I’m a pacifist. I don’t believe violence is ever a good idea. Taking up arms is against my values and my values are my moral compass. Whether my actions and speech are in alignment with what I believe to be right and good is a question I often ask myself.
Not everyone feels the way I do. I have from time to time found myself in conversations with people who believe we need to “Be Prepared” with “Strong Defense.” The question they invariably raise in our conversation about non-violence is, “What would you do about Hitler?”
It’s a real question and one I now know the answer to.
I would prevent Hitler from happening.
I would call out hate speech for what it is—ignorance, prejudice, fear and ego. I would declare loudly that Mexicans are not rapists, that Muslims are not terrorists, that refugees seeking asylum for their families are not plotting to overthrow our country, suck up our resources, or infiltrate to undermine us in any way.
I would let the wisdom of an 8-year old child counter the demagoguery of a megalomaniac. Watch the videos below with an open heart. One speaks the truth with love, the other is full of lies and fear. Your heart will know which is which.
Finally, I would ask “What would Jesus do?” Yes, even though I’m more Buddhist these days than Christian, Jesus is still my model for living my values. I believe Jesus would welcome refugees with open arms and find a way to feed, shelter and clothe them (perhaps the desire to do so and the belief that it is possible is what creates miracles). Jesus would have compassion for the insanity of rulers who create such human misery and he would speak truth to power no matter what the personal consequences.
I can’t prevent war in Syria. There’s not much I can do about it other than press my representatives to work for peaceful solutions to all conflict. But I too can speak truth to power and call out lies, fear and hatred when I see them.
What would you do about Hitler?
P.S. I decided not to upload any videos of a particular candidate for president. I don’t want to be part of spreading his words around. You already know what he’s said.