Saturday, March 20, 2010

The New Nazis

I've never liked Nazi analogies. Anyone who conflates Saddam with Hitler or George W. Bush with the Nazi Party is an idiot. Still, I'm having a hard time in not seeing similarities between the Tea Party movement and the rise of National Socialism.
No, I'm not saying that the Tea Party is the new Nazi Party of America. What I am saying is that the Nazis rose to power because so many people who should have known better saw the Nazis as useful tools and gave them support. I've always assumed that German businessmen who helped Hitler's rise to power because Hitler was willing to suppress independent unions, the social democrats who stood by because the Nazis would neuter the hard core communists, and the many intellectuals who supported Nazism because of the mystical, nationalistic elements of the movement all assumed that when the time came Hitler and his thugs could be controlled and then suppressed. The similarity I see is that mainstream Republicans, American business interests, and others on the right are willing to champion a fringe, hate movement in order to when a political battle.
Today's news story of Tea Party supporters, standing in the halls of congress, yelling nigger, faggot, and spitting on legislators is truly disturbing. When Barack Obama was running for president and many of the people I knew said that sooner or latter someone was going to shoot the guy, I dismissed those fears. Yes, I admitted, there might be some lone gunman, insane, with some imaginary grievance, who could go off the deep end, but the whole idea that there was a large segment of the American public wanting to kill a president because of either his race or his politics seemed silly to me. Not anymore. Now I'm convinced that it is only a matter of time before some Tea Party supporter makes the attempt. The only question I have is this: Will we blame that lone gunman, or will we blame the movement and it's supporters? People like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and even House member Michele Bachmann have walked right up to the edge of calling for violence against President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi, and other Democratic and liberal leaders. I have a great deal of faith in the Secret Service, and am confident that they are up to the task of protecting the lives of our leaders. It just bothers me that when they make the arrest or, unfortunately, are put in the position of having to kill an attacker, that the hate leaders of the far right won't be sitting in a jail cell for inciting such a treasonous act.

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