Thursday, December 10, 2015

Donald Trump: In America They Came First for the Muslims ...

Donald Trump suggests — if only suggests — registering Muslims, and the thought went through my mind that perhaps each registration would come with a green crescent to sew on one's clothes, perhaps with a color-coded "M" on it for Muslim and identifying the variety of Muslim. Then I realized I was being old-fashioned and silly: the new Yellow Star would be what we see in THE TERMINATOR, post modernized still further into a tattooed barcode on the forehead, with an embedded ID/GPS chip near the carotid artery (dangerous to dig out). As Mr. Trump has said, "There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. I mean we should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it."

Okay, gang, it's time to roll out Martin Niemöller again. If I'm reading the Wikipedia article correctly, this is the version Niemöller preferred:
In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
Change the line to "In America they came first for the Muslims."

Or if you have more time, re-read Maurice Ogden's longer poem, "The Hangman," or watch (again) the still better 1964 animation of that poem.

Trump is incoherent in his statements on registration, and he should be pressed, starting with: "Mr. Trump, would you rule out the extermination of all Muslims? It's a 'Yes/No' question, so please start with a 'Yes' or a 'No' or 'Go to hell — no comment.'" Without clarification, Trump leaves us with "by-any-means-necessary"/"no options are off the table": an opened-ended threat into which we can read what we like.

I'll go with those who read Trump's comments as Trump's just not caring if he's thought a fascist, which itself is somewhere between bullying and fascistic.

I'm old enough to have seen neoNazis marching in the streets of Chicago and was in Oxford, Ohio, when we had to deal with a demonstration by the Ku Klux Klan. So I know that Fascism was both a new invention of Modern times and a kind of human constant. It is to be resisted, especially when it sets itself up to offer protection from competing forms of tyranny.

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