First, They Came for the Democrats

First ,they came for the Democrats. We didn’t speak up because we were not Democrats.

We watched silently as the Democrats cowered in their congressional seats, bullied and beaten.

Like the Democrats, we stood by when lies were told and Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded. We heard stories of civilian deaths and torture in places like Haditha and Abu Graib but did nothing. We watched our own caskets come home. That’s the price of freedom, they said.

We didn’t speak up when they legislated habeas corpus away. We were silent when immigrants disappeared off the streets. “He went out to the store and never came back,” the woman said. We were not immigrants.

We didn’t worry when they tapped our phones, opened our letters, read our emails, and looked into our bank accounts. That’s the price of security, they said.

We weren’t concerned when huge no bid contracts to keep wars rolling were handed out by friends in high places to friends who helped in elections. That’s the price of business, they said.

We didn’t think they would invade Iran. They couldn’t even maintain the other two wars they were fighting. And wasn’t there legislation against another invasion?

First they came for the Democrats.

DON SANTINA, a cultural historian, is indebted to Paston Niemoller for his classic work on the totalitarian state. Santina received a 2005 Superior Scribing award for his CounterPunch article “Reparations for the Blues.” He can be reached at


Don Santina’s latest novel, “A Bullet for the Angel,” is a noir tale of murder and gentrification in 1959 San Francisco. He can be reached at