Candace Owens: “It Started With One Party”
Dad sent me a quote recently, this one:
“It didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with one party controlling the media. One party deciding what is truth. One party censoring speech and silencing opposition. One party dividing citizens into “us” and “them” and calling on their supporters to harass them. It started when good people turned a blind eye and let it happen.”
It was a photo on Instagram Candace Owens had shared. I poked around for a source, and found this, from the Auschwitz museum.
“It’s important to remember that the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers. This hatred gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanization & escalating violence.”
And this tweet from the Auschwitz Exhibition.
“Remember, it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs. them.’ It started with intolerance and hate speech, and when people stopped caring, became desensitized, and turned a blind eye, it became a slippery slope to genocide.”
When we invoke the holocaust, it’s very important to be careful about what comes afterward. The stories we tell are how we need to insure history does not repeat itself. Therefore, we need to make sure we get it right.
So when we think about the gas chambers, and how a nation of average, everyday people — many of whom are still alive — let the holocaust happen, we need to remember the road there was long with many steps and the gas chambers were only the last one.
Nonetheless, let’s dive into it.
Who controls the media and the message? Who is deciding what’s true? Who is banning speech and silencing opposition? Who is causing divisions among our people? Who is calling supporters to harass others?
Who Controls the Media and the Message?
According to Wikipedia by 2019 90% of media produced in the U.S. was controlled by just 5 companies: AT&T, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, ViacomCBS, and Fox Corporation.
Each of these are billion dollar corporations. (But Jeff Bezos is still worth more than each of them.) Whatever they decide to share with the people is what most people will see.
Who is deciding what’s true?
Misinformation is running rampant. Finding the truth at all is what we’re all searching for. We all just want answers to the anxieties that keep us up at night.
And I think finding the truth is a full time job in many cases. The truth has been covered up by so many sources that should be reputable, only for us to later discover they were lying. You can’t even trust a study before you find out who funded it.
There are a few sources I trust. I trust my local newspaper, and most small local newspapers. I trust Good Morning Bad News because they’re so great at citing their sources. I trust NPR because they do most of their own reporting, and they're not owned by any of the major media conglomerations.
I trust what I read in books, but I’ve also read enough bullshit to know to use a discerning eye.
I trust firsthand perspectives. When something comes up, I try to find the voices that were affected and listen to them.
Who is Banning Speech and Silencing Opposition?
Did you know the International Tribunal on US Human Rights Abuses against Black Brown and Indigenous Peoples found the US guilty of genocide based on five counts of crimes against humanity?
The problem with the Candace Owens version of this quote is she asks us to look for one party but fails to point out that it's both. Right now neither party speaks for the common man, and both work to squash anything that challenges the status quo.
So since I can’t call out a specific who, let’s notice what banning speech and silencing opposition looks like.
It might look like keeping people from voting.
It might look like banning or burning books.
It might look like making it okay to deny certain groups of people their most basic rights to food, water, shelter, and a vote.
It might be as simple as not reporting on atrocities committed against people of color.
Just last week, the same police force that killed George Floyd killed Amir Locke during a no-knock warrant as Locke slept on his couch swaddled in a blanket. The police invaded the wrong apartment and fired without warning. It’s the same tactic that killed Breonna Taylor, and it’s still getting innocent civilians killed.
The problem is, it’s not one party. It’s an entire corrupt system.
Who is Causing Divisions Among Our People?
I think American society is shattering. I think it’s caused by a spread of misinformation and a rise in nationalism.
If we can’t even decide what’s true, we can’t even find a place to start negotiations. If we think we’re better than everyone else, it automatically draws a line between us and our brothers and sisters.
Who is Calling on Supporters to Harass Others?
I automatically think of the January 6 insurrection, which the republican party tried to say was “legitimate political discourse” which I’m sure you and I can both agree, it was not.
Anytime feces are smeared on the walls of our nation’s most historic and sacred buildings, we can agree it’s not legitimate anything. A party that would try to take that stance is not one I would stand behind.
I don’t like that Candace Owens quote. I think it’s worded like that to divide people further.
Furthermore, I don’t think either political party can fix the problems our nation faces. I think we stand on a precipice, and something drastic awaits our fall.
I think it’s better said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I try to remember that every day, that to be a good person, it means taking action when evil tries to slide by.