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Fri Jul 10, 2015, 02:02 PM

Trump: The Politics of the Past

Last edited Fri Jul 10, 2015, 04:01 PM - Edit history (1)

Just as Hitler took advantage of a long history of anti-Semitism to rise to power in Germany, Donald Trump is taking advantage of a long history of anti-immigrant feelings that have been openly part of the American culture since we formed this nation. The similarities between then and now are striking and no less dangerous today than they were back in Hitlerís day.

I know that comparing modern day figures to the German Nazis is a popular meme and in most cases, without validity, but that doesnít preclude the comparison from ever being apt. Occasionally, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past when we forget those lessons or enough time has passed that we simply cannot see those lessons as relevant to our modern society. What doesnít change over that period of time is human nature. We are more or less the same people we were less than a century ago. We have prejudices, fears, and are not above blaming others for our problems.

Hitler characterized the Jews in Europe as diseased criminals responsible for all of Germanyís problems. He exaggerated and exploited isolated instances of crime or immoral behavior just like Trump exaggerates and exploits isolated instances of undocumented immigrant crimes. The truth is that the 500,000 Jews in Germany in the 1930ís were almost indistinguishable from the rest of the German population. They were middle class, academics, professionals, and mostly lived in urban centers. The truth of undocumented immigrants in this country is that they are less likely to commit crimes than the population as a whole while working hard at low-wage jobs, without benefits, and always in danger of being deported. They are not more likely to come here carrying diseases, or commit murders, or rape as Donald Trump has repeatedly characterized them.

Hitler also threatened his European neighbors and eventually invaded them. Trump has openly accused the Mexican Government of sending these immigrants across the border and has also said that they are sending the worst elements of Mexican society north. Hitlerís Nazi Party drew their support not from the intellectuals of German society but largely from the uneducated, unemployed, disaffected Germans that had experienced the crushing poverty that resulted from Germanyís WWI reparation payments. Trumpís supporters are a disaffected segment of American society that already fear immigrants, thrive on low-information cable news programs, and are for the most part, older white Americans that have suffered financially from the Great Recession.

The term ďscapegoatingĒ is often associated with Hitlerís treatment of the European Jewish population. Is there really any difference between Donald Trumpís treatment of the Mexican undocumented population in this country and the treatment Hitler rained down on the European Jewish population prior to and during WWII? Is Trumpís rhetoric any less inflammatory than Hitlerís was? Isnít the goal in both cases the leadership of the most powerful military nation on the planet? The human race simply canít afford another charismatic leader willing to say anything to achieve ultimate power.

~Joe Nation

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Reply Trump: The Politics of the Past (Original post)
Joe Nation Jul 2015 OP
Joe Nation Jul 2015 #1

Response to Joe Nation (Original post)

Fri Jul 10, 2015, 04:00 PM

1. We are conditioned these days...

...to ignore Nazi Germany comparisons and rightly so in the vast majority of cases. We even have an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1" called Goodwin's Law. However, sometimes the comparison can't be denied and must not be dismissed as simply another bad analogy for the purposes of making a political point using the worst character in history as a whipping boy. In Trump's case, the parallels are almost endless.

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