First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Those words, written by German Pastor Martin Niemöller post-WWII, and on display at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has to make one wonder who President’s Trump’s next target will be. We had Muslim Americans, Mexican Americans, African-Americans, LGBTQ Americans and now Jewish Americans, who show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty” when they vote for Democrats, according to Trump.
(Initially, it was unclear to whom Jews were being disloyal. He later clarified his remarks, although he didn’t make things better, when he said, “I think that if you vote for a Democrat you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.”)
Who will be next: Catholic-Americans, Protestant-Americans, Mormon-Americans? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
And as for Republican-American elected officials, who, apparently, have checked their balls at the door, their time to be targets is as near as the next Tweet. As an equal-opportunity hater, Trump doesn’t care who he insults.
He’s taken on members of his own staff, people he has hired to run the various government departments and the military, including a real American hero, John McCain. (And now that I think about it, if McCain had had bone spurs before going into the military, I’m sure he would have kept quiet about it just so he could serve his country.)
But this latest slur against Jews really hits home. I am a proud, if not “dumb and disloyal,” Jewish Democrat. I have been lucky in my 67 years to have never been attacked for my religion. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I always tell people who feel slighted by someone else to consider the source. And if the source is someone who is unreliable, undependable and a liar and bigot like Trump, don’t sweat it.
In this case, I’m not sure that works because the “source” is one of the most powerful people on the planet, and what he says trickles down to his base of bigots and white supremacists and has led to violence and death.
And as for Jews being disloyal to Israel, Americans need to be loyal to the United States and the Constitution, not a foreign power. And just because you disagree with some Israeli policies, such as how they treat Palestinians, does not mean you are anti-Semitic. I don’t agree with all of our policies, but that doesn’t make me any less of an American. In fact, thanks to the First Amendment, it makes me and others like me very American because we care enough to speak out.
Which brings us to the question of loyalty. Republicans in the House, Senate and other places have no problem displaying loyalty to one person: Trump. Where’s the loyalty to the Constitution, their fellow Americans and their fellow elected officials, specifically U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who have been targeted by Trump not only for the color of their skin, but because of their statements about Israel mistreating Palestinians?
That blind loyalty will, no doubt, cost Republicans the Senate and will help House Democrats increase their majority. It also is allowing unspeakable cruelty to families and children on the border with Mexico, is creating fear in minority communities and is causing people who need to escape unspeakable situations in Central America to stay put.
I’ll ask the question that so many are asking. Where are the Republicans and how long are they going to remain silent? Why are they being so disloyal to this great country of ours?
My guess is, that, before long, they will feel Trump’s wrath, and before you know it, there will be no one left to speak for them.