At nineteen, I am in shock that at some point in my life, I may end up fighting Nazis in a third world war. I am an English student, words are supposed to be kind of my whole thing, and yet, I am at a loss for what to say. In the year 2017, Nazism is thriving, alive and well, and in the United States, it is also very much legal.
This is not a matter of freedom of speech. This is not a matter of disagreeing with someone’s political stance because it differs from mine. These are Nazis – its country of origin has banned Nazism because it contributed to the deaths of over fifty million people. This is not a matter of debate any longer. If you appear in hoards, wielding tiki torches and screaming slurs, I am not going to open my front door to you and ask for a calm discussion. I am going to fight back.
To those saying that we must fight hate with love – you are, unfortunately, wrong. I wish with all my being that that would work. In some cases, I believe it would. But not any longer. Not now, where in one week alone, the threat of nuclear war became strikingly present, and white supremacists go unchided by the leader of the supposed free world.
Former Congressman from Michigan’s 12th District, John Dingell tweeted:
I signed up to fight Nazis 73 years ago and I'll do it again if I have to.
Hatred, bigotry, & fascism should have no place in this country.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) August 12, 2017
Even Harry Leslie Smith, an RAF veteran of the Second World War, tweeted:
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) August 12, 2017
I am a non-violent person. But when I see videos of hundreds of Nazis gathered together chanting “fuck you f*ggots,” anger ignites within me. When I see Americans with swastikas tattooed on their chests, how else could I feel but disgusted? Did I miss the history class where America betrayed the Allies and became best buds with Hitler and his band of merry Nazis?
I am not writing this to instigate violence. I am writing this because I want you to know, that this is everybody’s problem. Irrespective of your social standing, your financial status, your race, your sexuality, your gender, your preferred breakfast cereal – this is your problem. Do not let fascists walk all over you, or your loved ones, or even a complete stranger, because why should human decency be limited?
I’ll finish with this poem by Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
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 for me.