In Trump’s America – Shades Of 1930s Germany

“You see parallels that you don’t want to see but that we have to start talking about.” – American writer and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, a group dedicated to promoting leadership that is “more just and compassionate.”

A Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted April 25th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Most of the political pundits and reporters I see on American cable networks look like they are lapping up Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency like ice cream.

Donald Trump yells at a protester at one of his rallies to "get out!"

Donald Trump yells at a protester at one of his rallies to “get out!”

They play clips from Trump rallies over and over again of the Donald ordering his goons to throw any protesters out or pledging to “bomb the shit” out of American enemies, and they sit there in the studio grinning and chuckling over it all – even when Trump does his usual schtick, pointing at reporters at the back of the hall and calling them “scum”, “crooks” and “liars” while thousands of his supporters or fans or whatever they are cheer on.

Turn on CNN or any other 24-hour news channel in the States, any time of the day or night, and the coverage is all about Trump, Trump, Trump. If there is a choice between cutting in live to a Trump rally, or one featuring Hillary Clinton or any of the other candidates, even if Bernie Sanders is holding one that has drawn record numbers of supporters, the networks will tune into the Trump rally almost every time.

It may not be good for America,” said CBS television’s CEO Leslie Moonives earlier this year of all of Trumps bluster about bringing back water boarding and banning the entry of Muslims to the country, and the like, “but it’s damn good for CBS” – meaning its damn good for ratings and ad sales.

But at what cost to the future of the country and the rest of the world if Donald Trump, with no little help from all the free media coverage he is getting to prop up Mr. Moonives’ ratings and those of Fox, MSNBC and other networks, actually becomes the next president of the United States?

This float was actually featured at a parade in Germany earlier this year.

This float was actually featured at a parade in Germany earlier this year.

What began a year ago this June, when the Donald descended the escalators at his Trump Tower like Moses coming down from the Mount after announcing his candidacy, as what the pundits predicted would amount to no more than a brief, clownish ‘reality show’ to pick up a slow summer season, has taken on a nightmarish life of its own that, despite all the Mitt Romneys, Bushes and other establishment Repubicans’ efforts to put speed bumps in the way, now seems unstoppable.

So much so that more and more of my American friends, and many Americans I cross paths with across the border are now thinking the unthinkable. “This is scary,” they say. “If he wins, we’re moving to Canada.”

They can move to Canada but I don’t think that is going to provide very much protection if something this wack job says or does sends the whole global economy into a tail spin or triggers a third world war.

I always had this feeling that when the curtain closed on the so-called “American Century” and all that stuff Americans have been fed since birth about the American dream gave way to massive losses of good paying jobs and crumbling infrastructure, things could turn ugly.

trump finger

Even more so if some demagogue comes along to tap into all the fear and rage with all kinds of toxic bunk about who is to blame and about how he or she can make everything great again.

This April 24th, I had a CBC Radio program called Tapestry on it and an American writer named Parker Palmer summed up all of the scary business now happening in the United States better than I ever could.

I’m comparing the current situation in America to the pre-Nazi Germany Weimar Republic situation where people felt the great loss of tradition,” said Palmer during an interview with Tapestry host Mary Hynes.

“They felt humiliated on the world stage as many Americans feel today. They felt the loss of jobs and the radically decreased purchasing power of their money. And they were looking for a strong man to take care of it all,” Palmer added. “And up comes a guy who, when you watch his public self-presentation, is -in the most horrific way imaginable – as much of a clown as Mr. Trump is with just as contorted a face. And you see parallels that you don’t want to see but that we have to start talking about.”

Palmer’s observations remind me of a few lines I read when I was majoring in social psychology and studying auhtoritarian personalities. The lines are from the introduction of a memior titled; ‘The Nightmare Years – 1930 – 1940’, by one of America’s great 20th Century journalists and historians, the late William Shirer, whose book ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ remains one of the definitive single volumes on one of the darkest chapters in human history.

trump supporter bomb the shit out of isis

In that introduction Shirer wrote; “With increasing fascination and horror I watched Hitler crush freedome and the human spirit in Germany, the country of Luther, Kant, Beethoven, Goethe and Schiller, persecute the Jews and prepare to massacre them, destroy all who opposed him, and drag this great nation toward water, conquest and destruction. To my consternation most Germans joined joyously in this Nazi barbarism.”

I have seen the odd brave columnist from The Washington Post or some other mainstream media organization mention fascism with reference to Trump but they hardly ever seem to be invited back on the cable news networks for further comment again.

Not good for network ratings I guess.

If you want to hear the entire interview on CBC’s Tapestry with Parker Palmer click onListen 27:53

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.

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4 responses to “In Trump’s America – Shades Of 1930s Germany

  1. I remember a saying I once heard in the U.S.of A “It US den dem odder people” and am thankful there are sensible, educated Americans who look down on this mentality

    Like

  2. Are you saying that history repeats itself every hundred years or like climate change, are you simply proclaiming a murky future ahead of us?
    It is unclear which is the greater threat to individual freedom: our addiction to American media or our unexamined agreement with Donald Trump’s zeitgeist.
    As consumers of media, we are akin to deer caught or paralysed in the headlights of a car – the razzle-dazzle of CNN and Fox News keeps us somnolent and the bombastic oratory of a childish American millionaire feeds our own sense of powerlessness.
    Yes, the continued deification of the Donald Trump phenomenon beyond the 2016 American Elections could be a major threat to the values with which we thought we were raised but ultimately the choice is up to each individual.
    I agree with the opinions of Niagara at Large, but ultimately we need to encourage each and all of us to learn how to tune out the media buzz and to start making changes in our own backyards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda McKellar

    There are just too many parallels socially, economically and politically to not take the threat of Trump seriously. His thugs echo the brown shirts. His followers the mass of malcontents. The loss of jobs. The fear of immigrants and creation of pariahs. The claim to restore greatness just as Hitler bombastically claimed he would restore respect for Germany after its punishing treatment after WW1. All make the populace ripe for demagoguery. They laughed at Hitler. Look what happened. Many laugh at Trump. Perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing. As in the above comment, history does repeat if we fail to recognize the signs and prevent it.

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  4. Everyone has to decide what defines fact or fiction, and what denotes motive from spin. I find this report on Donald Trump and related issues quite interesting and candid… https://www.youtube.com/embed/iHLcrfhwPtc?&rel=0

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