“Bush is Hitler.”
“Obama is Hitler.”
Growing up Jewish, the proverbial grandchild of survivors of the Holocaust, meant seeing the world through a very specific lens. And it’s why I hate the term “Nazi” being thrown around in a callous manner. FemiNazi. Grammar Nazi. These are unnecessarily hyperbolic epithets that dull the horror perpetrated on this planet from 1933 to 1945.
When people referred to Bush OR Obama in the same breath as Hitler, it set me off. No matter which side of the aisle you sit, neither of these men has ever done anything close to the atrocities committed under the Third Reich. Sorry if you feel otherwise. But not sorry.
And now we have Donald. J. Trump.
I wasn’t a German Jew in the 1930s. Had I been, I don’t know what I would have done as I watched Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. I imagine, like most Jews, my main emotion would have been fear. Maybe disbelief. I wouldn’t have had the benefit of the history of the Holocaust in my rearview mirror to draw upon the emotion Jews today feel when they think about it: Anger.
So now, I watch a man stumping for the presidency in the most absurd campaign of my lifetime, spewing rhetoric that sounds so…damned familiar. Talk about making this country “great again.” Talk about a national registry of Jews Muslims. Talk about Jews Latinos as rapists. Refusal to disavow the support of White Supremacists, the KKK and David Duke.
I wasn’t a German Jew in the 1930s. Had I been, I wonder what kind of fight I would have put up when I watched Hitler assume control of the national press.
“One of the things I’m going to do if I win… I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said, at a rally on Feb. 26 in Ft. Worth, Texas. “We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post…writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”
I wasn’t a German Jew in the 1930s. Had I been, I wonder what I would have thought watching my neighbors and co-workers and even friends talk about Adolf Hitler in glowing terms. Their support for the way he “tells it like it is,” and the fact that he is a “political outsider.” Their admiration for how he doesn’t bother with things like political correctness.
I wasn’t a German Jew in the 1930s. Had I been, I imagine I would have been frightened.
But I AM an American Jew. Here. Today.
And I’m not frightened.