Recently a lot of people have quoted Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller, who wrote:
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.
His words were written in the context of the Holocaust, yet they are chilling today as they've become a refrain of protest to the Donald Trump campaign for U.S. President.
And even so, Trump continues to gain momentum. A USC/Los Angeles Times poll published yesterday has Trump almost seven points ahead of Hillary Clinton. Clinton would not be my first choice for president. But when I think of Donald Trump's promises to this country and the number of people who support his values, I am overcome with a feeling of darkness that was only hinted at by the Republican National Convention.
Have you thought about the reality of Donald Trump's promises? If he gets his way--if American people give him his way--this is what will happen in our country.
'Humane' Deportation of Undocumented People
Last November, Trump said that he would create a "deportation force" that would target undocumented people and remove them from the country.
"You're going to have a deportation force, and you're going to do it humanely and you're going to bring the country -- and, frankly, the people, because you have some excellent, wonderful people, some fantastic people that have been here for a long period of time," the real-estate mogul replied.
Trump promises a "humane" approach at the outset--yet he refers to it as a force. Is this actionable? Yes: Although the U.S. Census Bureau denied it for years, in 2007 the agency was forced to admit when a statute of limitations expired that it assisted the U.S. government in identifying and rounding up Japanese Americans--legal citizens in most cases--and relocating them to internment camps. Although (undoubtedly due to national pride and denial of our country's shameful history) we remember these camps as a protective measure and not anything like what the German Nazi regime enforced, our "internment camps" were essentially the same as Nazi concentration camps. Donald Trump's roundup of so-called illegal human beings would need to place them in holding at least temporarily. Trump, given his way, would bring concentration camps to the United States of America. And anyone who is not a natural-born or naturalized citizen would be, by his terms, eligible for the roundup. Are you ready?
Inching Even More Closely to Naziism--Really
Not satisfied with his roundup of "illegals," Trump has proposed creating a national registered database of Muslims--American or not. "I would certainly implement that, absolutely," he said in November. This proposal mimics the Nazi's method for identifying Jewish and other "problematic" people. From the New York Times:
Asked later, as he signed autographs, how such a database would be different from Jews having to register in Nazi Germany, Mr. Trump repeatedly said, "You tell me," until he stopped responding to the question.
While the standard decennial United States Census cannot by law mandate that religious affiliation be reported, "in some person or household surveys, however, the U.S. Census Bureau may collect information about religious practices, on a voluntary basis. Yet there has been a great deal of criticism that so-called voluntary Census surveys, such as the National Health Interview Survey and the American Community Survey, are conducted in such a way as to intimidate those who attempt to exercise the "voluntary" aspect and decline to participate. In such cases of harassment, the Census field workers frequently insist either that responses are required by law, or that even though they are not technically legally required, "they won't take no for an answer." Given that the Census Bureau provided its confidential findings about American people to the federal government for the sake of locating and forcing Japanese Americans out of their homes, and then lied about this for 50 years, there is no reason to assume that federal agencies would not comply with the Commander in Chief's orders to identify and round up every undocumented immigrant and every Muslim American in its records.
This could be reality.
Stop and think about this. This is your country. It is your United States of America. How many of us are willing to surf this unconscionable tsunami, assuming that we will stay afloat while others are knocked down and dragged off not to be seen again?
When Trump's uniformed men knock on your door brandishing firearms and ask you which of your neighbors you suspect of being "illegal," or of being Muslim, are you going to point out those people?
What about when they finish disposing of those unwanted people and move along to the next group. By his record, we can imagine that Mike Pence, swept up in the opportunity to eradicate those who don't fit within our newly narrowed national identity, might come for LGBT people. Are you, as I am, one of these undesirables? Are you ready to lose your home? Your rights? Maybe even your life?
If you're not Muslim, not a recent immigrant, not gay, are you going to point out those who you know are to save your hide?
Or maybe not to save your hide. Are you be so transformed by the time these events manifest that you yourself will have come to hate non-native, nonwhite, straight American people? To hate them so much that you'll be happy to help make them disappear?
And then who is next? Because, believe it or not, once one perceived enemy is vanquished in such a mad way, there's always another around the corner--at some point it will be you or someone you love. Are you ready?
The United Soviet States of Russia and America
Donald Trump yesterday called on the Russian government--ostensibly, a bureaucratic extension of the wants and whims of Vladimir Putin, a dictator whom Donald Trump gives "an A for leadership," to hack into the United States State Department files to find dirt on Hillary Clinton and, if he gets his way, to hand Donald Trump the American presidency by way of a democratic election. Democracies have a bad habit of electing dictators. Are we that stupid as a nation? I never thought so. Now I fear we are.
Your future president has asked the Russian government to illegally hack into top-top-secret American security records. Are you ready to be Russian?
The Russian government unabashedly rejects all the values that have defined the United States of America since our founding: There is no right to free speech in Russia--dissenters disappear with alarming frequency, whether they are high-profile journalists or private citizens. There is no privacy--and even though we in the United States arguably have no individual privacy left, we have some freedom to think and say what we believe. At least for now.
If you think this sounds unlikely, recall our history with the USSR and Russia, and recognize the significance of the potential future president of the United States authorizing that country to hack into our highest-level secrets. Think about what this means. Really think about it.
Trump's Admiration for Putin-style Leadership Could Mean the Death of Sacred American Guns
The right to bear arms that so many American people hold as their greatest sacrament is an old-fashioned American value that, should Donald Trump take control in the image of his friend Vladimir Putin, most likely would disappear along with all the brown people who trouble him so greatly. In Russia, "individuals are not allowed to carry guns acquired for self-defense."
Donald Trump gives Putin an A for leadership. Donald Trump calls on this man and his country to hack into our country's most secret and secure information for the sake of winning his campaign. Here, Trump paradoxically has exploited his very American freedom to say what he thinks, no matter the cost to anyone, as he makes a treasonous plea to the dictator of a country that suppresses speech under threat, and enforcement, of imprisonment, work camps, and death. Donald Trump assigns this type of governmental body an A. This is a man who is thisclose to becoming our next president, and who has amassed riotous, mad-dog support by half of American voters. We are standing on the precipice of a decision that could forever redefine who we are as a country, and who lives here, and possibly who lives and who dies. Donald Trump is not afraid to address death; in fact, he calls for it: as his regime systematically eliminates people who practice the Muslim faith in this country, he would be authorizing and overseeing the intentional extermination of entire families, men, women and children alike, in the Middle East. "You have to take out their families."
Anyone, anyone who believes that the Islamic State and its disparate followers are a threat to this country, just wait until Donald Trump authorizes the systematic hunting and slaughtering of their families by American military forces. People who vote for Donald Trump are willing on a war perhaps unlike anything we have recorded in our history books, and quite possibly one that would discontinue the publication of any further history books if we don't win a war against an enemy with no borders and no obvious identification.
What happens when Trump's armed, uniformed men come knocking on your door? If you're Muslim, American citizen or not, you'll be swept away. (What if Muslim people convert to Christianity to preserve their safety and their American citizenship? Would this forced conversion be good enough? How far are American people willing to foster a modern religious crusade? To the death?)
If you've come to this country as part of the fabled huddled masses yearning to breathe free among whom almost all of us can count our ancestors who first arrived here, and you don't have papers that assign you what our Constitution calls God-given rights, then you'll be swept away, too. What if you're not one of these people? Are you satisfied with this scenario? Because it's the scenario that Donald Trump represents--in a very real way--for this country of which we have all been so proud for so long, despite our problems.
It's 2020, four years from now, and there's a little girl living next door to you.
She's quiet, but you saw her go in and haven't seen her come out. She's probably hiding, as you suspect others are. She has dark hair, dark eyes, formidable brows. When they come to your door in their boots with their guns, and your guns have been taken away by the man who promised he would not, and you tell them about the little girl next door, you guess when asked that her name might be Maria--she could be Mexican. Or she could be Mariam, a Middle Eastern girl. Her name, all things being the same, is Anne Frank, and you, as one of the participants in an unholy cultural movement, have just ended her story.
Are you ready to be part of the darkest chapter of American history? This foreboding future is dangerously close to becoming a reality.
I am not stumping for a political candidate. I am looking at an unimaginable and yet, by all accounts, likely outcome of a Donald Trump presidency. I am not ready, and I have a sickening feeling that I would not last long in his world.