Everyone is a person
I know that this seems amazingly basic, but it is an important concept. Sometimes there are stupid people, but they are people. They might say stupid things, but they are people. Everyone is a person. In the United States I recently became aware of an incident where the “Alt-Right” movement leader basically spewed hate towards many. There were Nazi salutes, and phrases from World War II era. This speech was made in the United States on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
Let me spell out the time implicitly. This speech was made 26,131 days since the Liberation of Mauthausen on May 5, 1945 as the “last concentration camp” to be liberated before the Nazi surrender. That is a span of 71 years 6 months 14 days, a lifetime for some.
None of this hate is new. Hate has been around between various groups for decades, centuries, and millennia. However, what is new is that since the recent US elections there has been more hate visible and at the surface.
What is new is that this hate has become almost commonplace in America. This hate has been used by a candidate to get elected. This hate has been seen as the new normal.
It can never be allowed to be the new normal.
We must all stand together. The United States has had these same issues when Mr. Obama was elected to the office of the President. Some people let those comments proceed without outrage, myself included. Some people saw the issues of minorities and African-Americans being killed by the use of excessive force and did not say anything. This blog included.
I feel guilty until waiting until now to say something publicly. It does not mean I did nothing, it means I did not do enough. I became a licensed marriage officiant and offered to perform weddings for anyone. I purchased domains of a homophobic pizza parlor and replaced them with rainbow flags. I make donations to what I see as the common good, education and freedom charities.
I agree with people who say the Safety Pin movement is a nice gesture to make us feel better. I don’t wear one. I should not wait for someone to come to me for assistance and safety. I will proactively help people be safe and secure. I am not perfect. I am far from it. However I realize that many have waited too long to say, “this situation is not acceptable”. Much of this is because it did not effect us directly.
Martin Niemöller, a Protestant pastor, made the statement that many will remember or quote AFTER World War II.
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 still rings true today. It will most likely unfortunately ring true many decades in the future. It is a reminder of the consequences of inaction. These comments were made AFTER the atrocities of the Nazis, when it was already too late for many.
Let us all take a deep breath and work together to solve these issues. Be an active person, do not simply wait for someone to come to you. Do not go looking for a fight, that does not help anyone. Be prepared to protect each other. Do more than calling or writing, be active in helping.
All we can all do is try our best, but we must at least try. I apologize for waiting this long.