Why You Must Vote: a Jewish kid’s perspective on ‘Never Again’

When I was a little girl growing up in New York in the 1960’s and 70’s, orbiting in the very air around me was this whispered shameful secret about the 6,000,000 of us Jews who had perished under Nazism during WWII.

It was a burden so enormous, a truth so vile, that it could not be held if spoken aloud. It was uttered under the breath, as if that could lessen the velocity of its impact on our collective heart and mind.

The ‘Sshhh’s’ when the topic was raised were followed by a dead, blank look on the adult’s faces, as if the mere reference, nod or mention of the Holocaust was a physical attack and a defensive posture was the only response. I didn’t understand it very well at 7 or 8 or 9, but I sure wanted to know if this horror had really happened and if so, why?

So, I read about it in secret. I was beyond shocked. And the U.S. government, my country which was supposedly better and fairer and morally superior to Germany, knew about it and did not stop it.

I have the memory of often lying in my bed, aged 10 or 11 or 12, preparing to drift off to sleep and wondering how no reasonable people could stop Hitler’s rise to power, how he whipped up such a despicable frenzy in millions of citizens, using racist, nationalist and anti-Semitic hate speech to prey upon people’s economic fears. I wondered about his spurned attempts to be a mediocre artist and what world history would look like if he had painted instead.

Most of all, I wondered, despite the chants of “Never Again”, if it could happen again, in my lifetime, perhaps in my own country and in my own lifetime.

A few years ago, Bill Maher publicized a list of common factors, culled by historians, that describe the rise of a dictator. Trump has exhibited all of these behaviors but one.They include:

* narcissism and “name or face on buildings”;

* family members in positions of power;

  • rallies;
  • his own propaganda outlet (“Fox,” said Maher);
  • using the office for personal financial gain;
  • aligned with other other dictators and strongmen;
  • claims minorities are responsible for the country’s problems;
  • lying so freely that people don’t know what the truth is anymore;
  • and the one he has not adopted: wearing military costume

While my feverish desire was that this could never happen again, I now live in fear and anger that we are moving that way. The fervent whispers of ‘Never Again’ are fading.

I have no doubt that should Trump steal the election again, or even legitimately win it, this country will become worse than what we witness while watching “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

The U.S. would very likely become a totalitarian state; a dictatorship; and groups of people will be rounded up. Nationalism will prevail and chants of zealotry and fanaticism will drown out the majority of people who believe in democracy, humanity, diversity and freedom. It will take a long time for resistance movements to defeat the evil Trump foments.

Yes, we need to block his attempt to hijack the Supreme Court. Yes, we need to abolish the racist Electoral College. Yes we need term limits on judgeships. Yes, we need to get kids out of cages and defeat the NRA forever. Yes we need health care for all, medicare and medicaid. Yes, we need immigration reform. And we need to dismantle racism forever.

We need desperately to rewrite the Constitution so that such an idealistic document can not be exploited by the likes of Trump, Barr, McConnell now or in the future.

We need a lot. Let us take a step. The right step for right now.

We need just one thing right now. To defeat Donald Trump on November 3rd.

Young people! I beseech you! Do not wait! Do not hesitate! This is serious! Take a break from your device! You are needed! This is the moment you are called!

Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote the Biden Harris ticket to keep the American Republic in tact!

Vote the Biden Harris ticket to preserve our democracy!

Vote the Biden Harris ticket to save this country!

Your life depends on it. Our future depends on it.

If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for the children to come.

Let us unite together and scream loudly, at the top of our lungs, “NEVER AGAIN!!!!!”

Originally published at https://medium.com on September 22, 2020.

Health Coach & End of Life Doula who loves to write on Wellness, Third Act of Life, Death & Dying, Autoimmunity, Trauma, Food & Weight. rhyhalpern@gmail.com

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