Free Speech. Important?

How important is it to speak up?

Something to think about:

About 20 Years ago …

My husband and I had a disagreement… probably the biggest ever in our married life.

We were talking about history and I made a statement that to me was simply my opinion but it made made him really mad.

I was surprised by his strong reaction. What did I say that made this very peaceful man so angry?

A little background:

I was born and raised in a country with a dark history. I am German. My father was drafted into Hitlers army when he turned 17. Did he want to? No. There was no real choice. It was forced. You either did or you would die. In those days there was no such thing as conscientious objection. My uncle … who was on his way to become a catholic priest was drafted as well. Do you think he wanted to go to war? I’m sure you can imagine no. Did they have a real choice?

Have you been under the impression that all Germans are evil and that is why they supported a dictator? I hope not.

People of all races and nationalities really have fairly simple wishes. They wish for a healthy, peaceful life, a roof over their head, food on the table, and happy children. They hope for a good life with family and friends around them. Isn’t that what most of us hope for?

Germans are no different. They are mostly quiet, a reserved people that try not to stir up trouble.

You might doubt my assertion because if my statement is true and Germans are peaceful people, you might wonder why they would support a man such as Hitler. And why did they allow horrid things to happened during Hitler‘s regime?

Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary. His rise to power was at first subtle. The country was suffering from a depression. Hitler ran for office – Chancellor – and was elected on the promise to make things better. Slowly his power and influence grew and he – and his minions – started to silence and bully the nation into submission. If someone said the wrong thing they lost their job. Children were brainwashed in schools. If you didn’t join the party, you lost your business. Only those who toted the line were able to do business, stay free, and make a living.

Hitler also pitted people against each other. Christians against Jews — really, anyone against another who could be seen as different.

Propaganda was everywhere. People only heard one side and one view was drilled into the public through constant repetition.

Jews became the “enemy” = scapegoat.

According to propaganda, Jewish Germans were all rich, dishonest, their businesses were over-charging, getting rich on the backs of others, and “they” dominated the market. Truth became relative because through propaganda, that is what people kept being told and some believed it. Those that didn’t were silenced. You can imagine that especially the jobless and poor were angered by this seeming unfairness. Newspapers, billboards, and radio stations kept up the narrative, stirring anger and hatred about how unfair things had been for years. Jewish Germans became scapegoats for economic problems, and were blamed for all sorts of ills.

Christians and Jews were all German citizens only with differing backgrounds and religion. They used to live next to each other. But with all this negativity constantly blasted from the media, resentment started to grow. People started looking at each other with different eyes. Tensions grew. At one point Jewish Germans were labeled as enemies of the state and then came the time when they were collected and Hitler made them “disappear”. Did the general public know where Jewish people were taken? Some were clueless. Some thought they were going to detainment centers (similar to the detainment of Japanese Americans during WWII) but the general public had no idea what was really going on behind the gates with the words “Work Makes Free”. Most didn’t know, especially in the early years.

Now, if you think it was only Jewish people, you are wrong. It started with political opponents, then Jews. Later, Communists, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses were added and then expanded to include people with mental or physical disorders, and anyone who dared to object and not tote the line.

Why didn’t anyone speak up?

People had been forced to silence for years by then. They were afraid because speaking against the state and against what was deemed politically correct brought severe consequences.

If someone dared to voice an opposing opinion, they lost their jobs, their business, their home. They were pressured. Their children were taken away to be re-educated and if all that didn’t make the person submit, they disappeared.

People were afraid to say anything. Ears were everywhere. Even children were taught to snitch on their parents and friends. People were simply too afraid to speak up.

Truth is: If you control people’s emotions, you control the masses.

Sadly, the cost of silence was high.

Millions died in concentration camps.

These statistics came from:

Movement to War

We all know what happened next. The nation went to war to gain territory they by now believed was unjustly taken in the past. Hitler’s aim was to expand the power of this regime. More and more nations were drawn into war for various reasons.

The price?

Millions died during the war, all around the globe.

Germany: Millions of Germans died in concentration camps (check out chart). Military casualties were as high as 5.3 million. Civilian casualties from bombings were between 350,000 and 500,000 people.

American lives lost during WWII were 246,492.

Total: In all nations, all over the world 70-85 Million people lost their lives.

What began with silence and fear brought about devastation.

By the end of the war Germany was destroyed and in rubble. Almost 6 million Germans had died. Years of hunger followed and 16 years after the end of the war Germany was spilt in half.

Even to this day Germans are often reminded of their dark past–even though most were not even alive during those years. Have you ever noticed that many evil scientists in movies have a German accent? What is the first thing many people think of when they think of Germany?

Why am I telling you all of this?

I realize I may have bored you with long-past history, though I only gave a glimpse. Much more could be said but this isn’t supposed to be a book. I am only trying to make a point…

You may also still want to know what I said to make my easy-going husband so mad.

I said…

“What happened in Germany can happen in any country – even here.”

Like I said, he became very angry— much angrier than I had ever seen him. He loves this nation with all his heart and in his eyes what I said was a complete insult. I didn’t mean it as an insult. I spoke my belief, based on what I learned from the dark history of the country I grew up in.

We agreed to disagree and time marched on.

In the following years we traveled this beautiful nation. I spent time learning more about its varied cultures and people. We visited many historic sites and I learned more and more about this country’s amazing history. I went to college, learned about the revolution where America became a nation. I learned about the founding fathers and their wisdom. I realized how unique and special the constitution is, marveling at the foresight of those writers.

I came to love this beautiful nation with its strong, powerful, proud people — I came to love it more with every day. I came to admire the wonderful rainbow of cultures. People from all over the globe came to this country, seeking freedom and blended together into a strong fabric and a new culture. Americans share a unique, beautiful, very independent, strong spirit.

I learned so much and truly fell in love with my new home and it’s wonderful, big-hearted people.

You may already have guessed what I’ll tell you next.

In time I realized that my statement long ago was absolutely wrong. I came to believe that what happened in Germany less than 100 years ago could never happen here. The constitution was written wisely, set up in such a way that this country was safe. It could never happen here, in this strong, freedom-loving nation where many have fought and died for not only their own freedoms, but also for freedom of other nations.

I could grow up in a free Germany because brave Americans believed so strongly in Freedom that they died to make sure a regime like Hitler’s would not dominate the world. They died to allow others, like me, to experience the same freedom they valued.

I believed… until now … that something like that could not happen here.

I am beginning to doubt. Was I wrong?

I ask you:

What is happening to this beautiful nation?

Why are you allowing yourselves to be pitted against each other?

Why are you allowing yourselves to be silenced?

Why are you, the bravest, strongest, most spirited people I know… why are you allowing yourselves and others to be censored?

Why are you not speaking up for the right of free speech— even speech you might disagree with?

Why are you allowing social media to silence everyone they disagree with?

Why are you allowing people to lose their jobs because they voiced their opinion? –even if you disagree with their opinion. Your opinion could be viewed as offensive tomorrow.

Why do you allow yourselves and others to be bullied?

Remember the silence of Germans? Remember the fear they felt, afraid to speak up because they would lose their jobs and their livelihood, even their lives if they spoke?

What about those who do the bullying, the silencing? Are you part of the regime, a minion like Hitler’s minions? Do you think that is what will save you? If you think so, you are wrong.

Here and now, it isn’t a dictator you are caving to. It is a political movement that is trying to destroy everything you cherish.

If you think this is about race, you are wrong. This is about political power. Just as in Germany it wasn’t about religion or ethnicity. It was about controlling people.

This country is under attack and it is much worse than 9/11. This is cunning and evil. Today the enemy is not clearly seen — not yet. The enemy is not one person. It is an ideology, a violent movement that wants to tear this country down. They’ve tried for decades in different ways.

The attack on 9/11 brought Americans together. The enemy did not like that. But, the enemy did not give up. They found this country’s Achillies’ heel: Race.

Race is used to pit us against each other. Just as Hitler used propaganda in the existing media to pit people against each other, this enemy is doing the same.

How can you find the enemy?

Ask yourself:

Who is silencing you?

Who is bullying you to “tote the line”?

Who is destroying your country?

Who is behind the destruction?

Who brainwashed your children?

Who threatens your job if you voice the “wrong” opinion?

Who is dictating what you are allowed to watch?

Who controls today’s propaganda?

This isn’t about race.

This isn’t about religion.

Nor is it about Democrats or Republicans.

It isn’t even about the president.

THIS is much bigger than ALL that.

This is about your country. It is about sovereignty. It is about your freedom.

If you don’t speak up, if you keep silent, if you cave to bullies, you WILL lose this country as you know it.

Remember history. If we don’t learn from it, we will repeat it.

Remember Germany, Russia, Italy, China, Korea, Venezuela.

Your Freedom of Speech is FIRST in your Bill of Rights for a reason. The founding fathers understood how important the right of free speech was and always would be.

If we can’t listen and hear differing opinions how can we solve any problems?

Peaceful protests are part of free speech. Riots are not. Riots are about instilling fear, inciting terror, wanting control, bullying, and silencing the masses.

Those who protest peacefully try to bring about change for the good. Those who riot and loot want to terrorize and tear this country down.

Long ago the United States stepped in to bring peace and freedom to Germany and Europe. Without the US, Hitler would have won.

If you lose this country to tyranny, who will step in for you? Who will save your freedoms?

There is no nation stronger and more noble. Who will come and save this nation if it falls?

There is NOBODY but God who can step in to help you.