You tell me that silly old Second Amendment notion that an armed citizenry can stop an aggressive government force is nonsense in this day and age of modern, well-equipped armed forces? Great, explain to me the substantial and lasting victories the U. S. military has achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan, against a rag-tag and ill-assorted bunch of locals with small arms and improvised explosives.
But no, forget that. Try this one: It's [unspecified future date] and a profoundly ignorant demagogue with bad hair has just won the Presidency of the United States, squeaking by with a tiny margin of the popular vote and doing okay in the Electoral College. This nitwit proposes to Fix Things by roundin' up illegal immigrants, assault weapons, Muslims and profiteers, deporting the humans and meltin' down the machines. A spineless Congress passes legislation enabling the President to order such action if he so chooses (thereby letting Senators and Representatives dodge the blame but grab some of the credit, depending on how things work out) and the Prez sends out the FBI, Immigration, the Marines and whoever else, maybe the Air Force band, to start the round up, adding married gay couples at the last moment. They commence kicking in doors and checking for brown-ness, lack of citizenship, incorrect religion, evil black rifles, cigars getting lit from $100 bills and rainbows.
Decision time! Is it a moral obligation to oppose this oppression even if you can't win and will likely die trying, or will you just sit back, thinking, "Well, I dislike some of what's on that list and as for the rest, you can't fight Washington; besides, the President did get 51% of the popular vote!" And are you not pretty damned loathsome if you take the latter course? --And wouldn't it be, I don't know, maybe just a little handy if you could take a few of the door-kickers out before they got you, perhaps with something like a gun?
Don't bloody tell me it couldn't happen here; it couldn't have happened in post-WW I Germany, a modern, civilized, tolerant country where Jews were valued, productive members of society and, unlike Britain or the United States at the time, it wasn't even specifically illegal to be homosexual. It did happen there. And it (or something like it) could happen here. Political rhetoric on both sides of the aisle is increasingly intolerant and inflammatory and Congress has all-too-often been unwilling to successfully stand up to the White House over anything but spite. Scapegoats are easy; you pick someone who is Not Like Us (for a given value of Us) and you blame 'em for whatever is wrong and convince folks it's time to get together, put their shoulders to the wheel and Do Something. It's large-scale lynching, with the same lovely sense of community and same poor slob(s) getting strung up with no legal determination of guilt. Bet it won't ever happen to you? The odds aren't great -- and the stakes are extraordinarily high.
People tell me the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a meaningless blip and I suppose it was, measured against six million dead Jews and another few million Gypsies, gays and assorted "undesirables;" but it got a little notice. Had it been larger, it would have gotten more notice. We whitewash history; we'd like to pretend that nobody outside Germany knew anything at all about the camps and the killing and the gradual, hateful build-up to them, that the U. S. never turned away an entire shipload of Jewish refugees or that before open war broke out, most nations were refusing visas to the large number of Jews trying to flee Germany -- but it happened. Governments, people, news organizations were largely pretending it wasn't happening, that it wasn't that bad, that it would blow over-- Maybe if more people had fought back, it would have been harder to ignore. It would have made some kind of difference, and that sure would have been better than what did happen.
Maybe we are just little, and governments are huge. That doesn't mean we should make it any easier for them to do bad things than it already is.
6 months ago