Calling Trump Hitler, the Pathway to Trump’s Reelection

Calling Trump Hitler, the Pathway to Trump’s Reelection July 2, 2018

One of the reasons why I am a political moderate is the sheer stupidity and extremism I find on both sides of the political debate. And it seems that when one side has engaged in extreme stupidity so much that I can never support them, then the other side basically tells me “hold my beer.” From the very first day he announced his presidency, I have been vocal against Donald Trump and warned folks on the left and right to oppose him. And his presidency has pretty much been the dumpster fire I feared it would be. But now Democrats and progressives have made it so that I must do the unthinkable. I must defend Trump. So here it goes. President Donald Trump is not Hitler.

Really he is not Hitler. I know that we have been told again, and again and again that he is Hitler, but he is not. I know that will be hard for some people to accept. I have already had some of the diehard resist people chastise me for not sounding the warning of the coming Fourth Reich. They want to know if I am going to wait until we smell the burning bodies before I will join them in fighting the Fuhrer. Well I will continue to fight him but based on truth and not the lie that he is Hitler.

So let’s tackle this argument logically shall we? It is clear that we are not engaging in any sort of Holocaust today. When I point this out, the supporters of the Trump equals Hitler idea then make a slippery slope argument. They argue that we are not gassing people right now, but if we are not careful we will be eventually. But, that slippery slope works both ways. The demonizing of “enemies of the people” led to countless people being sent to gulags in the Soviet Union. No doubt those doing the demonizing believed that they were doing this for the good of society. If we are to take the slippery slope argument seriously, then we have look at the possibilities that when we label someone as Nazi that this type of demonizing can lead to violence against Trump supporters. Perhaps the slippery slope argument should give us pause before making wild accusation.

I mean if we really think that the Nazis are here, then we should do whatever we can to stop them. If ICE and Trump are really Nazis, then killing them is justified is it not? After all would it have been that horrible if Hitler had been killed when he was a soldier? Are we not right to do whatever we want to stop the coming Nazi that is Trump? Are you seeing the consequence of this type of dehumanization yet? Do you want someone to beat up an ICE agent in the name of the any means necessary approach that many have adopted?

It is not that there are never any times where the slippery slope argument is relevant, but we must be careful to make the argument when we have evidence to back it up. If not, then anything can be feared to happen in the future and that can be used to do terrible things. And simply because anything is possible in the future, that does not mean that all things are equally likely. To make a reasonable prediction we need to identify useful precursors from the previous horrors we want to prevent. I have seen some make the argument that instances such as children being taken from their parents or refugee camps are precursors to Nazism. Problem is that we have seen parents lose their children in refugee camps many times before in our history and yet this did not lead to Nazism. So we need to be very careful as we think about how a real precursor might look.

If we are going to see some sort of Holocaust, then looking at how the Nazis treated the Jews before that awful event can show us some real precursors to Nazism. In 1933 Nazi Germany passed a series of laws that forbid Jews to take the bar exam, or to become medical doctors, to limit their enrollment to German schools, to not allow them to own farms, to allow for many of them to lose their citizenship rights, and to control their activities in film, theater, fine arts, literature, broadcasting and the press. Then in 1935 came the Nuremberg Laws which excluded all Jews from citizenship, forbade marriage between Germans and Jews and fired Jews from state employment. Then finally in 1938-1939 laws were passed that forbade Jews from owning gardens, attending movies, the opera, concerts, removed all Jewish kids from public school and required the Jews to turn in all jewelry of value. Sometimes we forget the true scope and horror of the laws that predated the actual Holocaust.

Current, we have an immigration mess that Trump has made worse. We have a president who routinely makes disparaging remarks about ethnic groups. We have the mistreatment of potential refugees and their families in our society. But anyone who truly thinks that these problems rise to the level of the specific dehumanizing legislation aimed at the Jews is practicing a type of Holocaust denial that sees the holocaust everywhere until it no longer has the place it deserves as one of the worst moments of human history. If there are serious attempts at legislation to single out a group for these types of unique punishments then we can talk about precursors to the Holocaust. Otherwise we just need to go ahead and blast Trump for what he is doing and what he already is, rather than project Hitlerian expectations on him.

I am a consistent opponent of Trump. And those of us who are such opponents have to call out the excesses of other critics unless we want to become what we are fighting. Remember when Republicans were slow about calling out those, such as our current president, who labeled President Obama a Muslim? Their silence allowed the lie to fester. We dare not do the same here. If anti-Trump opposition is to mean anything, it has to mean a better world than one where Trump is the president. Calling Trump Hitler and his followers Nazis does not do that. Trump dehumanizes his opponents and the faceless “elites” he rails against. I will not dehumanize the faceless masses who support him. Trump traffics in a hateful type of populism. I will not contribute to a hateful populism from the opposite direction.

This type of extremism has led to an “at any costs” approach to dealing the Trump. And that has consequences. There are misleading photos of children used to garner a more sympathetic victim. I have watched Democratic politicians refuse to work with Republicans because they would rather gain political advantage than create a lasting solution to the refugee crisis. Other politicians argue that harassment of political opponents is the right thing to do. A professor has released the names and contact information of ICE agents. Why? Does he hope that they will be harassed while they eat dinner, or that someone will try to kill them once they are tagged as hateful (do not laugh, remember Floyd Corkin)? I reject this “at any costs” approach because I do not want a society where we oppress and harass political enemies.

Now if doing what is right is not sufficient motivation to reconsider this type of strategy, then allow me to provide a more practical reason why this should not be done. Trump makes hay out of portraying himself as a victim. He is a billionaire, or so he says, and yet somehow he is able to make people feel like he is one of them. I did not understand how someone living in poverty or middle class could feel that such a man could relate to them. Many of them are white men who should feel like they have a great deal of power. But this sort of Nazi paranoia has been enlightening in a negative way because I know that many people wonder how white men can see themselves as victims. You want to know how? You CALL THEM NAZIS.

The attitude to call Trump supporters Nazis may manifest itself in many ways, but we will have to confront that attitude if we want to strip away some of his core support. Tell me you do not understand how some people may choose to support the incompetent Trump when the other side is busy trying to hang the holocaust around their neck. So this strategy of trying to shame Trump and his followers with chants of Nazi is guarantee not to cut into Trump’s base support and indeed will probably make them more loyal to him. Indeed there is evidence that loyalty towards him has increased among his followers. Secretary Clinton tried shaming techniques in her attempt to beat him at the last election. How well did that work out?

I sometimes think that those who call Trump Hitler do it to feel good for themselves. I mean how noble is a cause when you are fighting a representation of arguably the greatest human evil we have ever seen. But when it really is not the greatest evil, you can motivate those with any sympathy towards him to support him all them more. Those good feelings of thinking that one is fighting Nazism may contribute to four more years of Trump. Are those good feelings worth that much?

You can hate Trump and all he stands for and still acknowledge that he is not a Nazi. He is an egotistical, race-baiting, sexist, xenophobic, constant liar, committed to tariff policies that can ruin our economy, incompetent President. Is that not bad enough? Do we have to go overboard and compare him to arguably the most evil man in history? I do not know why some who oppose Trump do not get that he does not have to be Hitler in order to warrant opposition. So let the past die in the past. Let Hitler be Hitler and Trump be Trump.

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