As I have often written, I firmly believe ignorance is the greatest danger and enemy of democracy. One of the sub-categories of dangerous lack of knowledge is the woeful ignorance concerning history.
After the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Dictators of nations before have used fear to manipulate populations of nations, and thereby in many instances have caused world tribulation.
Anyone who is a student of the history of Germany can easily see how Adolph Hitler manipulated the German people into believing their nation was about to be taken over by Communists and Jews. Hitler represented to his people that he could be the savior of their nation by ridding them of threats or perceived threats, persuading them to forsake freedom for his version of safety. As we all now know, the result was the killing of many people of Jewish faith and ultimate tragedy and defeat for the nation of Germany.
Benjamin Franklin once said that those who forsake freedom for safety deserve neither. Unfortunately, today many politicians — particularly some seeking the office of president — are employing the fear factor as the central theme of their campaigns. Sadly, those like Donald Trump who claim not to be political, are employing the most common of political ruses. If one notices, Trump never says no, even to the craziest idea. The best you can expect from him in these circumstances is to say, “Maybe” or “We’ll have to look at that.” The most recent and scariest ideas presented to Trump were not greeted with the disdain they deserve, but ostensibly encouraged by Trump’s failure to spurn them. For example, according to press reports, one idea recently put forth was to register all Muslims in America and perhaps require papers or armbands to identify them. Does this bring back memories of the Nazis requiring the Jews be tattooed in sequential numbers? Unfortunately, Trump failed to give such ideas the short shrift they deserve, but only pandered to the craziness of his admirer’s proposal.
Trump has openly declared that perhaps we do not need to pander to acceptable conversation between American citizens of different ethnic backgrounds, but has also even proposed it would be acceptable to torture in an effort to help secure us from threats of terrorists.
Equally dangerous to our religious freedom is the proposal of Ted Cruz that we allow only Christians to immigrate. He is playing to the fear of non-Christians and is only a step away from government classification of citizens based on their beliefs.
Such crazy ideas by Trump, Cruz and several others currently seeking to be president would destroy the very fabric of what has made our nation a beacon of freedom, and in all probability the best country on earth in which to reside.
If we do not denounce such attitudes and remember the lessons of history which we should have learned, we will end up being no better than ISIS itself.