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Speak now, or forever have no peace

Is it possible to have peace when good people stay silent?

A story broke recently, which on its face dealt with the madness ensuing when 8 million people are allowed to bum-rush the borders of a sovereign nation and barge their way in. If that were the sum total of the story, it would be enough, but it wasn’t. There is much more when you read between the lines.

The story was really about the government deciding who lives and who dies, who is the winner and who is the loser. It was about government deciding whether to honor its finest or to cast them aside. It was about history repeating itself.

Frank Tammaro is a 95-year-old veteran of the Korean War and was a resident of the Island Shores Nursing Home. Tammaro found himself on the street due to the closure of his residential facility.

You may be wondering why it would close. Was it a fire code issue, corporate bankruptcy, citation by the state licensure board? None of the above.

Island Shores Nursing Home decided to enter into a contract with a group called “Homes for the Homeless” that works with the city of New York to find temporary housing for illegal immigrants. The nursing home chose to kick out the residents, including this 95-year-old veteran Frank Tammaro, to make way for groups of illegals.

The nation that does not care for its most vulnerable - the children and the elderly - is a nation that has turned its back on reason and compassion and is not long for the world.

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) went on the warpath demanding answers from New York City’s leadership. "Our tax dollars as citizens of New York should not be utilized to house citizens of other countries, especially at the expense of our senior citizens and veterans who put their lives on the line, paid taxes their whole lives and built our communities,” she said.

This is wrong, and we cannot sit quietly. We must speak out loudly. We must speak now, or forever have no peace.

This slippery slope is not new. A friend of mine stopped by the other day with an interesting book written by Milton Mayer just 10 years after WWII entitled, “They Thought They Were Free.” The author was an American of German descent but was also Jewish. He went to Germany to explore the mindsets that allowed a whole society to turn on itself.

The German government in the ’30s and ’40s was allowed unfettered power over life and death. It was ceded the ability to pick and choose who was allowed to live, and who must die. The book is morbidly fascinating and very sobering.

In one instance, Mayer spoke with a man who had great remorse for not speaking out sooner. Too many thought they could make incremental changes to slow the tide of the fanaticism the Nazis brought, the man said. “The usual sincerity that required them only to abandon one little principle after another, to throw away, little by little, all that was good. I was one of those men.”

Another man claimed that he himself was responsible for the “world being lost.” As the Nazis were on the rise in 1935, a law was passed requiring every citizen to swear an oath of fidelity to the regime. This man recalled that he expressed reluctance and was given 24 hours to decide. Realizing that he would lose his job, he rationalized that acquiescing would potentially put him in a place to help others. The next day he swore the oath, noting, “That day the world was lost, and I was the one who lost it.”

That same man went on to save many lives by helping others escape the Nazis. But he could not help but believe that if he had led others to join him in not swearing the oath in 1935, perhaps he could have started a movement – a movement that could have saved exponentially more by robbing the Nazi party of its power before it started. But he chose to remain silent and that led to a lifetime of regret as the Nazis began systematically dismantling societal norms, making themselves the arbiters of life.

That was three-quarters of a century ago. The world should have learned a lesson or two from the crazed and depraved experience in Nazi Germany … and one would have believed that Tammaro was safe in his nursing home.

Tammaro didn’t deserve to be kicked out of his residential care facility. He had done nothing wrong. He served his country and worked for an opportunity for care and rest. A feckless leadership at the state and federal level decided to abandon societal norms. Tammaro’s government decided to favor one group over another, deciding that it knew best and that loyalties to its own people were revocable.

Tammaro’s story is not just about illegal immigration. It is about injustice, social decline, the loss of the sanctity of life, and the diminishing defense of the defenseless. It is a story about what can happen if good people don’t speak up when the times call for it.

I hope that Mr. Tammaro is given some good rest and a comfortable place to live out his final years … and I hope – no, I expect – that we will not repeat the silence that crushed a nation in 1935.

Speak now, or forever have no peace.

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