Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7:48 AM

Obama Joins Chorus Warning about Trump’s America Aping Hitler’s Germany

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I have been in the vanguard of those warning about this fearful symmetry. In fact, my concerns were such that I began sounding alarms long before a conspiracy of bigotry, ignorance, and complacency misled voters to elect Donald J. Trump the 45th president of the United States.

I reacted to this black-swan election with “WTF: President-elect Donald J. Trump?! America. What. Have. You. Done?” November 9, 2016. But commentaries like “Trump for President? Don’t Be a Sucker!” April 8, 2011, “Hip-Hop Mogul Pens Fawning Letter Chastising/Cheering Racist Trump,” December 11, 2015, and “Republicans Bewailing Trump as Their Nominee; Democrats Hailing Hillary as Theirs,” June 8, 2016, attest to my early warnings.

But such warnings are now mainstream, so much so that no less a person than former President Obama has joined the chorus. But none of us (not even Hillary) got right wingers frothing with outrage like he did after saying this last week during an address to the Economic Club of Chicago:

We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly.

That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s, which despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolf Hitler rose to dominate. Sixty million people died. … So, you’ve got to pay attention. And vote.

(Crain’s Chicago Business, December 6, 2017)

I won’t dignify any of that outrage by citing, let alone commenting on, it. But I know that right-wing zealots (arguably Trump’s “Brownshirts”) want you to think that these warning are only coming from left-wing liberals who still can’t accept that Trump is president. And too many reporters and commentators are either too ignorant or too lazy to cite evidence that counters this narrative.

This is why I hasten to note that Europeans – from Prince Charles to Stern, the most respected news magazine in Germany – are issuing similar warnings. I commented on the former in “Prince Charles Draws Analogies Between Trumpism and Nazism,” February 8, 2017. Here is how The Hill, the most respected political news magazine in America, commented on the latter:

A German news magazine’s latest cover image shows President Trump doing a Nazi salute.

Stern is portraying Trump wearing an American flag and doing the salute, which is illegal in Germany. The caption reads ‘Sein Kampf,’ which means ‘his struggle’ — a reference to Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf,’ or ‘My Struggle.’

‘Neo-nazis, Ku Klux Klan, Racism: As Donald Trump stirs the hate in America,’ a translation of the cover reads.

(August 23, 2017)

Meanwhile, the trolls howling at Obama for daring to issue this warning are the very ones giving their version of seig heil to all of Trump’s fascistic policies and rhetoric. Frankly, Trump’s willing enablers are every bit as converted today as Hitler’s willing executioners became during the darkest days of his Nazi regime.

I have written many commentaries lamenting the myriad ways Evangelical Christians and Republican politicians have sacrificed their values and principles at the altar of Trump’s presidency. (Acclaimed ethicist Peter Wehner gives compelling testimony to this fact in today’s New York Times under the headline “Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican.”) But nobody personifies this incomprehensible conversion to Trumpism quite like the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate (at 40 years), Orin Hatch of Utah.

Remarkably, like fish to water, Hatch has taken to helping Trump tear down the democratic institutions and bonds of bipartisanship he spent his career building up. You’d never know that, before he became the deacon of Trump’s political crusade, Hatch was best known for striking legislative compromises with his best friend in the Senate, namely, Democrat Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts (a.k.a. the liberal lion).

But, sadly, Hatch has gone so far over to the dark side that Politico quoted him preaching this Republican heresy recently:

I’ll say this for ya. [Trump has] been one of the best presidents I’ve served under.

(December 3, 2017)

One cannot avoid saying here that former President Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave. But surely he has been doing that ever since Trumpism trumped Reaganism in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

In any event, no leader since Hitler has done more to rattle the “thin veneer of civilization” than Trump. This is a comparison nobody can deny.

That said, I also hasten to note that I’m on record declaring my abiding belief that America’s constitutional checks and balances, as well as its democratic institutions, distinguish it from Germany’s Weimar Republic. This is why I am so confident that Trump will either resign in disgrace or be impeached before he can come anywhere close to emulating Hitler’s destruction.

All the same, I fear the zeitgeist of his presidency will leave an indelible stain not only on the reputation of America but also on the psyche of its people.

God help America.

Related commentaries:
WTF! Trump president-elect
Hip-hop mogul
I can’t … without spitting…”
Bewailing Trump
Trump’s America
Trumpism and Nazism

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