It Can Happen Again
In the aftermath of World War One Germany was devastated both economically and militarily. What had once been quite an impressive imperial empire had been reduced to a relatively small and weak nation. And to make things worse, in 1929 the Wall Steet Crash further destroyed Germany's economy. Inflation skyrocketed, unemployment increased dramatically, and people were disillusioned with the political system because of all of it.
What was once known as the Weimar Republic began to unravel. And people found their strongman leader. His name was Adolf Hitler. Hitler knew the people wanted someone to blame. And the Jewish people were a prime target. And, well, what happened next is pretty clear.
We may sit back and think "it was a shame. But in today's society, this could never happen". And those that think that would be very wrong.
"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists"— Donald Trump
Quick Poll: Is Islam:
It Can, And It Might
It's September 11th, 2001. Three planes have just been hijacked and were flown into two iconic US landmarks with a fourth one crashing in a field in Pennsylvania. This attack would kill 2,996 people and become known as the 9/11 attacks, the deadliest attack on US soil in history. The attacks were carried out by an Islamist extremist group named Al Queda.
After the attacks, there was a sharp rise in hate crimes against the Muslim community. Many blamed Muslims as a whole for the attacks.
More attacks occurred across the globe across the years including the London Bombings, the 2015 Paris Attacks, and the 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting. These attacks would serve as a justification for the criticism of Islam that came from the Right.
Now think about it. Muslims are a perfect scapegoat just as the Jews were in the 30s and 40s.
On top of that, the economic and social conditions are also ripe. America has been lambasted with economic disasters within the last 12 years. First came the Great Recession which crippled the US economy and resulted in long-lasting generational inequality. And then to add to that, then came the coronavirus which has upended almost every single economy in the world.
Now let's look at the societal conditions. A country in decline both in influence and economically, racial division growing, and a president who is fanning the flames of hate.
Yup, doesn't look too good all of a sudden does it?
our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.— Donald Trump
Just Because It Can Doesn't Mean It Must
With the warning signs flashing, and the red flags waving, there should be a fierce push back against this wanton drift towards a dark and discriminatory future. We must show that the world will not allow state discrimination to occur once again. We must show that we stand united as one people regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. We must realize that a dark event may await us if we allow what is happening as of now to continue to happen.
Trump is but a symptom, not a cause. Discrimination is a virus, and we must become the immune response that fights it in the body of society. for if we don't, we will become a sick and ailing nation.
“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”— Martin Luther King Jr.
So, What Can We Do?
Fight discrimination where you see it, prevent it where you can't. Fight back against leaders that stoke the flames of division and hate and pour the water of unity and acceptance onto those flames if those flames get too high.
Our ultimate weapon against prejudice and hate is dialogue. We have to try to learn about what leads these people to hate. Was it a traumatic experience? Did the hatred grow due to misconceived notions about certain groups of minorities? Or are they just simply filled with natural hate? Through dialogue, we can come to understand one another and break down stereotypes. We can begin to educate those who have hate in their hearts on why they should change their vision of the world and help them see that we are all human. And we are.
And as Dr. King once famously said, darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.