As we consider the future of our nation and the direction we seem to be heading, will there come a time when you need to speak out? This is a question that came to mind after I received a nice letter and an article from a lady reader who lives in Kansas.
This reader, Ann Heckenlively, reads my column in the Dodge City Daily Globe. What she sent was an article reprint titled, "Anti-apathy essay courtesy of Hitler foe," printed by Mike Rudden in his Wacky Questions column. While it goes back quite a ways, this was an article about the way Jews were treated in Germany before World War II. The basic premise was that when the Germans closed the Jewish stores, most of the German people just ignored it because it did not affect them. Basically, it was about apathy and how you have to get involved if you see something wrong.
The following essay, written by the Rev. Martin Niemoller, a German Protestant minister and one of Hitler’s leading Christian opponents, tells a very compelling story. Here is one of several versions.
"First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Communist; then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Socialists; then they came for the trade unionists, 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 out for me."
If you keep up with the news, then you already know what is happening in our country since President Obama took office and gave us change we could believe in. I am sure you know that I am not an activist, but rather just an American who loves his country and cherishes his freedom. History has a way of repeating itself, so let me give you another true example of why all of us need to speak out.
I have a friend, Juan Alonso, who lives in Lincoln, Neb., who is originally from Cuba, but fled this island nation in the wake of Fidel Castro’s takeover. Today Juan, who truly loves this country, is doing everything he can to warn the American people of the same fate that awaits us, if we do not change course. Juan blames the Cuban press for the Communist takeover, because they were corrupt and did absolutely nothing to warn the Cuban people of what was going to happen to the country if nothing was done. The press failed to take action and allowed the Marxist/Communist people to take over the Cuban government and install a brutal, despotic, socialist economic and cultural way of life.
The press could have met with the then-head of government (President Batista) and his high ranking military members and work out a free presidential election, free of any intervention from Batista’s government. The press did not do that, and instead they sided with the July 26 revolutionary movement, headed by Fidel Castro. The lack of "cojones" by the Cuban members of the press for not doing their duties (jobs) resulted in 50-plus years of brutal oppression in which hundreds of Cubans died by assassination, torture, and drowning on the Caribbean waters as they tried to escape from such horrible conditions.
Juan concludes by saying, "I witnessed all the above until they came for me. I had to escape, like millions of others, from Castro’s Free Cuba. I held the majority of the Cuban press responsible for not acting in behalf of the Cuban people when they had their opportunities to save Cuba from Marxist/Communist dictatorship."
My question: Who will speak for you and me?
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)