Did you know that white men in modern America are being persecuted to the same extent as the Jews who were in Nazi Germany? Me neither.
Yet that’s the message that Republican State Representative Jim Walsh of Washington sent when he wore a Star of David while giving a (now-deleted) lecture streamed on Facebook on June 26th. In the talk, he urged listeners to focus on the individual liberties granted in the Washington State Constitution. (The Washington Post has the clip below.)
The first things are safety as a person, your right to speak your mind, your right to practice your faith, your right to own property, your right to privacy, your right not to be harassed, but to live your life as you choose to live. And protecting all of these rights is your right to defend yourself against tyranny.
Those aren’t the items listed in the state’s constitution… then, like so many conservatives, he found a way to link all that to his notion of “Critical Race Theory”:
This is the reason that we’re seeing mothers and fathers and grandparents all around the state being awakened by this travesty of critical race theory. Because it’s an affront to the notion of individual liberty, of self-determination… It’s an affront to the principles that founded this nation and this state.
But it’s not just critical race theory. It’s the lockdowns that followed the COVID outbreaks. It’s the closing of churches.
He went on to bemoan the extended eviction moratorium, the rates of teen suicide “because their social connections [at school] have been ripped out from under them,” and property taxes. While there were undoubtedly problems created or exacerbated by the lockdown, the alternative of downplaying the threat of the virus and letting it spread further would’ve done far more damage to society.
But it was Walsh’s casual wearing of the Star of David that got him the most attention.
When it was called out in the comments on Facebook, he doubled down, saying, “It’s an echo from history… in the current context, we’re all Jews.”
That was an elaboration on his initial comment: “During WWII, when the Nazis told the Danes that Danish Jews had to wear yellow stars, the Danes ALL wore yellow stars. So the Nazis couldn’t ID the Danish Jews. It worked. The Nazis focused their evil efforts elsewhere.” That would imply that he’s standing in solidarity with… someone or some group. It’s not the scientists or people getting vaccinated, so who is it? The anti-vaxxers? COVID?
But he wasn’t done there! He also compared vaccine mandates to Plessy v. Ferguson, using terms like “vaccine segregation” to liken his situation to those of Black people experiencing the segregation that was upheld in the 1896 Supreme Court case that gave us the idea of “separate but equal.”
It’s ironic to hear a lawmaker use America’s racist history to virtue-signal while simultaneously arguing that this history does not exist by rejecting the teaching of our country’s problems with racism.
The truth is that Walsh has nothing in common with oppressed people, much less one of the most oppressed groups in history. Fellow Washington State lawmaker Rep. Drew Stokesbary said it best:
Encouraging vaccination against a virus that killed 600,000 Americans is the *opposite* of Nazi persecution of Jews. Equating them trivializes the Shoah, devalues the lives and memories of 6 million people systematically slaughtered, and brings unnecessary pain to their families. https://t.co/Yn3wYCEtr0
— Drew Stokesbary (@stokesbary) June 30, 2021
Even though Walsh later apologized for his message being ineffective and ill-received, it wasn’t enough. This was not only deeply offensive to the Jews who still experience anti-Semitism — and who still have to share a country with real, bona fide Nazis — but it was plain stupid. The vaccine is life-giving. The Holocaust and the decision to not vaccinate when you are healthy enough to get the shot(s) are both life-destroying. If you are going to cry persecution, at least come prepared with some evidence.