This post is mainly for myself, to be on the record about the deep sadness and fear I feel when following the US election. Mark Suster wrote a post that expresses everything I am unable to find the words for. You should really read it. The quote by Pastor Martin Niemöller, helped me to find at least some words:
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.
It is worth noting that Pastor Niemöller was initially a supporter of the Nazis. He tried to reason with them, just to end up in the concertation camp Sachsenhausen. My point is: You can’t reason with the devil, evil cannot be tolerated.
When it comes to making monumental mistakes in picking the wrong leaders or parties, Germany is the gold standard. Remember, the rise of Hitler started through the democratic process. In the 1932 German presidential elections, Hitler got almost 37% of the votes and in the 1933 German federal election, his party got even close to 44% of the votes. The people of Germany – my people – are to be blamed, nobody else.
Why does that matter? Just like in the US today, the population was deeply unhappy about their situation. There was no trust in their institutions, the alternatives were considered “weak” and a leader with no respect for human life, tried to seize the opportunity.
So there is absolutely no excuse to make that same mistake again this coming Tuesday. No false equivalency will release you from the responsibility you have for your vote. One day you need to explain to your kids and grandchildren what you have done on November 8, provided you’ll get the chance to have children.
I have never used my country’s past to illustrate a situation and I am still deeply conflicted to link the unbearable wrong of my nation’s past with something as mundane as the US election. I just hope I am totally wrong and it is all a bad dream.
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