Dear Germany: We’re fucked. What do we do now?

Die Art und Weise, mit der Trump vorgeht, erinnert viele an Hitler / Image Source: Rawstory

In seiner Antrittsrede zitierte er Adolf Hitler. Mit seinen faschistischen Äußerungen und untragbaren Vorgehen sowie Angriffen auf die Pressefreiheit und die Menschenrechte sät er Hass und eine dreht die Mühlen einer Propaganda, wie man sie aus dem dritten Reich kennt. Aus den USA, genauer aus Kalifornien, erreichte uns heute morgen dieser offene Brief.

by Micah Carlson, MSW, MPA
It seems almost inevitable that for America to change for the better, it must first experience its first authoritarian president. This happened for Germany and it is happening now here. It is unfortunate, as it should not have to be this way. But, Americans have become too apathetic and too uninvolved in their political system. Many are too caught up on outside issues (e.g., money, gossip, food, health, love, life’s dramas, selfies, etc.). Many American’s don’t even have the capacity, nor the education, to understand what is even happening. It is not their fault, but, it is their fault. History has shown us what happens time and time again. The History channels compulsive devotion to Nazi documentaries continue to dominate the channel’s programming schedule. So, Americans should have known something about what was taking place. 

It was like the 1919 German Weimar Republic all over again. America’s left accuses the ruling Democrats of betraying their ideals, particularly the workers’ movement, by preventing a political revolution (e.g. Bernie Sanders). On the right, the various conservative groups merge (e.g. Republican and Tea Parties) and oppose the new democratic ran system (e.g. Barack Obama’s Administration). The Alt-Right, who prefer authoritarian and autocratically ran states, get involved and use Donald Trump to seize power through the creation of conspiracy theories and “alternative facts” (e.g. Breitbart and Fox News). This coalition of right-leaning groups then continues to further this discourse. The delegitimizing of the Left and the blaming groups of “brown” people (e.g., Spanish-speaking immigrants, Islamic refugees, and Black Americans) as the sole cause of America’s demise. 

Some critics of Hillary felt that Bernie Sanders could have beaten Donald Trump, but this is still debatable. There is not enough substantial evidence to prove either way. One thing is for sure, Bernie was well supported. Many of his followers felt that the American Democratic Party purposely obliterated him from the election through political manipulation. The consensus of his followers, later termed as “Bernie Bros” or “Berners,” felt as if they were left having only two inadequate choices—one untrusted status quo politician and a business man who claimed he was going to “Make America Great Again.” The United States was now heading into uncharted territory, and as we all know, the unexpected happened. Many who voted for “Hope” and “Change” with Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, voted for Donald Trump and those who initially voted for Bernie Sanders’ “Future to Believe In,” also voted Donald Trump. 

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. More people overall voted for her than they did Donald Trump. However, her public perception was not strong enough to win over the media machine, nor was she able to get past the voters in the electoral college. She never held enough integrity to be supported by the radical Left and she had 19-years of Republican opposition against her long before she even joined the race. Clinton missed a key demographic during the campaign; she never spoke to the social unrest and fear brewing with the uneducated, white, male, middle-class and working class populations. In the end, Hillary Clinton’s opposition superseded her.

Donald Trump’s campaign, on the other hand, was vigilant. They were calculated.  The growing Leftist opposition to Hillary, and white, male, middle-class and working class population who felt abandoned was well understood by his campaign marketers. Combine these two scenarios with the rhetoric of an already established Right, and you the perfect strategy to win the campaign. This tactic was obvious to me then, and even more obvious now. I would argue this point over and over with my leftists, radical, Bernie supporting, friends and family—ad nauseam!

Minds were already made up. For many, Bernie Sanders was the first political candidate they had ever been politically active for. They had phone banked for him, they put his sticker on their cars, they petitioned, they tabled, they worked the polls and elections —they were Bernie soldiers and were not going to just give in to Hillary that easily. Neither group were not going to participate in a “rigged” system and I don’t blame them (the term “rigged” was deployed by many time by the Sanders and Trump campaign to challenge any debate or contest they lost, or feared losing). Neither group would trust anything that happened. It was a hard position, as I did not fully trust the system either. Overall, the anti-Hillary campaign from the Left was much more rabid than the Right. The rhetoric, the memes, the fake news, were all straight off the Republican propaganda train. The Trump campaign hardly had to do anything to get into power, as the Left was doing the work for him.

Fast forward, Trump has now been in power for over a week at the time of this writing. A series of Trump policies—making life harder for non-white people, the working poor, homeless, liberal-Leftist thinkers, students, mothers, young women, just to name a few—have been signed. Since taking office, President Trump began to fulfill some of his campaign promises by using his executive power. Here are some of the more controversial orders he has signed so far:

  • Restructure the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council
  • 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan
  • Authorization of U.S. – Mexico border wall and hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents
  • Reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipelines and expediting the environmental-permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines
  • The start of dismantling the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), ordering agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions, or delay the implementation of any mandate.

Trumps cabinet appointments have been highly contentious. As of Monday, January 30, 2017, Trump removed current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council (NSC) and replaced them both with Steve Bannon. Bannon is a known white nationalist and he leads Breitbart News, also a propaganda news source that promotes nationalist and white-nationalist viewpoints. Bannon has no government experience at all. As of today, a known propagandist, nationalist, and white supremacist had replaced the highest military advisor in the country on a council that can authorize secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process.

Ultimately, it is Trump’s correlation to Hitler that has many of us so afraid. There are so many connections between the two leaders. Trump appeals to American patriotism. Trump has promised us to break free of the Trade and Environmental restrictions (for Hitler it was the Treaty of Versailles.) Trump has vowed to return America to its former glory, and deliver us from clutches of the liberal elite and multinational corporations. He claims these are the entities that have ravaged our country with unemployment. As Hitler did with the Jews, Trump uses scapegoats also. He has blamed Spanish-speaking immigrants and Islamic refugees as the sole cause of America’s demise. He has attacked them in fiery speeches, claiming that they have undermined American society from within. 

The parallels between Hitler and Trump are obvious: His use of the living theater of politics (the stacks of folders at his first press conference), the rhetorical assault of our news outlets and celebrities that oppose him, and Trumps knows that the media will relay his controversial performances (e.g. Twitter) with heavy denunciation. It is Trumps ability to use our most sacred and protected safeguards against us is what makes him so dangerous. 

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