There is an oft-paraphrased poem that circulates around the Internet. It goes something like this:
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.
The poem comes from the earliest form of this this speech, given by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) in Frankfort, Germany on January 6, 1946 (translated thus):
When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers.
Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians – “should I be my brother’s keeper?”
Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. – I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it’s right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn’t it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? — Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren’t guilty/responsible? The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written in the newspapers
I believe, we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa! We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.
I started this post before the Vice Presidential debate last night, and I was just going to talk about Trump’s attacks on Social Security, soldiers living with PTSD, and his $915,729,293 loss, but I’m on a different path this morning and I need to see it to the end.
First and foremost, Mike Pence ought to scare the hell out of you. As bad as Cruz was, he’s far, far worse. For starters, there’s no question regarding his citizenship. Unlike Cruz, whose birth in Canada is controversial for far better reasons than President Obama’s ever was (leaving off his American mother who renounced her citizenship), Pence has a clear track record in his service as Governor of Indiana.
Two articles scratch the surface of the issues I have with Pence:
Mother Jones: Stop Calling Mike Pence Boring. Here’s His Track Record on Gays, Women, Immigrants, and the Planet.
Trump won’t do a single thing while in office, besides take vacations and find new, exciting ways to ensure he’ll never go personally bankrupt again, but Pence? If you thought Dick Cheney was bad news, take a look at what Pence did to women in the time since he took office, in January, 2013. His Wikipedia page reads like a blotter for the Conservative Christian movement.
I hear plenty about how Trump is a Democrat in disguise, but he’s not going to do a damn thing in office. He’s all talk, no actual action. He will say anything to anyone if he thinks it will give him center stage.
Pence isn’t like Trump. He’s moved the ultra conservative agenda of ALEC forward with a vengeance.
Hitler didn’t do the things he did all by himself. He had help.
No, not generals. We know about them. They come to mind easily.
He had a secretary, who controlled access completely: Martin Bormann. If you wanted anything done, you had to go through Bormann.
Mark my words: If Trump wins, this will be a Pence presidency, as sure as I’m writing these words.
Meanwhile, the title of this post – I think for myself – comes from virtually every Bernie Bro (and Sis) who is truly Anti-Hillary. It’s taken me months to come to this conclusion, but I’m there. It would not have mattered if Bernie Sanders hadn’t run. No matter what, these people who refuse to listen to history, who believe it just can’t happen here, who live in nice communities with manicured lawns and comfortable homes with access to the Internet whenever they want, they just don’t have the ability to imagine how close we really are to disaster, whether Clinton wins or not.
They refuse to see the 36 year war of propaganda waged by dark money. They don’t believe there is anything wrong with voting “conscience” when there is so much overwhelming data to draw parallels between the US today and Germany in 1919.
Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s all imaginary. It can’t happen here.
But these same people turn around and point to mass incarceration as proof that we already have these things and we’re still free.
They are blind.
They refuse to see between the lines of every single election that puts another Republican in charge of our day to day lives. People like Pence, who enact unconstitutional laws that force women to pay for burials for every unsuccessful pregnancy and more. Unconstitutional, that is, until we start replacing our Supreme Court Justices.
For every voter who insists “I think for myself” – this election is your opportunity to prove it. Denying evidence that’s out there will seal our fates for the next 50-90 years. You won’t see recovery in your lifetime. Your children might not, either. And if you think you’re safe, better think again if you’re anything but a devout Christian.
Don’t just think.
This is my formal declaration:
I regret choosing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. I am sorry that I worked for his campaign, if by running he brought us to this moment. That his “followers” were never about Bernie and all about Not Hillary was never clearer to me than it is today.