Stan: Berlin, 1933
Over the years, I have wondered what it would have been like to live in Berlin in 1933.
Now, I know.
The received wisdom in Berlin was that Hitler could not possibly be as bad as he sounded. The decent people of this country are now saying the same things to themselves. “He can’t possibly mean those things…He was just bragging…He will settle down once he actually has to run a government…”
We now know that the Germans were dead wrong. Millions of them.
For ourselves, we will just have to wait and see. My husband reminds me that the Germans in 1933 had precious little experience of stable democracy, and we have lots. But the Nazis in 1933 weren’t nearly as well armed as the Trump-ites are today. These are the immediate steps my family is taking:
- Getting up to date passports.
- Watching world markets with an eye to making the smartest possible judgments about whether, and when to move money out of the country. Our house price, and our retirement savings, took huge hits overnight.
Those will handle basic safety issues.
If I was a minority in a minority majority area policed by a majority white force, I would start strategizing with my neighbors about ways to keep the community safer, and open wider dialogues with the police.
Gays in California are probably still very safe, but I am pulling out all my Gay is Good, and Rainbow shirts, and the few I have with Arabic writing, and getting ready to wear them around town. I have never been a flag flyer but I may become one now. The stars and stripes, and the rainbow.
I think it is essential to show ourselves and the world that we are not willing victims and will not go quietly.
We all need to prepare ourselves to attend protest after protest after protest. And write email after email after email to the press, and government officials.
I am going to propose to the city of Concord (where I live) that January 20th, the day of the inauguration, be declared to be Diversity Day, and see if I can get the first ever Diversity Fair off the ground.
Frankly, it’s been 40 years since I tried to organize anything and I have no idea whether these will fly. If you have different or better ideas comment back with them.
Finally, it is absolutely true that most of the people who voted for Trump are good people. They are undoubtedly kind to their individual families, likely give to favorite charities, and may be pillars of their church. They don’t kick their dogs or children. On and on. Sadly, the same was true of the Germans in 1933.
Stan Stansbury is a Contributor at InQueery.