I’ve kept this blog #USElection2016 -free, but today I have to say something.
Donald Trump is not Hitler, of course, and Hillary Clinton is no saint.
A lot of us Americans are asking ourselves what happened to our country. How could tens of millions of our people be galvanized by a man who claims he can fix the country for us? Who talks populism, protectionism, division, ridicule and hate? We can’t wrap our minds around the fact that so many of our neighbors and family members could see a leader in a man who spits venom.
Now imagine it’s 1945 or ’46. What were the Allies asking themselves in occupied Germany?
How could these people fall for that man? Was there something special about the Germans that made them blind to what he was? Did they see and not care? Were they concerned citizens voting according to their economic interests? Was it a vote against the Weimar establishment? Were they rebels? Were they sheep? Were they evil?
Those were real questions back then and all through the rest of the 20th century.
Now we know the answer to the biggest question.
It can happen anywhere. We saw it in Britain, we saw it last night in the USA. One of the first thing my international friends speculated about this morning was whether Germany would be next. There’s a national election here next year. Will lightening strike twice in this country where we’ve made our homes? If so, what do we tell our children about democracy and leadership and the rights of citizens? What do people who care about freedom do in an age when authoritarianism and the politics of division seem to be rising up all around us?
I don’t know. I’m too tired to think about it right now.
I do know that the Germans of the war generation were criticized for not resisting. For not seeing who and what was in front of them. Some were electrified by the new order. They were going to make Germany great again. Many people accepted the ugly side of the situation, or they succumbed to fear, they blended into the woodwork and got on with their lives, they became opportunists benefiting from the new laws, or they gave up on politics altogether. They let the wrong people trample over their country, its minorities and the weakest of its citizens. The ultimate result was total collapse.
We can tell ourselves that’ll never happen to us. Not in 21st century America. Except the people back then also thought they were making their country and the world better. Aside from being racist and antisemitic, the Nazis hated intellectuals, the media, artists, the disabled, gays, political “dissidents,” women in power, and anyone who ridiculed or criticized them. That looks a whole lot like what we’re seeing in the US and other democracies right now. How does that make the country and the world better?
It’s not the world I want my kids growing up in. But since it looks like they have to, all I can do is teach them a lot of critical thinking, a little history, and a skepticism of anyone who claims to be their leader. That’s not what democracy and freedom are all about.
Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-K0930-502 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Charles Freeman said:
Consider this. The condition of American society today cannot be blamed on Donald Trump. Where we are tonight, as a Nation, has nothing to do with HIS politics. He has never served in an official political capacity. Current politics are largely responsible for current events.
The literal state of American society today is soldiers at war around the world, the shedding of brotherly blood, water, food, and people being sickened with putrescence, pharmaceutical poisoning, economic debt and disparity by some, sybaritism by others, and inured imaginations everywhere. Are we really happy, or are we, lost in the masquerade.
These things, this current daily reality, the one that every mother of a slain child, every daughter or son of a fallen soldier, all women and men who unwittingly have been compromised into accepting the suffering from fundamental government mismanagement by the remains of our Democracy, which has ordained and implemented upon us a programmatic design paradigm of American life that does not work for greater and greater numbers of Americans, those things, are the literal state of our nation right now.
Had Trump not won this election, when the audience sat down, and the show was over, when the dust settled, 3, 6, 9 months from now, where would we have been? What would have been different? What’s more likely to happen, really? Will student loans and other debt be forgiven or will they be reduced to manageable payment structures, or probably not? Will career politicians stop taking money from lobbyist groups and private pacts, or probably not? Will our troops come home or probably not? Will our economy bounce back so that the working middle class earns annual increases that beat inflation rather than the current condition of other way round? Will we be able to choose whether or not to genetically modify our DNA through the foods we eat? Will pharmaceutical companies just slash their profits and begin offering lower cost more effective natural prescriptions that actually cure disease, or will they continue to run 30 second ads on the tv where 25 of those seconds is warning you of all of the residual complications that causes other more serious illnesses than the one the drugs are just supposed to be there to manage? Will the systematic eradication of black men by law enforcement stop? Not very likely, because nothing would have changed.
If Secretary Clinton is our answer to the current state of America, economically, socially, internationally, then, President Obama and the previous administrations before him were the problem? Yes, this and previous administrations did cause our current condition. Has she not previously played her part in that institution? Is she not a career polititian?
Like any other field of human endeavor, there are those of us who excel and accomplish extraordinary feats in their professions. I urge you to consider the Democratic agenda to be driven by one or several of these outstanding politicians. Consider a political strategy where the goal is to maintain the political status quo by having an affiliated career politician elected.
It will be clear as day, when the next officer extinguishes the life of an unarmed black man, and the very first realization to the people who will have been misdirected by the countenance of her eloquent presentation.
I am not by any means excusing nor condoning the behavior of the Oscar worthy character that Donald Trump is playing. Just consider this, is it more likely to be true that Donald Trump has staged and engineered the greatest reality production of all time, or that a strategic team of seasoned exceptional career politicians have created a rostrum from which Donald Trump would inevitably illustrate to the world that the only choice, is not really a choice at all. Consider that the focus of this year’s election is now on a stage production instead of on the real current state of this country‘s affairs.
America appears to be afraid of what they think tomorrow will bring under a Trump regime, well I’m not. I’m more afraid that tomorrow, my family will be the next to weeping, and moaning, and gnashing of teeth over the next black man eradicated, because nothing changed and we go right back to the “business as usual” inevitability that so obviously within our current government, is the algorithm of career politics.
The American condition must change now! We can no longer wait for change to happen. The very definition of insanity is to continue do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. If we are misdirected from the full view of the real reality of our lives in this election, it is insane to believe that the American condition will change with Hillary at the helm.
I will say that whether we think him a buffoon or not, he made 650 million dollars last year. Since everyone thinks he is so stupid and that everyone is so much more in tuned than him, did you make 650 million last year?
Is America a country willing to hold a person guilty until they can prove their innocence, or are we a people who believe that a person is innocent until they prove themselves guilty? She has already admitted that she is guilty of the governmental mismanagement.
The American Democracy must maintain a check and balance system. Our nation is off kilter and we are currently unbalanced. There must be some kind of way out of here. We must re-balance the scales and exercise the right of freedom. It will take courage to see through the veil of misdirection. There is no wizard behind the curtain. It would have just been business as usual.
A lot to think about, thanks, Charles. I agree with a lot of what you said, especially about the need for checks and balances in the system. That hasn’t been working as well as it needs to, and will get worse as long as all 3 branches of government are or will be in the hands of or heavily weighed toward one party or ideology. To me the real danger doesn’t have as much to do with left or right politics, it’s what is done with them — especially if it yields a more authoritarian system.
Patrick Reed said:
I truly fear for our country. You said he not Hitler but don’t be so quick to dismiss that thought. He is coming to power thru a campaign of hate and fear mongering. During the primaries he got people to pledge to him in an eerily similar fashion and just today vowed to reverse all of Obama’s executive orders. He also vowed to roll back gay marriage. I sense our personal freedoms will be slowly eroded and he is a war-monger and Putin lover. It is bad.
I believe there’s only one Hitler, and it doesn’t help to label people with his name even if there are similarities. If anything, Trump is more a Mussolini, a strong man type and egotist who slashes and burns. Mussolini was always slightly ridiculous even when he was dangerous. His own people ended up turning against him. We’ll see what happens in the States.