Sunday, March 25, 2018

Forewarned is Forearmed Redux

This week I was going to post a Missive on a comedic experience but after listening to the shenanigans in the administration lately I have decided to repost a Missive from November, 2016, with a couple of modifications.  Comedy can wait another week!

Unfortunately, not only has nothing changed since then things have actually gotten worse.  The reason for the original post was simple: my parents had to leave Germany right after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 and my father was immediately thrown out of his University .  There was no war, no proven violence, yet, but the country that was suffering from their loss in the first world war had democratically elected the party of a crazed despot in the making.

Then I was sent an article about a California teacher who was suspended for comparing Trump to Hitler in his 9th grade class. 

He was a history teacher and holocaust scholar.

I have been speaking about this to friends for some time.  I was taught by my father that, “It can happen here, it can happen anywhere”.  Now we have seen a beginning that we may not believe or wish to believe and pray cannot happen but…   forewarned is forearmed!

Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner

No question Germany lost World War I and was under the punitive yolk of the Versailles Treaty.  Article 231 of the Treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente Alliance.  In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks roughly US $31.4 billion.  Not only couldn’t Germany afford it they found it a national humiliation.

Then came the hyperinflation whereby there were 90 German marks to the dollar at the beginning of 1921 and by the end of 1923 there were 4.2 trillion German marks to the dollar, a staggering figure.   It finally normalized with a new finance minister in November of that year. There were some high times in Germany for a short while and then there was the Depression by the end of the decade!

The reaction from the people in Germany was not dissimilar to the disenfranchisement that people felt in the U.S. after 2008/2009 Great Recession.  In the people’s opinion obviously their government had forsaken them and left them in a continuous state of suffering, no jobs or financial stability.   Along came a strong man who was charismatic and promised to make Germany great again.

“Early on, Hitler had a central insight: ”All epoch-making revolutionary events have been produced not by the written but by the spoken word.” He concentrated on an inflammatory speaking style flashing with dramatic gestures and catch phrases: ”Germany, awake!”  Have you heard this sentiment before when it comes to immigrants from certain countries or ethnicities?  When the Chinese President Xi won the right to a life time term, Mr. Trump not only congratulated him but said, “maybe we’ll give that a shot here”!  Of course, it was a joke or was it?

There were warnings in the New York Times as well on November 20, 1922 but with this coda.  ”But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused …”

From, This Day in History, January 30, 1933:  “The year 1932 had seen Hitler’s meteoric rise to prominence in Germany, spurred largely by the German people’s frustration with dismal economic conditions and the still-festering wounds inflicted by defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty. A charismatic speaker, Hitler channeled popular discontent with the post-war Weimar government into support for his fledgling Nazi party (formerly the German Worker’s Party). In an election held in July 1932, the Nazis won 230 governmental seats”


No, I do not think that Donald Trump is Hitler but he has released a culture of hate against, Muslims, Blacks and Jews, which truly scares me on a personal level.  We have heard more moderate language to a degree but can he put the genie back in the bottle?   It does not seem like he wants to with ever escalating rhetoric and actions.

My good friend a lawyer and expert on Constitutional law originally believed our Constitution and division of powers would protect us and I so wanted to believe this was correct.  This past week, however, he sent me an article from the New York Times Book Review section called “Can Donald Trump Be Impeached” by Andrew Sullivan from March 12, 2018.  Sullivan writes, “The founders knew that without a virtuous citizenry, the Constitution was a mere piece of paper and, in Madison’s words, “no theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.” Franklin was blunter in forecasting the moment we are now in: He believed that the American experiment in self-government “can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” You can impeach a president, but you can’t, alas, impeach the people. They voted for the kind of monarchy the American republic was designed, above all else, to resist; and they have gotten one.”

Here is a link to the full article. 

The 3 cartoons I posted in this blog you might have laughed at once but that might be a big mistake today.  I do hope that I will not feel that I have to post this Missive again and that the Congress will think more about the county and less about the next election cycle.

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