I generally try not to post much of anything political here, but today, it is different.
I was so angry today, and it takes a lot to get me angry. There was a stand outside Costco, and the people at the stand had "impeach Obama" signs there. This normally wouldn't have got me angry, because everyone is entitled to free speech, and I'm fine with that. What got me so awfully angry was that they had put a Hitler mustache on Obama's picture, making him out to be no better than that dictator. It immediately brought to mind my experience at Belgium's Breendonk concentration camp--the horror and the unspeakable acts that occurred there.
I suppose I shouldn't have done it, but it is one thing to see such things on line, and another right there in front of you in public. I got out of my car and went to that young man and said, "Don't. Don't do this Nazi thing. Feel free to address the issues and your concerns, but don't make anyone--I don't care who it is--out to be a Nazi like this, because you have no clue about what you're talking about."
He spouted about how it was The Truth and how Obama was taking us down the road to thermonuclear war and all the rest. And I said, "No. Even that does not qualify anyone for being the next Hitler. Have you ever been to a concentration camp? Seen one in person?" He acknowledged that he didn't. And I said, "I have. I have seen what real Nazis and what Hitler actually put into place and did. What you are doing here is cheapening the Holocaust. You are cheapening the sacrifices of our veterans to save us from those horrors."
This didn't convince him. He looked to be in his twenties, younger perhaps than my own son, and I am sure this world is frightening to him, what with the economic problems we--and especially his generation, my son's generation--have to face. I will give that young man the benefit of youth, inexperience, ignorance, as well as a directionless passion.
But after I left, I confess I was so much in despair for this young man I wept. I realized, this boy--I don't even think I can call him a man because of his youth and what I see as hopelessness--has no faith in America. He has no faith in the deep-down spirit of the American people to do, eventually, what is right and good. He does not have the perspective of history or of a life of observation as I have had.
John saw me return in tears, and of course he asked me what was wrong. I told him. After a hug, he said these most wise words: "He--and people like him, regardless of whether they say that Obama is Hitler, or Romney, or Bush, or anyone else is Hitler--is projecting what he has become himself. They are brownshirts themselves looking for another brownshirt to lead them."
It was a hard truth to hear, but I think John may be right. Tonight, I am going to pray for this young man, and others like him who project demon-like qualities on others because they themselves may be fighting their own inner demons.
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