Monday, January 20, 2014

Revisiting the Holocaust.

On Facebook a while back, someone posted a link to this web page that advertises a broadcast of a documentary made after the liberation of Europe in 1945.

The Documentary, "Memory of the Camps", was produced with the help of (among others) Alfred Hitchcock, but was put on hold by the British before it was broadcast for political reasons.  It was recently re-discovered and restored, and is set for broadcast on British television in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe.

The page includes a full length version of the film, and in spite of the horrific images it shows, is a must see for any thinking adult who gives a shit about the political health of his/her country.

Why?  Two reasons.

First is the lesson the film makers intended to teach - this can happen if evil isn't fought and thwarted.

Second is another one I'd like to talk about.  It is strongly related to the first, but is a bit more extensive in scope.

It is:

This can happen to YOUR COUNTRY.  It can and will happen if you and every citizen in your country do not pay attention and fight extremism at every chance and in every manner possible.

Nah, you say.  That can't happen HERE, can it?  My people aren't like that!  We'd never kill kids, never starve folks to death.  We'd never kill that many people in such a systematic way.

Huh.  Don't you just wish.  What about the USA?  The country that stands for individual freedom, for liberty and justice!

Estimates of native populations prior to 1500 CE range from as low as 7 million to as much as 54 million.  It is also estimated that as many os 50-80% of that population may have been killed upon contact with Europeans and subsequent infection by diseases they had no immunological protections against.

Native Americans were decimated by the subsequent warfare and pressure of relocation by the rapid and overpowering influx of white Europeans into the North American continent.  (This DOES include Canada!)  No reliable numbers of the affect of that on population numbers have been suggested.

But it must have been devastating.  Was that a genocide?  Or simply a conquest?  Does it matter?

The extremism manifested itself in the "Manifest Destiny" mantra that rationalized the conquest and massacre of natives on the basis of a supposed natural  inevitability of our taking the continent from those who had lived here for over ten thousand years.  That somehow, it was our "destiny" to engulf the continent and populate it.

Even if it did already have a population residing in it.

Could it happen here like it did in Europe?  Sure.  Extremism happens anywhere, and when we see headlines where American politicians justify forcibly keeping people in poverty by denying them an education or the ability to control their own procreation, it is obvious it IS happening here.

Republican Party politicians advocate policies that are hateful, discriminatory, and racist.  They advocate policies that are homophobic and misogynistic, hurting people on the basis of made up differences and ideological imperatives.

They advocate that States secede from the US in order to pursue that agenda, or at the very least, pass State laws nullifying Federal laws that set that agenda back.

Now, am I saying that Republicans WANT to take the same career track Hitler did?  That they intend to snuff out the lives of all who they see as different?  Of course not.  Certainly not the average Republican at the State or local level.  As a country, we see that as evil and bad.

But then, if you'd showed photos of the Holocaust to the average Nazi Party member in 1932, they would have thought of those photos of being the result of Communist activity.  They saw themselves as the savior party of their homeland.  Saving it from economic ruin and political suicide.  Saviors of the German way of life.  The belt buckle of every German soldier was inscribed with the inscription "Gott Mitt Uns", which means "God is with us".

Sound familiar yet?  Wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.  Exactly the same as the Republicans are today.

Saviors of America.  Defending the American Way of Life.  Saving us from economic ruin and political suicide.  Pointing at Socialists and Communists as the evil doers who threaten us.

Hitler, too, excoriated Darwin.  Hitler, too, outlawed abortion, to help continue the Master Race.  Hitler, too, was racist.  Hitler promised economic recovery and international power and respect for Germany.  Hitler, too glorified war and made military service seem desirable.  Hitler, too acted hand in hand with the economic powers of his country to put Germany on the course to war.

In the end, he brought ruin and disgrace and ended his life in an underground bunker at his own hand, too cowardly to face his crimes.

Is there an American Hitler?  Will there be?

Maybe not.  But, maybe so.

Is the slide into anarchy inevitable?  Are we doomed to repeat history?  Will we allow ourselves to be hoodwinked into voting for another National Socialist Party?

It doesn't have to be.

IF Americans who care go vote.  IF Americans who care educate themselves.  IF Americans - LIKE YOU - get involved.

VOTE this November.  VOTE to throw out the extremists, the political outliers who have contaminated American politics into something even traditional Republicans hate.

Throw the bastards out.  Throw them out so far they'll need to pipe in sunlight.


Holly G said...

I agree entirely. I grew up in a very conservative household, but it didn't take long being an adult out in the real world to realize that I did not, could not, agree with my parents any longer politically. The Republican party is being hijacked by religious extremists and it is utterly terrifying.

Robert Ahrens said...

Thanks for your comment, Holly! If you can, please invite your friends to check out my page!