“We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it now, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep.” (How Do You Kill 11 Million People?)
Obviously, this title alludes to the Jews killed during World War II. Although much genocide has occurred throughout human history, some with even higher casualties, the Holocaust draws certain connotations in our minds.
Two weeks ago, I read a blog review of “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews. Moved by the review and the premise behind the book, I left a comment to this effect. Despite the stack of unread books on my shelf, I intended to buy that book, sooner rather than later. And it would go to the top of the stack. A few days later, I received an email from the blog owner saying I had won the weekly blog giveaway.
My prize? You guessed it. The book has 80 pages, and I read it in less than an hour. A simple concept doesn’t have to be wrapped in a lengthy expose. It definitely lived up to my expectations.
Among the insight the author gives, he challenges the reader with the following:
· "Why do the ages of our world’s greatest civilizations average around two hundred years?
· Why do these civilizations all seem to follow the same identifiable sequence—from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, and finally from dependence back into bondage?
· The United States is the longest tenured government in the world."
So how do atrocities in history correlate to life in the 21st century? Are we doomed to repeat past mistakes by not learning from them? Certain mileposts would indicate so.
When my daughter was little, she loved to say it was opposite day when I tried to get her to do something she didn’t want to do. We’ve slowly come to accept certain things in this country that are opposite to our belief system, while at the same time embracing the inane.
You only have to look at our current social issues to draw the correlation between fallen civilizations and our current way of life.
Three thousand babies are murdered legally each day in the United States. We look the other way when stories surface like the one about Pepsi testing new products on aborted fetal cells. The revelation barely registered a blip on the media’s radar.
Yet we’re outraged when Starbucks’ use of dye obtained from crushed bugs surfaces. I mean, that’s really something to get upset about. Right?
Compare the current political, social, and economic situation in the U.S. to a party on a frozen lake in rising temperatures. The party-goers are caught up in the revelry; they don’t hear the subtle cracking sound of ice melting. The cracking continues until it’s too late—the ice is separating under their feet.
The ice is cracking all around us, folks. We only have to look at history to see moral decline precedes economic decline when civilizations collapse. A solution exists, and we’re all part of it. Hope for our future begins with each individual putting down their drinks and walking off the ice before it’s too late.
So how do you kill 11 million people?
The answer is way simpler than you could imagine, and it’s key to our hope as a nation. I’m not one to give away the major premise of a book, so you’ll have to read the book to discover it. To make that a little easier, I’m going to pay forward a copy of the book. To be eligible to win a copy, leave a comment on one of my three blog posts this week. I will randomly select the winner next weekend.
I’ll leave you with one final thought from the book, a quote of President James Garfield from his centennial address to Congress in 1876:
“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.” Then he added, “If [one hundred years from now] the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”