This is a political post. If you don’t care for politics, other people’s opinions on it, or don’t want to mix writing with politics, then please don’t read on as my views are explicit.
I have always said I don’t care for politics. In school I dropped history when they were about to address the twentieth century. Reason being that I have a Jewish background. My father’s family lost many members during WWII (the family was as good as erased). My grandmother was originally Christian and hence refused for her family to wear the yellow star. Most of her children escaped execution (she was a very brave woman to stand up to the dictatorship of not only the Germans, but also her husband, who signed his own daughter’s death warrant when approving her marriage to a full-Jew in war time). As the whole war had a profound effect on my father long after the war had ended, which in turn affected me, I refused to have anything to do with it; a typical case of ostrich politics. How I now regret this teenager’s decision.
Only when Trump became President did I find myself watching every political news flash. Every single one of them pulled a heartstring, and I don’t mean in a lovey-dovey way. At first it was funny. The pathetic way Trump insisted on how big his inauguration crowd was. Really, who cares? Then there was the ‘alternative fact’ statement by Kellyanne Conway, Counsellor to the President. This was the moment when my ears started to tingle. Was I hearing this correctly? In that same interview she said to the interviewer ‘if (…), then we are going to have to rethink our relationship.’ I thought it a weird statement, not actually perceiving it as a threat immediately.
Then Trump banned nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and stopped the admission of all refugees. That was the moment I got goose bumps. The USA, the land of hope and prosperity, was no longer the country it once was for me. Somebody on Twitter put a big stripe through ‘The New Colossus’ sonnet by Emma Lazarus and replaced it by ‘Fuck you,’ supposedly as Trumps doing. This sonnet being the words that were once written on a plaque of the Statue of Liberty (now in the museum), welcoming all arriving immigrants and refugees to a land of freedom. I couldn’t have thought of a better representation of Trumps views myself. This all is what Trump is, for me, all about; creating a totalitarian state.
The comparison between Trump and Hitler just kept niggling in the back of my mind. I had to know if my fears were valid. As I don’t want to be accused of ‘alternative facts,’ I did a super-fast history check on Hitler online (not sure if this is real history of course 🙂 ). Hitler (according to the BBC, amongst many other websites) came into power after a threat to the country (this time it was communism instead of terrorism). Soon after, almost half of the country’s population voted for the Nazis in the General Election. Non-Nazi officials were threatened by the SA (Sturm Abteilung, or Storm Detachment) and the Reichstag (the German parliament) voted to give Hitler the right to make his own laws.
So far the comparisons between Hitler and Trump check out (with Trump not exactly making his own law with his latest suspension of letting in immigrants/refugees as per this website, although keeping these people out based on their country of origin (Muslim-majority countries) is, in my opinion, pure and open indirect discrimination).
Are we really heading that way again? Is history repeating itself? If this is so, we can expect the following: the rise of a Secret State Police (or Gestapo), the abolishment of Trade Unions, a deal with the Pope to take over political power in America as long as the Catholic Church is left alone, a People’s Court where judges will have to swear loyalty to Trump’s party, the birth of a paramilitary organisation (originally to protect Trump’s party meetings) that will control intelligence, security and police forces (and who will eliminate all those who oppose Trump), and ultimately the declaration of Trump to be the leader of a totalitarian dictatorship. It’s only early days of Trump being in power, but I still worry about where it is heading to.
Yesterday, a fellow author asked if we should expose our political views as a writer. Writers depend on their readers for their income. To expose your political view could possibly alienate half your reader platform and hence have a negative effect on your future. Most writers replied that they keep their private, political views apart from their writer platforms. I have been thinking a lot about this since and I have come to the following conclusion.
It is my duty to speak up. As a writer my voice may be heard just a little bit further than that of the average person. I don’t earn much, if anything, at all from my writing; I will not financially suffer from expressing my views. But even if I did, I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t speak up now, together with all those other people who are brave enough to speak up, for others may be hurt in a way that is unspeakable if we don’t. It is my duty as a human being. Discrimination, repression, and persecution of minorities may rise if we don’t. I don’t want history to repeat itself. I don’t want my children to go through what my father went through. We should never forget. We should always speak out, as loud as we can.