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The Price of Silence

November 16, 2016

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The Price Of Silence

A few nights ago I visited one of my daughters who resides in the city where I live. We had some very minor business to conduct that afforded us the opportunity to be in the same room for a short period of time in our otherwise busy lives, to share our thoughts, emotions and stories, as all families should do. As the election had only been two days previous, it had been the natural subject of much of our discussion.

I had been shocked to learn that my daughter had not voted.  Neither had her husband, or so she claimed.  In principle she supported neither Hillary nor Trump, but her husband claimed to support Trump.  Unable to support either candidate just didn’t bother to vote, but her husband had an even more troubling excuse.  He claimed that the township that he worked for had some means to learn the ballot choices of it’s employees, and that unfavorable choices would reflect limited advancement, and compensatory value.  Consequently he chose not to register to vote after they moved to a new home within the township boundaries about a year ago.  My daughter bought into this explanation.

However on the car ride home from a ballgame that night he told his son something quite different,  that he voted for Trump.

So it was that when my eleven-year-old grandson entered the kitchen from the garage he was bouncing with all the enthusiasm of a rowdy stadium sports fan, dancing in circles, jumping up and down, pumping his fist in the air and shouting repeatedly, TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! with a chorus of repeated “TRUMP NATION, TRUMP NATION,TRUMP NATION!” displaying the corrupted joy of ignorant youth supporting the ideology of winning at any cost.

Once again the lessons of history fail us.

I am reminded of a nation whose politics were that of a nationalism born of a belief in the superiority of their race, fueled by a charismatic leader who permeated their culture so thoroughly as to establish a brown-shirted youth corp of militant disciples stabbing the air in long armed salutes to their Fuehrer.

Comparisons to Hitler have become cliche and so common as to become meaningless.  For example Obama has been compared to Hitler by the extreme right lunatics who manage to get photo coverage for their ridiculous assertions.

But Hilter was real.  His message was real, and it’s important that we take a long objective look at the pre-holocaust Hitler and his National supremacist ideology to understand its consequences.

For Trump, the election was a game to be won, nothing more.  For his supporters it was the same. It was never about principles, values or ethics, but simply about winning.  It was a cage fight between two Titans, with no referee and no rules. It was extreme wrestling with razor blades, broken glass, tables and chairs and ladders, all show, all fake, the most vile form of entertainment.  But it was just that, a game to be won.

Baby-boomers can remember that some time ago the Beatles suffered financially due to John Lennon’s observation that they were more popular than Jesus. The truth of the observation was never doubted, but his observation was forcefully denounced for the audacity of making it.

In more recent times the Texas-based, “Dixie Chicks,” were boycotted for a statement made in concert in Shepherd’s Bush Empire theater in London. “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”  And for that simple political statement they were financially pummeled and denounced by by the good-ole-boy empire.

Free speech is not free.  There is always a cost imposed.

However, the cost of silence is far greater.

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