I never thought I would have to write a blog post condemning Nazis. If I had, I never thought it would be quite as hard as it is right now. What really is there to say? You type a sentence like “Nazis are bad,” and you think it sounds so ridiculous. OF COURSE Nazis are bad. We fought an entire war about it. My people have spent almost a century trying to recover from it. We mourn those who learned that lesson the hard way every year, every month, sometimes every day.
The hardest thing about living through a period of such incredible hatred and violence is that all of the tools we are taught for how to deal with things like this come up short. I’m not one well-spoken argument away from convincing anyone that the KKK isn’t in America’s best interests. I’m not one powerful dialogue away from convincing a white supremacists that we are a stronger nation when we cherish and accept every culture and identity within our borders. I’m not one compromise away from being able to convince someone that my ability to be Jewish and be American are not mutually exclusive, and that I pose no threat to them except their identities as purveyors of hate and violence.
The scariest part of all is that we talk about the need to do something, to take action somehow, and I’m not particularly sure what there is left to be done in the face of those who refuse to see reason and refuse to acknowledge Jefferson’s “inalienable rights.”
What I’ve come up with is this: we need to know who walks the streets beside us. It is sad that we need to declare ourselves in opposition to racism and bigotry, that we need to make known our distaste for anti-semitism and violence. But, now that this is the reality in which we live, I want to make it known that I stand in support of all of those who live in fear. I am here to fight for those who have nobody to fight for them. I want to make sure that all Americans and all people enjoy the freedom to live in this country and to have every opportunity to succeed. If you are African American, you are my friend. If you are a member of the GLBTQ community, you are my friend. If you are a Jew, Christian, Muslim, or any other faith identity, you are my friend. And if you are a swastika wearing, hate spewing, violence loving monster, you are the enemy, and you will be defeated.
We have a president who has refused to stand in support of the communities within America he has sworn to protect. We have a congress full of leaders who feel they deserve brownie points for being willing to tweet that Nazism is bad, made worse by the fact that not all of them have even taken the time to do so. We have a world of digital communications in which people like Alex Jones and Tomi Lahren are given credibility, while news organizations are chastised and ostracized. There are times when we can be forgiven for sitting in a chair and scratching our heads, wondering what in God’s name we’re supposed to do to make this world a better place. But, when that’s all said and done, the only thing we can do is demand justice, support peace, and look evil in the face and insist that there is no place for hatred in our country or our lives.
This is the point where I usually try to come up with some call-to-action. I try to say “let’s speak out against this injustice,” or “let’s go get our hands dirty making the world a better place.” It’s hard to not know what to do. But what we can do, and what we must do, is to constantly remind our neighbors that they are not alone, that they have support and that they are loved. What we can do is demand that those in power demonstrate the leadership that is required of them, or demand that they allow someone else to do it. And what we must do is to remain loud and determined in our work to shout down injustice and to demand that the world fight for the light.