The National Book Festival had a different flavor this year, primarily because DC was centered on the bailout talks. Visiting the Holocaust Museum impacted me much as last year’s trip to the Vietnam Memorial did. I think I carried away a different feeling because of the state of our economy.
Republican vs. Democrat aside, we’re in difficult times now, and we run the risk of repeating the 1930s. And then it begs the question – what role did the world’s economic weakness play in Hitler’s rise to power? The Holocaust is a horrific, singular event that is still a black mark on our world’s history, but it isn’t unique in its genocidal scope. Rwanda, Bosnia, and most recently Darfur…it still happens, so perhaps the state of the world is irrelevant. Yet our weakness, being a nation hated by so many others, makes it – and us – vulnerable. It should frighten us. All of it should frighten us. We’re down, and the rest of the world has steel-toed boots. We need to unite, pass the bailout, or we’ll realize we’re nowhere near the bottom yet.
We don’t like the role of being the world’s police, and when we can’t take care of business at home, we can’t even pretend to play it. What then? Darfur needs help, but until we clean up the mess in our own house, it’s hard to see beyond our own front yard.