Monday, September 27, 2010


Does this symbol make you cringe? It makes me cringe. When I see it, it brings up many thoughts and provokes many emotions. It is a menacing symbol. But also a sad symbol.  It is a symbol for critical thinking people to ponder.

The swastika is now history. But once upon a time it represented a future. A new world. A new life for 'THE CHOSEN'. THE PURE. THOSE WHO ACCEPTED AND LIVED IT'S SPECIFIC DOGMA.

In the 1930's, celebrated and prolific author Christopher Isherwood wrote his 'BERLIN STORIES' and 'I AM A CAMERA' among other descriptive novels and essays about the rise of THE NAZI'S in Germany and Fascism and Socialism in some of Europe.

Later, Isherwood's stories became a Broadway play and still later a Broadway musical and subsequently the film CABARET. In the film there is a haunting, powerful song that quickly  turns the story from a compelling social commentary against the backdrop of fascist incidents  into a momentum of controlling physical-political events that brings the backdrop into the foreground with it's primary characters becoming background  stereotypical pawns in an evolving oddessy that led to World War II, the holocaust and the killing of millions of people.

The setting is in a German Beer Garden. People are jovial, convivial. It's a clear day. Not a cloud in the sky. Our primary characters are relaxing in the warm Sun when a record is placed onto a phonograph. The music raises and a cleanly scrubbed blond youth steps to a small stage. He's wearing a starched military uniform with well defined swastika armbands and begins to sing "TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME".

(First Verse)

The Sun in the meadow is sunny and warm,
The stag in the Forrest runs free,
But gather together to meet the storm,
Here's the Video...
In the second and third verses, the music builds, the boy's voice becomes stronger and more youth dressed in uniforms join him in a powerful crescendo evangelical ending. The scene goes dark and the next scene shows us the what's happening on the streets of Berlin. Nazi power and control has taken over.

The roots of this history can be traced to a generation earlier. Small villages were controlled by the iron hands of fundamentalist religion.  The 'religion' was also the 'law enforcement' and dictated a certain moral base of thought and behaviour. The pastors of these churches were usually the mayors or village authorities who dictated and commanded social control over the townspeople. They meted out punishments for both social and what was determined to be moral crimes (based on the interpretation of the Bible from pastors).  Masturbation was a moral crime and strictly punished. Those who varied from the dogma were shunned, banished and sometimes experienced  physically abuse  for any violation of a village law. 'God's law'. At the same time, villagers armed themselves against enemies that didn't exist.

There is, of course,  a lot more to this history that became a harbinger of things to come. For more, the film, The White Ribbon,  is one source with documentation one may want see. The White Ribbon was researched for 10 years by  Austrian writer Michael Heneke and is the product of an incredible research project into the history of Germany circa 1913-1914,  and tells a fictionalized composite story of a puritanical village when that country was on the verge of WW1. It suggests the roots of WW ll  and Nazi Germany were sown at that time; that village children became members of The Third Reich.  The books  Rise and Fall of The Third Reich by William L. Shirer and Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews--A History (2001) by James P. Carroll provide verified information about Nazi history and it's 'socialism' economic strategy. Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning also provides a useful resource to this history.

Our idea here is to take a look at the parallels of Nazi history to recent U.S. history. Will the U.S. experience the terror and horror of experience of Germany in the last century?

In the 1980's, conservative politicians discovered there were 'golden' votes to be mined from evangelistic  fundamentalist Christian churches. Such became a small power base of sorts. Add in the NRA, 'The Right to Life-Anti-Abortion groups, with a sprinkling of 'THE LOST IGNORANT' who don't know the difference between a Bible Scripture and the graffiti written on walls of a Greyhound Bus Station toilet, and we have a much larger, but still small  power base and voting block. Compound these ingredients with demagogue, special interest orators from pulpits and political lecterns with some well placed 'hate speech' and a recipe for a country's 'fracture' emerges. Since 2000,  numbers of this group have grown as the vitriolic rhetoric has amplified. Right now we have statements coming from some top officials that come close to pushing these unstable 'souls' into violence. Everyday it seems we hear new slogans and admonishments to  these 'sheep' that anarchy may be the only way to do 'GODS WILL'.

According to some reliable pollsters, about 20% of the U.S. population are now part of this loud, unstable, unpredictable minority group which is in the uncomfortable pockets of right wing  political groups. 20% of the U.S. population translates into about 60 million people. Should just a small percentage of this number become active anarchists, imagine the terror and carnage that could happen on American soil.

Unfortunately, we see some stark parallels between the history of last century Germany and the more recent history in our country. Accordingly, an important question arises. Is the U.S. destined to internal violence? Another civil war? Anarchy? If the 'indicators' mentioned here are not addressed toward some kind of common national goal to dissipate the unrest we now experience, we may re-live some very violent history.

Do we believe here that wholesale civil violence WILL occur in our country? A real civil war? NO! We don't. We believe calmer, more rational minds will prevail. At the same time there are some daunting facts to consider.

In the last 5 years armed renegade militia  groups have grown exponentially. Google  'malitias' and you will see some stunning facts.

During the past 2 years,  gun, ammunition and other weapon sales have skyrocketed. One place  the economy is not experiencing recession is in the weapons industry. Some ammunition manufacturers are running 3 shifts and can't keep up with the demand.  Gun manufacturers are experiencing the same uptick in sales. Gun shops and other weapon sales outlets have waiting lists for ammunition and some gun models. Check out some of these retailers for these items and you'll find waiting lists and in some cases rationing because of the demand. We have visited some  gun counters at Wallmart stores and some gun shops over the last couple years and find the cabinets with scant products to sell. Especially certain types of ammunition.

Add to these things a more shrill, hateful and divisive rhetoric from some church and political "leaders" and guns will be loaded by the 'unstable and the ignorant'.

The question also arises as to what can be done to calm a boiling point circumstance. The only thing that comes immediately to mind is EDUCATION. Not just academic education, but also an education of the heart.

Any thoughts?


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