BLOG 365 September 18, 2017
Please grant me a little indulgence. I want to add a reflection that is outside the usual trip through the world of the Middle East. I feel a need to add my thoughts about what happened in Charlottesville and President Trump’s inability to initially condemn Neo-Nazis until public uproar caused him to be scripted to do so.
I do know something about the marchers who chanted “Jews will not replace us” and chanting “Seig heil.” I saw the media recording just after the November national election when Richard Spenser told the crowd, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail our victory. The crowd responded in kind and outstretched their arms in the Nazi salute.
I take this very seriously.
I do know something about the Nazis. Last year I attended the gathering of Holocaust survivors in Berlin. I toured the city and stood on the railroad tracks where millions were loaded on trains for the death camps. I have toured Auschwitz as well as the Dachau Concentration Camp where I looked in the crematoriums. I do know something about what the Nazis did.
The movement called the Alt-right doesn’t seem to get it. The scary thing is that there’s nothing new about this mentality. German politics in 1930 had the same mentality and elected Hitler because he reflected their ideas of making “Germany Great” again.
Before you shrug these statements off, please remember the ideas of white supremacy are not new in America. James Q. Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model documents how the Germans admired and borrowed from American legal procedures to prevent racial mixing. Maryland’s anti-miscegenation law put you in jail for ten years for such behavior. Don’t forget Henry Ford admired Hitler, kept his picture on his credenza, and was decorated by the German before World War II.
In reflecting on Trump’s hesitancy about condemning the radicals, the Jerusalem Post responded “President Donald Trump failed miserably.”
Fortunately, politicians of both parties took exception. Since the debacle hit the media, clergy, majors, and many community leaders raised their protests. They still remember that Nazism rose to power and World War II followed because the Alt-right types were tolerated. In contrast, vast numbers of the American public unambiguously reject the strategies of hate and any rise of the white supremacist types. There are certainly extremists that think the time is ripe to take over the government and change that ideals of the country. Fortunately, they are wrong.
We cannot tolerate anymore expressions of what we saw in Charlottesville. Citizens who love this country and its heritage must make their voices heard and not tolerate the rise of hate groups against any segment of society.