When my grandfather told me stories of the Holocaust, it was never with the message of "It could never--it must never--happen here." Instead, with the craggy grimace of a scarred cynic, his message was, "It will happen here." In his mind, a "war on the Jews" was not a relic from the past but a historical inevitability. He cared little for other communities in harm's way. His view of the world was tribal--you watched the world from your bunker and, at most, you shuddered.
I found myself wondering today what my grandfather would make of this moment, now that Jews have seen their blood spilled because there is a sector of this country that has been driven to violence by racism, white suprematism, and conspiracy theories legitimatized by a cable news network and their bigoted carnival barker of a president. We have before us a fascist movement, an armed backlash aimed at black and brown people, Jews, Muslims, women, the LGTBQ community, the media, and also aimed at the left. It's still small. It still can be defeated. But in our militarized, armed-to-the-teeth society, it doesn't take masses of hate merchants to terrify the majority, to send us into our homes and praying, in futile fashion, that our votes alone will be enough to turn back this tide.
You don't need to be a fortune teller to anticipate what might come next: violence at polling stations, death at the Mexican border, and more lone bombers who see Trump as the big man who makes them feel less small. In one week, two black people, 69-year-old Maurice Stallard and 67-year-old Vickie Jones, were killed in a racist attack at a Kroger in Kentucky; the Tree of Life Synagogue was massacred; bombs were sent to the targets of Trump's hateful rhetoric. More violence is being promised against the "caravan" of immigrants seeking asylum at our border. And this administration has attacked the trans community because of a desire for votes and an instinct for cruelty. This isn't a war on any individual group. They are attacking all of us in a manner meant to make us feel as atomized and fearful as the white-knuckled Fox News viewer, searching for demons under our beds.