Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thinking

Hitler said "What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think".

It seems to me that we have been following in the footsteps of the Third Reich for the past five years. I can still hear Karl Rove echoing those words of Hitler's today. And I have to ask: where have we as a nation gotten too?

There is a sense of national identity which we all feel. The stirring in one's soul when the Star Bangled Banner is played. The feeling of togetherness in times of tragedy, and even more so after September 11th. Our feeling that we are the freest nation on earth, that we are proud to be Americans, and how lucky that we were born here.

But, are we really all those things today? Yes, we still feel the national pride but so did the Germans of WWII. How blindly they followed their charismatic leader when he promised them a new Germany, a super power and how willingly they believed all that was told to them by their manipulated press. But who knew? There was no Downing Street Memo to expose Hitler and his henchmen. That is one difference, but even that seems to have no impact on a great number of our countrymen.

For us the threat is terrorists, but in 1930's Germany there were the Jews who were the said to be an evil blight on an otherwise perfect society. It was they who were thought to be sucking the life blood out of society and who were taking over the universities, the banking institutions, the arts. The Nazi propaganda machine went to work and the result was Kristelnacht (the night of broken glass) and eventually concentration camps. I am sure I can hear you saying, but that would never happen here. We are too sophisticated and we have Nazi Germany to remind us of how horrible things like that can be. Ah, but my friends, you would be mistaken. We have people of middle-eastern descent among us, and their chances for individual liberty are not the same as yours and mine.

Yes, we have the lessons of Nazi Germany, but who alive today clearly remembers exactly what did happen? An ever diminishing group, certainly. How Hitler managed to come to power, how the German people were blinded by their own spirit of nationalism. How they came to believe that they actually were greater and superior to all others on earth. How the rest of the world owed allegiance to them and to their leader. These things are being forgotten.

There is a wealth of information to be had in libraries, bookstores and even on the internet to explain to those, who wish to know the answers, and how it all did come to pass. I can honestly say that those who care about getting to the truth of these things, about educating themselves as to the whys and wherefores, will absolutely take advantage of all this material. I would, in a moment of perhaps feeling superior say, but those are people who are well educated. And there too I would be wrong.

There are plenty of my countrymen who have had the advantages of a university education, and many who are very well self-educated. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, and yet a very large segment of these people somehow fail to see the parallels of our recent history and what happened over 50 years ago. America as a mirror image of Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Surely these are all thinking people, are they not? No, it does not appear that they are. Complacency thy name is us. Thinking requires effort. Politics is too dirty. It is far easier to roll with the flow. The other fellow will handle it.

Hitler was brought to power at a time when Germany was seeking an end to her tribulations. A man of firm religious convictions, and whose God was on the side of the good Christian German people. The press in Germany supported Hitler and his plans for the country, never, apparently, thinking to point out the immorality of many of his actions. With total disregard for the Treaty of Versailles, he started an illegal war with the annexation of Poland.

Hitler garnered the support of foreign nations. Mainly this support, it was thought, might appease him. And others thought that what he had started in Germany would be for the betterment of all, as he initially said. He had Goering and Goebbels to help him create the nightmare that Germany became. The secret, spying, bullying which went into the creation of a nation whose name came to be synonymous with evil incarnate. And today we still say, how could the German people not have known what was going on?

Well you tell me, because in my mind we have exactly the same scenario playing out here, in this country, today.

We have George W. Bush, a democratically elected President. A man of firm religious convictions. We have Karl Rove. We Have Dick Cheney. We have a press which seems to fail to see the errors in any of Bush's ways. We have Guantanamo Bay instead of Bergen Belsen. We have our own SS disguised as Christian Soldiers ready to fight for their right to do anything they damn well please and the devil take the hindmost. We have Iraq. Just like Hitler, Bush has been a man of few accomplishments, aided and abetted by those who saw their chance to change the course of a nation through deceit and subterfuge.

I would like to say that I feel the winds of change starting to blow. Twice last week in national news I read that some suddenly have the chutzpah to call for impeachment. Slowly, more and more in this country are seeing that the sense of national pride we have always felt has been hijacked by a man who cares little for anything except his corporate friends and his questionable place in history.

Let us hope that we have the intestinal fortitude to continue on a path to sanity and we can once again truly feel a sense of pride in our nation that has for so long been a beacon of hope and nurture to so many in the world.

How lucky George W. Bush has been—up to now, that is—that great numbers of us seem not to think anymore.

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