So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality. Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.
….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….
Speaking to a friend today, she shared her recent experience when her son and grandchildren came to visit. Their conversation turned to the Holocaust. Her 15 year-old grandson drew a blank stare of unknowing. Looking to her son, my friend asked, “He does know about the Holocaust, doesn’t he?”
“No,” replied the son, “they don’t teach it in school.”
They don’t teach it in school! Over 6 million people were systematically murdered in one of humanity’s most wretched schemes of genocide less than a century ago….and they don’t teach it in schools. Survivors have related their tales of horror at the hands of Nazi Germany, SCHINDLER’S LIST was an epic fact-based movie portraying the horror at the hands of Nazi Germany, Elie Wiesel, several years after his release from Buchenwald, wrote in detail the horror at the hands of Nazi Germany…and they don’t teach it in schools.
Today I think about what I would do if the same thing happened in America. Would I have the courage to stand up and defend a persecuted, demonized, scapegoated man with an odd last name, a Muslim woman wearing a niqab, a black man in dread locks, or a Hasidic Jew? Of course, I would.
Oh, by the way, what if my country has embraced white nationalism and has become a bustling hub of neo-Nazism? What’s the answer now? “Well, that certainly will not happen,” I reassure myself.
Really? Do we think that in Germany, in the early 1930s, the gentle, God-fearing, Lutheran citizens anticipated Hitler and a Nazi Germany with goose-stepping soldiers wearing swastikas on their arms would parade the streets, that Jews would be rounded up and put into death camps only a decade later? Can we afford to be that naive?
And the question again is whether I would risk my life and liberty to defend someone less white than me, less privileged than me, someone who is Jewish, Muslim, or any of the others on the target list of white nationalists and white supremacists? Or will I stand by the railroads and watch cattle cars loaded with humans pass by on the way to the ‘final solution’ and turn the other way?
- We must remember and teach to our children the sad episodes of human depravity including American slavery, the relocation of Native Americans, the unwillingness to aid the Jews in WWII, the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and the horrors of the Holocaust.
- We must confront the cowardice of white supremacy and the neo-Nazi movement in America.
- We must remember the words of Elie Wiesel:
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
The late Congressman John Lewis reflected in his remarks upon receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama:
“never get lost in a sea of despair…have this abiding faith that there are things that are so right, so good, so necessary that you are willing to die for…”
What mountain am I willing to defend? What things so good, so right and so necessary am I willing to die for?