Arguing with people on the internet can sometimes inspire a focus of thought. I recently got that focus from a friend's response to an article I shared about a history teacher who had been suspended for teaching a class where he drew parallels between Hitler's rise and the rise of Donald Trump. Here is my response...
Please debate, but using 'idiot' to describe people who disagree with you undermines your position and makes you look weak.
In that light, and this context, let's reexamine what 'idiots' like me have been saying for over a year:
1. Like 1932 Germany, we are coming out of a very bad economic place, people are very angry, afraid and looking for answers and someone to blame. Unemployment is still rampant between the coasts, and salaries are 30% less than they were before the crash in 2008. The economic recovery left a lot of people behind.
2. There is a massive shift to hard right ideologies not only here, but all across the West. Far right candidates and parties are gaining seats and influence all across Europe for several years now.
3. Trump did follow Hitler's strategy with the identification of scapegoats for people to focus their fear and rage, promising to kick them out, keep them out, prosecute them, and kill their families. He is talking about millions of people.
4. He followed the demagogue's handbook on oration: vague, grandiose promises; deflect and redirect; demonize criticism, blatantly lie and accuse people who call him out on the lies of lying themselves.
5. Seriously, anyone with a very little bit of time could continue this list with dozens of parallels between Trump’s rise and that of Hitler that are fact check-able.
Put this together with what some of us 'idiots' have been extremely concerned about for over 4 years, because we have been paying attention:
1. In 2012, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, H.R. 1540, or the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) 2012.
2. Two sections, buried in the middle of the texts, did something that fundamentally altered the Patriot Act: Section 1021 and Section 1022.
3. Originally the Patriot Act gave the POTUS broad powers to detain and indefinitely hold persons caught in battlefields and suspected of terrorism by declaring them enemy combatants. Because they were in battlefields, outside our borders, and kept in holding sites outside our borders, the Constitutional Right to representation is denied them. It effectively suspended Habeas Corpus, which is the very cornerstone of our Rights:
**Habeas Corpus is a legal term meaning that an accused person must be presented physically before the court with a statement demonstrating sufficient cause for arrest. Thus, no accuser may imprison someone indefinitely without bringing that person and the charges against him or her into a courtroom.**
4. Until the Patriot Act, this did not apply to U.S. Citizens inside our borders. Then Sections those sections the NDAA 2012 declared the United States a battlefield. With the signing of that document, the President of the United States was given the authority to arrest any U.S. Citizen, without evidence, without representation, or one phone call. Without the guarantee of the Right to a speedy trial. The only thing the President needs to do is declare that person an ‘enemy combatant”…without ANY evidence. At his discretion. I didn’t trust President Obama with this kind of power – I don’t trust any President with it – and neither did the architects of this country. It is literally un-American.
So, in that context, how do you feel about a man who has a list of enemies (his transition manager’s own words), who has shown that he has a thin skin and will not tolerate criticism, has said he will shut down news organizations who are critical of him, and has given an in-person interview to Alex Jones on InfoWars, has been proven to be a complete liar on video dozens of times….how do you feel about him being POTUS? And how can you not see the obvious parallels?
So, to answer your question, “Does any idiot out there think Trump has any power to turn the U.S. into the 4th Reich?” I do. And so does Congress, as of 2012.
Some of us were hoping people would wake up before it is too late, before we give that kind of power to a person who might abuse it. It just might be too late. I hope it isn't.
It's okay to disagree, if you can do it rationally, with solid arguments, and a respectful tone. So, yes, I'm an a idiot who draws parallels between Trump and Hitler.