What Nazi Germany can Teach America About Political Extremism

We're not there yet.  Thank God we're not there.  Many people think the Nazi party rose in Germany almost instantly from the ashes of the unfittingly named Great War.  Our History books hardly mention the years between the World Wars or the Weimar Republic (1919-1933), which was laden in reparation debt, impossible economic realities, and a disillusioned voting base that was desperate for any kind of change.  Desperation led to anger, which led to violence, which led to hate, which culminated in evil extremism: the Nazis.

Nazi propaganda poster: Death to lies--Marxism and High Finance 1932

Says: Death To Lies.  The snake has both Marxism and High Finance (Capitalism), with only the strong arm of the Nazi holding back their venom.  The Nazis routinely lumped all of their political enemies into the same boat (or snake). 

Clint Eastwood talking to  Obama chair Republican National Convention RNC

Invisible Obama, I'm upset that you didn't bail me
out after I made J. Edgar.

Again, we, the glorious United States, are not there.  Each successive year, though, we inch closer to radicalism, with only a lukewarm economy keeping us from storming the Bastille, like crazed, starving peasants.  You can claim that social issues make you politically savvy, but in this country it is always the almighty dollar that rules over political animosity.  Currently, we just lob our fruits and vegetables of unhappiness at the government in forms of anonymous comments on message boards, or slightly amusing yet factually wrong memes and status updates.  Clint Eastwood took his grumpy old man act to the Republican convention the other night, and his ad-libbing was both refreshing and uncomfortable.  But Eastwood doesn't have to live in the reality of life.  He is a multimillionaire.  He will never rely on Social Security, or Medicare, or deal with HMOs, or the unemployment office, or a disappearing retirement fund.  He's a rich actor, putting on an act.  

And many politicians on both sides of the fences are putting on acts.  Sometimes I wish we had more than just a two-party system, so that somebody who actually represents my views would be worth voting for--but then I remembered that the Weimar Republic had a multi-party system.  And this allowed a disgruntled minority on the sideline of reality to take power.  Things were so chaotically bad in 1928 Germany, that they had FIVE elections in FIVE YEARS!  Can you image the voter apathy in that nation?  The NASDP (or Nazis as we know them) rose from a fringe group receiving 2.6% of the vote, to 33% at the end of 1932.  And yet, because of a flaw in their constitution, this 1/3 minority was allowed to choose the chancellor, Adolf Hitler.  After the death of Reichpresident Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler gave himself that title, along with Der F├╝rher (or father leader) and quickly shored up any remaining loose ends: enacting the Enabling Acts--thus making him a dictator, outlawing his closest nemesis (the communist KPD party), then blatantly murdering 400 of the next closest political rivals, calling them enemies of the state.  (You should know the rest of the story).

Nazi Propaganda poster: St. George dragon Slayer snake jew communist socialist

A multilayered piece of propaganda.  Here, a brownshirt Nazi is aided by St. George the Dragon Slayer (a German lore hero) to confront the three-headed beast of Communist, Socialist, and Jew which has laid waste to the German city in the background.  Linking your party with historically heroic figures, is a common practice of weak politicians.

Obama poster with Hitler:  Yes We Can Hope Truth

The creation of a sick
individual.  Analogy ≠ reality

I am not, by any scale of the imagination calling Obama or Romney a political equal of Hitler.  Anyone who would is either historically retarded, or maliciously insane.  What I am saying, is that we are lucky we have a two party system.  Our nut jobs, the people spreading the vitriol of propaganda against or for these two candidates, are so far to the extremes on either side of the political spectrum that they are nowhere near ANY level of reality.  I like Eastwood, I really do.  But his comments and disrespect towards the guy in office, clearly show that he is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.  Likewise, the people who will sit there and say, “Well, Obama has done an amazing job considering the hole he started in when he took office,” are clearly just as delusional.  I still don’t know who I am going to vote for, but I sure as heck am not going to lie for either candidate. 

I’m not sure why people don’t look up facts when it comes to their candidate, but I’m guessing it’s because the poster/liar has a second agenda that their party supports/opposes.  Either, I wholeheartedly support Romney 'cause he is the best bet to overturn Roe vs. Wade (even though this is a judicial matter, and not something a president can do); or I prop Obama because he will more adequately fund our schools and colleges (which can get fuddled up by the budget committees in Congress).  The problem with standing for 1 or 2 issues a party supports, is that you are subconsciously supporting other issues that you may or may not agree with.  That’s politics.  It’s an ugly, greedy, conflicting, hypocritical entity that promises one thing, and supplies another.  To throw unfettered support for one side, is allowing yourself to be defined by their actions.  And I, for one, would never want to be labeled as the guy who voted for Bush, or the guy who voted for Obama, but rather the guy who did his civic duty, and was somewhat disappointed in the outcome seemingly every-time.  And that sucks. 

Nazi concentration camp:  Auschwitz children behind barbed wire fences But it doesn’t suck as much as lying for political people you don’t know.  It doesn’t forgive us for misleading others as to what is truth.  Remember, this was the most successful enterprise of the Nazis.  Misleading propaganda.  It convinced a nation to go to war with the world, expel all minorities, then turn a blind eye as it systematically terminated all of the “lesser demographics.”  How could a proud, intelligent nation ever allow this kind of evil to go unchallenged?  Simple; A small minority of angry, malnourished, and economically depressed voters tiredly threw their vote towards something, anything, different.  The result was the Nazis.  Whoops. 

Again, we aren’t there, yet.  People aren’t being killed in the streets over political alliance.  The political lies, sometimes supplied by the media, are only mildly swaying. The voter base is obviously not angry or disenfranchised enough to sacrifice their life for their ideals.  And that, as my friend Dan recently said, is a good thing, as he pinpointed the major flaw in American politics; its lack of humanity: 

"It is hard for me to express how disinterested I am in party politics or unmoved by the well-crafted rhetoric. The differences between the two gangs are so infinitesimal that whichever one ends up in the White House will create such a small difference in the status quo that it will be, for practical purposes, irrelevant. For those of you expressing such passion and end-of-the-world-seriousness in this race. . . go volunteer at a homeless shelter or give respite to a caregiver or read to young school children. Redirect your emotional energy in some way that will make a real difference in lives. I guarantee you will like the results."

If only the disgruntled Germans would’ve espoused this theology.  If only our extremists could realize their fallacies and redirect their energy away from politics, then this world, this United States of America, would be a much saner, safer, place. And, on a much smaller, personal level, social media outlets would be happily traversable for the next five months.  

1 comment:

  1. If I could "like" this a million times, I would. This is the closest representation of my philosophy written on this subject. Well written!! --Janet Wells