On Feb. 18, 1943, 21-year-old Sophie Scholl placed a stack of anti-Hitler leaflets on a banister overlooking the main hall in the University of Munich. Deciding, in a split-second, to ensure that the papers would be picked up by all the students when they emerged from their classrooms, Sophie pushed the papers off the banister, and signed her death warrant.
Within moments, having been caught by a miserable janitor looking for his moment of glory, Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl were in a Gestapo car, speeding to the interrogations and trial that would deliver them to the guillotine four days later.
Sophie and Hans are the “patron saints” of the independent media, models and inspirations of every citizen-journalist and blogger who publishes the truth. While Hitler wielded complete control of information within the Reich, thanks to a state-run media that crafted and managed every news story seen by the country, the White Rose, a group of young patriots, decided that they owed it to their country to print the truth.
The White Rose letters were simple, but scathing indictments of the Nazi anti-Semitic genocide, and the loss of German life in the war. But most eloquently, the White Rose demanded that, for their own honor’s sake, Germans, themselves, repudiate their support of Hitler so they would not carry the eternal shame as a nation of having marched for Hitler until the allies defeated the Reich utterly.
We do not yet pay a high price for speaking out against the communist takeover of our country by the revolutionary Obama administration, under the glazed gaze of a nearly corrupt Congress. The effort it takes to strike a keyboard is all we expend. The letters of the White Rose were written, printed and mailed by ordinary citizens who knew that, at each step, they were risking torture and execution if they were caught.
History looks at the rise and fall of the Third Reich and wonders how oceans of rational human beings could participate in such an obvious regime of atrocity. Will history judge us the same way? Will future postmortem scholars perform the autopsy on America and wonder how and why we accepted to be shackled by the very chains many of us had seen, in our lifetimes, cast off, with the help of a President Reagan whom we knew!
We might have all exclaimed, “I will never sit by and watch a dictator take over my country! Never!” Those who lived through Hitler’s progressive power-grab underscore, precisely, the incremental nature of that enslavement. Ordinary citizens weighed, day-by-day, the potential disruption of their circumstances with the price they would pay if they objected. It is so easy and so human to agree to myopically endure the minor deterioration of one’s comforts, rather than to confront the inevitable denouement and sacrifice the shell of normalcy that remains.
Not so Hans and Sophie Scholl. Not so Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, the Woodward and Bernstein of ACORN. Both teams accepted great personal sacrifice; both recognized the power of the independent press – the writing and reporting by ordinary people, who realized that none of the institutions responsible for defending truth and the rule of law were going to save the nation. They took that responsibility upon themselves. Though Hannah and James do not (we hope) face the danger of death, as did the White Rose freedom fighters, they certainly face the ridicule on the part of GM – not General Motors – but Goebbels media!
In the last weeks we have seen the exposure and sanctioning of Van Jones, a self-declared communist revolutionary; Yosi Sergant, the National Endowment for the Arts director, caught allegedly using his position to promote the agenda of President Obama via the arts; and, of course, Barack Obama’s ACORN, community organizers who were caught on tape helping to establish brothels in which preteen illegal aliens from El Salvador would be trafficked in prostitution to help fund political campaigns.
We have seen these things because of the tireless efforts of private citizens, not because of either political party. Because of Hannah and James, because of Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Michelle Malkin and an army of common citizens, Obama’s rise is less steep. Our fall is perhaps not quite so inevitable.
True American patriots intuitively grasp that we, with our values of freedom and independence, are poised, like Sophie’s stack of leaflets, on the banister of history. One small push and we may find ourselves free-falling to a place in which a simple keystroke will cost us our lives. It is good to remember and embrace the legacy of those who died because they wrote the truth. This example shows us that we do not need a political party or an organization to throw off the chains of tyranny. Two young Germans wrote with their blood, and their legacy lives on in all those who push back against slavery by the powerful. We must carry on in the spirit of Sophie and not be afraid to speak this liberating truth, no matter what the cost.
These are Sophie’s last words:
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
Thank you to all who, like this true heroine, have given themselves up to a righteous cause!