So the anti-Trump folks are fond of calling him a Nazi. It irritates the right and makes the more rational among his following uncomfortable, but it doesn’t really cause any of them to quit following him. Of course, they are correct; Trump is not a Nazi. Instead, he’s the new brand of Republican. But, as a former Republican that is little comfort.
If we rely on fact, the true condition of America today is less like that of pre-World War II Germany than one might expect. But, as John Oliver pointed out so well in this Last Week Tonight piece, Americans seem to be more focused on feelings than facts. Trump followers feel like America needs to be made great again because they have been told they had it so much better back when. But when exactly is back when? For some the answer is last year when gays and lesbians couldn’t marry. For others it was five years ago when fewer people had access to health insurance but the rates for those who did weren’t impacted. But in all honesty, back when doesn’t exist, it never has.
Our standing in the world might have been better during World War II but we sent Japanese Americans to interment camps and at the end of the war didn’t bother to give them their homes, businesses, or livelihoods back. The U.S. Civil War might have put an end to slavery but it ushered in the KKK, Jim Crow laws, and an US vs THEM mentality that revealed the baser nature of those in control and continues in our country to this day. Women got the vote in 1920, a grand achievement but we’re still fighting for equal pay in 2016. The truth is, America has always been both an inspiration and a nation in need of reform.
Bernie Sanders was not wrong when he began talking about the rich getting richer and the middle-class shrinking, but our standard of living is still one of the highest in the world. Eight years ago unemployment was nearly 10 percent. Today it is under 5. And, despite the violence making headlines in Orlando, Dallas and elsewhere, our overall violent crime rates are the lowest they have been in over 30 years. Our “greatness”, at least the greatness Donald Trump eludes to, is NOT really in question.
The similarities between Trump and Hitler that bring out the label Nazi can be easily laid out. This Huffington Post article, for example, compares the first acts carried out by Hitler as soon as he was elected to those Trump espouses. Both leaders advocated removing government officials not to their liking. Both suggested they should have more control of the free press. Like Hitler, Trump blames minority groups for our problems, calls those who oppose him names, and vilifies anything other than brute strength.
So, if all this is true, why are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton neck and neck in the polls? Why are we worried at all that Trump could actually become or next president? Surely we understand the danger, the damage that could occur if we allow such a personality to have power.
A friend recently shared this article from Dr. Deepak Chopra. In it Chopra gives us a short lesson in psychology as it applies to our conscious mind and our unconscious mind, or in other words, those dark impulses we learn to suppress as we mature. The article is worth your time and does a quick job of explaining the seemingly unfathomable (to those of us still functioning in our conscious mind) attraction and success of Donald Trump. Though most of my friends and I are shocked there are so many people in America like Trump, the truth is we ALL have the potential to act like Trump, to think like Trump, to poke fun and ridicule and fall into hyperbole. In fact, our ability to also let some of these baser expressions loose from time to time might explain why anti-Trump people resorted to sarcasm and humor as a way of dealing with our shock and horror.
Resorting to humor, however, won’t help us overcome the powerful attraction of our baser nature. Instead, we must remind ourselves of the devastation such a nature unleashes on the world. Those who think Trump can be controlled need to realize his is not a lone voice. Other power hungry people have lined up behind him. He may not be on a par with Hitler right now, but he has not yet secured control. When he does, if he does, he won’t be surrounded by people who want to control him. He will be surrounded by people who want to join him. Even now as some in his circle try to contain the most offensive expressions of the beast, Chopra predicts, Trump “will remain immune to all normal constraints.”
Those of us who see Trump for the danger he is must work diligently to warn the rest of America. We must call forth our better nature. We are more successful when we work together than when we tear one another apart. And, we must remember our successes. We must summon the strength we have when we are united to seek the greater good. Having base impulses is part of human nature. However, being unable or unwilling to keep those impulses in check destroys the very fabric of society.
Donald Trump appeals to the basest nature of people whenever he makes racist or sexist remarks or calls people names who don’t agree with him. He manipulates and inspires through fear and anger. His behavior may be similar to a famous Nazi, but his followers are absolutely correct, Trump is not a Nazi. Trump is currently the Republican candidate for the highest office of the land. But, that shouldn’t really make you feel any better. America cannot afford to let Donald Trump gain more power. He must be defeated in November. And, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can do it.