I broke down in tears tonight. I broke down, sobbing, in front of my children. I realize how irrational this is, and a part of me is convinced, hopeful, that it’s just plain crazy, but this is hard. It started with a video. This one:
I still haven’t figured out exactly what I want from this blog, so for now it’s just a repository of my thoughts. A place to think things through. Sometimes I do this first on FaceBook. Sometimes I do this only on FaceBook. Sometimes I do it here first, and sometimes it’s only here. This morning I posted the following on FaceBook, and like my earlier post, I wanted to have it here too….in my pseudo-diary.
What we (all) need to realize is that very few people think they’re bigots and very few people are OK with being called bigots. The mental acrobatics needed to evade that label, when calling for an entire religious group to be barred from the country or selectively targeted is pretty impressive, but probably very normal. Being called a bigot will only make people retreat, and stop listening, but I don’t know what else to do, because the bigotry is intolerable.
My earlier post, shared from a friend, makes the point that the things people are saying about Muslims today would sound very much like Nazi propaganda if the word “Muslims” was replaced with “Jews.” But those saying these things, or supporting those who are saying these things, will argue that it’s not the same. It’s not the same because Jews aren’t trying to hurt the United States, and Muslims are. Remember that the Nazi rhetoric convinced a large proportion of Germany that Jews were trying to hurt Germany. Jews were likened to rats that carry disease to the country. The propaganda told people that Jews were shaving their beards to look like other eastern Europeans so they could infiltrate the country, waiting to strike. Jews were trying to spark war.
Trump was on Morning Joe this morning and was asked to respond to the charge that his tone, his proposals, are frightening people. His response was that we should be much more afraid of Muslims than we should be of him. This is the same tactic that was used in the 1930s. Hitler made it clear that if the Jews weren’t stopped, the Aryan peoples will be exterminated.
In a now famous speech, Hitler said (in German, not English), “We see clearly that this war could only end with the extermination of the Germanic peoples, or that Jewry must disappear from Europe. I already said it on September 1, 1939 in the German Reichstag, that this war will not end the way the Jews have foreseen it, namely that the European Aryan peoples will be exterminated; rather the result of this war will be the annihilation of Jewry. For once all the others will not bleed to death alone; for once the ancient Jewish law will come into play: an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.”
The message: Jews wand to destroy their way of life. Jews want to annihilate white Europeans. The only answer is to destroy Jews.
This tactic was evil then, and the tactic is evil now. My plea to those I love who may succumb to this rhetoric, who may find ways to justify it: Don’t be on the side of evil. Don’t say, “yeah but…” Don’t say that Muslims ARE trying to hurt America, because when you do that, you’re condemning an entire group of 1.6 billion people for the acts of far less than 1% of them. You’re defining a group by the worst 1% (probably even much less). People say that a few bad apples spoil the bunch, but I’ve eaten lots of apples and I don’t think that’s true at all. You can easily pick out the good apples and enjoy them with honey like it’s Rosh Hashanah. And the bad apples probably aren’t all bad either. Cut off the bruise and the rest could be just fine. Be on the side of good, even if you’re afraid. Please.