This post is about The Donald, but first, an anecdote to frame the discussion. My dad is a movie buff. He took me to my first film, the story goes, when I was 6 weeks old, all in bunting because “if there are going to be two women in my life, one of them will love musicals”. To this day, my mom, not so big on musicals. My dad took me to revival films, to remakes, to new movies all my life. When he took me to see the remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in the first scene, when Donald Sutherland is driving in San Francisco’s Chinatown, a man runs into the street, yelling “It’s happening again, I’ve seen it all before.” He is struck and killed by a car. My dad said “That’s Kevin McCarthy, he had the Donald Sutherland role in the original. He has seen it all before.”
I know about Germany in the 1930’s from people who saw it all. From my grandparents, to my childhood chiropractor and dentist who both had numbers on their arms, to the older people who used to explain what they meant by “Never Again.”
I live in suburban Philadelphia in 2016, not Berlin in 1933, and I am terrified.
Last Friday in Chicago was the last straw for me. Back in the summer, when the MSM was making fun of Donald Trump, I assumed what every political junkie thought: Bush v Clinton. And then I saw a Trump rally. I understood immediately the type of people to whom he would appeal, and how broad and deep the appeal could go. Donald Trump, as many have said before me, is the embodiment of where the GOP has been going for years, but with a few twists. That fascism twist. That isolationist twist. That ability to blame innocents and spare the real source of problems twist.
The crescendo of hate kept growing, along with his numbers. And the GOP seemed unable to stop him because their platform actually espouses what he is talking about. Don’t believe me? Read their platform. I’ve been telling you for years to read the platforms, and no one ever does. But there is it, in print. Making America great again (they call it the American Dream), American exceptionalism, Denial of civil rights. Take a gander.
And now we’ve got violence. The GOP is so against hajibs, but have no problem with Klan hats. The Klan, the NRA, the “Moral Majority” — they are inexorably tied with the Republicans. Trump just takes it a step further with the wall and the deportations.
If you know anything about the rise of fascism and Hitler in the 1930’s, you’ve seen it all before, too. The big rallies that encourage bullying of anyone not a member of “the master race”. If you think that the “white power” Trump is pushing is any different from what Hitler was aiming for, you’re very mistaken. ALL of us who are not white, Protestant men and women are at risk from someone like Donald Trump.
And let’s draw a parallel on the manufacturing angle. Germany after WW! was in shambles. Hitler built roads, and factories to produce cars to drive on those roads. Every German worker had his pay docked for a tax that went to develop and produce the Volkswagen Beetle, the “car of the people”. Mercedes produced the cars driven by the SS. What do you think Donald Trump will be building in those factories? He asks why Apple can’t make iPhones domestically, and the current actual answer is that they sell for $650 – $850 apiece now: imagine what they would cost if they were produced domestically. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it would be great to manufacture more here – but it won’t be high tech he’ll be bringing back here – it will be weapons, and tanks, and other things that kill. Not to mention the fact that most manufacturing is very high tech: the factories that depend on human intervention either require college degrees to run the computers or go to places where the wages are incredibly low.
Now we’ve got violence that was encouraged by The Donald, and his people are eating it up. He accused Bernie Sanders of sending Berniebots over to lead the demonstrations. Really? Seriously? The people who support Senator Sanders are far more likely pacifists. One of the Senator’s talking points is less war, less intervention.
I could go on, but what I really want to say is that he needs to be stopped. NOT with violence. It looks like the Republicans can’t get their act together to stop the voters, and we’ll see how the violence really plays at the Tuesday primaries, first after the big violence. So it’s up to us, and we need to stop him at the ballot box. We need to make sure that if he’s the Republican nominee that he doesn’t win the general.
Every year I call hundreds, if not thousands, of people to ask them to get involved. My initial ask is always for two hours. TWO HOURS. And what I hear from 95% of everyone is that they’re too busy. They don’t have two hours to help me stop a monster. “I don’t like making phone calls.” “I don’t like to knock doors.” “I’m willing to drive people to the polls and that’s it.”
Well folks, my gut level terror has made me angry at all of you who have no time to work. What are you doing that you can’t find two hours? If you think that The Donald will stop with Muslims and Mexicans, you are sadly mistaken. After he’s come for them, he’ll come for you and your children, too.
And if I haven’t scared you yet, remember that the President has the Gold Codes and the Nuclear Football. He has a bad day, and who knows? Remember that the only other person with those codes is the Vice President, in case the President is incapacitated. Who says he won’t choose Spunky Palin? So think — your choice is one of them with their hand on the button or you doing something for two hours.
America is not Germany. But the parallel of a society that “went along” because things didn’t directly affect them, or they thought it was a good idea exists. Remember that Hitler drew huge crowds, and ginned them up, and incited violence. And then his party split, because, well, it’s akin to the mainstream GOP of Goldwater, Reagan and the first Bush splitting with the teabaggers. The split only made Hitler stronger and put him a position to become Chancellor.
The GOP won’t stop Trump, and if they do, his people will revolt against the party. Thus, it’s up to us. So when I, or someone like me, calls on you to ask for TWO HOURS — please go work. Knock those doors, make those calls. It’s how we get people to the polls. And getting people to the polls in November is what will stop him, and potentially change the balance of power in the Senate, and maybe even the House. Start NOW getting people to understand what we are up against.