The Downfall

I went out with a group of friends and saw “The Downfall” last night. It
was intense and troubling. At first I couldn’t think of anything in the
American experience to compare with the German fixation for National
Socialism. We demonize Hitler and place him on an evil pedestal to the
effect that “well that’ll never happen again.” Read Jonathan Glover’s
“Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.” The facts of later
history reveal that we’ve let it happen again and again and again. And
its not slated to stop any time soon. Hitler’s ideology brought down an
entire nation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to die trying to stop Hitler as
an expression of his faith and be numbered with the Jews at
Flossenburg. “The Downfall” was a German director’s attempt to reflect
on his people’s history. As an American viewer I’m trying to process our
parallel history as the “righteous victors who would never do anything
like that.” Let’s look again: genocide of hundreds of Native Americans
from Columbus on, an economy that flourished because of the slave trade,
coming out on top after two world wars in the world economy, “righteous
enough” to drop two A-bombs “for peace”, and on and on. “Let’s not call
the events in Rwanda genocide” (Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, Kofi
Annan) How is American Democracy and Globalization not its own ideology
that paves a superhighway over the poor masses in the name of consumer
progress? And where is Jesus now in all this Democracy? What right have
we to pray for the countries we conquer?


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