Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trump activates the monsters within

Leonard Pitts Jr. compares Trump to Hitler in the Daily Star's editorial this morning. The list is scary. But he concludes that what sustains Trump is what he arouses to some degree in all of us.

... ordinarily I loathe such comparisons. Yet I’m here to make one. Because, as more than one observer has noted, the parallels between the rise of Adolf Hitler and that of Donald Trump have become too neon to ignore.

Here is the short version of Pitts' comparisons.

  • violence to silence hecklers, dissenters and protesters
  • few real plans or strategies for confronting the nation’s challenges, giving voters instead the assurance that he, by force of personality alone, will defeat them.
  • a scapegoat for [the electorate's] fears and vulnerabilities. Hitler gave his people the Jews. Trump has given his the Muslims.
  • Trump proposes to register, surveil and restrict the scapegoat populace. .... “We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago,” he has said.

Pitts recounts the protest of one person.

It is in that context that Rose Hamid stood up last week in South Carolina.

Hamid, a 56-year-old Muslim flight attendant attending a Trump rally in Rock Hill, came to her feet and stood silently as Trump equated refugees from Syria with ISIS terrorists. She was wearing a hijab and a blue T-shirt that said, “Salam, I come in peace.” Several others stood in solidarity.

This passive protest was enough of a provocation that the audience began chanting their leader’s name like a mantra — “Trump! Trump! Trump!” — and a police officer escorted Hamid out. She told CNN that while some Trump followers apologized to her, others pelted her with abuse.

“Get out!” one person shouted.

“You have a bomb?” another cried.

So why these reactions?

It all brings home something that has become glaringly obvious: While many of us have lamented Trump’s improbable rise to political prominence, the real problem is not him and never was. Rather, the problem is that thing deep down in some of us that responds to him, that small, primeval thing so filled with uncertainty, fear and fury that it will suspend both logic and compassion to worship a man whose very name has become a symbol of all that is hateful and violative of American ideals.

To read of how fascism stole over Germany is to repeatedly ask yourself how an enlightened nation could have fallen for such transparent garbage. Well, the answer is unfolding before us in real time and it ought to horrify good people into taking a stand.

Like Rose Hamid.

No comments:

Post a Comment