The following is a letter to the editor from Larry Hodgden of Tipton. Larry is an Army veteran and former chair of the Cedar County Democrats.
A recent Gazette letter reminded me of this warning to all of us. Reverend Martin Niemoller wrote this in June 1945 after being freed from a Nazi prison.
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Social-Democrats and I did not speak out because I was not a Social Democrat. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
One thing that Niemoller failed to mention was all this happened after the Nazis took control of the press and filled the airwaves with their propaganda. This should be a sobering message for us all as we contemplate the message and actions coming from the Trump administration.
History is filled with examples of charismatic, demagogic individuals who, with the silence of an uninformed and fearful public, gained autocratic power and then eliminated the freedoms, rights and dignity of the citizens while committing horrendous crimes against humanity. Who’s going to speak out for the 92 million citizens who did not vote? Who’s going to speak out for our children regardless of their parent’s immigration status or their religious, ethnic, gender, economic and disability status?
Trump, and his Republican enablers, are coming after the press, coming after Muslims and Hispanics, coming after public education, coming after Medicare and Social Security, coming after the environment, coming after women’s health care, coming after gay rights, coming after gun safety, coming after the unions, coming after mental health care, coming after your neighbor.
I’m reminded of Mad Magazine from the 60’s and its motto, “What, me worry?”. So why should I worry? They are not coming for me…. yet!