As a “go and flow” kind of person, where or when does fighting fit in? The big phrase is that “what we resist persists” but “resist” is the motto of the Women’s movement in the US. How can these two concepts co-exist? Someone, please explain this to me.
One of my German teachers hosted a wonderful 2 day weekend tour for our class. We went around Munich and learned all about German history. We looked out windows at plazas that Nazis used to march in, she pointed out where the banners used to hang, where the Gestapo wrote out their death orders, where Nazis enjoyed a lovely outdoor cafe experience. We stood beside buildings that Hitler gave speeches from. We learned specifically, about WWII and the politics behind how Hitler came into power. I’ll talk about that in the end. I haven’t figured out how to make it non-political ranty.
First, I would like to take a bit of a somber path. I will tell you the part of the tour that got to me the most: The students of the White Rose movement that published literature against Hitler. These students’ education became censored with the rest of the country. Many books were banned and burned, they were told how to think from the time they were in the Hitler Youth. What does a University education look like under censorship? What do discussions look like? How does a mind grow? At one point this group had an awakening to the realities of what was really happening and they began to question everything they had been told to believe. They began to publish eye witness info and interviews and to write essays about free thinking.
This really made me pause. Never have I had to stand up for my right to think the way I do, to be creative but the free will to think, to question, to be creative, that is what they fought for. That is what they risked their lives and broke the law for. Just think, even art was standardized and regulated.
I’ve read so many stories about the resistance and I wonder what sort of person I would be. Do I really put myself out there for others? Do I really step in and help? If the stakes were life and death would I be different? I never realized that what some people fought for was just the freedom of their minds. We live in a lucky world. Also, I’m a terrible liar. I think I’d be spotted right away.
What are you willing to fight for?
One of these students journaled that she was willing to sacrificing her life for this cause. She was willing to die for the freedom to think, to form her own opinions. She fought to let others form theirs. They met in secret to discuss banned books. How limiting is a world like that?
One of the things I am most grateful for is a creative brain. I love how I think and see the world. I love to daydream and come up with random ideas or projects. I like to question and to learn. I was in a controlling church that formed opinions for you and I did my best to think the way they did but I always got it wrong. It was such a struggle to unconditionally love like Jesus’ example and then judge others for their shortcomings.
I am grateful for my experience because I feel like I know what control feels like. I hope I can recognize it when it comes along. Fight to be you.
Eventually the students were caught and tried as terrorists and many denounced them for treason against Germany. Are you really willing to go against everyone and everything and be labeled for your truths and beliefs? What are your beliefs? Where can we have this discussion?
We have this wonderful freedom now days. I feel like we owe it to everyone who lived through dictatorships, through being put in boxes, to seek a life of truth and vulnerability. We don’t have to conform to this world.
What is the most important thing in your life?
In the concentration camps people realized that the one thing they had control over was their mind, their attitude and outlook. They could hate and resent their captors or they could focus on having a peaceful mind.
As an American it was SO disturbing to listen to the lecture at the museum on the politics of Germany before WWII. Hitler was an icon. Everyone followed and loved him and didn’t pay attention to what his party represented.
Perhaps you will see some parallels:
Hitler was praised as a political outsider
People said that he probably didn’t mean all those things against Jews.
People said he would calm down once he was in office
People praised him for telling it like it is.
But this is what freaked me out
It was the richest that funded his campaign. Without their backing he would have gone nowhere
The party that was in office supported Hitler in order to maintain power for themselves. They thought he would be easy to control.
The party that held the majority continuously changed the laws for democracy to undermine the opposing party and manipulate the winning vote. This brought in confusion and disenchantment with the government until people quit paying attention, resulting in low voter turn out. In the end it was the party in charge that voted it parliament out of power.
A market crash got the poor people on board. Hitler guaranteed more jobs.
Do you want a dictatorship? Because this is how you get a dictatorship.
So many angry FB posts made parallels to Hitler when Trump was running and I dismissed it because it was such an extreme leap. I see the more subtle parallels now.
Now is the time to stop and self reflect.
What is True? What is right? What matters most in this life?
Who can you reach out to that seems different than you. Where do you share common ground? What is their view of the world? How can you come together to work for the same good?
Resist conformity. Don’t let others tell you how your life is “supposed” to be lived or worked out. Do it for you. Make a plan, stick to it, see what happens, adjust your sails if you don’t like the direction you are heading.
Stand up for the little people. Some people are not as sure as you. Help them. Guide them but don’t bully them. Don’t let them be radicalized.