Posts Tagged ‘Govenment Oppression’

Jewish owned shop in Berlin circa 1930 – Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

Last weekend a dear friend invited me to attend the play, Cabaret, with a group of friends.  While I am far from being a sophisticated connoisseur of the theatre, I do enjoy a good story.  Moreover, this particular play, Cabaret, by Christopher Isherwood, really speaks to me in the ever-increasing irrationality that is our world today. Although I would never claim to be a film critic, I would be remiss not to mention that director, Derek Whitener did a superlative job.  The cast were all professionals and although I expected it to be good, I didn’t expect the story to grab me emotionally and not let go.  As a writer and a freedom activist, I consume far more of the tragedies and insanity that embody the daily news cycle.  The talented cast of musicians and actors flawlessly executed a story arch that took the characters and audience alike from a world of escapism that was the late 1920’s into pre-war Berlin on the verge of embracing Adolf Hitler’s militant fanaticism.  Not only did individual characters grow and change along with the times, emotionally, I found myself grieving for the Berliners from eighty-five years ago as they lived through the event’s first hand.

Rachael Robertson as Sally Bowles – Photo Credit: Michael Foster

The Cast really did a wonderful job, but in particular I was impacted by a few characters in particular. Emcee, played by Mikey Abrams was the central figure in the story and as such, it fell to him to carry the story from scene to scene.  I found him to be creepy, funny, frightening, and the end of the story tragic as events washed over him.  Mr. Abrams is clearly a talented young man.  Lindsay Hayward played an older woman, Fräulein Kost, who simply wanted to hold on to the world she knew. Like many Americans today, she was too afraid to risk what little she had to really live her life.  In a sense, she was a prisoner of her own reality bias.  How many of us simply refuse to accept the truth before us when that truth implies that everything we hold dear may likely be lost.  Finally, Sally Bowles, portrayed by an immensely talented Rachael Robertson, and her on-stage love interest, Clifford Bradshaw played by Billy Betsill depicted the quintessential questions we face today. What impacted me was most was the raw emotional surrounding the decisions faced by the couple as they did their best to cope as society fragmented around them.  Several days later and I still find myself reliving a gut-wrenching scene when Sally Bowles is devastated by events, and like so many of our neighbors, family and friends, she simply refused to accept that profound darkness was descending upon them.  For his part, Billy Betsill did a great job expressing his frustration at being unable to get those around him to realize what was coming.

They say that history repeats itself. Stories like Cabaret illustrate that in spades.  Director, Derek Whitener really did a wonderful job bringing those truths out in a way that emotionally connected with the audience.  I often say that art is the way to reach people.  This kind of story can inspire Americans to wake up to the abuses we are seeing by elites in Washington DC, even if only subconsciously.

The story is set in late 1929 – early 1930, only a few short years prior to the event which literally lit the fuse to full scale totalitarian rule in Germany. After the February 1933 Reichstag Fire, Hitler eviscerated freedom of the press, requiring all news to be approved by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.  Goebbels aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, as well as the press.  In today’s world we have leaders from both political parties working very hard to erode free speech in America with bills like the “Free Flow of Information Act” designed to give political leaders the authority to decide who may cover them and what can be said near an election.  In our America of 2014, how important would you say pleasure seeking is to the average citizen?  Obviously there are millions of concerned citizens from all political perspectives, but we have all cringed as we watched late shows doing so-called man on the street interviews.  Entertainers like Jimmy Kimmel asking people what they thought of the president’s State of the Union Speech, before it happened, and actually getting answers from people is really funny, but at the same time, tragic.  In Cabaret, Clifford Bradshaw has a great moment, where in frustration he asks the Sally if she ever read a newspaper. The truth is that like the characters in the play, too many Americans just want to tune out and leave politics to the politicians.  There are always so-called experts with impeccable credentials more than willing to tell us what must be done.

Rachael 2

Mikey Abrams – Emcee – Photo Credit: Michael Foster

While there is certainly nothing wrong with entertainment, how like Sally Bowles are so many of our neighbors, so unconcerned with the real issues of the day. After a hard day at work who could blame us for just wanting a little diversion.  The riots in Ferguson give us a hint at the underlying tension and division in the country.  Our Elections from this past century reflect this division.  The vitriol in the country continues to increase every year.  Political leaders will say and do almost anything to win.  Like Sally Bowles, Many Americans choose to be ignorant of the tough issues of our day.  The last two presidents have borrowed and spent vastly more money than all previous presidents combined.  While ISIS establishes a Caliphate in the Middle East, we have a border crisis with tens of thousands of people pouring into our country illegally, government abuses of our Bill of Rights, and the militarization of the police go unnoticed as emotionally detached citizens sit in front of their favorite television shows.  In a word, so many of our neighbors, family, and coworkers simply don’t care.  Life is a Cabaret, after all.  Leaders in both parties realize we no longer have a stake in defending our own freedom.  They know full well how easy it is to manipulate a witless population into promoting their agenda by convincing us to turn on each other, Republican versus Democrat, black against white, or men against women. Where will our apathy lead?  Sadly, as Clifford noticed in the play, apathy inevitably takes us to where it always takes us, into a period of profound darkness.  The question is, are Americans like Fräulein Kost, fatalistic with good hearts, but unwilling to stand up for what we know is right?  Are we willing to look past the hyped up, or even manufactured differences, with our neighbors to seek common ground with our neighbors?  Are we willing to live like men and women determined to be free!

 

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, By Erik Lawson

Additional Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Flow_of_Information_Act

http://www.businessinsider.com/jimmy-kimmel-pranks-pedestrians-on-obamas-state-of-the-union-2014-1

 

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Photo Credit: George Roelofson

When nations are faced with the ramifications of catastrophic economic collapse, things can become dicey for citizens.  Let’s face it, life today is pretty hectic.  Typically, both parents in a family have to work full time to make ends meet, and that is assuming there are two parents and not only one.  In our routine day to day lives, we have kids and their school activities, social obligations, and of course family who require out attention.  It is easy to get lost in the day to day and not have the time or energy to take a step back to see the macro view of our lives.  It is easy to just accept the cliff-notes view that is handed to us by the mass-media.

Consider, if you will, a nation that has out-of-control spending and ever-increasing regulation.  This nation had suffered a financial collapse with ever-increasing unemployment, and as a result, it repeatedly attempted to use “shovel ready” public projects to get its citizens working again.  A recovery could not be achieved, so this nation’s leaders felt they had no choice but to begin printing more and more currency to artificially prop up the financial system.  As always occurs, this led to unprecedented levels of inflation.

This scenario above depicts a nation experiencing a catastrophic economic collapse.  Human beings being human beings responded by demanding security.  Leaders being leaders responded by seizing power and taking steps to control the situation.  Unfortunately the situation was uncontrollable.  As things became dire, this nation’s citizens were willing to grasp at any straw as long as someone would make their lives work again.  They were willing to accept almost any degradation.

The nation, vulnerable and financially bankrupt, was a fertile field for an opportunist to take advantage of.  This opportunist represented a party that was willing to make one segment of the population a scapegoat for the economic hardships that citizens were experiencing.  In effect, this leader blamed the rich.  As you might guess the strategy was fantastically successful.  The only problem was that the nation’s constitution guaranteed rights that were a problem for these parties’ plans.  The solution was to ignore those constitutional guarantees.

Picture from article by: Daniel Castillo By now you have likely guessed what nation I am referring to.  What is frightening is that when we see today’s news, how much of what happened then is taking place now.  I noticed on this week, on the first Friday of the New Year, a judge ruled that the majority of Americans were now subject to search and seizure of their electronic devices like laptops and iPhones.  That’s right.  If you live and work within 100 miles of the coast or a international border, this ruling says law enforcement can go through your belongings on a whim – no search warrant needed.  In similar fashion, earlier last week, Americas witnessed citizens lining up in Connecticut to register their weapons and ammunition.  This is another key step that earlier regime took.  I have noted other examples in earlier posts, but you get the point.  My thought is that it is our duty as American citizens to keep our eyes open and take note of the news items we see, not as an individual incident, but as a puzzle piece in a larger picture.  It is incumbent on each of us to resist the loss of freedom lest we find ourselves going down the same path that German citizens did in the 1930’s.  There is a threat out there from terrorism, but my question to you is this.  Are the government over-reaches and their ignoring our constitution really making us any safer?  I can only speak for myself, but I am much, much more afraid of unaccountable government thugs than I am of terrorists.  If nothing else, there are many more government thugs, who while ‘just following orders,’ who can ruin a person’s life than there are terrorists in America.

The reason I wrote Phoenix Republic was and is to get Americans to wake up to the big picture.  We all have things we believe in and we should all do what we can to win hearts and minds with regard to achieving the best for our country.  My point is that there is a bigger picture than left vs. right politics.  We do not all have to agree on individual policies but it is imperative that we all agree on defending freedom.

Additional Resources:

First hand accounts:

The first of these, a woman named Irma from Massachusetts talks about the comparison between today’s America and what she experienced in Germany.  This is very compelling and I highly recommend listening to it.  The second link is another woman who lived under the Nazis.  Her presentation is 46 minutes long.  It is instructive and compares Germany to the US today – with excerpts of current events juxtaposed with the historic events she is speaking to.

Irma Shares With Buck Sexton The Horror of Living Under Tyrannical Government 

Related news stories:

http://www.truthandaction.org/judge-reaffirms-constitution-free-zones-100-miles-inside-u-s-borders/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/31/looks-like-weimar-germany-the-viral-photo-out-of-connecticut-thats-giving-some-gun-owners-chills/

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/Econ20s.htm