2015-12-23 / Letters

Trump is playing to the basest fears

Too often, in a heated political debate, most notably in seeking to identify the opposition as not just wrong, but evil, politicians and political candidates compare their opponents to the worst events or people in history, i.e., Hitler or Nazi Germany, which is inappropriate.

Sadly though, the growing crescendo of bigoted, stereotypical, fear and hate-inducing declarations by Donald Trump, with the implications of his position as the leading Republican presidential candidate, is making the propriety of Nazi Germany comparisons in this case increasingly appropriate. Many in the media, including fellow Republican leaders, are referring to him as fascist.

Hitler and Trump both promised to make their countries “great again.” They advocated mass deportations of those whom they described as lesser, evil people; they used racism to marginalize and scapegoat whole religious or ethnic groups who they blamed for their nation’s problems. They both supported special identification of the feared and hated “other,” the Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals of Germany, and the Muslims in the U.S.

Trump says it is all a matter of ‘good management.” The mass slaughter of the Jews was well under way when Hitler convened the Wannsee Conference in January, 1942 of the top leaders of the many branches of the German government to more efficiently “manage” The Final Solution, his genocidal plan for total destruction of the Jewish people. It was a matter of “good management.”

To maintain his position, Trump is playing to the basest fears and attitudes that have marked the worst of American history, hatred against the racial, ethnic and religious minorities that now make up the American people.

The famous Pastor Niemoller quote of “First they came for…” described one targeted group after the other, but no one spoke out. Then they came for him and there was no one left to speak out. This is a fearful statement for America’s future. Trump has attacked or mocked Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, African-Americans, Christian denominations of which he is ignorant, Muslims, the disabled, and others. He is increasingly advocating the horrible policies of the Nazis against fellow Americans. If he can advocate spying on and closing mosques, seeking to bar any Muslim from entering the U.S., including now returning Muslim American citizens, even Muslim American service men and women returning from war, then he can later do that to Jews, to Christians, or any other group.

That Trump identifies himself as a Christian does not protect Christians or Christian churches from his proposed policies. Though Hitler was a baptized Catholic, many Catholics and Catholic priests died in Nazi concentration camps and their churches were closed.

It is time for all Americans of good will to rise up and condemn this Pied Piper of fear, hate, and division.

Alan Respler
Farhat Biviji
interfaith dialogue co-facilitators

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