Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Please read this piece on the Huffington Post by Lea Lane, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lea-lane/remembrance-for-nathan-wh_b_530262.html
The article talks about how she worked with a woman named Cecile who survived Auschwitz and wanted to write about her experiences, only to be told by publishers that there were “Too many Holocaust stories coming in right now.”
As if such a thing is possible. As if there could be too many stories of survival in the face of the most horrific atrocities humans can visit upon other humans.
What I want to say here might be a skidge controversial.
I would like you all to go read this article. I want you to go and read this article about how a young, resourceful woman avoided being rounded up until she couldn’t. About how a grandmother made the decision to hold her 2 year old grandson in her arms in order to save her daughter’s (the child’s mother’s) life, knowing that she was destined to die anyway and wanting to give her daughter a chance at life. About how a sister helped convince a young mother to let grandma hold the child, so she could live. About how those three people hid the truth from a young mother so she wouldn’t fight their attempt to save her life.
I want you to read about the other atrocities that young woman survived. About helping to write love poems to one of her captors in an attempt to try to keep the cohort of women she was grouped with alive. About stealing potatoes to survive, knowing she could be shot for it. About standing at the door of a gas chamber until her group was spared for more labor.
I want you to think about all the things that the Holocaust was, by focusing on the very real, very personal, very horrific things that happened to this young woman and her family.
Then I want you to think about what the Holocaust is nothing like.
Health care reform is nothing like the Holocaust.
Making you buy health insurance is nothing like the Holocaust.
Tax Reform is nothing like the Holocaust.
So why do right wingers keep insisting on comparing Obama to Hitler?
What is wrong with these idiots? Are they stupid? Evil? Or do they just lack any sort of human perspective? Empathy? Lack of a “reality-based” reality?
If you can read the article I linked above and still think it’s ok to go to teabag rallies toting your oh, so clever sign of Obama with a Hitler mustache, or pictures of Obama’s face photoshopped onto Hitler giving the Sieg Heil, then shame on you. SHAME ON YOU. You deserve nothing but the contempt of every right thinking person on this planet. You’re not asking for discourse, you’re spitting all over decent human beings around the world. You’re spitting on human suffering and the bravery of those people who managed to survive atrocities the like of which, odds are good, your white, privileged ass has never and will never suffer.
There are going to be people who accuse me of being no better than the right wingers here, for using this article and the occasion of Holocaust Rememberance Day to make my point.
And you may be right.
In fact I waffled over this post for a long damn time. I even deleted an earlier version.
But I think it’s important enough to point out the reality of the situation that I’m willing to let some of you think less of me for this, rather than not say a damn thing about the hideous, and continued, misuse of one of the greatest horrors and tragedies in human history.
If that makes me a bad person, so be it.
But trust me, I did not decide to do this thoughtlessly or lightly. Believe me. I do not have family members who were in the camps. I did/do have two grandfathers who fought against Hitler, one of whom was actually declared dead in France, before they found him wandering around with two burst eardrums and various other wounds from a German mortar attack.
I just can’t sit here any longer, silent. Liberals and Progressives keep making the mistake of attempting to engage with these jerks as if they want actual discourse on these topics. We need to stop doing that. I’m learning to stop doing that on my blogs, the country needs to learn to stop doing that about issues that are far, far more important than sexism in videogames. They don’t want discourse, they want their way and only their way. They don’t give a shit about Democracy and they don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.
Please, this Sunday take a moment to think about the Holocaust, the victims and the survivors, perhaps light a candle. Think about what it was, and then, think about what it wasn’t.
Thank you for indulging me. And if this is offensive, I apologize. I apologize for doing something that may emotionally harm some of you, but I’m not going to take it back. I’m sorry.
ETA: Because the question has been asked, link all you want.
Using real life stories of the horrors of the Holocaust to refute the asinine rhetoric of the Tea Baggers and Right wing nutbars does not make YOU a bad person, or someone who exploits the Holocaust to their own ends.
You are the one honoring the experiences of these people and not allowing others to cheapen and belittle it. You have nothing to be sorry about.
I completely concur. I did lose family in the Holocaust, and I feel like with this post you have stood up for their memory. The suggestion to light a yarzheit candle is also very appropriate.
This is what I came in here to say.
Thank you, so much, for this. If I could hug you across the internet, I would.
The comparisons of Obama to Hitler, and the current Democratic party to the Third Reich, make me angry on a level that no previous political rhetoric has ever touched. And while I know I don’t speak for everyone whose heritage, race, sexual orientation, or religion makes Holocaust references personally relevant, I can tell you that, as far as I’m concerned, what you are doing isn’t exploiting Yom Hashoah to make a point, but honoring it–and the memory of the people who died in and lived through the Holocaust–by refusing to stand quietly as pundits and fearmongers cheapen its meaning.
Thank you. I worry, because while there is Jewish blood in our family, it’s on Dad’s side, so it’s not official, and our family left during WWI.
I don’t want to co-opt anybody’s anything, but I’m tired of not saying anything.
You’re not. You’re calling out co-option.
Also: The Holocaust can be deeply relevant even to people without direct personal ties to it. Yom Hashoa is a national holiday, which is, I think, telling–it may not be all of our story, but in post-WWII Europe and America, it’s an indelible part of all of our cultural history.
Thanks. You’re probably more sensitive to this than I usually am. It means a lot that you don’t think I’m horrible for this.
I just can’t sit here any longer, silent. Liberals and Progressives keep making the mistake of attempting to engage with these jerks as if they want actual discourse on these topics.
What I’d like to see is less hypocrisy from people on both sides of the political spectrum. Now, it’s mostly right-wingers I’ve seen make direct comparisons (Abortion is just like the Holocaust! *headdesk* yes, someone I know actually said that) but I think the left needs to hold itself to the same standards as it holds the right to.
Like there wasn’t posters of George Bush with a Hitler mustache.
It’s exploiting a tragedy, it’s disgusting, whether you’re a goddamned liberal or a goddamned tea-partier, and fuck yes I’m offended that it’s apparently ok and just creative expression of political views when some people do it, but only idiotic, stupid, and evil when others do it.
I can honestly say I’ve never posted pictures of George Bush as Hitler.
A chimp, yes. Hitler, no.
“…I’ve never posted…”
I don’t see where palereverie said that you did. He was asking you to condemn the liberals who post such pictures just like you were condeming the conservatives that post the Obama-as-Hitler pictures.
It’s weird that you didn’t understand that.
I didn’t think she had. I was just saying.
I never saw the posters you’re referring to, but I’d believe they existed. That said, comparing Bush to Hitler wasn’t part of organized political rhetoric on anything approaching the scale of the Obama comparisons. They’re both wrong, and they’re both inexcusable, but responding to each in proportion to its prevalence does not a hypocrite make.
Yeah, same here. Mostly just saw the chimp posters.
But, and I know I’m playing with fire here saying this, I will say in the defense of people who may have made the comparison (and I may have done myself), I think starting a war with a country we actually didn’t have a beef with, opening up Guantanamo and “extraordinary rendition” are all just a “touch” more Hitler-like than health insurance for all.
Call me crazy and all, but, um, yeah…
I don’t buy that–that it’s technically possible to compare a policy or attitude to one of Hitler’s doesn’t mean that it’s ethical or acceptable to do so. The connotations that Hitler and Nazi Germany carry make them heavily loaded political metaphors, enough so to render them nearly impossible to wield with any precision.
This needs to be a universal standard if it is to mean anything at all.
True. And as I state in my personal LJ, this does not excuse me from doing this, and while I think I may have… I can’t find it in writing, but I also don’t have the time to go scouring through 8 years of entries.
You’re right, and I count myself older and wiser, and less likely to make a huge jackass of myself on this count.
I feel it is important to clarify something here –
If a politician is very clearly following the early playbook Hitler used to make having those camps possible (*koff* like oh.. using the national upset of a country for being attacked as a way to push through policies that take the rights of the average citizen away under the guise of protecting them, up to and including pulling them off the street to be thrown, without recourse or even alert to their families, into a prison where they will be tortured… or making a national policy that everyone should report on their neighbors, to the government for them to do a full investigation, for being anything less than brimming over with national fanaticism *koff*), then yes… EVERYONE (in any country) SHOULD CALL THEM OUT ON IT! Good lord, that’s why we study history – so we don’t get fooled again and let the same atrocities happen!
This is, however, the ONLY TIME that Hitler, or Mao, or Stalin, or Moussolini, or any of the other horrific leaders of the world should be invoked. Not for minor policies, but for “this is a major step on that path, and it comes on the heels of another — we should pay more attention now, what the hell is going on here?”
I do agree that pulling Hitler out like an exclamation point whenever you want someone to pay more attention is a crock, however.
The poor chimp :’D
I think comparing anything to the Holocaust isn’t a good idea for anyone to try. I wish it could just be put on a shelf and left alone. Plenty of right-wingers would nod agreeably and say
“Hmmm yeah abortion in the USA *is* kinda like the Holocaust” (especially with all the ads awhile back stating that a disproportionate amount of abortions were to black women or whatever) just like plenty of people can see the logic in what you’re saying about the Iraq war etc.
Either way, I can’t understand how any sane leftist or rightist can tolerate people in their party acting in such a way with the Hitler posters. (/inb4 “there is no sane rightwingers :’D)
Anyway I didn’t post to call (polimicks or anyone) a hypocrite, in case anyone got that idea. I just wanted people to be aware and watch for this behavior-everywhere. Unfortunately, what activists get up to is usually what everyone sees, so don’t be afraid to call a dipshit a dipshit and tell them to knock it off, if they’re representing your interests especially.
Frankly, I find the comparison of political figures to Hitler uncreative and tired. I remember one activist t-shirt/sign with a woman (feminist, pro-choice or something) eating a baby on a sandwich. That was one I hadn’t seen before.
I would like to chalk my previous behavior up to being younger, and dumber… Or at least, less nuanced about rhetoric…:)
But you and Rae are totally right. We need to not tolerate this shit from anyone ever again, be they on our own side or not.
Comparing anything to the Holocaust is hugely disrespectful to the people who died and survived it.
The Holocaust is a horror unto itself, that we should all hope never to see happen again.
Thank you for replying.
I find as I get older that I figure more and more of this stuff out.
Why do they do it?
Because they like the sound of it.
I did link.
I said a few things too. Not much though.
you already know where I am with this.
But I am very glad you posted this. It needed to be said.
I don’t have a personal, immediate connection to the Holocaust, but I can offer these two things. My mother said that was the only time she’d ever seen her father cry, when the news of the camps was finally released to the press. Nearly 40 years later, she still sounded stunned by it, “He just put his head down on the table and cried.”
And this photo is my Uncle Walt Weispfenning, taken in June 1945. I’m told he was in Germany at the end of the war. It was awfully hard to be proud of one’s German heritage at that point.
The things happening in this country right now scare me to death. I haven’t seen things anywhere near this ugly since the Civil Rights era when I was a small child.
Has Obama or anybody in his administration had anything to say about remembering the Holocaust?
I don’t know, but I’m sure you could google it and find out.
I would be stunned if there weren’t some sort of something planned.
Hi. You don’t know me, but I want to let you know that this means a lot to me as a Jew and a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Bubbe and Zeide survived the camps; their children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends did not.
I don’t really know what more to say. Always, at this point, I just stare blankly at the blinking cursor. It is so unreal. I don’t have any more tears to shed. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a couple of family photographs so that their memory may endure in this small way:
My aunts and uncles. Four of my grandfather’s children with his first wife; all died, I presume in Auschwitz. He never talked about it. I will never know their names.
Survivors. My grandparents are among them.
Blessed be their memory.
So thank you, stranger, for taking it upon yourself to speak out against thoughtless evil where you see it. I know that accolade from someone you don’t know is meaningless, and I know that I am being embarrassingly bathetic, but the fact remains that I am thankful. These people who are brandishing tragedy as though it were a lark disgust me on the basest human level, and while you may be only one person repudiating their thousands upon thousands, it’s enough to get by on.
Thank you for defending human dignity. Thank you for screaming into the hurricane. Some days I feel hopeless; you restored my hope and faith, at least for the moment. And that’s one less victory for the murderers.
Thank you… This means more to me than you know.
Today I’ve been reading over the letters my uncles wrote home during their time in the US military. They served in Germany, France and London in 1942-1945. What makes me even more baffled by Holocaust deniers, or those who use it ‘as a lark’, is the fact of their own relatives first-hand accounts of witnessing the horrors. How many service people helped liberate the camps? How many service people, all over the field of war, saw and wrote home about the terrible things that were happening? It’s not someone unknown and far away, it’s my great-uncle! His letters came from Dachau, from Coblenz, from Nurmberg and Saarbruecken. How utterly tragic that so many have lost touch not only with world history but with their own family history. I bet if you told a WWII vet that health care is anything like what Hitler did, he’d laugh in your face.
Thank you. That Huffington Post article had me sobbing.
I’m baffled at the comparisons to Hitler, too. I wish the Internet forum rule about Hitler/Nazis applied in real life. (I don’t remember what it’s called, but that rule where if you bring up Hitler or the Nazis in a discussion, you lose.) It was the same back when I used to debate in high school. Comparing anyone or anything to the Nazis was debate suicide.
Thank you for putting it all in horrifying perspective.
Godwin’s Law. The first person to bring up Hitler has lost the argument.
All it takes for evil to thrive is for good [people] to remain silent.
Even if I disagreed with you (which I don’t) it would be important to speak out when you see any sorts of evil. And that includes the greed and selfishness being masqueraded as defence of liberty by the teabaggers.
I apologize for taking so long to unscreen this, but I was out of town for a family funeral until yesterday.