Today I did some research into my family history. I know quite a bit about my maternal grandfather's family and how many of my relatives perished in Auschwitz. I know less about my father's family in Poland, but I know some. My mother's parents and she got out of Nazi Germany in October 1938, weeks before Kristallnacht. My father's family left Poland earlier, but not all of my paternal grandmother's siblings got out. We assume they were killed in the Warsaw ghetto. Tonight I did some research and discovered there was one Grzebieniarz, my grandfather's pre-Anglicized name and two Wallers, my grandmothers maiden name documented as residents of Warsaw in the ghetto in 1942. It appears they perished in 1942 in the ghetto. I am profoundly sad to have uncovered these relatives, but also incredibly grateful that my parents survived and my siblings and I were fortunate enough to have come into this world.
I have wondered why, as a lawyer, I have always been drawn to discrimination and civil rights law. I am convinced that the death and discrimination against my forebears simply because of their religion at birth propelled me to fight discrimination. I am not an alarmist, but the Holocaust can happen again, anywhere, if the conditions are right. In fact, it has happened again, in Rwanda, in Russia, in Somalia, in Serbia, in Burma, in Cambodia. We humans are violent and when we de-humanize others, when the crowds take over and we have insecure, hateful, malevolent leaders, it can happen. We must be vigilant. George Washingtons and Nelson Mandelas, those people strong enough to relinquish power for the greater good, are not born very often. And we all have prejudices, and we all have insecurities, and we all get angry and want someone to blame.
We need leaders who are vigilant in protecting minorities and those not in power. We need to guard against sinking to the lowest common denominator. This leads me to the title of this blog. I'm talking about the lowest common denominator. I don't have lots of comments on this blog, and the ones I do have can be against what I write but are fairly respectful. My friend Tony Botello is kind enough to have a link to his blog on TKC, and he often posts on TKC when I write a new missive. I admire Tony's dedication to free speech and the first amendment. Most people commenting on my blog do it on TKC. I told Tony from the start, that I have thick skin, which I do. However, sometimes I am dumbfounded by the disgusting comments that appear. I think about what type of person who would anonymously write these most racist and disgusting responses. What's wrong with this person or these people? How much do these people really hate themselves and how cowardly are they to publish these nauseating comments with no accountability? What would this world be like if nasty, self-loathing misfits like these had some real power? I wonder what the killers of old, the Nazis, the ethnic cleansers, etc., would post if they lived today and were shielded by anonymity. Oh wait, I think I know.