The following is an editorial. All opinions, comments, and rationale are solely the opinion of the author and not The Forest Scout newspaper as a whole.
The Trump administration has a track record of undermining social freedoms by not protecting them. Declaring war on the media as an opposition party, dubbing misinformation as “alternative facts,” and condemning peaceful protest should all raise flags.
President Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban has caused many of us to pause and consider the meaning of our Constitution. While the ethos of protecting our country is sound, the anti-Muslim sentiment, and unconstitutionality of testing people on religion before coming to the US is worrisome.
And now, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said something at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that, for a moment, gave me hope. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
While at first this was encouraging to me, on second thought I wondered, Why did it take a wave of hate crimes toward Judaism for the President to finally denounce anti-semitism? The President’s words are positive, but his actions, to date, are not.
The President does not have a historyof standing up against bigotry. Let’s not forget his refusal to denounce David Duke’s support during his campaign for president. The truth is that the Trump Administration thrives on hate, prejudice and fear in order to breed a common enemy in the form of a scapegoat (i.e. Muslims, Immigrants, Welfare recipients). For those of us who recognize this, we need to speak out.
Martin Niemöller is a famous German pastor, who survived solitary confinement in a concentration camp after speaking out against Adolf Hitler during the Nazi regime. He is famously quoted as saying, “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.”
I hope that someone reading this may make the effort to be a voice for justice and truth, and be willing to speak up for our neighbors now, instead of in hindsight. Your grandchildren are watching, and what will you say when they ask you “How was it ok to be so hateful after we had learned so much from history?”