It's Time To Resist The Rising Tide Of Fascism
Last updated 8/12/2020 at 4:31pm
Seventy-five years ago, Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoeller reflected on the rise of fascism in his native Germany.
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Niemoeller’s lament can remind us that we remain silent to our own peril about the dangers of the authoritarianism that is on the rise in the United States today.
And so we speak.
Over the years, regardless of our political differences, most U.S. citizens have been proud of our shared efforts to improve our flawed democracy, to make our country stronger, more just and inclusive, and in so doing often to inspire other nations.
No one has embodied our pride and our efforts to make the United States a more just and loving nation than the late John Lewis, who died on July 17.
In stark contrast to such moral beacons as Rep. Lewis and his own mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Donald J. Trump, his Attorney General William Barr and their National Security apparatus are threatening the very foundations and moral moorings of our democracy.
Through manifest contempt for immigrants and refugees, pervasive pandering to white supremacists and unapologetic embrace of misogyny, the Trump administration has aligned itself with nations infamous for their hostility to racial, gendered, and religious minorities, women and human rights in general. Saudi Arabia and Russia stand out among Trump’s “best friends.”
By trampling the Constitution (repudiating peoples’ rights to freely assemble and provoking hatred against journalists and the free press), and by mocking the rule of law (removing all inspectors general who might exercise judicial power over his personal corruption), Trump has flaunted his determination to put his own personal fortune and freedom over the well-being of the American people.
Trump has courted the assistance of Russia (again) to subvert our elections and, in this moment, is sending unsolicited, unidentified troops into our cities to quell Black Lives Matter protests, which Trump’s troops (untrained in crowd control or de-escalation) instead serve largely to inflame. This administration is signaling by these actions a willingness to harm its own people – especially black people and their allies – in order to frighten Trump’s white supporters and propel them to the polls.
The NAACP of Transylvania County will not tolerate in silence this authoritarian president and his enablers who are doing everything they can to divide us, stirring hatred among neighbors. This is, history warns, how fascism rises: slowly securing absolute power by exploiting peoples’ fears, arousing hatred, branding truth as “fake news,” and scapegoating minority communities to persecute or expel.
If you share our serious concern, it’s important that you know you’re neither over-reacting nor alone. We hope you’ll join us in our efforts to stem the ugly tide of fascism as it laps at the foundations of our imperfect but much beloved union. Every Monday from 5-6 p.m., many of us meet in front of the courthouse to demonstrate our commitment to justice in its many forms. We’d welcome your participation.
(Editor’s Note; The above guest column was signed by the following memebers of The Executive Committee of the, NAACP of Transylvania County:
Tommy Kilgore, president; Carter Heyward, vice president and chair, Religious Affairs Committee; Larry Goodwin, vice president and chair, Health Care Committee; Maureen Copelof, vice president; Kathleen Barnes, secretary and chair, Political Action Committee; Shelly Mae Simmons, assistant secretary; Sheila Mooney, chair, Education Committee; Rosalynd Storer, James Buffinton, Eleanor Mockridge, Susan Lefler, Jackie Jenkins. Alice Wellborn, Sue Null. Sylvan Copelof, Susan Lefler, Diana Refsland, Janet Burroughs, Susan Sunflower and Eleofina Andujar.)