What American kids should be learning in History class: Just because something starts off small doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal. Trump’s Muslim registration and identification plans are definitely a big deal.
(11-20-2015, updated 07-14-2018) In an interview on NPR a few people discussed Trump’s Muslim registration and identification plans. One person immediately brought up the Holocaust. Another thought it wouldn’t hurt anyone to just register Muslims and require a Muslim ID.
Yeah, this is where it doesn’t help if you studied World War Two in American history education and you know that D-Day was on June 6, 1944, and not on June 5 or 7. The important lesson you all should have learned from WWII was: How the hell did regular people get to the point where they murdered six million Jews?
When Germany occupied the Netherlands in May 1940, they implemented their restrictive laws, but they did so gradually. At each step people thought, well, this isn’t so bad. It’s war, so it’s temporary. And so Jews had to wear stars on their sleeves, and later they weren’t allowed on public transportation, etc., until in February 1941 the Nazi’s started rounding them up and taking them to concentration camps.
Sure, at the time everything the Germans did was unprecedented. Many Jews couldn’t believe the rumors they heard about the concentration camps–it was inconceivable. But now we do know what we humans are capable of, and how it starts.
What Trump is proposing with Muslim registration and identification requirement is the same as requiring Jews to wear the yellow cross, only not as visible, but that could be the next step. And why does he need a Muslim databank? There is no other reason than to be able to quickly find all Muslims. To do what? Trump is voicing straight-up fascist “solutions” to scapegoat minorities and many folks applaud him. The next thing will be that he introduces a special Trump greeting and people will lap that up as well. But Obama is a fascist who wants to kill your grandma with his Affordable Care Act. Oh boy.
The fact that history education in America fails to teach the important elements of World War Two is not only academically negligent. Willfully keeping the population this ignorant can directly undermine American democratic values. Muslim registration suggests that Muslims are second-class citizens, because of their religion. The U.S. Constitution does not allow for second-class citizens or discrimination based on a person’s religion. Maybe history education should also focus a little more on the contents of the Constitution and what they mean, and why the document is so important, and a little less on glorifying “the Founding Fathers” and the American Revolution. Priorities, people.
(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “Trump and Muslim Databanks”, 1-20-2015)
Header image: Scott Olsen, getty images. In: Gabriel, Tip. ” Donald Trump Says He’d ‘Absolutely’ Require Muslims To Register”. (First Draft) New York. The New York Times, November 20, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/20/donald-trump-says-hed-absolutely-require-muslims-to-register/