Following the Nazi Playbook

Donald Trump is following the playbook of the embryonic Nazi party in pre-war Germany. Everyone knows a white supremacist rammed his car into the crowd at Charlottesville, killing a woman and injuring many more. All who saw the bloodshed and heard the taunts and jeers of the alt-right knew they were up against terrorism. Yet the president refused to call it by its name. He ducked and dodged the mayhem and provocations by neo-Nazis, armed to the teeth with guns, and holding aloft a giant Swastika

A president worthy of such exalted office should have been quick to blast such thugs as terrorists, or charitably as lepers in need of quarantine. Their very visible guns signaled violent intentions. But Trump chose to dilute their fanatical defiance by casting equal blame on those revolted by the presence of hate.

This is either a sign of presidential duplicity or the outgrowth of an imbecilic mind.

How much longer must we address Trump as Mr. President, while the western world dismisses him as a crank and laughing stock?

Let there be no blurring of his actions and style. Trump is dangerously reckless and indiscriminate in his bellicose tantrums. No sooner had he closed his eyes to the horror in Charlottesville than he diverted attention to distant Venezuela, the most recent country threatened during his war dance.

This presidential imposter brooks no opposition in his tweets – suitably brief for the mentally challenged. The wreckage of Trump’s recent past lies scattered in his zigzagging tracks. Fence sitters prepared to bend over backwards to give the president the benefit of the doubt must surely have had enough.

In brief, the president of the United States is a threat to sane Americans, to the venerated Constitution, to an independent judiciary, and to federal legislators.

Unbelievably, he has now set his sights on the leader of the Senate, whose cooperation is obligatory to pass legislation. But there is a ray of hope that Republican senators may yet clip Trump’s wings, or better still zip his mouth shut. The pushback has already begun from Senators Collins, Flake, Graham, Hatch, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, and Tillis.

After the outrage at Charlottesville, veteran Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said, “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Unless Trump is challenged and restrained there is fear that his incendiary rhetoric will push right wing extremists to shred our values and terrorize other innocents by force.

The terrorism in Charlottesville, reinforced by toughs flying the Nazi emblem amid the tread of ruffians holding weapons at the ready, is proof positive of their fury and inclination. Murder and violent clashes were the expected outcome of their growling mood.

The jackbooted, uniformed Nazi’s in Germany began their reign of terror from just such small beginnings. Those earliest lawless misfits included many of the disaffected, earning low incomes or unemployed, and restless drifters, many of whom had never been to college.

Among the earliest victims, as now, were journalists and the media they reported for. At every turn they were demeaned, debased, and dehumanized. They were savaged and scorned by the Nazi leaders until boycotts or bombs silenced them for good. Only those supporting the Nazi party were allowed to relay the party’s propaganda. Cowed Germans, longing for uncensored news, huddled in secrecy to tune into short-wave radio broadcasts from the banned BBC.

No one in their right minds believed that a cultured people, the descendants of Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach, could ever succumb to the Nazis. But then no one thought the Nazis would rule through clenched fists, nocturnal arsonists, and the barrel of a gun.

It took six years of warfare and tens of millions of casualties to destroy that evil monster. In the end the Nazi hierarchy committed suicide rather than face the wrath of the victors and their own deluded people.

Fortunately there is still time to embrace George Santayana’s eternal wisdom, reduced to a single sentence:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Anthony S. Pitch is a former journalist in America, England, Israel, and Africa, and the author of non-fiction history books, with 17 appearances on national television.

About the Author
Anthony S. Pitch is the author of Our Crime Was Being Jewish. He was Associated Press Broadcast Editor in Philadelphia and a journalist in England, Israel and Africa before becoming a senior writer in the books division of U.S. News & World Report in Washington, D.C
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