Elders

“Elders” are now contemporaries of myself, so I’m a bit biased.

Recently, three for whom I have a great amount of respect sent some offerings I recommend.

  1.  Marion Brady invested his life in public education.  I first met him in an on-line chat group of the National Education Association in the mid-1990s.  Here is his website.  No, I’m not asking you to read it all.  But I do have a recommendation to get a sense of who he is.  You can find it in the Personal section.  Scroll through this, and at the very end click on the last link below the picture of the country school in West Virginia which he attended in the late 1930s.  You’ll get a sense of who he is.  Let others know about this website, especially folks in public education.  Marion has long since paid his dues….
  2. Fr. Harry Bury, Catholic Priest, also in his 90s, earned his accolades in his passion for peace and justice.  He, too, has a personal website; note the link “about Harry Bury”.  He wrote recently about his passion, which started a few years ago as Twin Cities Nonviolent, and this year is Sep 18-26 as organized here.  Click on Action Week.  In a July 31 e-mail, Fr. Bury said “Please register. They are our partner.”  There are many ways to participate.
  3. Alan Pavlik is also a senior citizen, whose blog Just Above Sunset is an almost daily stop for me.  As a subscriber, I also receive each week, a specific compilation of other aspects of Alan’s work. Most recently last Sunday came a collection of quotations about Courage.  You’ll be glad you visited.

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Last night I watched Episode Two of Rise of the Nazis on the local TPT PBS station.  A few hours later came a column sent on by Joyce by Heather Cox Richardson about Hungary’s slide towards authoritarianism (August 2, 2021).

We are fools if we think “It Can’t Happen Here”.  The process is in the open, and continuing, today, in our own country.  We watch it on the daily news, or wherever we choose to get our information.  Of course, the topic is a forbidden one.  A curse on anyone comparing anything with the Nazis.  I disagree.  We have lots to learn from the wrecks of history.

The perpetrators are fools, as was Hitler and his loyalist, as were any pretenders to permanent dominance.

Hitler and the Nazis had a twelve year run towards their 1000 year Reich.  Actually, they had about 10 years maximum, till everything came crashing down.  You know the story.  Throw in others fakers, like Mussolini, Stalin, and many etceteras, and you know the end of the story for all such disasters.

But there are always new fools – leaders and followers – who think their new way will work, and that they are justified.  It always ends, for everyone, in death, with consequences for those who happen to survive the tyrant of whatever stripe.

Hitler’s chief lieutenant was a brilliant guy named Hermann Goering.  Before his death by suicide in a cell at Nuremberg Goering had a chat with psychologist Gustave Gilbert and was quoted as follows.

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor England, nor for that matter, Germany. That is understood, but after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simpler matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

(Quoted from the book Nuremberg Diary, p. 278, Gustave Gilbert, Farrar, Straus & Co., 1947. Gilbert was a psychologist assigned to the Nazi prisoners on trial at Nuremberg.)

Never forget: it was the people of one of the bastions of then-civilization, Germany, who by their actions and inaction facilitated the disaster that ultimately befell them.  It happened there, it can happen here.

POSTNOTE August 4: After publishing the above, came the latest news on Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor.  The overnight Just Above Sunset summarizes the national spin: https://justabovesunset.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/the-new-hippies/

I want to comment as an individual, at least to go on record for myself.

I come from a background of valuing Due Process…a way to reach some kind of verdict involving some kind of evidentiary hearing which comes to a conclusion.  Even in the primitive old days that I witnessed, I don’t recall the accused being dragged into the public square, and summarily executed….

What is happening here, is no comparison to Due Process.  The process is charge, conviction, execution.  Likely there will never be any trial, however one describes that word.  The Governor will resign.  There will be outrage, then the next case.

If this was an unusual scenario it would be one thing, but this new means of execution is now very common, as effective and no fairer than the good old-time lynching which continues, justifiably, to raise outrage among fair-minded people.

Due process was no priority in a lynching.

Neither is it here (regardless of potential for such due process down the road).

I want this on the record, even if I am the only one who gives a damn.

Just my opinion.

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