In researching this I had to read the original poem by Niemoller which, translated from German reads thus:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Now this poem has been quoted many ways, but from my research this is the original. There have been variants which have included the Catholics, the Homosexuals, and what have you. Niemoller varied it depending on the year.
What would the modern version say?
First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist and they were our enemy anyway so I was not concerned.
Then they came for the anti-war protesters. I wasn't necessarally for the war, but then we stopped fighting the war, and they faded away.
Then President Reagan fired all the Air Traffic Controllers because they had the audacity to strike. I thought Reagan did the right thing because it disrupted my travel plans. In fact, we needed to get rid of all those pesky unions and their silly rules to keep the corporations in check. We let Reagan do that and now we have no unions.
Then they deregulated the banks. They let banks sell insurance and play the stock market with our savings. I didn't say anything because I was getting rich and my 401 K was getting large.
Then they came for those "Activist Judges," you know, the ones who "leglislate from the bench." Yeah, those judges that made Abortion legal and forced us to go to school with black kids. Yeah, we got those guys out of there and replaced them with judges who say that corporations are people and that even though that fella Al Gore got the most votes, that George Bush was the man who won the election and he should be President of the United States.
Then they came for the Welfare recipients. I didn't care because they were lazy bastards anyway and we needed to get them to work. It didn't matter that the only jobs they could get were the menial ones that didn't pay anything, no child care and if the welfare recipient was a single mother left the child at home to raise themselves. I didn't care just as long as those welfare mothers had a job and weren't on the dole.
Then the came for the Arabs. I didn't care because the Arabs had smashed some planes into our buildings. Anyone who wore a rag was suspect as far as I was concerned. "Kill them all," I said, "and let God sort them out." It didn't matter that the Arabs we rounded up didn't have anything to do with the Arabs who flew the planes into those buildings. It didn't matter that the country we bought most of our oil from and had a repressive religious regime and that was where the Arabs who flew the planes came from.
Then we invaded Afghanistan. I thought that was good since the terrorists who flew the planes were trained there. But we didn't go in with enough troops and I thought that was strange.
Then we invaded Iraq. I thought that was good since they were Arab, we had fought them before, and they might have had something to do with those planes hitting those buildings. (Even though, as mentioned before, the country where most of those terrorists came from wasn't Iraq).
Then they came for the new President. They said he was a Muslim, that he wasn't born in the United States and since he wouldn't show his birth certificate (even though the State of Hawaii has it on file and there are announcements on the day of his birth in the newspapers in Honolulu) he wasn't the legitimate President of the United States. They accused him of being a Socialist and a Fascist even though he was neither.
Then they came for the Mexicans. Well, that was OK since Mexicans steal our jobs. (Still, I don't think for all the tea in China I would work some of the jobs that Mexicans do, so they really aren't stealing those jobs are they?)
Then they changed the textbooks. Thomas Jefferson was an idiot they said, so we should ignore him because he believed in the separation of church and state.. Instead we need to study people like Phillis Schfley, and Newt Gingrich and things like the Contract with America. Joe McCarthy might have been right in his pursuit of Communists even though he destroyed many lives of people who had nothing to do with communism and his lists were lies. We need to study Jefferson Davis and the wonderful contributions his cause made to the United States and that his words mean as much to the country as those of Abraham Lincoln and are just as great. We don't need to study people who didn't contribute much like the Latinos, since they didn't do much to make Texas what it is today. There were "unintended consequences" of things like the Civil Rights movement. And that the United States is a "Christian Nation" in spite of the fact that most of our Founding Fathers argued for a strict separation of Church and State because the kings had used the church to control the populace and we elected our leaders, they weren't selected by God, but by the people.
Who will they come for next?
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