One of my favourite parts of Ocean’s Eleven is when Saul (Carl Reiner) says incredulously, “we’re just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?” as nine other characters then turn their eyes to Danny (George Clooney) who responds with a simple, “Yeah.” I love this about heist movies. The protagonists plan to do the impossible and we get to watch their genius plan unfold.
It’s not so fun to watch when it’s the bad guys though.
At this time of year we are reminded of the horrific events of the two world wars. And the scary thing is, they walked right out the front door in plain sight. How did they get away with that?!
Would anyone have guessed that there would be a political party in central Europe that would grow in number, take over countries, threaten the entire developed world, and kill over six million innocent people (not to mention the millions that died in battle)?
A friend of mine posted on social media the warning that the Holocaust didn’t start with a gas chamber. No, it seeped in. It started out very subtle. Not even with all his charisma and power of persuasion could Hitler have merely talked his way into making so many people commit such nightmarish crimes. It started with just a grain of fear and grew into a monster.
This time of year we say “lest we forget” in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives for us in battle. But it’s important to also not forget the way this evil got its foot in the door, stole from us, and then walked away in broad daylight. Legislators, senators, and politicians used worry and fear to stir up the emotions of the people. They divided them. They told them how fed up they were with bad leadership and a poor economy. And it was hard to deny. Frustrated and fearful people followed them.
Now before you criticize the German and Austrian people of the 1920’s and 1930’s, remember that they were just ordinary people like you and me. You, the one reading these words, have the capacity to be persuaded and led down such a dark path just like they were.
After all these years of learning about this time period, I never thought I would see white nationalists boldly demonstrating, marching, and causing violence anywhere in Europe or North America. It always seemed crystal clear to me that everyone learned from this event. I naively believed there were only a very select few “crazies out there” who would still align themselves with such despicable ideology. But even if that were true for a time, the fear and hatred of those select few can seep in again.
I believe it is time for us to be bolder than we were yesterday. No more simply shaking our heads when people around us seem racist or intolerant. We stand up and speak up. In many holocausts that have happened in this world the perpetrators have called a certain group of people cockroaches, vermin, disease, etc. But it is fear and hatred that are the cockroaches. We stand up against those attitudes, inappropriate comments, and attacks on people for things they cannot control (e.g. race, social status, sexual identity, etc). We tolerate people. We do not tolerate hate. We speak. We defend.
It was fear that fueled the Nazis. It is fear that fuels hate. And as gushy and syrupy as this may sound, all the TV shows and movies we watched that claimed love was the only weapon that could kill hatred were right. Love overcomes evil. We can’t let the robber to get in.
Congratulations Ocean’s Eleven. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Don Cheadle as Montel Gordon in Traffic. He was also great as Basher Tarr in Ocean’s Eleven.
Best Quote: “The moment you set foot on that casino floor, they’ll be watching you like hawks. Hawks with video cameras..” — Eddie Jemison as Livingston Dell in Ocean’s Eleven.
Tomorrow at 11 am, we will all remember.