moving articles I ever have read.
It included these passages:
Why do we learn about the Holocaust? Is it just so we can make sure nothing like this ever happens again? Is it because six million people died? Yes, but there’s a bigger reason, I think.
The Holocaust was about how human beings — real, normal people like you and me — treat each other.
We shouldn’t label people as this thing or that thing. Because by doing so, you create these preconceived notions, which is how we get into these horrible situations in the first place.
Ray Allen recognizes the danger of people like you and me labeling other people as this thing or that thing. Today, the label is “illegals.” It is the label by which we justify hatred.
When a nation’s political leader labels Mexicans as criminals and rapists, and labels Muslims as terrorists, and claims Nazis and white supremacists are no worse than liberals, and labels Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) children as criminals and murderers, it marks the beginnings of that nation’s moral fall.
In yet another article, this one titled, “An Act of Faith,” we read these lines:
“The Nazis’ persecution of Jews and other minorities is inconsistent with the Christian commandment to love one’s neighbor,” said Father Charles Callagher.
“And yet radical church leaders like Father Charles Coughlin were able to sway vast numbers of Catholics toward antisemitism.”
How did people of faith reconcile their beliefs with a political ideology of hatred?
How indeed, could the “religious” excuse the words and actions of a philandering, lying, hate-mongering politician, and still call themselves righteous?
The right-wing, online publication, Breitbart, published on January 19th, 2018, an article titled, Live Updates – Schumer Amnesty Shutdown: Washington on Edge as Cliff Approaches.
It is typically is one-sided, including such lines as:
“Senate Democrats barrel the United States of America toward a government shutdown at midnight.”
The Democrats are pushing for this shutdown because they are hellbent on getting amnesty for a significant population of illegal aliens who were recipients of the unlawful Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive amnesty program.
The White House and congressional Republicans have been more than willing to offer a deal and proposal to handle this problem, but the Democrats have been unwilling to give up chain migration, the visa lottery, and funding for President Trump’s planned border wall.
The Schumer Shutdown is already proving to be very politically painful for Senate Democrats.
“Instead of voting to support our military and to ensure vulnerable children have access to health insurance, Baldwin went along with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to pick Washington over Wisconsin,” Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said
The article goes on and on and on, devoting more than 15,000 words (!) to saying just two things:
- The DACA children are illegal aliens who deserve no protection, and
- The shutdown is all the Democrats’ fault.
Because the DACA children have been stigmatized as “illegal” and “alien,” they are perceived as non-human, foreign beings, to be shunned, deported, or worse.
In response to this shameful article, I wrote this comment:
Have you folks ever visited a Holocaust museum? There’s a big one in DC, a smaller one in Skokie, IL, and many others around the country. You should visit.
In these museums, you will see what cruelty does.
You will be amazed at how similar the Nazi’s hatred of the Jews is to some American’s hatred of undocumented immigrants. The same words are used to describe the scapegoats.
The German government falsely accused the Jews of all sorts of crimes; the purpose of these accusations was to justify the cruelty.
Now Trump accuses the immigrants of crimes to justify the incredible cruelty of deporting these men, women, and children.
Shall we kick down their doors, cram them into boxcars and ship them to misery and death. Has that become the American way, now?
Is that who we now are — today’s Nazis?
The similarities between Trump and Hitler are chilling — the boastful hatred of a group, the hatred of media who dare to criticize, the never-ending lies, the appeals to base instincts.
Equally chilling are the similarities between the German people who believed Hitler and the American people who believe and follow Trump. The same sarcasm, the same anger, the same false claims, the same rabid defense of the leader. The same cruelty masquerading as “defense of country.”
Some people say it can’t happen here, but it is happening already. It is happening. The most cruel and selfish among us are leading us now.
I pray we wake up before we become Nazi German, Nazi Poland, Nazi Romania, Nazi Austria and all of WWII Europe.
America, the America that makes us proud, is disappearing, and being replaced by a dark, shameful America. Don’t let this happen to you.
The response was typical, predictable, and inadvertently proved exactly what I said. Here are some word-for-word examples:
“If by ‘living among us’ you mean displacing US workers, lowering wages, and sponging off of our tax dollars. If you were under employed or unemployed by these illegals then maybe you too would see them as ‘MONSTERS’, (your word). Let them go back to their shΐthole countries and eat garbage. I DON’T CARE.”
“We have to be relentless in hanging this on Chuck Schumer and the DEMONRATS and their RINO comrades. NO DACA! BUILD THE WALL! DRAIN THE SWAMP!”
“Shut it down AND ensure that welfare bums get no checks. The leftist scum will be calling their congressman on their Obama phones and crying LOUD!
Bring on the shutdown leftist scum!!!”
“This Democrat shutdown is over AMNESTY. Democrats demand our President DROP TO HIS KNEES and kiss their arses to SCREW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and give amnesty to illegal aliens. NO MORE AMNESTY. F__ Amnesty and F__ Democrat Liars and F__ MSM “journalists”. To HELL with the DC Shithole. Bring on November!”
“If they don’t fund the government by 10PM, then Republican Senators should end the filibuster, deport them all, and fund the wall.”
“Pelosi snuck out to the dog park to have a big DogShyte Sundae…Two scoops for Nasty !! #releasethememo !”
“He’s the delusion idiot. #1 these aholes are not citizens are was the Jews. #2 An ethnic group is not being targeted even if the majority of them are #3 It’s only about enforcing laws, not ethnic cleansing. Bu then you lame ass lefties love the distortion and hyperbole of propaganda and slinging analogies that don’t fit. You and your whole ilk are pathetic losers!”
Some of the above may come from Russian bots. Reportedly, their online comments are more numerous than real comments, so it’s hard to know which are which.
But, if ever you go to Breitbart, or any other extreme, right-wing site, you will see essentially the same language. You will see the “unchecked hatred” and the “targeting of one group” the Holocaust Museum warns us about.
You will see the labeling and the preconceived notions Ray Allen lamented about.
While any nation always has latent bigotry and xenophobia lurking in the background, there have been only a few times in recent American history where this has come to the fore.
Democrat Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime mass detention of Japanese American citizens is a permanent stain on our history. It was caused by war hysteria beginning with the Pearl Harbor bombing.
Roosevelt offered no proof that American citizens of Japanese descent offered any danger to America, but his words appealed to a frightened populace, all-too-ready to hate an “enemy.”
Shortly after the war, during Democrat Harry Truman’s administration, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy gained power and notoriety for labeling his enemies as “communists,” and to a lesser degree, as “homosexuals.”
He had no proof of these claims, but he had a loud megaphone, and his words appealed to the weak-minded who wished to blame someone, anyone, for their own failings.
The rampant xenophobia McCarthy created cost many of his victims their jobs; they both personally and financially often were ruined.
Today, it is happening here again: A politician gains followers and political power by railing against supposed “aliens,” or “enemies of the state.” Those who protest against the lies and unfairness are themselves labeled as “soft on crime, “soft on aliens,” or soft on whatever the politician wishes to stigmatize.
In every case, innocent men, women, and children are injured unfairly by the politician’s lust for greater power. In every case, America is damaged, not only by the loss of good people, but by the loss of reputation.
We Americans like to think of ourselves as the model for all other nations, the place where the rest of the world aspires to be. But with each McCarthy wannabe, that reputation is damaged.
As a result, never since the beginning of World War II, has America been held in such low esteem. We have become pariahs on the international stage.
And the fault is our own. No excuses. No lies. We did this, and we continue to do this to ourselves.
It’s time to take down the Statue of Liberty as a meaningless sham. We have lost what it once stood for.
America no longer is the brave “golden door.” We are bigots and cowards now.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”