It’s a tired cliché to compare politicians to Hitler, but in the case of Donald Trump, the comparison is getting more frighteningly apt every week. This week he aired a campaign commercial that begged for an ending with a sieg heil.
Superimposed over the faces of the San Bernardino jihadists was his promise to close off our borders to millions of foreign Muslims. He also proposed to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to stop illegal immigration. These ideas are not new. He’s been spouting off about them for months. But seeing the ideas packaged with music and imagery has made his beliefs seem more ominous. He even used the expression “cut off the head of ISIS” with reference to the terrorist group, and that violent rhetoric was no accident.
I realize that the United States today is not the same as Nazi Germany. But Adolf Hitler rose to power with a populist appeal to German pride after the humiliating defeat of World War I. He operated within a democratic society and used oratory to inflame the public and win adherents to the Nazi Party. He was open about his belief in Jews as the enemy, and once in power, he acted ruthlessly to wipe them off the face of the Earth.
Like many people, I have viewed the candidacy of Donald Trump as something of a bad joke. Who could possibly listen to, much less vote for, such a bag of wind? I wondered. But if you have seen the thousands of avid supporters at his rallies, it might give you pause. I for one have stopped laughing.