Here in America most of us think of the Great Depression as being something that impacted our country alone. Not so. The depression did originate in the United States after the stock market crashed in 1929, but it spread throughout the world, causing drops in personal income, tax revenue, and international trade. Unemployment went sky high. Construction came to a grinding halt in many places. Sound familiar?
In Germany, unemployment soared as American loans meant to help rebuild the country after World War I dried up. As people became more and more afraid, their political system got increasingly extreme. The German people were looking for someone to blame, and the Jews, who were so culturally different from them, became good scapegoats. “They” were not like “Us”.
Cartoons like these, demonizing the Jews, became quite common. We all know what happened from there, and most people, if they have any sense at all, are horrified and ashamed at the deterioration of humanity that resulted in the holocaust.
That could never happen again, right? Well, I came across this cartoon today.
In the present day, it’s not the Jews we are targeting with our fear. It’s the Islamics. Even people that I care about very much are saying things like “All of them are evil.” “They all want to destroy us.” And every day you see more and more news about Islamic atrocities, as if in our culture sexual abuse, kidnapping, murder, bombers, and hatred don’t exist. As if we all agree with our government 100 percent of the time, and can therefore be tarred by the same brush. As if “they” are animals that are incapable of love, humanity, integrity, intelligence and goodness like “us.”
When I hear this kind of ignorance spewing forth, I want to shake people and say “Look what you are doing! Again! Can’t you see?” When you start convincing yourself that a certain group of people is less than human, it leads to worldwide destruction. We will all lose.
We’re sliding down a slippery slope, people. I want to at least be able to say that at some point, I had the decency to say, “Stop.” But my voice doesn’t carry very far. If you stand with me, it will carry farther. Don’t let the hatred and fear that is being spoon fed to all of us override your common sense. For the sake of humanity.