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Don't Be an Observer, You Must Be a Participant in Democracy

Be aware. Be on guard. Take individual action to protect our institutions and truth.

by Eric Holdeman / January 10, 2021

(Thursday, Jan. 7)

I shared recently that I got an email that said that my blog postings have revealed my political leanings and thus would not be read any more. Hurray! I'm not like some Republican elected officials who are only interested in currying favor, seeking power, influence and money for their personal gain — with no thought for the truth. They are the true traitors to the oath that they took to uphold the Constitution, and history will hold them accountable!

Here is what I stand for. One is truth. My standing up for truth has always gotten me into trouble. People don't like the truth, they would rather live, as they can today, in their fantasy world and echo chamber of news sources that tell them what they want to hear. Facts are facts. There are no alternative facts. You can have opinions, but I try to base my opinions on facts that are true. We are in a dangerous place in our democracy and we must, as individuals, stand up for truth. I have stopped being politically correct and polite when people share their conspiracy theories with me because I look like a white man who might share their belief system. I engage!! I did it on the golf course with two young men this past summer. You cannot be around me spouting conspiracy theories or "the big lie" of the moment (which today is about election results). I will take you down with truth and leave you muttering, "you must be a Democrat," which I'm not! 

Which leads me to this. I really had a full belly laugh when I heard that supporters of the president were blaming Antifa for the actions that happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6. This is classic! I'll come back to this later in this blog post. 

I've recommended the book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century in the past. More on the book again, later in this blog post, but see this item in Chapter 6 of the book quoted below:

"Armed anti-establishment groups are incredibly dangerous when they become the establishment. In a functioning society, the government is the only agent that can use violence, and it must follow its laws. But when armed paramilitary groups gain power, they threaten to help anti-democratic parties establish tyranny. In fact, the Nazis used a paramilitary force called the SS to terrify the populace, rig elections, and the concentration camps. According to Snyder, the United States is already far down this track: it has privatized its wars and prisons, and Donald Trump encourages his private security team and his supporters to use violence at his rallies. He wants to ensure that American military and police forces believe in and support his exclusionary political goals.
"In a functioning society, paramilitaries should be subject to the law—the government should be able to take legal action against them when they use force illegitimately. But in the United States, where private corporations already carry out government functions, such armed groups are outside the law—they are neither subject to it, like citizens, nor following and applying it, like a police force. This shows that the United States already has the infrastructure necessary to carry out authoritarian atrocities, and Snyder thinks that Donald Trump’s plans should cause Americans to sincerely fear that such atrocities will actually happen."

Here is my previous blog post from July 26, and quoted below: "Lessons from History — Have We Learned Any?"

"Back when I was in college I read every book available on the Hitler regime. Yes, there were the World War II accounts, but at the time I was more interested in how it was possible for Germans to give themselves over to such a man and his policies and behaviors. There are plenty of reasons, but a big one was that no one stood up.

"The average German just let it happen, even when they disagreed with what was going on. With every demagogue, they use elements of truth in their messaging. There is the sense that it is us against others. A history of grievances. For many Germans it was the peace treaty post WWI that made them pay war reparations and then there were the Jews, who today are the minority communities here in the United States. They get too much, they take our jobs, they don't belong, they are changing our culture. Get the picture!

"I've blogged on this book previously, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, which can be read in one sitting. As we look at the events in Portland, I feel like the frog in the pot that keeps getting warmer. Today there was an opinion piece: "American Catastrophe Through German Eyes."

"You cannot just get your news from Twitter, Facebook, the evening news — you must read a serious newspaper. The Washington Post, the New York Times, even the Wall Street Journal. They are spending thousands of dollars in reporters' time on each article to do the investigative pieces that the mediums I mention above cannot match. In-depth reporting is what you need."  

Which brings me what was called Kristallnacht in Germany. An organized attack on Jews in Germany that was blamed on "spontaneous" public attacks. Or, in today's translation, Antifa: 


"Goebbels' [Hitler's propaganda minister--Press Secretary in today's language] words appear to have been taken as a command for unleashing the violence. After his speech, the assembled regional Party leaders issued instructions to their local offices. Violence began to erupt in various parts of the Reich throughout the late evening and early morning hours of November 9–10. At 1:20 a.m. on November 10, Reinhard Heydrich, in his capacity as head of the Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) sent an urgent telegram to headquarters and stations of the State Police and to SA leaders in their various districts, which contained directives regarding the riots. SA and Hitler Youth units throughout Germany and its annexed territories engaged in the destruction of Jewish-owned homes and businesses. Members of many units wore civilian clothes to support the fiction that the disturbances were expressions of 'outraged public reaction.' [emphasis mine]

"Despite the outward appearance of spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom View This Term in the Glossary took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave specific instructions: the 'spontaneous' rioters were to take no measures endangering non-Jewish German life or property."

Lastly, a German friend of mine who was born after WWII relates the story of how the shoemaker in her village of Obergammergau was known to talk about the Nazis and how bad they were — this was during the war itself. One day the village woke up and the shoemaker and all his family were gone, never to return.

Which leads me to leave you with a famous German Martin Niemoller quote:

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.

"Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

"Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me."

People around the world know what's going on. From earlier in 2019, there is this weekly magazine cover from Der Spiegle (translation: A President sets his country on fire): 


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