Nobody asked me, which is probably a good thing, because I’m forgetting things these days. For example, there was a Protestant Bishop in Germany around the time Hitler was making many Germans - and not a few Europeans - miserable. I can’t remember the full quote accurately, but here’s my best shot:“When they came for the Jews, I was not a Jew, so I did nothing. When they came for the Communists, I was not a Communist, so I did nothing. When they came for the Catholics, I was not Catholic, so I did nothing. When they came for me, there was no one left to do anything.”
I’m trying to remember this because I think there’s an important lesson there for us today.
For the past 30 years or so, there has been a “war on drugs.” The only palpable result has been the incarceration of many hundreds of thousands of young Black men and women and has become financially, emotionally and psychologically devastating to their children and families. Drugs still abound. New ones have even been invented since the “war” began. So, who’s winning and what is that war really about?
Since 9/11 there has been a “war on terror.” That seemed like a good idea at the time. In retrospect though, the 9/11 attacks seem more like a message/statement than the first battle in a war. I wonder to whom the message was directed and why. None of the planes seemed to be headed for “Main Street”. I have to wonder how Republicans want government to be big enough to fight multiple wars around the world but not so big as to provide Social Security and Medicare for the elderly and working poor who live on Main Street. Some of my radical friends think Pres. George W. Bush’s CIA knew about Osama Bin Laden’s 9/11 plans and simply blamed Iraqi ruler, Saddam Hussein so it could settle an old score. Could the so called war on terror just be a nom de guerre (a fictitious name) for some other goal?
Sadly, Americans are being coached to be suspicious of Muslims, Moslems and, now, even a Mormon. I say sadly because the Pilgrims came here seeking freedom from religious persecution.
In the last two years, we have seen a “war on unions”, and more recently, a “war on women.”
The war on women seems designed to keep women pregnant in summer. I fully expect that plans are being made somewhere that will keep women barefoot in winter, as well. This, together with Right to Work (for less) laws being pushed across the country, seem designed to make peons out of the residents of Main Street. The population of the “underdeveloped world” will be little more than beasts of burden in high-tech sweatshops.
So, let us review. There seems to be a war on African-Americans, non-Judeo-Christian religious groups, unions and now women.
I have forgotten again, who was the poet who said, “Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”