A Jew in the Trump Era

I need to get something off my chest related to the Jewish community, this administration, and immigration. I've been listening to a range of perspectives, but the most shocking, and hardest for me to digest, are the ones from my own community, justifying Trump's actions (and inactions). 

Nothing will ever compare to the Holocaust. And prior to Hitler's Holocaust, there were many others, and after as well. Nothing will ever compare, because it is it's own horror. But we cannot forget how the Holocaust became THE HOLOCAUST. There were many egregious steps along the way, that made it TOLERABLE for a modern nation to create a systematic destruction of a people. 

I just want to gently remind everyone that the Holocaust didn't happen over night. And it didn't even start with outright slaughter or violence. It started with making an "US" verses "THEM". It began with hostile verbiage from those in power, alienating the Jewish people as "the other", and therefore everyone else as "the good citizens". It started with attacking the media. It started with attacking political opponents. It started with weakening checks and balances. It started with forcing people to self-police each other. It began with fear of not having enough. It started with classifying people. It started with blame. 

And by the time it was too late, by the time our people were put in Ghetto's, and concentration camps, the world already was turning us away when we were getting on boats to escape. By the time it was too late, it was "illegal" to help any of us get out, or stand up for us. By the time it was too late, no one was speaking on our behalf, or representing us in a government, seeking to alienate and dehumanize us. By the time it was too late, it was no longer considered inhumane to starve us, detain us, torture, or kill us. 

I don't forget history. I have a whole family I never met, because they died in Treblinka. I have family members who fought in the war, and never spoke of the horror they saw, too traumatized to share. I've obviously never lived through it myself, but I feel the ripple of it. I feel the trauma from generation to generation, how it never left: how the world at one point saw you as "vermin", as "trouble", as "stealing the good jobs", as "untrustworthy". Because you were a Jew. 

And now, I can't believe hearing and seeing some of you reasoning with this administrations verbiage and actions of a people coming to seek asylum and a better life, just as we did in the 1940's. Hearing this president call for a shut down of Muslims entering this country, and that Mexican's are rapists, and animals, that they are coming to "infest us". This is the language Hitler used, to a T, to dehumanize our people, which then led to the ease of crafting what became The Holocaust. 

I implore you, whatever your stance is on immigration, and your party affiliation, please step into these people’s shoes, and know that that was your grand or great grandfather just 70 years ago. Consider, we’re not that different. Consider that there is a more humane way, that we simply haven’t implemented yet. Consider that compassion is more powerful then division. 

I implore you to reflect on your life, how lucky you are right now to be here, because someone finally stood up for you, and saw you as a human.