3:45 am. That’s what time I woke up this morning. I couldn’t sleep. There were no loud neighbors, no noisy traffic outside, and no drama in my life to keep me awake. As lame as it might sound, Donald Trump was keeping me awake. That’s right, the American demagogue, America’s Hitler.
“Come on, Craig!” is probably what some of you are thinking after reading the title above. “Trump is no Hitler. It’s not even close.” Well, I beg to differ.
Hitler was a racist. Everyone knows that. Racism was a crucial factor in his rise to power. In Mein Kampf, Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, the notorious Nazi leader targeted “the Jewish race.” He denigrated Jews by stating that their “spirits” are “inwardly… alien to true Christianity” and referred to Jews as “satanic” and “seductive.” According to Hitler, Jews are the personification of the devil, hence why he acted “in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator” by defending himself “against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” And yet Jews weren’t the only group to fall victim to Nazi racism. As the Holocaust Memorial Museum notes, Roma (Gypsies), handicapped individuals, and African-German children were also humiliated because of the so-called superiority of the “Aryan race.”
Trump doesn’t have a book like Mein Kampf (at least not yet, and hopefully we never see it), but there’s still plenty of material to say with confidence: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist. Here’s how Dana Milbank in the Washington Post sums it up:
Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and… the disabled… Trump led the “birther” movement challenging President Obama’s standing as a natural-born American; used various vulgar expressions to refer to women; spoke of Mexico sending rapists and other criminals across the border; called for rounding up and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants; had high-profile spats with prominent Latino journalists and news outlets; mocked Asian accents; let stand a charge made in his presence that Obama is a Muslim and that Muslims are a “problem” in America…”
There’s more to this particular passage, but I had to cut it off. It went on and on about Trump’s racism. What’s interesting, too, is that even Jews aren’t free of Trump’s bigotry. As Milbank notes, “Trump was uncharacteristically silent when prominent booster Ann Coulter…tweeted: “How many f–ing Jews do these people think are in the United States?” Does Trump hate Jews too? It’s a fair question, because it seems like he hates everyone that’s “not White.”
Is America developing a “Muslim question”? It seems so (more on this later). Seventy years ago, Hitler decided to expel all Jews from Germany. This was his answer to the “Jewish question.” He discusses and justifies this expulsion in a speech given to the Reichstag in January 1939. In the speech Hitler discussed the need for Germany and the “whole democratic world” to stop “oozing sympathy for the poor tormented Jewish people.” For hundreds of years, he argued, Germany was good enough to receive Jews, but all they truly possessed were “infectious political and physical diseases.” Aside from bringing these “diseases” to Germany, Hitler also claimed that Jews contaminated German culture. “German culture, as its name alone shows, is German and not Jewish, and therefore its management and care will be entrusted to members of our own nation.” In short he thought there was no such thing as a “German Jew” or a “Jewish German.” These two terms were mutually exclusive.
Like Hitler, Trump proposes mass deportations of certain groups of people. While Hitler rid Germany of Jews, Trump wants to rid the U.S. of “illegal immigrants” – mainly Hispanics – and now proposes to ban all Muslim immigration to the country. Trump’s “deportation plan” – or as he calls it “immigration reform” – has some Hitleresque traits. Jonathan Capehart sums it up better than I could:
Donald Trump’s immigration policy is morally reprehensible, legally indefensible and un-American… he would go about deporting the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States… Trump’s immigration policy is morally reprehensible because it would tear apart families that have put down roots in fertile American soil… using a “massive deportation force” to eject millions of people from the only nation they know as home would be beyond shameful.
According to Trump, America is the “dumping ground for the rest of the world.” Basically, he’s concerned that a lot of “non-White” people are contaminating the purity of the American nation. I wonder where his outrageous ideas and conclusions came from. Hopefully not Mein Kampf.
“Make Germany Great Again.” I’m not sure if Hitler had a campaign slogan, but this could’ve been it. Hitler vowed to make Germany great again by taking several measures, all in order for the German nation to “claim its rightful place in the Sun.” These measures included rearming Germany, preparing the German people for total war, and uniting the German people in one country. Hitler wanted all German speaking people from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to “return” to Germany, while all non-Aryans – namely Jews and “Gypsies” – were ethnically cleansed from the German territory. Under this plan, Germany would also be “great again” if only the German nation could destroy communism and expand eastward into Russia. Securing the border, kicking out “aliens,” and cultural homogenization; sounds a bit like… Trump.
And how does Trump plan to “Make America Great Again.” As of yesterday, it starts by banning Muslim immigration to the U.S. In addition to proposing mosque closures and mosque surveillance, Trump claims that America must ban Muslims because they harbor a “hatred” of America and of human life. In fact, his “ban” calls for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Even worse, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandoski told the Associated Press that Muslim tourists would also be barred from entering the country. Even tourists?
As if the links between Hitler and Trump couldn’t be stronger, there’s the issue of ID badges. Hitler forced all German Jews and Jews from annexed countries like Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to wear the yellow badge, or Jewish badge, which consisted of the Star of David. This badge, which was sewn on a person’s outer clothing, also included the word Jude (Jew) in black letters. Jews were monitored, shunned, and abused by Germans and – eventually – Jews were placed in concentration camps. We all know how that ended. And we all know that Trump considers a similar “ID” for Muslim Americans.
“Never Again.” We say this in light of the Holocaust. “Never Again” means that the denigration, expulsion and termination of a single group of people is completely and utterly unacceptable, no matter the situation. I’ve had conversations with Muslim friends about the prospects of the “Muslim question” rising in the U.S. I’ll fight with everything I’ve got to stop this question from sticking in our public discourse.
Hitler isn’t a good role model. The next president of my country is modeling his campaign after this Nazi. Honestly, I can’t believe I’m even writing these words. Hitler, Nazi, Trump, America. What’s happening to my country? This is fascism, American-style.