I guess it goes without saying that, if you want to bring an online or in-person political debate to a screeching halt, you should compare in some way your opponent’s position to that of history’s most infamous evil mastermind; that dark, conniving, miserable little man who has ordered his henchmen to inflict violence upon those who stood against him, causing misery to millions.
But enough about Bill Belichick.
It is actually Adolf Hitler who remains, somewhat ironically, the one thing that all, or at least 99.9% of us, can agree upon. Americans these days can’t agree on whether or not providing health care is a good thing, or whether flooding the streets with guns is a bad thing, or if the job known as “9/11” was of the inside or outside variety….but Hitler’s approval rating remains a flat zero. We can agree, however, that death camps, wars of aggression, slave labor, racist ideology, bad facial hair, and veganism are all things that must be stamped out at all costs. And we can also recognize, although you might not want to say this in certain quarters, that there was a stark intelligence behind Hitler and the Nazi movement; not just “getting the trains to run on time”, but also a brutal and efficient bureaucracy that enabled the mass exterminations of “subhumans”. At let’s not forget that Hitler, with some help from his Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, was a shrewd salesman, a master of persuasion, one who employed the technology of the times to sell his vision to the masses. Does this sound familiar?
The key thing to remember about Hitler that is often overlooked today is this: few people in America took him seriously. Charlie Chaplin lampooned him on film in 1940, much like the way Steven Colbert and Bill Maher mock Donald Trump today. People made fun of Hitler’s goofy mustache like we mock Trump’s spray-tan and physics-defying hairstyle.
By 1945, when the true horrors of Nazism were revealed, people were not laughing.
So I say this: go ahead and compare Trump to Hitler when the comparison is apt. And if somebody responds that Trump isn’t planning on putting religious minorities in death camps, remind them that Hitler didn’t exactly make that part of his initial platform, either.
One might say that Hitler wasn’t Hitler until he became Hitler, if you get my drift.