There is so much turmoil in my soul.
But I am noticing something and wonder if others are seeing it, too. Because it is absolutely TERRIFYING. Were I a cool youth I would say I'm shook.
When 45 was campaigning I noticed that the parallels drawn to Hitler and Nazi Germany were scoffed at and rebuffed. Terms like "wuss liberals" and "snowflake" were tossed about condescendingly. The similarities were dismissed as baseless rhetoric, an attempt to undermine 45's presidential campaign. Even if other conservatives were alarmed it was called a liberal power grab, an attempt to thwart his chance at winning the White House.
But I'm seeing a shift. Now there are people starting to say things like, "So be it," when people began noticing the eerie commonalities between 45's first week in office and strategies employed by Hitler and his ilk to drum up German nationalism and anti-Other fervor. I saw people doing exactly that on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when 45 banned people from some Muslim countries from but not others that are hot beds of unrest and harboring known supporters of / actual terrorist groups (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan). All in the name of "Americans First" and "safety".
I see talk of criminals and illegals--never mind that the current Muslim and refugee ban is on people who have gone through legal channels--threatening our children and having the courage to keep them safe. Accusations that the "liberal media" lies about statistics and that if you go to the "right places" (Fox News, Breitbart, The Blaze) you'll learn "the truth" about "those people" and their intentions. Meanwhile, in a move straight from the "How to Condition a People to Help You Commit Genocide" playbook, 45 intends to share details of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants each week. Once again, who cares if statistically "sanctuary cities" are safer than those who embrace the anti-refugee and immigrant stance? Fear out ranks facts. Call it an embrace of alternative facts, if you will.
And so I watch. My concern is that soon the shift will be that maybe Hitler knew what he was doing. He rid Germany of the dangerous scoundrels who were the cause of all the problems and crime; greedy Jews the reason aryan Germans were poor so they were expelled. He had the guts to take care of his own people. Germany first.
This has very real potential to get worse. First is to ban Muslims. Then comes rounding up the legal immigrants already here and shipping them out. Then comes internment camps for those born here as citizens. Just as was done to Japanese during WWII, forever altering thousands of lives of patriotic Americans with an Asian face.
All this in the name of safety.
Repeatedly in my pursuits of understanding history I asked myself which side I would be on. What would I do? Would I recognize evil in my midst and stand up for what is right? As a Christian, would I use my voice and resources to help the oppressed, the widows, the orphan, the foreigner, the poor, and all those Jesus beseeched me to honor? Or would I look out for my own self-interests, seek to establish a secure kingdom here on earth for me and my children and people like me?
The thing is, I never thought I would see those things happen in the United States. I thought we as a people would not collectively have enough who embrace those values for it to really be of import or impact. There will always be white supremacists and racists; there will always be those ruled by fear and hate. But overall, I thought there were enough people who would rise up to say "Never again!" to things like bans based on religion and nationality with zero evidence of malevolent intent. I did not believe we'd turn away refugees fleeing slaughter who spent three years being vetted in order to come to land of the free and home of the brave.
But here we are. And so here I am, using my voice to speak up and say no. Additionally we are working locally with refugee families and those helping in the transition. Giving financial gifts to organizations standing in the gap for these people. Seeking to ensure Muslims that I refuse to live in fear of them.
Why? Because PEOPLE first.
Today I asked my four year old daughter if we should be scared of people who are different from us. If we should stay away from people who are different from us. If we should send away people who are different from us.
Each time she replied, firmly, "NO."
We haven't talked about this stuff before. Besides being four, she's on the autism spectrum and has even less awareness of these issues than neuro typical peers. But I decided to ask her what she thinks, see how she would respond.
"Juliet, how do you think we should treat people who are different from us?"
Without even a second to think, she replied, "We should be nice to them. Just like we learn at church!"
We should be nice to them.