Why can’t they get it?
When actual Jews, survivors included, tell you our country is acting like pre-war Germany, you know there is a problem.
I fucking knew the word Auschwitz before I knew my family was Catholic.
I wasn’t born a century ago, but I grew up with stories about pre-war Germany. As a child, I literally had nightmares about that camp. I lost a lot of my family there.
But, that’s not what frustrates me most.
Men and women with
This is the problem with creating a romanticized image of past atrocities.
People have this storybook image of Germany leading up top WWII.
They see the Hollywood images of grand balls masking the most horrid atrocities.
They have an understanding of the Holocaust that goes from proud Yiddish shop keepers and Yiddish kids polishing boots, to gas chambers and aerial bombardment over the course of an hour and forty minutes.
They don’t see themselves in that.
They don’t see that in the environment around them.
They don’t understand the parallels, because everyone that was there is either dead or too old to fight them.
It didn’t start with gas chambers.
It started with a fucked over
It started with grumblings over lack of work.
It started with the rise of politicians that said they would make the fatherland great again.
Then, with the rise of nationalism came a need for a scapegoat. Nationalism doesn’t work without an “other.”
First, it was words, then it was looking the other way while “ruffians” carried out the will behind those words.
Then, it was “Papers Please,” as the government began taking a hand in deciding just who was and was not German.
Then it was who was and was not sufficiently German.
People are fast to say “But he has Hispanic supporters. He has black supporters. He has gay supporters.”
So did Hitler.
Half of my grandfather’s family died because they were “Good Germans.”
They died because they loved Germany, they supported their Fuhrer. They stood proud for their country. They rightly expected the same in return.
Those that survived did so by recognizing the signs. They abandoned everything they had and left their home behind.
They were fortunate and they knew the system. They understood what it meant to be a German in America, and that it would save them here when it would not in Germany.
Those that refused to see, died.
This is not a reaction to Trump alone.
We were not silent when the PATRIOT Act created the Department of Homeland Security.
We were not silent when state after state started actively persecuting trans women.
We were not blind when immigrants, even those on long term visas were deported in mass numbers.
We are not suddenly overreacting.
We’ve been on this spiral for at least eighteen years, and that’s a conservative estimate.
It is just that now, we are officially to the point where American citizens have to fear detainment because they are not American enough.
We are to the point where our nation’s leadership spouts hate towards various groups, and “ruffians” are going out and acting on the implied will of those words. And when they are not caught, the government is silent. When they are, it is either played off as nothing, or words are spoken that imply tacit approval.
The leadership of our nation talks in terms of good Americans and enemies, and both groups are American citizens.
But, it’s not the same. There are no parallels. Sure, Citizens are having to carry paperwork to prove they are American in order to avoid detainment, but that’s not the same.