“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, a Lutheran minister, speaking after World War II on the German people’s silence regarding what happened in Germany.
Germany was a highly educated country known as "the land of poets and thinkers." Surely it couldn’t devolve into a brutal dictatorship responsible for the murder of millions of people. But it did.
The United States is a highly educated country known for its freedom and the rights of individuals. Surely, it could never devolve into a dictatorship that suppresses those with different views. Surely, the populace would recognize that restricting and silencing the views outside of the mainstream (whether by the government or powerful private interests) would eventually lead to total censorship.
Surely, Americans would object to giving up their freedom. They would know from history, that calls for safety and security have inevitably led to restrictions and eventual loss of freedom. They would know that historically freedom has been lost slowly, bit by bit. They certainly would object to any restrictions on freedom, knowing they will lead to ever increasing restrictions, minor step by minor step.
Jim Rongstad, Rochester