Monday, August 28, 2017

The New Civil War (ongoing): The Lesson of pre-WWII Germany

One of the enduring questions from World War II is about how we got to that place. How did Nazism happen? Why didn't anyone put a stop to it before it happened?

We actually know the answer to all of those questions. We know them from an intellectual sense, anyway. We know that normal people, regular people, people just trying to live their lives and get by, people who were not Nazis or Nazi sympathizers, we know that those people didn't do anything to stop it. For whatever reason. Probably mostly because they just wanted to be left alone to live their lives and it all didn't concern them anyway. How can we blame them? They were "good" people, right?

That's not what we decided after the fact. That's not what the world decided, and that's not what they decided about themselves. For decades, the general consensus has been that they were complicit in the rise of Nazism for nothing more than that they stood by and let it happen. None of them spoke out.

Hey, I get it. Speaking out is hard. It messes with your life and, sometimes, there are consequences. And there were consequences in pre-WWII Germany. Some of the people who did speak out just... disappeared. And that served to keep everyone else quiet, as it was intended to.

And that's what happens when you don't speak out against injustice and evil. Injustice and evil not only continues but it gets worse.

So we know what they should have done, all those people in Germany, and, yet, we wonder why they didn't do it. Couldn't they see? And we tell ourselves, "If I was there, I would have spoken up!"

Really? Would you have? Would you?
I think there's a really easy way to know the answer to that question:
Are you speaking up now? If you're not, well, you would have been one of those Germans who just went along because you just wanted to be left alone to live your life. Or whatever.

Yes, we are in that same state as pre-WWII Germany. The state where white supremacists are growing in number and strength and boldness, and the have a man in our highest office #fakepresident who is supporting them. If you are not speaking out against them and what is happening, you are quietly joining them on their side of the line.

And, yes, there is a line.There has always been a line, but Trump #fakepresident very clearly and explicitly drew it when he failed to condemn the terrorist attack in Charlottesville. He made it clear that he is standing with the Nazis, white supremacy, the Alt-Right. He made it clear enough that they knew it and rejoiced. When you have David Duke singing your praises and are not sickened by it, well, something is wrong. And if you can side with the guy that Duke is praising, well, something is wrong.

Because this is where we are:
If you are still in support of Trump #fakepresident, you are explicitly in support of the white supremacy agenda. You are in support of Nazis. There's no waffling around the edges of things any longer as you try to proclaim how you're not really racist and that you just support Trump's #fakepresident economic agenda. [And, by the way, Trump #fakepresident has no economic agenda other than to enrich himself while he's in office. If that's not abundantly clear to you at this point, your ability to support cognitive dissonance is amazing.] If you are still in support of Trump #fakepresident, you are one of the Germans who stood silently by while Hitler committed genocide.

But genocide? Really?
Ethnic cleansing is a goal of the white supremacist groups. What do you think that means?

At any rate, the line has been drawn. This is the time to disavow Trump #fakepresident and step across the line and stand with those who oppose Nazism. In all its forms. If you're still with Trump #fakepresident, your message is loud and clear: You're okay with Nazis and white supremacists running things, which, you know, makes you a Nazi and white supremacist.

Today is a good day to punch a Nazi in the face.
I wish I could say I meant that figuratively.


  1. Bravo. But it's not just Trump, and it's not just speaking out. Actions speak louder than words. The GOP gives mealy-mouthed denunciations of Trump, but backs him up. I'm not saying impeach -- everyone's too quick to go that route -- but I am saying: resign from his cabinet. Tell him you will not support a single item on his agenda until he stops supporting hate. Take ACTION.

    Speaking out isn't enough. It's slightly better than not speaking out, but people have to do something. Something more than simply posting online. They have to donate the groups that are helping (NOT the Democrats in general; pick specific candidates) or volunteer for a candidate or group that's good.

    1. Briane: Oh, I agree about speaking out not being enough; however, for those who are currently quiet, speaking out is a START. Stating which side you are on is something and, I think, an important something. I think the decision to pick a side and state it out loud is important, and you can't really get moving into other actions without first doing that.

  2. Sigh. I know I'm not doing enough. I just hope we learned the lessons from the last time so we don't let it happen again. I keep hoping that he's finally gone too far. I mean, Texas. You'd think his fumbling of this might do it, but likely not.

    Too many people still think this is no big deal. Too many people don't see the harm because they agree with white supremacy. They don't see the dangers. It's truly scary.

    1. Liz: Yeah, I'm not thinking his response to the hurricane is going to do anything to dissuade his base.
      And, no, people are not able to see the long term danger, because they want the short term reward of being on top.