Are you sitting down? I am warning you. Sit before you get engrossed in this Fifth Blog. Reading it will make you weak.
Didja know that Engelbert Humperdinck’s real name is Arnold George Dorsey. He changed it to Humperdinck because he thought Dorsey was a silly name.
I received a message from Sue R. She had the courage to say that she reads my blogs, something I will not even admit to. She also said that my use of “Rump” is more than acceptable to her. (You will need to read my prior Blog to understand this reference). Of course, Sue has known me for years, and she probably thinks nothing I can say or do would make me sink to Trump’s low level.
Yesterday, January 27, 2020, is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. It was here that the Nazis killed more than 1,100,000 people, mostly Jews. There is a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times today about the camp and the Holocaust survivors who are visiting it.
Between the end of WWI and 1933, Germany was a democracy. Yes, it had economic problems, popular discontent, and political infighting, probably all caused by the harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, but it was nonetheless a democracy. In 1933 Hitler became Chancellor and shortly thereafter the German Parliment passed the Enabling Act of 1933 which gave Hitler absolute power to pass laws. Thus began the process of changing the German democracy into Nazi Germany led by a one-party dictatorship.
How did Hitler and the Nazi’s take over a democracy? There are many theories but one thing is clear, at least to me. Hitler was not a one-man show. He had help from many people.
One of Hitler’s most helpful cohorts was Joseph Goebbels, his Minister of Propaganda. Goebbels exerted control over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. His disinformation campaigns were central to Hitler’s platform. (Goebbels was, in my opinion, the precursor to Fox News, which through lies and disinformation deceives millions of people in support of Trump.)
What about others who helped Hitler? There are too many to name individually. There were politicians who sold their souls in fear of him, or in self-interest, or both. There were millions of Germans who either supported him, or were indifferent. There were judges who lost their ability to do justice and simply became Nazi tools. He was surrounded by a cadre of sycophants and “yes men”. The glue that held the Nazi machine together? Acceptance of the ongoing barrage of lie after lie after lie, and the loss of critical thinking, all supported by the lack of backbone and abandonment of ethics by those who could have and should have stopped him. (Did Trump really say, “do not believe your lying eyes and ears. Only believe what I am telling you?”)
I am not going to make an event-by-event analogy for you. I am not going to drone on and on. I have droned enough. You can determine for yourself if anything in Washington today is a re-run of 1933 Germany. Perhaps Trump can never become a Hitler, but that will not be for lack of will-power or desire. Perhaps the Republican Party is not like those people who were the glue that held the Nazi machine together. Or perhaps they are exactly like those people. Does enabling Trump have to have the formality of the German Enabling Act of 1933 to assist him In his anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional, self-serving agenda?
I want to interrupt this message to bring you a special announcement. My daughter just gave me an English grammar lesson. She said I am comma challenged. Do you know that it is easier to program a computer to send a rocket to the moon than to write a paper knowing when to use and not use commas? She did not talk about typos and spell-check errors, and she did say she liked the content.
I leave you with these thoughts. Gore Vidal once said, “Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” Funny? Think of this information from yesterday’s LA Times article about Auschwitz: A poll recently released by the Pew Research Center found only 45% of Americans could identify that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. This follows a report from the Anti-Defamation League that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. was at its third highest level since the ADL started keeping records four decades ago. And we are only talking about violence against Jews. What about violence against Muslims stirred by Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign? Of course, we do not want to talk about the Southern Border (if you are a Republican, that is.)
As always, I leave you with this thought. Always sleep with one eye open. Trump is still President.