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Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Hitler and Trump
Hitler and Trump:
Today's political climate is desperately frightening, much more frightening than the possibility of any extremist act not devised by a fiction writer. The United States and its people seem to be taking a sharp right turn en masse and letting fear rule our minds – and our hearts. I too am afraid, but not because of what terrorists can do. I fear what we can become as we overreact to what terrorists can do. I have seen us erode our own rights. I have seen the rhetoric ramp up against specific groups to the point that many among us seem to agree that Muslims should be banned from entering America at all, and those who are here should be set up in concentration camps. The rhetoric is so horribly familiar. It is not supposed to fly here, but it does. Donald Trump seems to increase his poll numbers with every outrageous utterance, each more profane than the last. And with each utterance those we call enemies gain more traction, and more recruits.
I often hear that making comparisons to the Nazis and Adolph Hitler is the last resort of a desperate debater. This is no longer true. The American political scene is devastatingly prejudiced and hateful. Many agree with the hate filled rhetoric. Many more, it is supposed, do not agree. But they are silent, and we all know that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to say and do nothing. Meanwhile, the war on terror (which is waging war on a tactic, not an ideology or another political force) distracts us from other issues of equal merit and far greater long term implications to ourselves and our children and their children. Our planet is dying. Well, the planet will not die, but life as we know it can, and is – and we would rather blow up things across the globe than save ourselves. It makes me wonder whether the great oil companies are actually financing the terrorists, the way a magician distracts with sleight of hand to keep our eyes away from the real truth.
We need enemies. Enemies give us reasons to have soldiers to “protect us.” Enemies distract us from what Corporate America is doing, while the soldiers are positioned to protect Corporate's interests. We are being lied to: our hatreds, our fears, and our prejudices are being aroused, and I want to know why. More: I want to know why we are letting it happen. An astute observer of human nature once wrote, “The broad mass of a nation...will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one.” He added, “The art of leasdership...consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.” I think Trump is taking a few lessons from Adolph Hitler's playbook.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..