When They Came for Me

When the Nazis came for the Communists, I remained silent; I was not a Communist.

When they locked up the Social Democrats, I remained silent; I was not a Social Democrat.

When they came for the Trade Unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a Trade Unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a Protestant pastor and social activist.

I want to bring your attention to this passage as written by Martin Niemöller for reasons that will become obvious to you as time goes forward in this period of social and economic evolution within the United States, as well as the global arena. The author is summarizing the events that led to Nazi Germany’s ability to unite an entire country under a common belief, a philosophy that was froth with inconsistencies.  Everyone should have, to some degree, a working knowledge of that era, so I won’t go into details.

Let’s change the names to protect the innocent… so to speak, and see how these writings fit present day America:

When the Right came for the Senior citizens, I remained silent; I was not a Senior citizen.

When they locked up the Social Democrats, I remained silent; I was not a Social Democrat.

When they came for the Trade Unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a Trade Unionist.

When they came for the Lower Classes, I remained silent; I wasn’t in the Lower Classes.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

It has been said that America was as close to being a dictatorship under the Bush Administration as ever before – The Patriot Act set the stage for what we see today – in a broader sense; .  I have enclosed a copy of the summary of what the PATRIOT Act does… USA PATRIOT Act.

“The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.” 

Before someone goes off on a tangent, I am sighting the Patriot Act here to put emphasis on the discreet way in which laws are passed which can enhances the capability to do other things that are even more bizarre in nature – the Patriot Act has its validity in the grand scheme of protecting America, but there were other entities encompassed in the Patriot Act that were in place before the Patriot Act was passed that did the same job.  So why did we need a ‘new’ law to do what was already a law?

The Military Commission Act of 2006 as originally signed by President Bush took aim at the rights of an accused as granted under the Habeas Corpus Act… you simply have to be declared a ‘domestic terrorist’ and you lose your right to representation, time you can be held without charges, and the right to an attorney – furthermore, your trial, if you are granted one will, be at the discretion of the entity that had you arrested and detained.

The Military Commission Act was revised in 2009 to appease its critics, but the controversy remains as to whether a U.S citizen can be tried under this Act.  Consider that the Combatant Status Review Tribunal decides whether you will be tried as an ‘alien’ or U. S. citizen – the new changes, that to some degree set guidelines for the Combatant Status Review Tribunal were requested by President Obama.  Based upon the new determination, you have a three step process that must include ‘substantial’ evidence to classify you as a hostile or unlawful enemy combatant.   You will have the right to Habeas Corpus and a trial by your ‘peers’, or a military tribunal if you do not qualify or meet all three of the steps of determination!

The text of the law states that its “purpose” is to “establish procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission.” While the most controversial provisions in the law refer to “alien unlawful enemy combatants”, section 948a refers to “unlawful enemy combatants” (not explicitly excluding US citizens).

What I am saying is this:

Changes are being made to the laws in many States and at the Federal Congressional level by the 2010 wave of Republicans that were ushered into our State and Federal Congresses with a mandate the Right foolishly believes is validated by the 2010 election results, this may be so, but surely no one envisioned what is currently taking place.  No one envisioned that ‘entitlements’ were going to be cut, degraded; no one believed that our Unions were going to be pushed to the curb like new fallen snow with hopes that they would melt and fade away in the Spring; no one believed that laws that have been on the books… having passed challenge after challenge are now being changed – precedence is a mainstay of Judicial law, and yet, we see clearly that these changes are being made.  No one believed that controversial laws, having been struck down by the courts, would be enacted in spite of the rulings by our courts!

No citizen is standing to voice concern… we are silent – until it is our turn to be subjected to the new order!  Therein lays the dilemma… the crack in the wall that will release a flood of laws systematically taking away your rights – all under the pretense of prosecuting terrorist.

In a democracy, silence is not golden; it is condonance in the face of injustices; it is fear, where the thought of reprisal fosters control – Rodney A. Davis

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