Guilt, Rage, Love

I tend to avoid political discussion here. I think people read this blog to be entertained and read about what’s happening in my book worlds. But I can’t remain silent. In a week’s time we the people get to vote. It is our right and our privilege. Please pay attention to not only what the candidates have said, but how the incumbents have voted in the past. Look at the consequences of those votes and decide if that’s what you wanted done in your name.

The recent tragedy in Pittsburgh reminded me of a poem I read many years ago. Written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, it reminds us of our responsibility to speak up. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many versions:

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.

Niemöller recited this poem in several different versions over the years. An early version, that Niemoller said he preferred read:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–

but that version wasn’t acceptable in the U.S. in the 1950s.

Other versions included the Roma, the “incurably sick,” the homosexuals.  And before we pat ourselves on our American backs because we didn’t kill 11 million people, there could easily be verses about Native Americans and Japanese Americans.

The Holocaust didn’t “just happen.” It was allowed to happen by ordinary citizens who didn’t see the warning signs or speak up when they did. I’m speaking up. America is strong because we are diverse, not in spite of it. Please remember that when you vote next week.

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