Monday, April 26, 2010

They Came for the CEOs

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."


Everyone's heard that, either in history class or as part of some anti-government rhetoric when someone your party didn't like was in power. And it's a good sentiment, but one that folks never really understood. Or maybe His campaign to take over the world was just so different from what folks were used to that the comparison just doesn't work.

He came first for the politicians, the priests and the CEOs. He came for the people that we all hated. The people who were out of touch, who argued talking points and bottom lines when we were here on the ground working for a living. We knew that Congress was gone, and we heard - second and third hand, usually - that the richest and most powerful people in the world were just disappearing.

But the day-to-day didn't change much. The people who really did the work came in and punched their clocks like they always did. The breakdown started from the top, and because so much wealth and power was concentrated in such a small number of people, it didn't matter much that they were dead.

Well. We didn't know that they were dead. I guess technically they might be alive, but They aren't known to take prisoners when They don't have to. I imagine that the big corporate fat-cats, the Senators and Representatives, the important people, they turned off their lights to go to bed...and the darkness just came open, and they were gone.

And the world turned on. And even once we noticed, we didn't care, because it wasn't us disappearing into the dark, dragged off by monsters, dead before we knew anything had changed. It was them. It was those rich guys. Those guys that fired us, that voted for that piece of legislation that we hated, that said stupid things on camera, that spent our taxes dollars on that thing we didn't like. Serves them right.

It's tempting to feel guilty. To say we didn't do anything because of who they were. But that's overlooking two very important points. First, we put them there. We built our culture to be what it is. We, collectively, the whole world, made abstractions more important than concrete reality, and that was what He couldn't abide. I'm not saying we deserve what happened to the world. I'm just saying that the world was what we made it.

And second...what the hell could we have done about it? The point of that quote is that the people should have stopped it, shouldn't have turned a blind eye. But even if every single person had noticed and clamored for a response, where would it have come from? Who is like Him, and who can fight against Him?

Tune in Tomorrow.

curse the darkness