Friday, March 18, 2016

My Thoughts on Trumpism

The unease and admitted fear is palpable in conversations with others, in real life and in social media. That is understandable. Many have not learned the lessons of the past, but some have. There are two primary candidates for the Republican nomination, both of whom have offered racist solutions to the world in which we live. Both want to kick out ineligible aliens including children who’ve known no other life but that in America. Both paint Islam in terms of “Islamic terrorism” and where one has called for banning all Muslims to our country, the other is not much better.

Donald Trump takes it a step further. He calls for attacks on all sorts of people, and ignores every tenant of constitutional protection. Consider this quote from Adolph Hitler in his work Mein Kampf:

1. Keep the dogma simple. Make only 1 or 2 points.
2. Be forthright and powerfully direct. Speak only in the telling or ordering mode.

3. As much as possible, reduce concepts down into stereotypes which are black and white.

4. Speak to people’s emotions and stir them constantly.

5. Use lots of repetition; repeat your points over and over again.

6. Forget literary beauty, scientific reasoning, balance, or novelty.

7. Focus solely on convincing people and creating zealots.

8. Find slogans which can be used to drive the movement forward.

Now watch any speech by Donald Trump. It was said by an ex wife that he kept a copy of Mein Kampf by the bed. Okay, that’s okay. I’ve got a copy on my Kindle because it is important to know history and the lessons for us today. But copying his blueprint is quite another thing.

Let me address the remarks by people saying they are afraid. That’s okay, and understandable. However we cannot let that fear dominate us or stand in the way of standing strong in the face of this assault on our democratic sensibilities by pure racism and hate. As FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Years ago, I did a multiyear study of the Holocaust. What I learned was that what happened in Germany could happen anywhere. Certain factors were needed.

So what about us? Could it happen here? Consider this. After WWI, thanks to a Great Depression and crippling reparations imposed by the allies combined to leave ordinary families uneasy and quick to seek a strong leader who would bring them something better. Hitler was that person. Look at our current society. We are moving out of the Great Recession, but wages are less, and fewer benefits are offered. Money has been focused among the very rich at the expense of all the rest of us. Citizens United created a system where our politicians fear their corporate donors more than the populace who elects them, and their votes no longer represent the people. Now Donald Trump would not improve that one iota, but he is able to play on the fears and insecurity of these people.

Hitler once was said to have stated that had there not been a Jewish people, he would have needed to invent them. Lest we forget, it was not only Jews he targeted. Slavs, gays, and many others were utilized to stoke the fears and hates of his followers. Hmm Mexicans being called rapists and killers and his so called war on Islam… sound familiar?

Now I am not saying he is Hitler. I am saying that he stokes the same fears of the other, in his effort to be the strong man savior for all who are afraid. He’s a bully, and quite content to extend violence to get his way. We may feel fear, but the only way for anyone to deal with a bully, especially one who would emulate Hitler, is directly. We also need to remember, just as with the early followers of Hitler, that not all were bad people. They just wanted a decent shot at life when they voted him Chancellor of Germany. Many paid the ultimate price for that early endorsement, made possible by their willingness to overlook the bigotry and hate being offered up by their leader. They allowed themselves to be swayed to believe that really was the root of their problems. Many asked later, what we could have been done to prevent what happened. Together, hands outstretched, they ignored the obvious and for that paid a massive price.

As a child I was bullied. I learned the hard way that bullies had to be confronted, even when there was more of them. We confront this bully with truth, with love, and if it goes too far, then perhaps by violence. I pray not. I’ve watched black people be assaulted and he defends it. I’ve seen other black and Muslim people not allowed to come to his rallies simply because they were black or Muslim. He constantly encourages violence and laments the “good old days.” Does he mean the good old days back in the 20’s when his father apparently was arrested in conjunction with a brawl involving a KKK dispute? The fifties when everything was just wonderful unless you were non-white or poor? Yes he is selling folks a bill of goods. But if they buy in…. well, that must not happen. Last I heard, his followers were forming a group to “defend” the candidate against protesters. Perhaps they can call them Brown Shirts? Stand strong my friends, and just respond “Oh hell no!!!”

No comments:

Post a Comment