Odds are by now some of your politically-obsessed family members and friends have done it. Hank Williams Jr. did it. Arizona State Representative Brenda Barton sure the hell did it. She not only did it, but stands by her decision to do it! All of these Tweeting numskulls have done it. Even these anti-Tea Party graphic artists have done it.
All are violators, or rather proof, of Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Truly, we live in politically desperate times. Do not misunderstand me: I am no friend of the Republican Party (and Koch Brothers’) agenda. What the Tea Party is doing is nearly unprecedented in American political history. To my mind, it is the first major attempt of a formal insurrection of the United States government in 150 years. I find their policies disgusting, counterintuitive to civilization, and a superlative blasphemy to Christianity—case in point Michele Bachmann’s recent spell of theological logorrhea.
But to compare any U.S. politician to Adolf Hitler is simply idiotic and downgrading to the cause. To any cause.
I’m no Hitler expert—but, actually, I kind of am. I spent four years of my life intensely researching the arrests, imprisonments and torture of a number of members of the German progressive intelligentsia who were rounded up in the aftermath of February 28, 1933. That is the night the Reichstag was burned down. In the days after this act of hideous governmental overthrow, men such as playwright Erich Mühsam, peace activist Carl von Ossietzky, and writer Kurt Hiller, plus a number of others, were rounded up by Hitler in order to stave off a national reaction to his insidious power play.
At first these champions of civilization were kept in Spandau Prison. (This facility remained a prison after World War II and was razed to the ground in 1987 following the death of Rudolf Hess in order to keep it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.) Spandau was, in essence, the first concentration camp. As the political prisoner population increased in the newly branded Fuhrer State, the Nazis branched out with prisons in Brandenburg, Papenburg-Esterwegen, etc., et al. And nearly all of the individuals I researched were, over the course of many years, mercilessly tortured and executed.
Then things got really bad. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Holocaust.
Do I see similarities between the Brown Shirts in the 1920s and the Tea Party? Yeah, kind of. No, not really. I see tons and tons of hate. But we have yet to see any of Congressman Randy Neugebauer’s children in Jugendbund short shorts.
So let’s all take a step back and not abandon ourselves in blind hatred of our political opponents’ positions to the point that we dishonor the memory of the most singular evil public policy in history: the intentional elimination of a single people group from our Little Blue Planet. And, really, it wasn’t just a single people group, as Hitler & Co. were intent on eventually eliminating gypsies, homosexuals and a number of “undesirable” subgroups from their Aryan Kingdom.
Godwin not only tagged the phenomenon, but he in part identified the reason for “Nazi-labeling.” He states that invocations of Hitler and Nazism are the result of “sheer inflammatory power.” In the years prior to the Third Reich, people were just as likely to invoke the names of Napoleon, King George, Nero and anyone else who represented raw, abusive power.
Really, though, Godwin is being too kind. People who go the Nazi finger-pointing route on both sides of the political aisles are really nothing more than Nana-Nana-Boo-Boo contributors to political dialogue. The same goes for those who use terms like “Republitards” or “Democraps.”
If you stoop to third grade-level name-calling, you really don’t have anything productive to contribute to political dialogue. You’re just angry and flailing.
This isn’t elementary school dodge ball. This is real life. Mortgage defaults are on the line. Caskets are returning from (unjust) overseas wars. Flu vaccines need to be distributed.
Yes, people are behaving like idiots in all directions. But let’s keep our political dialogue above board and concentrate on solutions. There are Republicans, and there are Democrats. Also, there is a Tea Party. Let’s call them by their formal names and spell cleanly their various and sundry political positions: Reason A is valid on the merits of X, Y and Z. And Reason B is invalid on the grounds that it would cause civilization to tank tomorrow, as evidenced by Points A, B and C. (And D. Don’t forget D! Um, hello, Fidelity is in a sell-sell mood!)
Even in the midst of political chaos, bring honor to your cause and keep it as vehemently clean as possible.
Let the noodle-headed among us be the ones who embarrass themselves by organizing truckers to arrest President Obama, who is really just Osama bin Laden in disguise.
As someone wise once said: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” And you don’t get fruitier than that.
All right, progressives. Can we shake on it, then? No more fucking comparisons to Hitler. Or Stalin. Or Mussolini.
Oh come on, that’s not fair! After all, my Cousin Bob just posted on Facebook that what Senator Bernie Sanders believes is identical to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsch Arbeiterparte platform!
No. Please do not stoop to their level.
Besides, if you really want a proper analogy, Senator Ted Cruz and his ilk are much closer to the Taliban. They are, in fact, hell-bent on imposing fundamentalist Evangelical theocratic law, with a lime wedge of capitalistic greed. And they do not care how many centuries backwards they have to proceed to succeed.
That, and Hitler was way kinder to his pet German shepherd Blondi than Mitt Romney ever was to Seamus.
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