I wrote this poem to illustrate the acts of inhumanity faced by those who are and have been victims of mass hysteria in the modern world, and as a reminder that they’re still happening around the globe today and that we have the power to do something about it.
They spread fast, out of control, catching quicker than a fire in a forest of dry wood.
They spawn of misinformation, misrepresentation, lack of fact spreading through the general populous.
Rumors, accusations, witch hunts. We let it slide because at the time we’re scared of the unknown but generations after they will look upon us and think, wow. I’m glad this never happened again. Even though it does, every day, every generation, with every marginalized group. A new witch hunt, a new evil in our midst
It’s 1919 and you’re a damn dirty commie, you’ll tear our country apart. Pointing fingers leaves 600 people without homes in unfamiliar countries, 10,000 jailed.
In 1933 you should treat your countrymen as though they cannot think for themselves, rile them up, drive out the Jews as they call you Fuhrer and hail you. It’s easy enough when you speak artfully.
And again, in 1942, you’ve got slanted eyes and “yellow” skin and the country your mother’s mother came from just bombed our bays so, away. We don’t want you.
Or maybe you’re lying in a hospital bed in 1983, dying as your immune system betrays you, and people all across the country are saying ‘it’s God! He punishes you for loving, he punishes you for living, he punishes you for sinning.’ The public believes your disease is because you’re gay, you’ve loved a man as one yourself, but you know the woman with a husband and two kids in the next room over is dying the same terrible fate.
And in 2001 an extremist that you’d never agree with is terrorizing your country and you’re just as scared as your Christian next door neighbor, but he doesn’t greet you with a smile and a wave when you both leave for work anymore, he’s silent and sullen and looks at you with anger and fear. You’re even more terrified now that 14 years later you’ve moved away but you hear of a man killing three people like you on the street three down from where you used to live. You keep your head down, abandon your religious wear because it’s too dangerous to be open, you live in fear.
It happens, time and again and we never notice until it’s over. The time to apply the mistakes of the past to fix the present can’t wait until the future.