“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve been thinking about six million Jews a lot lately.
I never really understood how anybody could allow so many of their fellow human beings to be harassed, persecuted, maimed and slaughtered. I always thought the Holocaust must have been a peculiar anomaly, a glitch in time and space, where evil was allowed to take hold and flourish in a jarring and devastating but non-repeatable way. Surely the signs wouldn’t be ignored again, excesses would be curbed, offenses would be checked, and people with bad intent wouldn’t be able to advance their schemes and machinations like they did 75 years ago. Never again, I thought.
But look what’s happening:
People are being detained and harassed at airports by border patrol agents and prevented from returning to their homes here in America.
Sick individuals who don’t have papers are being forcibly yanked out of hospitals and deported.
Prominent, mainstream media outlets like CNN and the New York Times are being banned from White House briefings while Breitbart News, an unscrupulous far-right website that makes Fox News look stolid, is welcomed.
Muslims are being verbally and physically assaulted all over the place.
“Foreign-looking” people are being shot and killed.
Our intelligence agencies have confirmed that the Russian Federation may have tipped the scales of our presidential election to give the advantage to Vladimir Putin’s orange boyfriend.
Environmental regulations are being rolled back and funding for the arts eliminated.
Lies are being presented as facts by those who owe us the truth.
Click here to read, “The Complete List of All 99 False Things Donald Trump has said as President” and click here to read a piece put together by NPR last month entitled, “The America Donald Trump is Inheriting, By the Numbers.”
I ran across the following on a friend’s Facebook page, written by Peter Daou:
Today was a grave inflection point for our democracy. The White House froze out major news orgs for a reason: They can.
With Congressional Republicans ceding ALL oversight power, the Trump White House can run roughshod over our Constitutional rights.
With no one enforcing rules, the rule of law is a hollow shell. With free rein to claim power, unscrupulous people will seize it ALL.
Steve Bannon made clear that the louder the #resistance, the more he and Trump see it as validation of their radical course of action.
In the past week, we've seen the "militarizing" of the immigration issue, IDs checked on domestic flights, and the FBI pressured.
These are all signs that the overarching question, "Can it happen here?" has already been answered. Loud and clear. It can. And it is.
A HUGE misconception among people who have enjoyed democracy their entire lives: When freedom is curtailed, life grinds to a halt. WRONG.
I lived in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. Carnage. Artillery barrages. Kidnappings. Snipers everywhere. Curfews. BUT LIFE WENT ON.
We'd emerge from our bunkers, survey the overnight damage, then go shopping. Humans are resilient. We adapt to just about anything.
As Constitutional rights dissolve in America, malls will be open, movies will be crowded, traffic jams will happen, trains will run.
As our freedoms are taken away, we'll still have sports games, summer barbecues, schools, etc. Life will seem normal on the surface.
But rights that are stripped away will not be returned so easily. America will resemble America. But it will no longer BE America.
People who don't see what's happening will scoff at those who do as "alarmists." They won't realize the damage until it affects them.
Understand that we're already on a slippery slope, and a very steep one. This can go downhill very fast. I'm just stating the obvious.
Our task as patriotic citizens: Speak out in defense of our freedoms. Donate to groups like the ACLU. Call your reps. AND STAY PEACEFUL.
Lots of folks smarter than yours truly are warning about how we’re heading back into darkness again. (I blogged about Trump’s similarities with Adolph Hitler last July.)
But what about now? Every day there’s a new revelation, a chilling comparison, a bald-faced lie, an attack on the press, science or sanity. Now is the time to act again, isn’t it? Now's my chance. Our chance.
I really don’t have the time. I don't have the money. Leading fights is a young person’s game. I’m too old. Too out of shape. Somebody else can stop the slide. Somebody else will step up. Someone who doesn’t have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can hoist the signs. Someone with better knees can march in the streets. I’ve got a family to think about now, right?
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
~ German Pastor Martin Niemöller
Peter Daou is a prominent political blogger, strategist, pundit, activist and musician. He grew up in Lebanon and moved to the Big Apple in the 1980s. Follow him at @peterdaou.
Thestar.com, NPR.org, nytimes.com, Cosmopolitan.com.