The morning after the elections I thought about this scene from Cabaret.
It is that WTF moment in which the protagonists step outside of their bubble. They were aware of the movement stirring around them. But suddenly they understand that it has spread so far and so deep, that they have already passed the point of no return.
I showed this clip to my 10 year old daughter last night, and asked her what she thought was happening in the video.
She said she had two interpretations.
The first interpretation was that they were all Nazis. That the Nazis were everywhere.
The second interpretation surprised me. She said that maybe they weren’t all Nazis. That maybe they joined in singing because he had such a beautiful voice, and they wanted to be nice to him even though he was a Nazi. As a child who has seen many more YouTube videos than live performances, she seemed to view the people joining in as pressing the “like” button.
She went on to say that maybe he wasn’t even a real Nazi. Maybe his parents made him join and wear the uniform, but he really just wanted to sing.
Watch Cabaret Now
It is so worth your time.
While I saw the whole scene as a prophetic metaphor for the Trump movement, my sweet daughter held on to a much kinder world view.
I don’t agree with her second interpretation. But I think I want her to grow up in a world in which everyone is given the benefit of the doubt.
Even my 10 year old knows what happens next. And so do the and the rest of us. First the registration of Jews. Then the relocation. Then the inconceivable.
And here we are, as a nation, discussing the registration of Muslims.
Our President-elect has selected a man who was deemed too racist to be qualified to be a judge (Jeff Sessions), and a man who served as chair of the alt-right Breitbart News, (Steve Bannon) as among his first appointments.
On the Facebook page for this website, readers post pictures of angelic little white children with the overlayed words “Love Your Race.”
And we are watching videos of American Nazis chanting “hail Trump.”
I take back what I wrote earlier. No. Some people do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.