The moral context of a great nation

A great nation is more than force of arms. It is more than a huge span of territory that is more or less governed by one central organization. It is more than lip service to democracy. No nation can be called a great nation if it is not at the same time a good nation.

This was the stumbling block that destroyed Germany when National Socialism became the form of government. We must remember that Adolf Hitler was voted into office, bringing his philosophy of government with him.

There must have been many Jewish residents who began taking trains to Paris at that point; there had to be. As we describe people as optimists and pessimists, I’m sure many German-Jewish pessimists began packing their bags right about then. The degeneration of Germany into a killing ground was appalling. It was really once a great nation, in culture and music and faith.

The Nazi occupying force also began am identification system of Jewish residents in such countries as occupied Denmark. An interesting effect of that effort was that most of he residents of Copenhagen, including the royal family, began wearing the sleeve bands with the six-poined Star of David that were “required” of Danish Jews.

Today is was in the news that the transition team of Donald Trump is calling for a registry of all Americans who identify as Muslim. Now, skiing is not my hobby, but I recognize a slippery slope when I see one. Already a movement is afoot for non-Muslims to invade whatever system the Trump team comes up with, for Americans of every stripe to register as Muslims in protest.

Well, once the Muslims are registered, what is next? Internment? For how long, forever, or what? Is Black America paying attention to this? I sure hope so; Black Americans are experts on what happens to minorities when their fate is in the hands of haters. In fact, White America ought to be opening up lines of communication with them. Who is safe?

An outbreak of violence is simultaneously breaking out all over America. A woman wearing a hijab is beaten by a mob. A black man gets up in the morning and finds his car vandalized. The list goes on.

Remember Pastor Niemoller? Here is his famous poem:

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.

And here is my tribute to this inspirational man.

First they came for the Mexicans,
but I am not Mexican, so I said nothing.
Then they came for the gay people,
but I am not gay, so I said nothing.
Then they came for the Muslims,
but I am not Muslim, so I said nothing.
Then they came for the liberals,
but when the militia came to my house, I was not there.
Someone else was renting my house.
I don’t know what became of them.

So I am asking: how far will the American people permit this wave of hatred to go before we rise up and put an end to it? I know people have to get up and go to work, but so did thousands of Germans who walked past the Berlin train station and saw Jews lined up to be taken away. There were people in the countryside of Germany whose farms were close enough to some of the concentration camps that they could see the smoke and smell the burning flesh of the victims in the ovens.

If you are a praying person, pray that we will not fail this test. If you don’t normally pray, search inside yourself for the courage to stand up when it becomes necessary, because it will and it will be soon. Human rights groups and media watchdogs are already complaining about softball interviews and normalization of hate sites and spokesmen.

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