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presidential fascism:
-The Gates of Hell-

by Denny Meyer

2020 Gay Military Signal

I was born just outside the gates of hell; so close, I could hear the screams of horror and smell the stench of immutable despair. 

My parents were Jewish German Refugees from the genocidal Nazi Holocaust.  I was born in America in the autumn after the close of World War II in the mid 1940s.  Some six million Jews and more than a million homosexuals had been martyred by the Nazi Holocaust of Germany’s genocidal war on humanity.  We children, born in freedom, bore the burden of replacing those relatives who had not survived, those who's ashes were buried beneath the rubble, barbed wire and snow in the mass graves of the death camps of Eastern Europe.  I was among the chosen to replace their souls in a new land, in freedom.  I grew up in a refugee community where every adult had escaped via a life and death journey; hiking through cold forests in the dark of night fearing barking dogs on the trail of their scent; stumbling ever west towards a border into the next country; starving, in stinking cloths worn for weeks. They tried to be invisible on trains as conductors walked right past them pretending not to see them, not to smell them, praying silently.  Found shivering in barns, local farmers hid them and fed them even though their own food was rationed as warring armies rumbled across their ruined fields.  In those desperate days of wartime Europe no one had any money and money had no value; but the compassion of strangers, risking their own lives, was worth its weight in gold. 

They crossed the Atlantic Ocean below decks, in cheap steerage; only allowed into the fresh air on deck when the ship arrived in New York Harbor, sailing past the Statue of Liberty at dawn; with refugees crowded shoulder to shoulder; as Lady Liberty hove into view holding its torch of freedom aloft, everyone burst into tears, "AMERICA!  OH MY GOD, AMERICA!  SAFE, SAFE AT LAST!"  My own mother arrived that very way, as an illegal immigrant, without papers.  She was allowed to stay.

Our parents didn't want us to know what had come before.  They didn't tell us.  How could we not have known.  Every adult in our refugee community had lost parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins in the Nazi death camps.  If one of us children laughed, they burst into tears.  Where they came from, where they had lived in silent hiding for years, if a child laughed it led to Heimat (Homeland) Security, the Gestapo, kicking down doors and sending entire families, including children, to the gas chambers and ovens of Auschwitz.   

I was born with the baggage of my parent's sorrows; the nightmares and angst of humanity.  I remembered all that they wished to forget, things that I was never told, things they intended for me not to know. Doom was not something that might someday happen; it had already consumed them.  That was my childhood, to me it was normal; I didn't know anything else.

I grew up anyway, and during Vietnam I volunteered to serve, to pay my country back for my family's freedom.  Life went on, I got old.  And now, all these years later, as I see the president's Haimat Security army, like the Gestapo, invade Portland, just as Hitler invaded Poland, arresting ordinary people and 'disappearing' them,  my childhood's inherited horrors have been reawakened.  Suddenly I'm remembering those dead ghosts of Holocaust martyred Jews and gay men that were somewhere in my childhood's archetypal memory; woven into my genetic zeitgeist, and blended with my wounded ethnic hand-me-down Jewish Queerness.  And I think, "NOT AGAIN!  Oh My God, Not Again!"

In 1942 Hitler revoked the German citizenship of all German Jews, by dictatorial decree.  That left my mother, already in America, stateless.  In fact, it advanced her application for American citizenship.  My father, an international lawyer, actually helped to write the postwar German legislation giving the right of return German citizenship to the children and grandchildren of those wartime refugees, such as my mother, whose citizenship was revoked by Hitler.  So now, if I cared to, I could flee presidential fascism as an American refugee entitled to democratic German citizenship!  As I write these words, my father would be turning over in his grave, if he could.

Who the hell are these devils in the president's American Haimat Security army?  They are the same soulless border patrol Gestapo who tore screaming terrified little Hispanic migrant children from their parent's arms, drove them away forever, and threw them in cages without food nor toilets nor any adult care.  Monsters!

They aimed their semi automatic rifles at unarmed American protestors in Portland, they aimed their semi automatic rifles at a 'wall of mothers' protecting the protestors, and aimed them at our sacred American veterans!  MOTHERS AND VETERANS!  Imagine.

In 1943 a Nazi Feld Marshal found out that there were still Jews living in Berlin. They were registered slave laborers who were the husbands of Christian wives.  Outraged, he ordered them rounded up and arrested.  They were held in an old schoolhouse on Rosen Strasse for processing and shipment to a death camp.  My grandpa was one of those men.  Their wives held a protest in the winter cold and snow, for weeks, demanding the release of their husbands.  The Feld Marshal sent a truck with Gestapo national troops who set up machine guns in the street to kill them.  A powerful Baron intervened at the last moment, the troops were withdrawn, and the men were released.  My grandma was one of the 'Rosen Strasse Women.'   I remember, I remember everything!

And now, the president of the Unites States of America has sent in his own Gestapo national troops to Portland, ready to fire on mothers!  NEXT, he will declare martial law and cancel the Presidential election.  I remember, I remember everything!  It has happened before, and the descendent of a racist Nazi immigrant is reenacting his grandfather's hate.

2020 Gay Military Signal