First they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionist, 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.
This inscription appears on a wall in the Hall of Witness at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is a quotation from Lutheran Minister Martin Niemoller. Niemoller was an early supporter of Hitler and he delivered anti-Semitic sermons early in the Nazi regime. After witnessing Hitler’s brutality and inhumanity, Niemoller became an opponent of Hitler and was sent to the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. Fellow prisoner Leo Stein recalled Niemoller saying: “Jesus Christ, the founder of Christendom, was a Jew. I love the Old Testament more than anything else. Hitler is trying to denounce this Testament as ‘Jewish,’ but there is no Christianity without it. Whoever is an anti-Semite and persecutes the Jews can never be a real Christian. Hitler is the true anti-Christ.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was another brave Lutheran pastor who took an active role in the German resistance. He was convicted of taking part in a plot to assassinate Hitler. He was stripped naked and hung on April 9, 1945 at Flossenburg concentration camp just two weeks before that camp was liberated by U.S. soldiers. This is perhaps Bonhoeffer’s most famous quote: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Fortunately, millions of Americans are speaking out and protesting the evil actions of those currently in charge of the U.S. government. Many others turn a blind eye to Trump’s reprehensible deeds while some actively defend him as though he were a normal president. Vander Atwell is one of those Trump defenders. Either directly or indirectly, he has often indicated that my writings cause him displeasure. So, I thought it fair to attempt to analyze some of his writings. In my estimation his arguments are short on facts and often highly inaccurate. I guess when you defend a pathological liar, it is hard to be honest. He usually speaks in generalizations with a broad sweeping diagnosis of the political world but you rarely learn where he stands on the specific actions of this president.
He takes offense to people calling Trump evil. Maybe it is a definitional problem. What word would he use to describe grabbing women by their private parts, mocking a disabled reporter, telling his mob to “beat the hell” out of protesters, calling the nations of Africa and Haiti “s……. countries” or personally maligning a former prisoner of war? On the policy front, one can only guess at Atwell’s views on taking health insurance away from millions of poor Americans, or the Republican plan to cut $800 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.
Atwell’s favorite scapegoat is socialism. In his telling, every socialist country is a carbon copy of North Korea. Socialism has been a miserable failure and is responsible for the ruination of the world, Atwell repeats ad nauseum. The truth is most of the best countries in the world are largely socialistic. Every developed nation except the United States has universal health care. The U.S. News Best Countries in the World rankings are dominated by Canada as well as Scandinavian and European countries that are heavily socialistic. Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Norway are rated the countries with the best quality of life in 2018. Atwell is simply non-factual and highly selective in his reporting on socialist countries.
While we are on the subject of socialism, the entire teaching of Jesus Christ revolved around the need for social justice in the world. How Christians can continue to support the anti-poor policies and practices of the low-life person who is president is a mystery to me.
Mr. Atwell seems to either ignore or not understand that the American economic system is a hybrid combination of capitalism and socialism. Government regulations protect the health and safety of the American people from the excesses of pure capitalism. Atwell may be the rare individual who is truly self-made. Maybe he never attended public schools. Maybe he never uses public lands, public parks or public highways. Maybe he has rejected his Social Security and Medicare benefits. Maybe he has never had a relative in a nursing home paid for with Medicaid.
Along with his many other talents, Mr. Atwell is apparently clairvoyant. He said: “the Trump/Russia investigation has fizzled, no collusion, no obstruction of justice, only the petulant complaints of sore losers …” We really don’t know what the Mueller investigation will reveal about Trump. We do know that several individuals close to Trump, including his campaign manager, his national security adviser and his personal attorney, have either been indicted or are under investigation for their dealings with Russia.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did just release a statement finding that Russia did try to help Trump get elected confirming the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA):
The ICA states that:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
One would suspect that Atwell also supported Trump’s cruel zero-tolerance immigration policy that separated children from their families. Many of these families were legally attempting to apply for asylum at the time of the separation. The others had their children taken from them for the misdemeanor offense of illegally crossing the border. And no, President Obama had no such policy as Atwell and others on the right have asserted. Giving Atwell the benefit of the doubt, maybe he is of American Indian heritage which would give him a reason to hate immigrants. Otherwise, his family came here from somewhere. Trump’s unskilled draft dodging grandfather came here from Germany and made his money in hotels and prostitution. Of course, when it wasn’t popular to be from Germany, Trump’s family concocted the lie that they were of Swedish origin.
Atwell blames the hatred for Trump on politics and “sore loser” Democrats. Maybe he should look inward at his own Party and the honorable Republicans who are fed up with its actions. Steve Schmidt worked for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and he was the campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential run. In a series of tweets, on June 19, he announced he was leaving the Republican Party:
“29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of the Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.
It is corrupt, indecent and immoral. With the exception of a few governors like Baker, Hogan and Kasich it is filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders. This child separation policy is connected to the worst abuses of humanity in our history. It is connected by the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families. It is immoral and must be repudiated. Our country is in trouble. Our politics are badly broken. The first step to a season of renewal in our land is the absolute and utter repudiation of Trump and his vile enablers in the 2018 election by electing Democratic majorities. I do not say this as an advocate of a progressive agenda. I say it as someone who retains belief in DEMOCRACY and decency.
On Ronald Reagan’s grave are these words. ‘I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.’ He would be ashamed of McConnell and Ryan and all the rest while this corrupt government establishes internment camps for babies. Everyone of these complicit leaders will carry this shame through history. Their legacies will be ones of well earned ignominy. They have disgraced their country and brought dishonor to the Party of Lincoln.
I have spent much of my life working in GOP politics. I have always believed that both parties were two of the most important institutions to the advancement of human freedom and dignity in the history of the world. Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values.
This independent voter will be aligned with the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies. That party is the Democratic Party.”