A Walk In the (Fascist) Park

Wow. Our noble president campaigning for re-election using the Nazi concentration camp symbol of red triangles to identify "dangerous mobs" of people who disagree with him marks the second time in as many weeks Trump has flaunted his long, coy dalliance with fascism, from taking campaign donations from white supremacists to praising the bloodlines of uber anti-Semite Henry Ford to lamenting "police have not been treated fairly in this country." His most recent, explicit, thunderous summoning of Nazi majesty came during the infamous debacle of the Upside-Down Bible Photo-Op, undertaken after he endured savage mockery for cowering in - aka "inspecting" for "a tiny, short little period of time" - the White House bunker during protests. The ensuing #BunkerBoy, #BabyGate et al hashtags spurred him to threaten to prosecute the snitch who revealed one more instance of his lifelong cowardice, and to show his man-boob-thumping toughness by siccing teargas-and-rubber-bullet-wielding storm-troopers on peaceful Americans seeking social justice with their hands in the air. Afterwards, he celebrated his crackdown with another little-noted reference to the heroes of his clearly warped childhood.

"Our great National Guard Troops (could) hardly believe how easy it was," he crowed. “'A walk in the park,' one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists...were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!" Wait, a few observers noted. The S.S. for Secret Service? Some wondered if Trump is such "an incurious, ignorant dolt" he doesn't know the S.S., or Hitler's Schutzstaffel, responsible for murdering over six million Jews, was "pure fucking evil." Others argued the analogy, while heinous, wasn't entirely inappropriate: Trump did in fact tear gas his own people. But whether to take a risible photo or malign your imagined enemies - and even given Trump's monumental stupidity and the venomous Stephen Miller - the Anti-Defamation League's Jonathan Greenblatt draws a morally indisputable bottom line: “It is not difficult for one to criticize their political opponents without using Nazi-era imagery.” Charlie Chaplin, a Jewish progressive born within four days of Hitler, made The Great Dictator to poke absurdist fun at the fascism of his time. It tells the story of a Jewish barber in the ghetto who, mistaken for a dictator he resembles, is asked to take his place; in his famous, final, impassioned speech, he chooses good over evil. Later, Chaplin said he never could have made the film if he'd known at the time about the camps and horrors and "homicidal insanity" of the Nazis. But now we do.

 

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A German crackdowns, circa the 1930s

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