“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Scary, isn’t it? When we hear it, our thoughts turn to Nazi Germany. Comforting to know it could never happen in our country, our great democracy.
Or could it?
It seems as if it is starting already. To be sure, not to the extent of those dark days in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. At least not yet.
But think about what has been taking place in our country. A little bit at a time.
The right to receive an education based on facts is being denied in several states. There remain attacks on the theory of evolution, with insistence that intelligent design be given equal or greater weight. Teaching anything negative about our founding fathers is not to be tolerated. Studies of racism are to be severely limited. One of our state legislators recently proposed a bill to eliminate any teaching at all of certain controversial subjects in public schools, including state colleges and universities. Medical professionals and scientists are denigrated.
They are coming for the intellectuals.
Restrictions on the right to vote are increasing. In moves aimed at the less fortunate in our community, reductions in voting hours and number of days of early voting, elimination of many drop boxes, and increased identification requirements are imposed. Consideration is given in legislatures in some states to empower them to take over elections and nullify results if there is “fear” for the integrity of the outcome, that is, if they think the vote is not going the right way. Especially the votes in large Democratic cities.
They are coming for the Blacks, the Hispanics, the poor.
The right to abortion is limited in one state after another in a contest to determine which state will be most restrictive. In Texas, citizen is pitted against citizen in a vigilante environment that allows fanatics to sue anyone they claim is abetting a person seeking an abortion and earn $10,000 dollars if they prevail—and face no risk if they fail.
They are coming for the independent women who believe their body is their own.
Legitimate media sources are accused of partisanship and lying. Reporters from media deemed unfriendly are banned from public meetings. Fake news is a new rallying cry.
They are coming for the honest journalists.
When will they come for you? Not possible, you say.
Are you a Muslim or of Asian heritage? Do you feel safe?
Are you an immigrant? Do you feel safe?
Are you a business owner enforcing a mask mandate? Do you feel safe?
Are you a teacher? Do you feel safe?
Are you poor? Do you feel safe?
Are you in disagreement with those in power? Do you feel safe?
The truth is no one can feel safe if the powerful are willing to go to any extent to deprive you of rights that courts will not protect.
That’s why every attempt to take any one individual’s rights must be rejected by every individual.
Otherwise they could come for us.