As a boy I learned that the Nazis killed my grandparents and millions of others. Once I could grasp the enormous horrors of the Holocaust, I began to understand the contagious evil of fanatical racism. What I could not understand was how so many Germans turned a blind eye to the brutality.
Now I am one of those “good Germans.” Nearly all of us are.
The “base,” the racists, the homophobes, the rich-without-conscience . . . they all have their reasons, horrid as they are, to support President Donald Trump.
Buoyed by prosperity built on mounting debt, numbed by willful ignorance or simply overwhelmed by the enormity of evil that comprises Trump’s America, most citizens still give mute assent to this perversion of democracy, this insult to decency that shames us all.
Sure, we vote; perhaps we organize; fewer still rally.
And all the while in our name, dictators are encouraged in wanton violence; children are torn from their parents; the flames of bigotry are fanned.
The difference between America today and Nazi Germany in the 1930s is one only of degree. So what is the benchmark for when we all stand up?
Apparently, that time is not when our president condones hate crimes. We are not yet ready to revolt even when nepotism, self-dealing, incompetence, mendacity and wanton cruelty are pursued by our country’s leader.
Those of us without our heads in the sand or up our own asses are ashamed at what this nation has become. We are outraged. We are disgusted. But we are also beaten down by endless outrages, by our inability to stop this national horror.
For all their naïveté and lack of focus, the student war protestors of the ’70s, and more recently, the yellow vests of France, had real and immediate impact on national policy.
Why then aren’t we on the barricades? Why then aren’t we marching in the streets? Where are the massive protests? The street blockages? The strikes? When are we willing to put our own comfort at risk for our principles and the welfare of others?
I say now.