Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Never Again? Are We Sure?

Never again! We've all heard the phrase. A slogan taken up by victims of the Holocaust of World War Two. Just a two word phrase meant to give strength to morally right minded people to stand up to atrocities wherever they may be rise.

In 1948, after the Nuremberg trials, member states of the United Nations General Assembly, repulsed by the scale of crimes committed by Nazi Germany passed the Genocide Convention. The signatories agreed to punish perpetrators who oppressed and murdered victims simply because they belonged to an "undesirable" national, ethnic or religious group. The moral consensus in the United States and the rest of the world was that these crimes against humanity should "never again" happen.

The phrase has gone on to be the slogan of the Jewish Defense League and is a sort of rally cry in the face of injustices being brought upon any group. It is meant to solidify the resolve of people, of nations, everywhere to not allow a group to be put upon by another because they dislike their ideas, the color of their skin or the way they worship.

In the America I grew up in, we seemed to embody the meaning of this phrase. We, as a nation, would not let it happen again. The civil rights movement made us look into what we had done to African-Americans. Then the truth of what was done to Japanese-Americans became public. But, the country faced these atrocities of our own and tried to make right the wrong that was done with the echo of that phrase present throughout. Never again!

Now, we find ourselves faced with a deadly threat coming from a number of members of a religious faith. This is a dangerous worldwide threat and many are looking to blame the entire faith for these actions. The Islamic State, a radicalized branch of the Muslim faith, kills indiscriminately on their quest for a new Caliphate. They post their depraved videos of beheading western journalists and hostages for the world to see. Many see this as an all out war against western civilization. However, the killings of fellow Muslims is vastly outnumbering that of non-Muslims. Thousands of Muslims continue to flee the embattled regions. Many hoping to get their children out of harm's way.

Never the less, we now have a faction in this country who believe we should not allow refugees from the Middle East to come to this country because of their religious belief. There is a leading candidate for the office of the President of the United States who believes we should shut down places of worship. He wants to ban any Muslim from entering the United States. He wants members of a religious group to carry identification papers. Will he next suggest they should have the star and crescent sewn onto their garments?

Is this how it starts? Is this how it began in 1929 Germany? Will Americans garner such hatred towards a group of people to once again bring us to the brink of segregating them away from the rest of society? We are already at the point where otherwise sane, logical people are out buying weapons. People who had never in their lives entertained the thought of owning a gun are now standing in line waiting to get their hands on a Glock or Ruger. Will these gun-wielding citizens follow in lock-step with the Donald?

This campaign of Donald Trump's has stopped being amusing. His talk of collecting data and issuing ID's for a certain class of American citizens is dangerous. Dangerous because he continues to have rising poll numbers. This means others believe as he does, that it is just fine to take away the rights of people in order to feel safe. Would we be alright watching our Muslim neighbors being "relocated"? Do you think this sounds far-fetched? I don't, not after I listen to people being interviewed as they exit a Donald Trump rally.

Not again? I'm not so sure about that, anymore.

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