Identity Crisis

Muscular Bride Behind the Scenes

A Nazi walks into a Jewish delicatessen in New York. He has a swastika tattooed on his forehead. He says, “I’ll have a pastrami on rye, some chips, and a Kosher pickle.” The owner of the deli is working the counter that day. His grandparents were both gassed at Auschwitz.

Should the owner be allowed to kick the Nazi out of his deli?

The law is a warped example of how far we have strayed from the original intent of a country where individual achievement reaps rewards comparable to its impact on those around it. As Bernie Sanders said of the Koch brothers; their efforts are a danger to our “democracy.” Democracy is the enemy of individual achievement.

Democracy is great if you happen to be in the majority. The Jews in Germany in the 1930s were not in the majority. So despite the gratitude that Germans owed them for all the incredible benefits they bestowed on German society, they were a convenient target as a scapegoat for any ills the government saw as a threat to its power.

An elementary school teacher was being interviewed on the radio a while back. She was speaking of her program for the kids to “find their identity.” I thought, “Wow, these kids don’t know who they are?” It didn’t take long to figure out that she thought these kids were of no value until they could be labeled; until they could be part of a group identity.

Language depends on labels. News stories have to economize by classifying people, even though the people within a class, group, or identity are all different. These days it seems as though we keep our mouths shut rather that saying something disagreeable and risk losing friends. So the media shoots these labels into our heads and they remain, they fester, without any discussion. The people around us, who we are not familiar with, become Jews, gays, Nazis; you name it.

It does have a profound impact on our world.

A bridal shop in Pennsylvania has closed because of death threats and a pending civil ordinance after it refused to sell dresses to a same sex couple. More recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that Colorado cannot force a baker to produce a wedding cake for two men.

This case has almost exclusively been centered around “religious freedom.” This is another diversion from the real issue of individual property rights. Jack Phillips, the baker, shouldn’t have to declare a religion to keep the state from bossing him around.

Likewise, David Mullins and Charlie Craig shouldn’t have to ask permission of the state to marry each other. How noble is it to ruin a person’s business when you could have simply gone elsewhere? Surely another shop could have sent their blessing along with the cake. A marriage based around conflict doesn’t sound so happy.

Whether you call it “God-given,” or “natural,” or “human” rights, what kind of warped logic says that one person has the right to rule over another?

I hope the elementary teacher in Cedar Rapids discovers her identity too. She could easily look at the name on her driver’s license. And she could treat her students as individuals as well, unless she is too lazy and has to lump them all into “identities.”

I am thankful that identity politics was thwarted in Europe in WWII. Let’s resist it here today as well.

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