Take seven minutes and watch the film below. It will either scare the hell out of you, or give you a feeling of righteousness and moral vindication. If you feel the later, you are part of the reason I find this film so disturbing.
The short movie, A Night at the Garden, shows footage of a Nazi rally held in 1939 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. While Hitler was building concentration camps and poised to invade Poland, 20,000 US Citizens saluted in unison to the swastika bearing brigade of bullies. There is a smugness as the clan of anti-semites watch a protestor hauled violently from the auditorium, a sense of entitlement as the all-white group pledges to create a country led by and for people who look and believe just like them, a mind numbing cultishness as uniform-clad children march toward the stage.
If I were watching this film ten years ago, when the country was about to elect its first black president, I might have thought it a relic, a reminder of an obsolete mindset that could not keep pace with the trajectory of our country and its ideals. If I had seen it ten years ago, I might have felt proud of the distance we have come — no matter how leaden its pace.
But this is not ten years ago. This is 2018, and in 2018 we have a president that identifies himself as a white nationalist. A president who demands allegiance, lest you be labeled an enemy. A president who feeds fanatism with a constant stream of lies and deceit. Today, in 2018, we have a president, President Trump, who cozies up to fascists and lauds authoritarian regimes, while rebuffing our democratic allies. A president who has threatened to amass thousands of troops at our border to stop refugees from seeking asylum. A president who has tweeted his support of a racist Willy Horton like ad, feeding the flames of greater disharmony in this country. This, coming just after he and his wife visited a Pittsburg synagog where eleven people were killed by a gunman. This is a president who attacks women who dare to out their assaulters, attacks transgenders for daring to exist, and attacks minorities for daring to draw attention to the fact that in this country black lives still matter far less than white lives.
In other words, in the United States of America, today, we have a president who willfully spreads the contagion of hate.
The question is does the movie below make you afraid or not? If it does, then stand up at every opportunity and say NEVER AGAIN. Say it in letters to the editor, say it in church, say it to your friends, on social media, to your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, the clerks at your grocery store, your barber, your doctor, your waiter, your spouse and your partner. Stand for humanity. Tell the world your life will not be filled with hate or fear of the other. Stand up and know that the most patriotic thing that one can do is to create opportunity, not withhold it; to honor diversity, not shun it; to build bridges, not blow them up one after another after another.