Today, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Here's the apparent message Florida Governor Rick Scott takes from the Holocaust:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has not endorsed a candidate in the U.S. presidential contest, but he strongly endorsed the “free market” Thursday morning, using a Holocaust-era quote to encourage business leaders to defend capitalism during the presidential primaries.
“I’ve got a quote in my office,” he said before paraphrasing Martin Neimöller’s famous statement criticizing the complacency of some during the Nazi-era. “First they came for the Jews, and I wasn’t a Jew so I didn’t say anything...”
He linked the quote to criticisms, made by presidential candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, about Bain Capital, which former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney started.
“We shouldn’t be allowing candidates to attack people in business, we should be saying… 'That’s us',” Scott said at a quarterly board meeting of Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development partnership with private businesses.
Scott is a former CEO who ran several businesses prior to becoming governor last year. After the speech, he said he used to quote to say the free market was worth defending.
“When you see somebody being attacked because they live the American dream, we ought to go out and say, ‘Gosh, I’d like to live the American dream’,” he said.
I was priviliged to attend a showing of a film last night whose subject was a children's opera which was originally performed in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. The story of the opera and its coming to be were explained through a 60 minutes piece featuring some of the camp survivors; many of the children who performed in the original opera were sent to their eventual death at Auschwitz. The opera, Brundibar was actually used as a showcase by the Nazis to highlight the "terrific" conditions at the camp and the bucolic lifestyle their "guest" were provided. That charade did not last long, although the world at large was fooled by the Nazi propaganda.
The Opera film shown last evening was performed by a group of local students who belong to a singing group. The performance locally was attended by groups of other students bussed in for the show on school trips. It was explained that a local non-profit education group, INsights in Education, had provided the funding and impetus for the show and the subsequent showings of the film to help educate the students. It was further explained that there is no state funding available for these programs which were authorized by previous state legislation.
At Rick Scott's urging, the state legislature cut 1.3 billion dollars in public education funding last year. This year, the Governor, recognizing the election year needs of his Republican colleagues, asked for and will likely receive an increase of 1 billion to education, which does not replace the shortfall from last year nor helps in the increased costs of this year. Worse, the 1 billion is unfunded, meaning that at-risk children, health programs and seniors will take the brunt of the cuts this year.... Ironically, because of the high number of Jewish retirees in Florida, a number of Holocaust survivors will likely be impacted.
Our idiot Governor thinks it cute to defend corporate entities as sacred, comparable to the tragic loss of the lives of 6 million Jews. Bain Capital and Mitt Romney being attacked is not worthy of such a comparison. The Governor was recently quoted as saying that Florida colleges should focus less on history and liberal arts and more on technology and science.
It would appear that Rick Scott is in serious need of some tutoring.
Update: Thank you for the recs, important story to get out there. The National Jewish Democratic Council issued a demand that Mitt Romney repudiate Rick Scotts idiotic statements, and issued this release:
It is absolutely unfathomable that Governor Rick Scott—who leads the state with the third largest population of Jews—would invoke the Holocaust to shield Mitt Romney from criticism over his record at Bain Capital. As we have said before, it is never acceptable to invoke the Holocaust to make a political point. This display of insensitivity towards the legacy of the Holocaust—and using Martin Neimoller’s powerful words—is just the latest example of a Republican official abusing the memory of the Holocaust and inappropriately inserting this rhetoric into civic discourse. All who understand and respect the sanctity of the memory of the Holocaust must condemn Scott’s tactless remark, and especially Mitt Romney, for whom Scott was stumping. Romney must make it clear that this sort of language will not be tolerated on the campaign trail. Failure to do so will make him the latest Republican to betray American Jews and the memory of those who perished by giving a free pass to this unacceptable use of this language.