Maybe my parents shouldn’t have taken me to Dachau to tour the concentration camp and museum when I was a child. I was four or five. My brother still in a stroller. And what I saw there. What I saw. Well, I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to make sense of what I saw there. Trying to understand how hatred becomes an industry. For a time, I read extensively about the Holocaust. It was my obsession in school. I read plays, biographies, histories, memoirs. And in the eighth grade, I wrote a short story about a soldier who resists the Nazi dogma. At first. I wrote his gradual descent into barbarism. I was 14.
I can’t find that story, and it may be just as well. I won a prize for writing it. That story tapped into a rage I didn’t know existed. A rage I had at the people who committed the atrocities, and the people who witnessed the atrocities and the world. This shabby world. And what would I have done? What would I have done? Could I have resisted?
We tell ourselves we will resist evil. We will fight tyranny. But in this country, most of us are too lazy to vote. An act which costs us nothing. An opportunity our forebears died for. And we make our lazy excuses. Politics: It’s all bullshit. One government is the same as another.
That’s right. There’s nothing at stake here. The parties are the same. Way to keep up on current events. Am I telling you that your apathy leads to concentration camps? No. I’m telling you that your apathy costs the powerful nothing. Your apathy is what they count on. Your apathy keeps you where you are, brother. Your apathy makes you a tool, sister. We love to say how we would fight the Nazis. How it would never have been us, forcing people into the showers. How we would have resisted. We would have resisted men who would subjugate us. Here’s your chance.
Here’s your chance to say that education does matter. That women’s bodies belong to them. That fair wages are a right. That we have a safety net because the vulnerable deserve our protection. That financial crimes are serious and will have harsh penalties. That our terrible wars have bred terrible policies. That national security is an unacceptable legal veil just like corporate personhood is an unacceptable legal veil. That creationism is not science. That gay people deserve the same rights straight people have. You fuckers work for us. Tell them. Tell every goddamn one of them. They work for you. And you’re watching. And you’re voting. And you expect good will. Speak truth to power.
5 thoughts on “Dachau”
So, so powerful, Jill!
Please shout this from the mountain tops. Shout it until we all join you!!!!!
Absolutely. Thank you.
Voting is the only place besides a jury box where we are free to be who we are. I vote because I can, because must. I really hate when someone says, I’m just not going to vote this year. I don’t like either candidate. As if voting is like choosing which vegetable we must eat for the next four years. “I don’t like broccoli or asparagu
I vote because for now, at least, corporation’s can’t. They can spend, but they don’t vote.
I vote because it is the one place where I get to say,my body belongs to me, not to a bunch of white men .
I vote because I want a legislature that works as hard as I do to make sure I still have a job.
I vote because I never want another Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court.
I will vote because I know women marched and went to jail so that I can.
I will vote because Fannie Lou Hammer did not suffer beatings and unlawful imprisonment so I could stay home.
I will vote because I have a nephew in the Marines heading back for a second tour in Afghanistan.
I will vote because the next time a bank gets too big to fail, I waple in Congress who will help bail me out, not the bank.
I will vote. I will stand in line at my precinct with all all the (mostly) black folks who in 2008 were so quiet. That time, no one talked. We all knew we were participating in an historic act. It made us solemn.
I will vote, because people motivated by fear, apathy, arrogance, or plain wrong-handedness should not sit in seats once held by great people who were humbled to sit there. Lincoln. Thurmond Marshall. Barbara Jordan. Shirley Chisholm. Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders.
I will vote because I believe I should have the right to get married and have my marriage recognized by the federal government.
I will vote because I can, because I must, because I am a person, not a corporation.
I will vote. I will.
Yes, sister. Yes!
AMEN, sister Bett. AMEN!!!!