Today I decided to feed my inner International Relations nerd by visiting a series of museums dedicated to WWII and the Holocaust – including the Anne Frank House. Pretty sobering experiences on their own, they were made even more so by the striking similarities between the events of WWII and those of today.
To start, you have your ‘charismatic’ leader – Hitler for the 1930s and Trump for present day (although personally Trump’s limited vocabulary and lack of knowledge for current events makes him seem more dumb than a kindergartener to me – which is an insult to kindergarteners.) But regardless of my opinion, people support him enough for him to have the possibility of becoming President of the United States.
Now for the more disturbing part: to get to this point, Donald Trump has spewed a series of racist, homophobic, hateful ideas in multiple campaign speeches, many of which members of our population have wholeheartedly agreed with. His accusations that all Muslims are terrorists and all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers strike a disturbingly similar tone to the hate speech of Hitler towards the Jews and Gypsies. Muslims have become our modern-day Jews – blamed for everything even though the vast majority are responsible world citizens (bear in mind 23% of the world’s population are Muslim, and over 80% of this population does not support ISIS according to a recent poll); and Hispanics our modern day Gypsies, entering borders illegally as they are not allowed to travel any other way, only to be met with disdain everywhere they go.
Whats more, Hitler – Freudian slip, correction: Trump has even shown a disregard for disabled peoples, having mocked a disabled reporter during the primaries. He even had the gall to insult a Gold Star Family – something I doubt even Hitler would dare to have done.
Now, you may be reading this and think – ‘Well that is a jump – Hitler actually killed people, Trump is just talking crazy’ (or heaven forbid, you are reading this and somehow agree with Trump’s comments.) But bear in mind, Hitler was elected too. And during his election speeches, he held back, speaking mainly of the evil Jewish people were believed to be responsible for. Even Hitler wasn’t as blatantly warmongering as Trump:
- Case one – Trump’s declaration that he would kill the families and children of suspected terrorists, an action that is strictly forbidden by the Geneva Conventions – which, if you didn’t know, were based off the events that occurred in WWI and WWII.
- Case two – Trump advocating for the torture of captured individuals, also internationally outlawed by legislation inspired by the events of WWI and WWII, and given up by the US due to a significant domestic backlash after the leaked photos from the Abu Ghraib prison, and significant evidence that torture does not work.
- Case three – Trump’s taped confession [though is it really a confession if you are bragging about it?] to multiple counts of sexual assault (a federal crime outlawed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) With absolutely no remorse for his actions, neither then nor now.
I could go on. But I digress… (And yes, I do recognize that these were common practice before becoming strictly outlawed, but Hitler made a point of never outright condemning Jews, or any others, to death during his election; his speeches mainly focused on fuelling feelings of hatred and discontent during his campaign and in his early years in office.) It is just disturbing to think Trump is going down the list in a ‘First they came for the Socialists’ manner (if you don’t understand this reference, note the quote at the end of this post.)
Yes, our society has progressed far enough that proposals for concentration camps would be met with immediate horror and disgust (though I thoroughly believe there would be a sector of our society in favor of such a proposal for Muslims.) But have you ever stopped to compare the conditions in overcrowded, underfunded refuge camps to those of the concentration camps?
Or worse – compare the guaranteed death many refuges face should they return to their ISIS-controlled homelands to the death guaranteed by the gas chambers? By denying refuges access to international safe havens, we are repeating the past mistakes which, in one case alone, condemned 254 passengers of the MS St. Louis to their deaths (imagine how many people we have condemned in the 5year Syrian ‘civil war’? Quotation marks because the battle as evolved to one between not just the state and the civilians, but also non-state actors such as ISIS. [They are not recognized as states because then it gives legitimacy to their claim that they rightly deserve to brutally govern the people in their illegally controlled territories – illegal because they aren’t a state]. However, since the conflict only involves one state, it is therefore still considered a ‘civil war’ despite spilling over Syria’s borders. )
And then there are the claims Trump has made regarding mass deportation. Will this deportation take the form of so many before it, where those being deported die on their journey? Or are denied basic human rights? Will they be forced to leave at gun point? Ride on cattle cars, stuffed inside like animals, like the deportations of the Holocaust? Even more practical, will we spend vast amounts of money to deport these ‘undesirable people’ rather than spend that money on the poor and impoverished US citizens?
Its sobering, it is all extremely sobering. And scary. Going through exhibit after exhibit, all I could think was, ‘Has my country really come to this? How can we be the nation with the largest Holocaust Memorial Museum and yet support someone who mirrors Hitler so significantly?’
This post is in no way supporting any candidate – I dislike all candidates in this election, I’d much rather have Elizabeth Warren vs. John McCain instead. (Then at least we’d have two well-liked, knowledgable, qualified politicians as candidates.) But that is not what this post is about. This post is supporting America – the America that feeds on hope, not hatred. That was created for religious freedom, not persecution. The melting pot that blended so many cultures together, succeeding in creating the largest economy in the world (which still maintains a GDP greater than all other nations in the world, despite our economic downturn.)
I implore you. Do not focus on the fact that you hate Hillary. Do not focus on the fact that you dislike the political norm we have today, which – no question – has failed us. Focus on the risk we face of electing a modern-day Hitler. I don’t give a damn who you vote for come November 8th, just don’t let it be the candidate who has repeatedly mimicked the most brutal leader in modern history.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.