They came for the teacher's, trade unionists, the immigrants.

They came for the Trade Unionist's

[Originally written in 2011 so decided to update it a little bit]
With the latest Supreme Court decision they are still coming for the Trade Unionists, demonizing any organizing of people, picking on and pre-selecting an enemy to blame economic woes on 'the immigrants'.

March 2011
Recent events in Wisconsin have worried me and when I spoke to a teacher on Saturday night at a fund raising party to support a school she told me of people's apathy and nonresistance. The removal of Trade Union rights reminds me of the terrible and slow rose to power of demonic forces in Germany after 1933 and people's uncomfortable acceptance of a slow change from democracy to one party power. I always loved this German Pastor's quotation from that time of oppression and persecution.
First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Some other varieties of this text lists the press, the schools and the churches also in this list. Are we destined to repeat history?

The hangman

The Hangman is the title of a poem linked to this theme where a hangman appears in a town and one by one hangs all the townspeople and due to cowardice no one speaks out. But silence or demure acceptance doesn't save any of them because finally there is no one left to say stop. As each different man is identified by the hangman, their particular uniqueness is identified and a lame excuse is trotted out.

And he stepped down, and laid his hand
On a man who came from another land.
The fourth man's dark, accusing song
Had scratched our comfort hard and long;
"And what concern," he gave us back.
"Have you for the doomed -- the doomed and Black?" 

and finally he addresses the last man left - the narrator,

For who has served me more faithfully
Then you with your coward's hope?" said he,
"And where are the others who might have stood
Side by your side in the common good?"

"Dead," I whispered. And amiably
"Murdered," the Hangman corrected me:
"First the foreigner, then the Jew...
I did no more than you let me do."

Beneath the beam that blocked the sky
None had stood so alone as I.
The Hangman noosed me, and no voice there
Cried "Stop!" for me in the empty square.

They thought they were free - by Milton Meyer 
but then it was too late

Pastor Niemöller spoke for the thousands and thousands ... and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something—but then it was too late."

Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily enough to protect citizenry from injustice. The Germans before and during WWII were supposedly in a democracy (Hitler was elected)  and little by little as illustrated in the book 'They thought they were free'  found themselves also on what I will term the hangman's path.  People feel the uncertainty, and suspect they are alarmist (like I do writing this) and don't want to act alone - and because it doesn't affect us directly then we go along to get along.

"But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—
In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

So the current step is removal of rights for teachers and Trade Unionists - who or what is next?  You or me?

SONGWRITER NOTE: Inspired by these ideas I wrote "It's only something small"


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