First It’s Them, Then It’s You, Then It’s Me…

Some people see others in need and try to help them. Others spend their energies hating other people and creating fear to garner support for their cause.

A coworker of mine is involved in two very admirable efforts that I believe show how we can help others rather than just going around spewing hate speech. First he organizes a backpack drive for a New York community that asks others to put together school supplies for children who’s parents would otherwise be unable to afford them. Secondly he buys Christmas presents for children whose fathers are in jail and gives those presents to the children by proxy in the name of their fathers.

I believe this poem correctly illustrates what happens when we let hatred and and a lack of compassion for others enter our being.

“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out — because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

– Pastor Martin Niemoller, Berlin, 1939. Niemoller was a pastor in the German Confessing Church who spent eight and one-half years in a Nazi concentration camp.

This is a well known poem that I copied off the ACLU website. I believe this poem characterizes what’s happening with the anti-immigrant movement. Referencing other posts where I describe towns that are trying to ban particular styles of clothing and the flying of foreign flags, I believe that we walk on a slippery slope when we point at other people and demand they leave without exercising any compassion.

To illustrate my point here is the story of a Sheriff, celebrated by the Minutemen Project, who is involved in a legal battle involving rights violations. From a story posted on Tennessean.com:

Raids promise to make bad immigration situation worse

Some of the arrestees also say they are in the U.S. legally. George has not commented on the lawsuit, and an ICE spokesman said that suspects are arrested if they cannot immediately prove they are here legally.

Is anyone else concerned by the fact that you’re arrested if you cannot prove you’re a legal citizen? Are those supporting these raids going to say they’ll gladly go to jail for a day if it means we’ll eventually get some actual illegal immigrants? I guess you’d better make sure and carry your wallet everywhere you go and hope that authorities think it’s legitimate. Maybe we should get those implants….

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