On November 10th, while some people were voting for one of the most divisive people in US Presidential history, others were remembering the anniversary of “Kristallnacht” when Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews, humiliating, beating, and/or raping many more. The Nazi party was buoyed by the apathy of non-Jewish Germans who did not step up to protect or defend their Jewish neighbors and turned a blind eye to the horror. https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005201 Now, in the United States, the dramatic rise in post-election hate crimes is worse than it was after 9/11. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/11/12/post-election-spate-hate-crimes-worse-than-post-911-experts-say/93681294/ If, like the Germans in 1938, we turn a blind eye to it, we are complicit in it.
One symbol of unity, of standing with our fellow Americans and rejecting the hatred espoused by the candidate, his team and his supporters, is the safety pin. Wearing the safety pin symbolizes solidarity with our Muslim, Mexican, gay, black, Asian, and other neighbors. Some say the safety pins are stupid, just another vestige of white privilege but I disagree. They are a quiet and simple statement and I'd like to see them on everyone. Not just white people should be wearing them. We should all be wearing them. We should all be rejecting apathy and, unlike the Germans in 1938, we should stand strong to protect ourselves, our friends and our neighbors.
The safety pin actually has a Nazi reference, too: during the Nazi occupation, the Dutch wore secret safety pins to symbolize unity against the Nazis. "A silent flip of the collar. A subtle twirl of the hem. If a safety pin was underneath, that person was a friend" and did not support the Nazis. https://timeline.com/safety-pin-brexit-trump-dutch-12ce84093550#.ris7n4npd. So, now, as Hitler-like "leaders" around the globe stoke racial and religious bigotry and hatred under the cloak of "nationalism," there are many things we can do to show who we stand with. A safety pin is a small symbol but it is one of them.