Last night I listened to part of President (sic) Donald Trump’s speech in front of an enthusiastic crowd of his cult followers in Arizona. At one point during the speech, the audience was chanting the way non-thinkers do when they know their Fearless Leader has all the answers.
I heard just part of the speech before turning it off. I got only the audio portion because the source was CNN on the iPhone Sirius/XM streaming app. That was enough. I was sure some of those airheads were wearing bright red Make America Great Again visor caps, but it wasn’t necessary to see them. That said, the speech was reminiscent of a couple of things we should look at closely right now.
It’s time for all of us to learn more about history, especially where tyrants are concerned. Last night, Trump talked about building his infamous and totally impractical wall. He also hinted — fairly blatantly — that he plans to pardon former Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Joe Arpaio is noted for racism, hateful policies and being held criminally liable for ignoring a judge’s order to stop that crap. Trump likes him, and evidently last night’s audience felt the same way.
Two particular things in the abbreviated part of last night’s speech in Phoenix brought to mind someone many of us have been thinking about since Trump took office: Adolf Hitler. Hitler made hyper, creepy speeches in front of large audiences who reacted as if they were at cult meetings. He also had a manic plan for a stadium that was never built because it was wildly impractical.
There are many videos of Adolf Hitler’s speeches online, but no matter how determined we are to become informed we should be careful not to click the uploads that come from Neo-Nazis. Not too long ago, I looked for that material on a popular video streaming site and found a bunch posted by people who used swastikas or photos of their idol as profile photos.
Whether or not haters’ video uploads are monetized, don’t click them (you don’t always know if they’re monetized until after you click them, anyway). Don’t encourage those monsters with site traffic, even to post a “you’re a monster” comment. Negative comments may actually encourage them because Nazis think of themselves as victims. Victimhood is the last safety net of a person who does the unspeakable.
There’s a reason Nazis are more visible now. The current Administration has issued an imaginary license to spew hate, and White Nationalists are running a mile with it. We have a responsibility to react, but there’s also a responsibility to use the best judgment possible.
Counter-protests are planned to offset the hate demonstrations. Consider attending those protests, but if you sense something wrong you are completely justified in skipping an event or leaving early. Personally, I’m ambivalent about one protest I was thinking of attending because the planning updates on Facebook imply the organizers are inexperienced. The updates are reassuring in one way, though: the “No Hate From Anyone is Justified” message is strong.
I’ll wait and see if that particular counter-protest has a good plan by the date it’s held, and if it looks as if it has something to offer I’ll be there.
The links to the two videos below are from The History Channel, not someone’s hate page. Please take a look at them and decide if you see parallels between those events and what you heard last night.
The speech is translated in a voiceover, and the crowd’s reaction (as poor as the sound quality is) reflects the enthusiasm of people who agreed with an evil leader’s agenda. The other video is original History Channel material, documenting Hitler’s grandiose goal for a stadium project which manufacturers, engineers and construction workers couldn’t possibly have met. Sounds like somebody’s idea for a wall, doesn’t it?