I posted this a year ago on my social media pages. I am re-posting it here because I think the message bears repeating. In the midst of the vitriol of the impeachment proceedings, both sides are convinced of the sheer evil of the other side and our ears have turned deaf to the pleas and grievances of the other side. In times like these it is ever more vital that we hear what true evil is like. Perhaps it can give us new perspectives on those we call enemies that we once called brothers and sisters and embraced as such. Let us never forget true evil. It is far darker a place than the petty differences we focus on today.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I have attached the figures of who was killed. These figures are all the low end of various estimates because for many of them, there is no one alive to testify that they ever existed, much less that their lives were snuffed out in the middle of last century by a country in the thrall of a man who told them these groups were: evil, sub-human, morally corrupt, etc.
[Please don’t bother sending me corrections to the figures, I am not going to engage in minutia about it, I am not a historian. I am just taking the numbers from those who HAVE studied it extensively. But, feel free to post different figures in the comments and link your sources if you wish. But, if you want to argue it never happened, just pretend I never existed, much less wrote this and move on with your life of ignorance. Thank you!]
I think it is even more poignant today in a time when we have decided the other political party and those who vote for them are: morally corrupt, less than human, evil, etc. Are we really going to let them lead us down this path again? No, I am not singling out either party, I am calling out BOTH parties. Both parties use the same rhetoric that the people on the other side must be evil or at best, evil’s dupes.
No, neither party is yet advocating the removal of rights or outright murder of the other side, yet. But the rhetoric lays the groundwork for that. Remember it took the architect of the Holocaust nearly a decade to gain enough power to begin killing in the open. I don’t believe either side even has leaders that would willingly go down this path. But, yet here we do tread.
If we continue to dehumanize one another, fail to remember that despite our differences on policy or politics, we are all Americans who want a better future, it is only a matter of time before a true demagogue takes the reigns. Either party is ripe for one. Many already think one reigns over the party they oppose.
How do we stop it? We stop vilifying the other side. We agree to disagree. We argue facts and policy and not character. Character arguments are always pointless. Why? Because we can never truly know what is in another human’s heart. We certainly can’t decode them from a distance.
We let go of the need to win. We stop needing to get our way and not let the others have theirs. America was founded on each American being able to build their own new way within their own home and land. And it worked. When it didn’t was when we tried to force our way on others.
I bring up the Holocaust because it is a poignant example of what dehumanizing others can bring about. It is one of the worst examples of what it can bring. But, history is also rife with others.
From the treatment of the Native Americans and the South’s peculiar institution of Slavery, right up to the internment camps of WWII and Jim Crow laws after the war. Our hands are not so clean. And there are others outside of America: the treatment of the Aborigine’s of Australia and other natives under the British, French and other empires; the treatment of non-Russians under the yoke of the Soviet Empire.
I could go on for paragraphs and pages about man’s inhumanity to man. But the key to each and every one of these is one thing: the willingness to say other men and women are less than human and then follow it up by treating them as less. Whether your reason is race, religion, sex, political affiliation, or any reason at all, this is wrong. We are all human. Period.
We can do better. We must do better. Else, the lessons of history and all the lives lost have no meaning, none at all. And, that would be a waste. We paid dearly enough for the lessons.
Who do you petition to start this change? Look in the mirror. Change the person staring back at you first.
Thank you for reading. God bless you each and every one!