Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years ago while in Germany I had the opportunity to visit Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial just outside of Brandenburg Gate (Kacie snapped the below picture of me as I was walking through the memorial).
Honestly, it was a really weird experience. The memorial is made up of what look like stone caskets varying in height, some barely coming up to my knees and others soaring far above my head. As I walked toward the middle of the monument, the ground sloped deeper and the structures rose higher. It was like walking through a forest of the dead. It was a place that evoked somber feelings in me, but also inspired a sense of anger and resolve.
Anger at what Jews – as well as many political, religious, and masonic sympathizers who spoke up – endured at the hands of their oppressors, and that we should never again allow ourselves to perpetuate hatred toward others in blind patriotism to a nation or loyalty to a leader.
Resolve that I would do everything I could to use my talents and abilities to fight – in whatever small way I could – against the elitism that exists in the mindsets of people and entities seeking to divide people for the sake of their own notoriety and power. I would also teach my children to do the same.
As trite as it sounds: evil is evil. Evil is not Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, or any other political party around the world. It is in the hearts of every person who is willing to sow division and hatred, rather than humility and love, for their own gain… or that of a specific people group with whom they identify.
Hitler was a man who convinced his followers that he was the only source of strength, power, and truth. He convinced his followers that Jews would somehow destroy their way of life. Eventually, patriotism was equivalent to supporting Hitler. We can not allow that to happen again. The cult of personality can not be permitted to overcome the care we have for our neighbors – whether here or anywhere else in the world. This happens when we fix our hope on a flag, nation, party, or individual leader – be it a President, Senator, News Personality, whomever – rather than looking at the person beside us.
Patriotism is loyalty to the people. Patriotism is not loyalty to a governmental leader or political party/personality.
Maybe, today we can best reflect on International Holocaust Remembrance Day by letting the atrocities we have seen in the past inform us of how to proceed into a better future where ALL people are given dignity, respect, and worth… simply because they exist.