"Work Brings Freedom"

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:07 PM


“Work Brings Freedom” is a slogan roughly translated from the German Arbit macht Frei that was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps, including Camp Auschwitz, the World War II Nazi death camp, where more than 1.1 million people were killed during the war. A rioter, during the sedicitous attack on the nation's Capitol Jan. 6, was photographed wearing a sweatshirt with “Camp Auschwitz" arced above a facsimile of a skull and crossbones symbol followed by these words. A plain as day reference to the Nazi intended extermination of the Jews. The man – allegedly the one memorialized by camera lens donning this pedigree of historical genicide and murder – is Robert Keith Packer of New Port News, Va. He has been arrested and charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct on restricted Capitol grounds. These are misdemeaner charges punishable to the tune of possibly one year of prison time. 

Freedom of speech, notwithstanding, whether or not he broke into the Capitol building, beat cops or hunted senators and representatives, he participated in an attempt to stop the peaceful transition of power, which is the capstone of our democracy, and replace it with Trumpocracy. What if he had been a non-white person wearing wordage sentiment that “The only good white person was a dead white person.” A reverse rebuttal of the sentiment Gen. Philip Sheridan articulated in 1869 at a conference with 50 Native American chiefs, in which he is quoted as saying “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” Later on, the remark mutated into The only good Indian is a dead Indian. So much for work brings freedom. Freedom to lawlessness and mob rule under a self-proclaimed dictator… No thank you.

If you are a military veteran who took an oath to serve and defend this democracy, and had thrown your allegiance behind Donald Trump for change from the status quo, or a civilian who imagined the same, is one thing. But after these four years and all that has taken place leading up to Jan. 6, if you are still throwing your lot in with this most criminal president in American history, you are either a simpleton or a traitor – pure and simple.

— Carl Hitchens