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Harry E Gilleland

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Americans Acting Like Nazis
by Harry E Gilleland
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
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A free-verse poem about whether Americans could be compared to the Nazis of World War II.

I was born in 1944 during World War II.
I grew up being told how morally bankrupt
the Nazis were. How could anyone hold
themselves so superior that murdering
millions of innocent, defenseless people
became acceptable behavior? Pictures of
the concentration death camps filled me
with revulsion and contempt for the Nazis.
What monsters the Nazis were! Barely human!

Later I learned that to purify the Aryan Race,
at first undesirable people who were judged
not good enough, pure enough were kept
from reproducing by being sterilized
at government order. This gave way to
mass murder in the millions. I felt certain
that my people, my fellow Americans were
made of better fabric than those Nazi bastards.
I felt smug in our nationís righteousness.

Also while I was growing up, I loved
Western movies. I learned that Indians
out west were worthless, murdering savages.
ďThe only good Indian is a dead Indian.Ē
However, along the way in my education,
I became aware that the White Man
had repeatedly lied to the Indian tribes,
broke treaties made and kept in good faith
by the Indians, had as an official government
policy the denial of all legal rights to Indians.
Hell, there was even a bounty paid for the scalps
of Indians, just like for the hide of wolves.

Our government referred to the Indians
as a Ďproblemí that could be fixed only by
driving tribes from their native lands, including
slaughtering Indian women and children
while they slept and calling it a military victory,
decimating the buffalo so Indians would starve,
confining Indians to barren, unproductive lands
on reservations where Indian agents cheated
them and starved them, and finally sending
their children to schools where they were
forced to wear White Manís clothes and speak
White Manís language in order to destroy
their culture and heritage ... and we called
the Indians the savages! What a shameful
chapter in American history.

I have read that Adolph Hitler once said
he much admired how America had
taken care of its problem with its
undesirable Native Peoples. Just imagine.
Adolph Hitler admired how America
mistreated and killed our Indian tribes.
Maybe we ARE capable of acting like Nazis!
But, hey, that was way back in the late 1800s.
We are a different, better class of people today.

Then today, 8 November 2011, comes
reports that some thirty states in America
once had eugenics laws that allowed
the sterilization of people judged as
a drain on society. Most states stopped
the practice after the decades of the 1930s
and 1940s. Most states regained their bearings.
But not North Carolina! No, they continued
for decades sterilizing mostly black girls
as young as nine years old. Nine years old!

Between 1929 and 1974 (1974!),
the state of North Carolina sterilized 7,600
poor, mostly black, people in order to improve
the genetic make-up of their population.
These were fellow Southerners committing
such atrocities! I might have expected it
from Yankees Ö but Southerners!
Oh yeah, we did have the KKK and
a tradition of lynching uppity black men
in the South, didnít we?
Hmmm, I reckon we Americans may not be
that far removed from the Nazis after all.

Gilleland Poetry
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Reviewed by jude forese
"We are a different, better class of people today."
sarcasm aside, couldn't have said it better ....
Reviewed by C. McGovern-Bowen
Bravely spoken, Harry. Thank you! Time to review the meaning of "all men/women are created equal"...
Peace & Blessings,
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