I went out for a walk today, New Year’s day—along the river, through Ruth Masters Greenway, along the powerline, by the river. Broken soft white clouds dotted the balmy blue sky. The warm sun reflected off a crunchy few centimeters of snow as white and fresh as the clouds. People smiled in passing and even the dogs seemed friendly. But I was brooding.
The news isn’t good. I’ve been watching a documentary on the rise, violence and violent end of the Nazis in Germany. The parallels between the 1930s rise of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany and the rise of the extreme Republicans under Trump(let’s call them Trumplicans) in the early twenty-first century are terrifying in the least.
Both Nazis and Trumplicans are so utterly embedded in their own jingoism and fake news they have no idea of a reality that reflects any kind of objective fact. Clearly Trump had no reason to believe his Birther propaganda about Obama. The only truth that mattered to Trump was that “alternative facts” got an audience by proclaiming blatant lies over and over. Both Trump and Hitler began their terms of office with a relentless war against truth as camouflage for illegal and unbearable affronts to civil society.
Both Nazis and Trumplicans blatantly manipulate xenophobia as the solidifying glue of their extremist ideology. The stories Trump manipulated during the election about Mexicans that murder and rape wouldn’t have passed for a failed movie even a few years earlier. Both Trump and Hitler had no interest in civilian oversight on the armed forces whose expansion must be the first priority of a government set on subduing the world to its military might. Both leaders began their military expansion by picking on lesser powers that could be easily overwhelmed—establishing the necessary machismo of the leader. Fortunately Hitler did not have any nuclear weapons!
For both the Nazis and Trumplicans the wedding of corporate interests to the state and gutting of civil society are axiomatic. The recent US budget clearly parts to veil for all who wish to to see the monster within.
Granted Trump is not a replica of Hitler. There is no SS in Trumplican land. But how many in Germany saw the consequences when Hitler first came to office? And while there is no SS in America now, I find it particularly appalling that the President, The President, urges the police to be sure to rough up those being deported under his Draconian hand and pardons—in advance—lawmakers that violate the US constitution to target minorities for abuse. There is no SS but labeling participants in a torch-lit rally organized by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan “very fine people” sends a chill up my spine on this fine New Year’s day.
The thing that troubled me today is I remember as a youth wondering about what could have happened to the German people that they let themselves be overtaken by this organized, pervasive hatred. I felt quite confused about how such a thing could happen and now I see it happening in the United States in the twenty-first century and you would think someone would look at what happened in Nazi Germany and say “Never again.” Didn’t someone say “Never again?” But here we are. It is starting all over again and who is standing up to say “never again.” Basing a society on hatred, lies, the absolute rule of a strongman, oppression and the gutting of social good for the exclusive interests of the wealthy few has always ended in misery, violence devastating wars and social/environmental destruction. Do the people of the United States really want to bring on that kind of a world rather that learn to live at peace with other people and our environment?
In the end I don’t think it is enough to stand by and idly scratch our heads and wonder about the inevitability of it all. The film I was watching about the rise and fall of the Nazis portrayed the suffering that the German people went through as a consequence of losing their war to conquer the world militarily. Even having just seen the cruelty that Germany inflicted others, it was almost unbearable to see the collective and individual vengeance that people and governments extracted on defeated Germany and its people. Are we really nothing but incorrigible Yahoos? Can we not imagine a world of mutual respect for people and environment rather than have to go through those terrible times based on blind hatred of others that occurred little over a generation behind ago?
I am not sure what will make a difference but I am convinced we must, for our children, for our species, for our good name, for our planet, do more than sit by and watch it happen all over again—this time amplified by nuclear weapons. Perhaps doing anything is better than doing nothing. Perhaps doing something together we can learn to work together for a better world and when we have learned to work together there is no limit on what we might accomplish—together.
Think of this: what if each of us said: no way, I will not support the promotion of hatred and the massive abuse of our natural world, so until the United States rejoins the Paris Climate Accord and discards the plans for its wall of hatred, I will not buy anything American? Sure, Sure it seems like a little thing but the great thing about it is that you don’t have to attend any meetings; you don’t have to get permission of anyone; you’re not even breaking any laws or showing up for a march. You are, like Ghandi’s great salt march simply saying; the way Trumplicans are behaving doesn’t work for me; I won’t be part of it!
I think the world is ready for another great salt march. The world is ready for the people of the world to stand up and say “enough already.” I won’t be part of promoting hatred and the destruction of our natural world. Until the United States decides to act on this minimal gesture to say that they will accept the idea of working to save our earth and to care for its people I will not empower that government and its corporate partners with my money. Yes, it is corporations that would pay the price of a massive withdrawal of spending on US goods but, not to worry, when the corporations speak—Trumplicans listen!
If this makes any sense to you, stay tuned. I’m going to try to engage one of those web campaign groups like Avaaz and see if they will set up a web campaign called something like the “new Ghandians” to initiate a world wide withdrawal of money from products that support the rise of hate and environmental destruction which is Trumpica.