when they [did something], i was quiet because [some reason]

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when they [did something], i was quiet because [some reason]

Postby TerraFrost » Fri Sep 17, 2004 4:38 am

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.

it's probably one of the most effective pieces of poetry i've ever read. to boot, it's inspired a lot of variations. here's a neat variation:

When they took the 4th Amendment, I was quiet because I didn't deal drugs. When they took the 6th Amendment, I was quiet because I am innocent. When they took the 2nd Amendment, I was quiet because I don't own a gun. Now they have taken the 1st Amendment, and I can only be quiet.

i don't think it's quite as powerful as the original for a number of reasons. the first is because the ten amendments have always been applied on a selective basis. the reason for that is kinda complicated, involves the issue of federalism (ie. states rights vs. national rights), and the fact that the bill of rights effects the US, as a whole, and not the ind. states.

the second reason is that i'm not entirely sure we have true freedom of speech right now, heh. i mean, sure, some people (such as michael moore) may, but the common folk?

anyway, the second one is done by Lyle Myhr. the first one is done by Pastor Niemöller. more info on it can be found here:

http://www.liv-coll.ac.uk/pa09/europetr ... moller.htm
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Postby ChatOmbre » Fri Sep 17, 2004 4:04 pm

I have a button (I like sticking those on my bag, wheee) that reads:
First they came for the drug dealers and the inside traders, and I didn't speak out. Then they came for the smokers and gunowners, and I still didn't speak out. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak!
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"Too much ink is drawn to describe and define love. Why describe it and define it? Take my hand and let's just take a ride through it. Love is... Love is... Let's just go for awhile, leaving ourselves for each other." --Mike Smith
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Sep 17, 2004 9:42 pm

interesting. although i still think the orig. is the best. reading the one you posted is kinda like reading one that... well, reads like this, heh:

first they came for the murderes who killed children, and i didn't speak out. then they came for the murderes who killed women, and i didn't speak out. next, they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.

i mean, presumably there is a *huge* diff. between murderes and you.

that said, these style of poems are very good demonstrations of what a slippery slope is. some slippery slopes are probably justified. one thing can make te occurance of something else a tad easier to justify, by enabling people to claim precident. so, it makes it easier.

however, some slippery slopes are just too far fetched for their own good. ie. people "getting" murderers can't really be used as a precident for people "getting" non-murderers.
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