Today is the second day after the Republicans, in the words of President George W Bush, took a “thumpin” at the polls.
It is indeed remarkable how the world changes in just one day.
Rumsfeld’s gone which is perhaps not such a good thing. Pelosi and Rangel will set the agenda in the USA for the next 2 years and beyond. This might not be such a good thing either.
And the entire dynamics of the 2008 race for the White House is now upside down and topsy-turvy.
But regardless of what happens within the next two years, America will continue to grow, dominate and lead the word.
There is so much talk about the US election results, that an even greater event has been ignored as if it has never happened. And I’m not writing about Britney Spears’ divorce.
On November 9, 1938, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich formally declared a physical war against Germany’s Jews.
The night of November 9, 1938 is forever etched on the pages of history as KRISTALLNACHT. The night the glass broke all over Germany.
The night the Jews of Germany were declared by the state to be fair-game to beatings, robbery, vandalism, gang-rape and murder.
It was the night that the refined European veneer of civility was stripped off the skin of sophistication, laying bare the monster that dwells inside most of us just below the surface.
But KRISTALLNACHT wasn’t just a German affair, it was a shame, and a blight upon all of Europe.
KRISTALLNACHT happened just 40 days after the signing of the Munich Agreement (September 29, 1938), which appeased Hitler.
And in the words of the British Prime Minister and coward, Neville Chamberlain who negotiated it, that his agreement with Germany was a guarantee of “Peace for our time”.
Just a month and 10 days later, an emboldened Nazi Germany laid their Jewish residents who were stripped of citizenship rights to waste.
KRISTALLNACHT wasn’t just one night. It was just the physical beginning of a 7 year night-mare for Europe’s Jews, with a clear message to the rest of anti-Semitic Europe; that Jewish blood was cheap. And that Jewish wealth was to have for the taking.
Why it is important to remember KRISTALLNACHT, is because that ultra-thin veneer of civility is no thicker today, than it was 68 years ago.
Jews are just as vulnerable today, as they were then. And just like then, there are no shortage of Neville Chamberlains in positions of power to appease the monsters.
It is indeed important to live in the present and understand the politics of the day.
But, it is just as important to remember and understand yesterday, if we are going to keep history from repeating itself.
I hope that the new US Congressional leadership remembers the history of KRISTALLNACHT and the cost of appeasement.
If they do, we have a shot at security. If they don’t, the world is in bigger trouble than we think.