Today is not your moment of nature. Instead, we need to reflect on this night, and others like it.
During the night of November 9 and daytime of November 10, 1938, at least 91 Jews were killed and some 7,500 Jewish owned businesses vandalized or destroyed in Germany and Austria. Some 267 Jewish houses of worship (synagogues) were damaged or destroyed.
On some days during this particular Presidential election season, it seemed that hate oozed from every dark corner of this country. Those dark corners came alive. People of hate are now encouraged, thinking that finally, the conditions are right once again for their hate to blossom. It isn't just Jewish people at risk. Make no mistake.
Have you ever thought about what happens when hate becomes accepted, and public? How about here in Binghamton, New York, a small city in upstate New York?
This looks like an ordinary cross, doesn't it? It's not.
Do you think that hate was never out in the open in our great country? History tells us it was. Parts of our history (not just the history of Kristallnacht or genocides during the 20th and 21st century) remind us of what we may be facing again today. One such example is an organization I do not even wish to name completely. I will simply refer to it as the Klan.
I would be willing to bet you know at least one person who belongs to ethnic or religious groups that the Klan would rather not have in this country. It's as simple as that.
This organization exists today, still trying to spread its message of hate. At one time, it was a lot bigger, and people openly boasted of their membership. It could happen again if we stand silent. There are other such groups, too.
Did you know that the Klan had a complicated relationship with the area around Binghamton, New York, an area which is my adopted hometown? We think of the Klan as an organization whose strongholds were in the South, but, for a time, that was not true.
In the 1920's, many people were afraid, just as they are today. In our area, they were fearful of a rapid increase in immigration. People were afraid of losing jobs, of losing power, of losing things important to them. The Klan had a presence in our "Twin Tiers" through the 20's and 30's.
These pictures were taken at an exhibit at the Bundy Museum in Binghamton, which will be running until November 29.
This is a "heroic" recruitment posters. At one time, in fact, the New York headquarters of this hate organization was located in Binghamton.
|Wall near where the Klan temple was located, Binghamton, New York|
Also on display was a newsletter of this organization, published in 1924. It talked about what would happen if the Catholics took over the United States. I was young, but I can remember how John F. Kennedy, running for President in 1960, had to fight anti-Catholic feelings. There was also an advertisement page, and ads were plentiful, including for a printer of invites to weddings and other special occasions.
The fight against hate never ends.
Keep that in mind, always.
Do not stand silent when hate shows up in our country. If necessary, think of it as acting in self-interest. Perhaps your ancesters were not the targets on Kristallnacht. Perhaps you feel you are not the target today.
You can always become the target tomorrow.
Day 10 of NaBloPoMo.