By Senator Lena C. Taylor
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. ~ Martin Niemöller
After watching the recent treatment of victims of Hurricane Dorian by the Trump Administration, Martin Niemöller’s words loom in the air, like bellows of smoke from an explosion. Niemöller was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor best known for disavowing the Nazi regime during the 1930s, after initially being a supporter of Adolf Hitler. History will debate whether Niemöller’s opposition included both the Nazification of German churches and the maltreatment of Jews while he was imprisoned from 1938–1945. But there is no doubt, that when he penned the now famous poem, he regretted not having done more to help the victims of the Nazi reign of terror.
I am betting there will be those today, that will regret their silence and lack of action regarding the mistreatment of so many people at the hands of Donald Trump. Many have sat on the sidelines while groups of people have been maligned, mistreated and marginalized. We have gasped in disbelief and shaken our head in disgust at the hurtful comments, race-baiting, and outright ignorant remarks and actions made by the President of the United States. Whether throwing paper towels at storm victims, ignoring the plight of victims of mass shootings, or stripping safety net protections from our nation’s most vulnerable, Trump and his enablers have turned our country into something we don’t recognize.
After one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit islands in the Bahamas Reports in recent years, America would normally have shown up to assist and provide assistance to people who have lost everything. Typically, that help could have come in the form of offering Temporary Protected Status to Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian. However, we know that Trump’s administration has sought to deny Bahamian’s without a visa entry into the United States after this storm. Democratic lawmakers and human rights advocates have been vocal about their outrage at this decision. Yet, the silence of Republicans has been repulsive. But if Trump’s pattern of destruction remains true, it’s just a matter of time before he comes for Republicans too. And when his brand of poison strikes, as always Democrats will speak up for you because it’s the right thing to do.