“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” – Elie Wiesel
Who owns the words “Mengele,” Auschwitz,” “Hitler, “Nazi” and “Holocaust?”
Is it Jews? Poles? Germans? Russians? Gypsies? Slavs? Who?
I say it is all of the above and more.
The death toll in World War II, including those who perished in Nazi concentration camps, was nearly 85 million people world-wide, most in China and Russia. 6 million Jews disappeared in Nazi concentration camps, but also 5 million non-Jews, such as gay people, priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Christians, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters, were also starved, worked to death, experimented on, tortured and murdered in these camps.
The “good” German was indifferent. The “good” German was silent.
Who spoke for the condemned, Jew or otherwise? Who speaks for them now? We all do. We all MUST.
Who owns the Holocaust? We all own it.
Our plague of cancel culture has reached a deadly crescendo. For uttering this word or that, no matter your status or context, there are those who would have your tongue.
If they had their way, cancel culture would clean up every errant thought and word from our brains, mouths and key strokes. How DARE we say and write politically and socially incorrect things? Who gave us that right?
American and other allied veterans who fought for the right to not only think different thoughts, but to speak our minds and hearts and souls as we see fit. They gave it. And they gave it with their blood, sweat, tears, limbs and lives.
My question is, who gave cancel culture the right to challenge my freedom of speech (and thought)?
It used to be we could agree to disagree and then go about our business, unharmed and proud in the knowledge that two people could actually disagree without ad hominem or hatred. No more.
Now, the thought crime of believing something out of the mainstream or cancel culture narrative can end your public communication privileges, and then weaken the collective mind.
Together, all thoughts, ideas, brainstorms and epiphanies can mean progress, discovery, insight, wisdom and VISION for a peaceful future. Being apart, segregated, censored, punished and alone we are doomed to repeat the ugliest and darkest times in our history. Why?
Because we weren’t allowed to speak; we weren’t allowed to utter the names and places and events that shall not be spoken but by a chosen, appropriate few.
Because someone may take offense, or suffer emotional trauma . . . because of the word, or because of the weakness of human emotions? Where is the objectivity?
Without speaking the unspeakable, or showing the unimaginable – the TRUTH, we are doomed to meet, in ignorant denial, a similar fate as did our ancestors. “It couldn’t possibly happen to us.” “They would never take our guns away.” “They would never attack our heritage, or rip down our monuments and memorials.” “I contribute to society, pay taxes, vote, and follow the law.” “Surely they would never treat us like the Jews and undesirables of the Second World War.” These are all famous last words.
When people begin to compare their wounds and wrongs, they lose sight of what’s more important, HUMANITY. A collective humanity demands basic rights of the individual to be heard, no matter the offense of the message, and especially if that message is painful.
Successful physical therapy includes PAIN TOLLERANCE. And without it, range of motion is lost. Viability is lost. Life is lost.
Learning history includes PAIN TOLLERANCE. Those who lack it fail to learn; fail to pass on essential life lessons. Those who say, “No, you can’t say that word or you will be silenced,” are least able to tolerate differences, change or grow. Why listen to them?
Is it better to listen to the one person who cries, “The Emperor has no clothes,” or to be cowed by the masses who claim the naked man is wonderfully dressed?
This is appeasement over substance; lies over truth.
This is what we are living now.
Imagine a world where thoughts were expressed and then people spoke, not to condemn the messenger, but to wax poetic on the message.
Those who attack the messenger don’t really care about the message as much as they care about hurting someone, anyone who is not part of the cabal, in order to preserve their own selfish thoughts. They aren’t mature enough to tolerate a different view. These are the people who should be shunned and then given a time out from the public square, not the lone truth tellers.
In medicine, if you don’t like what your doctor has to say, you can get a second or even third opinion – without being cancelled. Why then in society, social media, news programs, discussions or speeches, if we don’t like what is said, we are not allowed a second or third opinion?
If we eliminate the ability to speak the painful words, then we eliminate the ability to think about them. And when that happens, we expose ourselves to the evil ways of the past, and condemn ourselves to repeat the very deeds we say we abhor the most.