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In the age of Trump, grim warnings from Holocaust survivors

By Dana Milbank Opinion writer January 27

 Auschwitz survivor Irene Weiss... For the first time,..is worried about her adopted homeland.

“I am exceptionally concerned about demagogues,”....They touch me in a place that I remember. I know their influence and, unfortunately, I know how receptive audiences are to demagogues and what it leads to.”

She knows better than just about any person alive. The Czech-born Jew lost her parents and most of her siblings in Hitler’s death camps. Now, when she hears about plans to register Muslims and to ban Muslims from entering the United States, “I’m worried about the tone of this country,” she said.

... “It has echoes, and maybe more so to me than to native-born Americans,” she said after lighting a candle for Hitler’s victims. “I’m scared. I don’t like the trend...."

In the age of Trump, grim warnings from Holocaust survivors - The Washington Post


People who want to exclude the members of some group or category of "others" from their lives, their neighborhoods, their organizations, or their country often insist that they are not haters or bigots or racists or whatever.  "I don't hate anybody, I'm just being practical (or standing up for principle or whatever)" is the common justification for hateful speech or actions.  I wonder if Donald Trump gets the point of the debate in the UK parliament over whether he (Trump) should be denied entry into their country.

Most of my bigoted friends have either stopped being bigots or have stopped being my friends but i do have relatives who are "being practical."  I have not excluded them from my life yet, but hey, i have to be practical also.  I don't want to see a holocaust in the USA (at least not one that burns people) so i had better not encourage them by any suggestion of approval.

But then i realize that that makes me a hater also.  Do not repay evil with evil, i have heard, but repay evil with good.  And i believe that.  So i will continue to talk to my relatives and once they know how i feel about political and social and economic and religious and sexual stuff, i will just "keep mum" when these topics come up, and just try to treat all human beings with compassion, mercy, love, respect, and acceptance.  That might not be the greatest strategy for survival, but at least it might save my soul.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
mamculuna
Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:06 am (UTC)
I grew up in the segregated south during the Civil Rights struggle, and finally reached a point where I couldn't sit quietly and listen to what they said. But fortunately, the whole country shared my view more than theirs, and eventually they learned that they couldn't say those things. I don't think we're at that point now.

Even though I live in the heart of Trump-loving country (SC), I don't encounter many who voice his views. I'm not sure how I'll react if I do. Here's one experience where I'm not sure I did well, though.

I'm not saying your choice is wrong! Just not sure I can do that, but you may well be doing the best thing.
bobby1933
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:20 am (UTC)
You handled that situation very well!

As i reflect on my last paragraph i realize that there is something missing. Speech must not only be kind, it must also be truthful. I should not lie for the sake of a relationship.

Your words to the "fan" were soft enough to be both kind and truthful.
mamculuna
Feb. 2nd, 2016 12:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks! In times like that, I always wish I were skillful enough to say some that is not hurtful but does show him where I stand and some of what I see as his error. Lacking the ability to do all three, I'm glad when I at least manage the first two.
bobby1933
Feb. 2nd, 2016 07:09 pm (UTC)
The last is not controlled by the speaker.
It is up to the listener to hear.
mamculuna
Feb. 2nd, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
True!
opakele
Feb. 2nd, 2016 03:41 am (UTC)
I think (hope) the media gives Trump all the air play he gets, because it sells ads. I think (hope) the American public is disgusted by his drivel. They will vote, not the media.
bobby1933
Feb. 2nd, 2016 08:20 pm (UTC)
well yes. reporters go where they are assigned and they try to report the facts. It is one thing to say that "Trump is a game changer." and quite another to say that Trump is a libertarian/nazi; though the latter may be the more accurate statement. the reporter might be fired for saying it. It is up to the public to read between the lines of the story, and we don't except in terms of our prejudgments.

Recently, one of our more powerful State legislators was asked why he was not concerned about global warming. His response was "Don't you guys ever listen to Rush Limbaugh?" I donb't think he was joking. I would bet that he will be reelected comfortably. We cannot lay the blame for our ignorance soley on the media, they are a reflection of ourselves. And now that we have more control (because of social media) things are getting much worse, IMPPO.
(Deleted comment)
bobby1933
Feb. 3rd, 2016 06:11 pm (UTC)
LOL! Thank you.

Power corrupts and much power corrupts muchly. (apologies to Lord Acton)

Fione and Carson are honorary members of the club. Thry have chosen to act and think like white males. I still think they might be "dangerous." Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court by Reagan, but she was still a positive influence during her tenure there.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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