In 1960, when I was in the fourth grade, I learned the word "Holocaust." It was a big word. And as soon as the librarian explained its meaning to me, I wished that I could go back to not knowing about it. I first saw the word in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I was reading The Diary of Anne Frank for my book report, and my teacher had supplied a list of places to look for more information on Anne and why she was forced to spend her youth in an attic hiding from people who wanted to kill her.
"Holocaust." Knowing that word changed me.
Knowing Anne Frank changed me even more.
I was only nine when I met Anne through the pages of her journal. But Anne became a true heroine to me in my hidden life. On the outside, I was a privileged little girl living a very privileged life in a very privileged family. On the inside, behind the heavy oak doors, I was being regularly sexually abused by my father and threatened into hiding his secrets. In some very mystical way, Anne showed me how to close off the evil and stay myself in spite of it.
Until I met Anne and learned about the Holocaust, I had believed that the whole world outside my own little house of horrors was a good place, with good people in it, and only happiness and love. It was a warped view of things. And even though knowing of these vast evils running rampant out there, resulting in atrocities like the Holocaust, made me somewhat more fearful, even less innocent, I took comfort in knowing that I was not as alone as I had thought before.
That same year, another person emerged to put a lamp at my young feet. He had a thunderous voice and skin as dark as night. And a smile that seemed to light up the souls who saw it. He was a preacher. My father hated him. And looking back, I think it was my father's hatred of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that made me want to love him before I ever understood a thing he was saying.
Dr. Martin Luther King came into my world the same year I was studying slavery in civics class. That always struck me as such a quirky thing. Here I was squirming in my pupil's desk, feeling the horrible shame of having white skin, reading the stories of slaves and how my ancestors had done the most horrible things to these fellow human beings. And in the same year, I was actually hearing this coal-black man with the holy smile calling us all to ever better selves.
Whenever I opened my heart and listened to Martin then, I really could believe that people could be good. That evil could be conquered. That Holocausts didn't have to happen. And that little girls didn't have to be hurt and abused and have their innocence stolen by the men they trusted most. I believed. I really believed.
I believed in my country. I believed in her goodness. I believed that Americans had done evil, but that we were always striving to get it right. To do it better. To prevent Holocausts and slavery and hate from winning. I really did believe that then.
The year I turned twelve, I watched on television as my hero, Martin, gave that speech about his dream. He summed it all up for me. I was just one girl, yes. But one girl is something. Martin was just one man, but one man can do a lot. It was Martin who taught me that from afar.
I didn't just hear Martin's dream. I lived it. On every level. Because of Martin, I refused to give up on good. I reasoned that as long as there were good people willing to dream of goodness, even in the midst of dire evil, then I wanted to be one of them. And I wouldn't let go of that dream no matter what.
Then I met Jesus. And I understood Martin a lot better. I was fourteen then, and life was changing fast. Things were no longer pure good and pure evil. There was a lot of gray mixed in with the black and the white.
When I met Jesus in the Gospel, I was purely starved for understanding. And for the first time, I became aware of my own evil, my own shortcomings, my own selfishness and hard-heartedness. But I had learned more about Martin, too, and I knew by then that he wasn't all saint and no sinner. Jesus lit my path. Martin showed that it was possible. I picked up my own Cross that year and promised to do my best. To fight against evil in my own backyard. To be on the side against the slaveries and the Holocausts and the killing fields.
But I was still very innocent in the ways of evil. I had seen my fair share of evil's ways, means, and mantras, but nothing had prepared me for the soon-to-come Holocaust of abortion.
By 1973, I was married to one of God's truly good men and pregnant with our first child. Six months after Roe was handed down, our son was born. I was a young mother, consumed with the awe of holding my first child, spending hours just studying those little hands and feet and feeling that tiny mouth at my breast. The country was consumed with Viet Nam, the war, the communist threat, the out-of-control youth that rampaged with violence against the violence half a world away. Not many seemed to think that much about Roe or what it might mean or how many innocents would later die at their mothers' own hands.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken to the streets that January of 1973, when America committed herself to a Holocaust of unprecedented proportions. I would have taken my babe in arms and run out to wail and keen and beg good people to listen. I would have invoked the names of Anne Frank and the six million other Jews. I would have run to the arms of every Martin in every church in America. I would have thrown myself upon the mercy of anyone who would listen. Stop! Stop! America, what are you doing?
The whole problem with growing up and becoming intellectual is that we stop making the fundamental connections that children innately make. We stop being able to see the threads of evil for what they really are. We watch evil morph, change the colors or characteristics of its stripes, and we are fooled. Again and again mankind is fooled into embracing evil's new form, even while decrying those who perpetrated evils past.
The child sees clearly the common threads. The child can connect an evil father with an evil slaver. The child can see that the evil which ensnared Anne Frank is the same evil that Martin is railing against. The child discerns that a Jewish life is the same as a black life is the same as a white life is the same as a young life is the same as an old life. The child could easily, with no prompting whatsoever, see a sonogram and tell you it's a baby. The child does not dissemble and rationalize and wish for convenient ignorance.
To paraphrase Martin, dehumanizing one human being dehumanizes every human being. And dehumanizing leads inexorably to more and more dehumanizing. The line between who is on the legal list of those who can be treated as property to be disposed of becomes more and more blurred. Until doctors are killing live infants with scissors slammed into the backs of their tiny heads. And intellectualized adults can try to explain the difference to a child who knows better.
There is nothing more I can say. Really, there isn't. We live in an America today -- in the present -- where our own hands carry the blood of more than 52 million innocent human beings. Deprived of life by the same evil that took the lives of slaves and all the Anne Franks. Our doctors have become killers. Our women have become clients for paid murder. And people who actually think of themselves as good stand up in public to defend this Holocaust.
This is not what any good soul could call progress. It's just the same old wickedness with different stripes and a bigger pile of human bodies.
But I still have a dream that the holocaust of abortion will end. And I won't stop dreaming this dream no matter what. No matter what. I won't lie to my children, though. I will not tell my children that those slavers in the past and those Nazis far away were evil, while we are good. Because as long as this holocaust continues unabated, we are as evil as evil ever gets. And no amount of rationalization or political justice speechifying is going to change that.
Evil by any other name is still the same beast. Children see that. Why can't we?
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at www.kyleanneshiver.com.