On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. Citizens did this. The authorities stood aside and did nothing. This was the beginning of the Holocaust.
On November 9, 2016, America woke to the news that a man named Donald Trump has been elected president. This is a person who has advocated violence against immigrants, women, homosexuals, and people who are disabled. This is a person who encourages his followers to take matters into their own hands and be physically violent against anyone they see as weaker than them. Namely – anyone who is not a straight white male. That is a lot of people.
America was founded on the premise of freedom and liberty for all. The words on the Statue of Liberty are “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We say that we welcome immigrants – those who are fleeing hardship and oppression. We call ourselves a melting pot. We believe that we are made better by our diversity.
Our Pledge of Allegiance is “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Right now, we aren’t one nation. We are divided. And there isn’t liberty or justice for all. Right now is a truly scary time to be in America. He isn’t in office yet – that will be in January. But now, his followers may feel they are justified in getting started in their own idea of ethnic cleansing.
Yes, we have problems. Yes, we need change. But there has to be a way other than violence and civil war. We must be better than that.
In spite of all the advances that minorities have made, there are plenty of those who were in power who feel disenfranchised. They feel that because civil rights have been assured for others, that they have lost theirs. There is room enough for us all.
In the French Revolution, over 40,000 people were murdered – citizens killing citizens, in the course of a year.
In Rwanda, over a million people were slaughtered – citizens killing citizens, in the course of a month.
Let this not happen here in America.
Let peace rain down on us, with the mercy and grace of God. Let cooler heads prevail. May God enter into every heart and hold back every hand raised for violence. May we get through this time of change, together.