A Facebook friend of mine recently sent me this screenshot of a comment thread he was involved in just a couple of days ago. The Trump hater in this thread is also a Great Falls resident.
The last comment in the thread is particularly troubling. It appears it’s now just commonplace to label our fellow citizens and neighbors with which we disagree politically as Nazis. In just the last few days on national television I’ve heard otherwise intelligent folks compare the family separation tragedy on our southern border to concentration camps and the Holocaust. I’ve heard Trump referred to as Hitler and anyone who doesn’t participate fully in the unhinged hate-Trump orgy as Nazis and Brownshirts.
Among the several disturbing problems associated with playing the ‘Nazi card’ and comparing 21st Century American issues, social context, and contemporary politicians with Hitler and Nazi Germany are the following:
- It ignores actual history. People who make such comparisons only prove their own historical ignorance.
- Such comparisons dumb down and cheapen the real horrors of the attempted extermination of an entire race during the actual Holocaust.
- It’s dangerous. The extreme acrimony and hatred have reached a boiling point and will result in violence if it continues unabated.
Why is it dangerous? Because when you point at those who support or voted for the President and paint them with the Nazi brush you turn them into the worst villains imaginable. Your neighbors, friends, folks standing next to you in the grocery store checkout, sitting next to you in the pew, even your own relatives are transformed into killers, torturers, monsters. Because they don’t hate Trump sufficiently?
It dehumanizes your fellow citizens, your fellow Montanans. And when you make them less than human, when you make them evil personified, then any kind of action against them seems justifiable. After all, the world is better off without those evil Nazis so it must be for the greater good to hurt them. To kill them. Who could blame you for hurting or killing a damn Hitler loving Nazi Brownshirt?
“After all, the world is better off without those evil Nazis so it must be for the greater good to hurt them. To kill them. Who could blame you for hurting or killing a damn Hitler loving Nazi Brownshirt?”
Don’t believe me? Just look at Peter Fonda’s despicable Tweets:
So if you’re a Trump Nazi family member or Brownshirt Cabinet official, or even staff, then it’s okay to whip you, strip you, poke you, rape you etc. Because, you know, Nazis deserve it.
Of course, most of those who oppose or who hate Trump and compare him and his voters to the Third Reich don’t intend to hurt others. But there are plenty of unstable folks out there who listen to the Nazi nonsense being spewed out by others and who could take such language as not just a justification but an invitation to harm others.
It also works the other way. How long will it be before some Trump supporter somewhere isn’t going to take being called a murderous Nazi with patience and civility. Think about it.
Time to tone down the rhetoric. We can do better. We must do better.