From within the mass of humanity I feel a sense of power.
All of these people gathered together to protest one thing. To rise as a body, showing we cannot be bullied. We will bring our nation back from the brink.
The NAZI banner waves, but not for its cause. Slashes through the swastika reveal a truth seen on every face in the crowd: Sanity will prevail!
How could we have come to this point? Where will we go from here? Who will join us in extinguishing this cancerous menace from the life that is our young and fragile Republic?
We sing, cheer, raising our arms and voices in protest.
We will not be cowards. We will rise above. We shall overcome!
Josef tugs at my sleeve.
“Can we go daddy? I’m hungry.”
“In a moment pal, just a moment.”
Looking across the vast sea of humanity, the smiles are what strike me.
We are proud. We are taking the future in our arms. We are paving a path toward a better Germany!
Josef tugs again.
“Daddy, I am done.”
“Yes Josef, we’re done here. We have done what we came to do.”
He looks up at me with those knowing eyes, reaches out his arms, and readies himself to jump as I lift because he knows my back sometimes hurts when I pick him up.
“Why are all these people so loud?” he asks while hiding his face in my shoulder.
“Because they need to make their voices heard.” I reply, doubting Josef really understands what that means, other than simply yelling.
“I don’t want to hear them anymore.”
“I know, I know. Let’s go home. We finished what we came to do.” I reply as we make our way out of the crowd.
“What’s that daddy?” he asks, pushing his face ever deeper into my chest.
“We made our voices heard too.”
He pulls back from me a bit so his eyes may once again lock with mine. “Daddy, you didn’t say anything, ‘cept to me.”
He’s right. All I did was show up, walk around, and take satisfaction from everyone else who was there.
Turning away from the square, I make my way toward our apartment, “Well, being there was enough. We made our point clear.”
“I hope whoever everyone was talking to was listening.” He says with droopy eyelids.
“I hope so too pal. I hope so too!”
Josef closes his eyes as he rests his head on my shoulders. I make my way to the door of our building before beginning the ascent of the stairway while carrying Josef’s 22 Kilo sleeping mass.
It’s almost lunch time.
There were massive protests across Germany in 1932 by those opposed to the platform and statements of the Nazi party. Led by the Social Democrats, but also incorporating many of the parties of the center, and left, these protests coalesced into a huge event in Berlin. What it must have felt like to be at one of these massive rallies against the rise of Hitler? How powerful these people must have felt? Yet, Hitler’s fueling of fear was able to overcome these people’s attempts at stopping his rise. He espoused hatred, fear of socialism and communism, and offered a dream of returning Germany to former greatness. The people who supported him were, en masse, not anti-semetic nor full of hate, but simply scared as their world was changing around them. They saw Hitler as the only person who could save Germany from this scary world. Those who led these protests would eventually be imprisoned, and executed under the Nazi regime. Yet, for a brief moment in time they rose, attempted to make their voices heard, and had a sense they were making a difference.
In the Federal elections of July 31, 1932 the Nazi party menaced voters, sent uniformed brown-shirted storm troopers to monitor the elections in every hamlet, and ensured that the Nazi party came out as the biggest vote getter. They bullied, intimidated, and terrified people into either not voting or voting for their party. The Nazi party became the largest party in Parliament without winning a majority. With the Communist and the Nazi (both ends of the political extreme) strong, the center parties that supported democracy could not overcome the extremes. Democracy died in Germany.
Shortly after this election, Hitler eliminated the Communists through arrests due to the controversial Reichstag fire. Left as the only major party in the field, the Nazi party ran the country until May 1945, after a disastrous war.
Chances are, had those people who supported democracy not been intimidated, and had those people who subscribed to fear felt more confident, Germany would never have started World War II. How many children from across the world could have been saved if only people were not scared to raise their voice even higher?
Don’t be satisfied to protest against President-elect Trump and the fear and hate he and his team are using as a currency for power. Make your voice heard. Get out in your community to push back against him and and those he is now appointing to govern our great Republic. Ensure that you don’t let fear and hate kill what we've fought for and held for 240 years. We are not a nation of scared people. We will stand together to prevent a dictator from destroying our country. Otherwise, the cost will be your child in some future catastrophe we could have all prevented if we simply had the courage to act.