What If Trump Wins? Would You Hide A Latino Family Or Muslim Refugees In Your House Once The Deportations Begin?
In today's NY Times Nick Kristof asked his readers whether they would have hidden a Jew from the Nazis. In the 1970s I lived in Amsterdam for nearly 4 years and passed the Anne Frank Huis-- now a museum-- on the Prinsegracht a few times a week. It was vaguely, a little circuitously, between my apartment on the Overtoom and my job at the meditation center on Prins Hendrikkade. It was built in 1635. I thought about the question Kristof asked today very frequently back then. More recently though, I sometimes try to imagine what I would do if President Trumpf was having Latinos rounded up by his special deportation politzei. I have plenty of room in my for a family. But it might be really dangerous. Even if President Trumpf didn't order people who hid Latinos arrested, I bet they'd confiscate the houses immediately. And those people next door... would they snitch?
Kristof wrote of torture and death. But it would be 2017 before the round-ups begin; didn't he say his first week in office or something like that? And torture? This is a civilized country. Would Trumpf torture people? Would I be brave enough? Well, obviously if it was someone I knew... one of my friends, or even my housekeeper and her family, I would ask them if they needed a hiding place.
Down at the bottom is the trailer for Defying the Nazis, a new Ken Burns documentary that will air on PBS Tuesday evening. The grandson of the protagonists, a couple who saved Jews from Nazis, noted the parallels between what his grandparents, Martha and Waitstill Sharp, faced and what we're facing today with the Syrian refugee crisis. "The vitriol in public speech, the xenophobia, the accusing of Muslims of all of our problems-- these are similar to the anti-Semitism of the 1930s and ’40s." I live in L.A.; there are Muslims around, even a few I know. But it's not like the Latino population. I think Latinos are the biggest population group in L.A.
The Sharps’ story is a reminder that in the last great refugee crisis, in the 1930s and ’40s, the United States denied visas to most Jews. We feared the economic burden and worried that their ranks might include spies. It was the Nazis who committed genocide, but the U.S. and other countries also bear moral responsibility for refusing to help desperate people.
That’s a thought world leaders should reflect on as they gather in New York to discuss today’s refugee crisis-- and they might find inspiration from those like the Sharps who saw the humanity in refugees and are today honored because of it.
Take Poland, where some Poles responded to Nazi occupation by murdering Jews, while the Polish resistance (including, I’m proud to say, my father’s family) fought back and tried to wake the world’s conscience. One Pole, Witold Pilecki, sneaked into Auschwitz to gather intelligence and alert the world to what was happening.
Likewise, a Polish farmer named Jozef Ulma and his wife, Wiktoria, sheltered desperate members of two Jewish families in their house. The Ulmas had six small children and every reason to be cautious, but they instead showed compassion.
Someone reported them, and the Gestapo raided the Ulmas’ farmhouse. The Nazis first shot the Jews dead, and then took retribution by executing not just Jozef and Wiktoria (who was seven months pregnant) but also all their children. The entire family was massacred.
Trump and his special deportation politzei would never do that, right? This is America. We don't have that kind of thing here. Right?
This afternoon, Digby penned a letter to Blue America members that you may not have seen if you're not a member. She warned that it's just about 50 days from November... when we as a country decide our fate. "There is," she warned, "a very real possibility that this country is going to elect a white supremacist, nationalist demagogue as president of the United States. Yes, it makes no sense. One would think it's impossible. But after watching the media shit show unfold daily, it’s quite obvious that it can happen here. The polls right now are very, very tight."
If it does happen here, on the morning of November 9th we will wake up to a different world. Allies will understand they need to distance themselves from the U.S. and rivals will feel emboldened. Trump's promise of a massive military buildup will be met by an equal build-up all around the planet. Other nations will logically see that the world's only superpower has gone rogue and the post war security regime that we have known for 60 years will probably fall apart all at once.
Even those of us who believe we should find a way to end the American imperial project cannot believe it is a good idea for it to end in chaos at the hands of a torture loving nationalist who believes that "disrespect" demands military action.
Then there's The Wall, "Operation Wetback" Redux, banning of Muslims,"law and order" and more on top of his standard GOP policy atrocities, including plans to enact a massive tax cut on the wealthy and end virtually all government regulations, the list of which reads like a lobbyist's letter to Santa. He even proposed to end all food safety regulations.
And yes, he's a climate change denier and will reject the Paris Climate accords and anything else that seeks to deal with a problem he believes is a hoax made up by China. And of course we know he is a documented racist, misogynist, nativist, xenophobic, anti-semite which is what millions of his most enthusiastic backers like best about him. That's just for starters.
If you haven't seen the Keith Olbermann video listing all the Trump atrocities, take a few minutes. It will sober you right up:
And yet, with all that, right now he is tied with the mainstream, center left Democratic candidate who is running for President Obama's third term and has been endorsed by people as diverse as Elizabeth Warren to Warren Buffet and Brent Scowcroft. That is insane.
Unfortunately, we have a problem within our own ranks: One third of voters 18-29 are planning to vote third party and that could easily make the difference.
Bernie Sanders has something to say about that:
"Look, I was a third-party candidate. I began my career running as a third party, getting 2 percent and then 1 percent. I'm the longest serving independent in the history of the U.S. Congress, but I think that before you cast a protest vote, because [Hillary] Clinton or Trump will be president, think hard about it. This is not a governor's race. It's not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States."It probably won't matter to the presidential race in big blue states if people vote third party. But there's a good reason not to. The Democratic platform Sanders fought for is also on the ballot. Clinton has not repudiated it or run from it and that is to her credit. If a majority of the country votes against her there are plenty of people in the media and both parties who will blame that platform and her embrace of progressive policies for the loss. The protest may not register the way people want it to. As Bernie says:
"If you are a working person, do you really think that billionaires need a large tax break? Which is what Trump is proposing. If you are an ordinary American who listens to science, do you think its a good idea that the President of the United States rejects science and says that climate change is a hoax? I think that if you look at the issues—raising minimum wage, building infrastructure, expanding healthcare-- Clinton, by far, is the superior candidate."
"Let us elect Hillary Clinton as president and that day after let us mobilize millions of people around the progressive agenda which was passed in the Democratic platform."So, that's where we are right now today. Clinton is falling in the polls and Trump is rising. There's a very good chance we may wake up on November 9th in a different world if he pulls this off and progressives have the most to lose, especially our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. This isn't politics as usual, friends. This requires all hands on deck.
You can donate through Blue America's Clinton page here. And if you can't do that you can do phone banking from your home or canvas in your neighborhood. I urge all Blue America members to take this seriously and do whatever you can to help Hillary Clinton win this election.