With Election Day just 15 days away, the big question will be: Where will we be as a nation on November 9?
I’m not talking about who will win but the fallout from one of the nastiest and insulting campaigns run in modern history.
To compare the U.S. to Germany of the 1930’s is too easy so let’s focus on Eastern Europe in 1989, weeks before the breakup of the old dictatorial regimes and maybe even the Arab Spring.
The rulers running Eastern Europe practiced their own form of discrimination and persecution but once the ‘Wall’ came down, Democracy was the word of the day…and so was freedom of speech. Along with that right to say anything were nationalistic and alt-right groups who were free to voice their anti-immigrant feelings, as well as anti-Semitic rants and any other faith or culture that was counter to their beliefs. That opened up to beatings, bombings and murder.
In the Middle East, the Arab Spring gave rise to many of the same groups, this time focused on various sects of Islam. The iron hand of the dictators were tested and beaten back but hate reared its ugly head.
So now we come to America and the argument is simple: The mood perpetuated by Donald Trump has allowed far right groups to come out from under the rocks they live and wear t-shirts, carry banners and fight to persecute Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, Jews, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, women and denominations of Christianity that are in conflict with supremacist groups.
And they are no longer hidden. They are being seen in mainstream America at rallies, proudly showing their hate.
One may say: well, it always existed here in America. Yes, it has but it was never so accepted on a national level as it has become in 2015 and 2016.
The American Nazi Party, protected by the Constitution and the ACLU, marched in Skokie, IL in the late 1970’s. That’s an American right but not necessarily an American value: until now.
We are not living in a Cumbaya-world today so let’s not pretend it is. But let’s not accept this culture of hate as the new American psyche. And history has shown us silence is not the answer. It didn’t work in 1935 and it shouldn’t work now.
The great British parliamentarian Edmund Burke said it well: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”