Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Holocaust Lessons

Senator Megan Stevenson - TX
Chairwoman Committee F

I fear that when mankind begins to accept the dead as a number, a statistic, that we lose a bit of our humanity, our empathy and ability to appreciate life.

We live in a society that has become desensitized to tragedy, I fear, nearly entirely, I began to sense it myself as I would watch the news, listening to reports of death and oppression and changing the channel after the evening weather report thoughts rarely returning to or lingering on the devastation elsewhere.

This changed for me one day as I was studying at the Starbucks in my neighborhood. The television displayed a silent but captioned episode of The Oprah Winfrey show, an in-depth look at the child soldiers of a small village in Africa, I became engrossed as did the two middle-aged women sitting next to me, we began a conversation as the show ended, discussing the absolute tragedy of it all. As our discussion came to a close I for some reason or another felt inclined to ask the women what they felt was our responsibility to do about the terrible events we had discussed occurring in different areas of Africa.

They shocked me, "well that's not really our responsibility, really it's the African government that needs to step up."

I was speechless. A strong feeling of conviction gripped my heart, was this manner of thinking widespread in America? I expected at least a suggestion to pray or join a community volunteer, or education outreach effort. Nessie mentioned tonight that a Holocaust is allowed to happen when people do not take responsibility for their fellow human beings, they let labels and politics and superficial reasoning get in their way.

I resolved to never let myself reach a place, where the death of one could brake my heart more than the mass murder of millions. It saddened me that as a democratic nation Americans particularly could face such a tragedy with so little emotion and sense of responsibility.

The ladies whose presence I am blessed with have assured me through their legislature and debate within this small collection of 98 girls democracy is sure to never become a spectator sport.

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