Monday, November 14, 2016

As white nationalism spreads across the land, Paul Ryan tells us to put our minds at ease... and Michele Bachmann tells us God put Trump in power. One thing is clear: We must all become the White Rose.

"Why do the German people behave so apathetically in the face of all these abominable crimes, crimes so unworthy of the human race?... The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals; they give them the opportunity to carry on their depredations; and of course they do so."

--The White Rose, in their second leaflet distributed to the German people during World War II   

Above: The description for this 1941 photograph reads, "Antionette Lee reading to the children at 28th St. School, Los Angeles, California, day nursery, for caring for younger brothers and sisters of students of district schools, as part of her duties under the National Youth Administration Student Work Program." The National Youth Administration (NYA) was a New Deal work program for unemployed young Americans. This photograph highlights the kind of world that New Deal policymakers were trying to create - a world where Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and others could live together in harmony. They had some major failures, of course, but they tried hard and their work set the stage for the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 60s. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

Above: From WJLA 7, ABC News, November 13, 2016: "A church in Silver Spring, Maryland was vandalized with racist statements in support of President-elect Donald Trump Saturday night." Photo courtesy of Church Rector Robert Harvey and WJLA 7, used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.

Ushering in the Fascist, Plutocratic State

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, incidents of racist violence and intimidation have increased since the election of Donald Trump ("Racist Incidents Are Up Since Donald Trump's Election. These Are Just A Few Of Them," Time, November 13, 2016).

According to the FBI, hate crimes rose in 2015 ("FBI: Hate Crimes Went Up 6.8 Percent In 2015; Anti-Muslim Incidents Surge To Second Highest Ever," Huffington Post, November 13, 2016).

We also know that ex-KKK leader David Duke celebrated Trump's election victory; white supremacist organizations see Trump' victory as a "real opportunity"; and Trump has named Steve Bannon, a man who appears to have white nationalist leanings, as his top policy adviser.

When confronted with some of these issues, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "I really think people should put their minds at ease." This reminds me of the German soldiers who tried to calm down new arrivals to the concentration camps, just before sending them to the gas chambers. After several days of silence (why?), Trump gave a seeming half-hearted denunciation of the racial incidents: "If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the camera: ‘Stop it.’” (If it helps?? For heaven's sake Mr. Trump, the incidents are being carried out in your name.")

Paul Ryan, in his attempt to calm the situation down, said: "By the way, that’s not Republicans. We are the party of Lincoln. People who espouse those views, they’re not Republicans." First of all, Mr. Ryan, you are not the party of Lincoln. Anyone who has taken Political Science 101 knows that the Republican Party was fundamentally transformed in the mid-part of the 20th century into a more radical, anti-minority group by, among other things, the absorption of racist Southern Democrats. Second, Mr. Ryan, our nation has heard a litany of insults coming from Republicans these past few years, calling low-income and/or minority Americans "parasites," "wild animals," "lazy pigs," "takers" (your word, Mr. Ryan), and more. And who can forget when Republican "S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer Compares Helping Poor to Feeding Stray Animals" and advised against such help because the poor might "breed" (CBS News, January 25, 2010). Lastly, Mr. Ryan, you yourself pointed out Republican racism, when you said Trump's comments about a Hispanic judge were a "textbook definition of a racist comment."

Marginalizing entire groups of people ("takers"), and casting them as sub-human ("parasites") is often the first step to doing away with them altogether. Heinrich Himmler, leader of the German S.S. and an architect of the Final Solution, once said: "Antisemitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness." "Lice?" "Parasites"? Sounds very similar to me.

On top of these racist developments, we also hear that top Trump supporter Sean Hannity (perhaps the next Joseph Goebbels) agrees that top news outlets should be excluded from the White House (there goes freedom of the press). We also know that David Clarke, the perpetually-angry sheriff from Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and an apparent contender to lead the Department of Homeland Security, has called for the National Guard to suppress ant-Trump protests, calling them "goon anarchists" (there goes freedom to protest). And Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, and domestic policy adviser, Ken Blackwell, both believe that gays can be "cured." Maybe they'll make special camps for that?

Meanwhile, former Republican congresswoman and full-time lunatic Michele Bachmann has told us that God gave Trump the Oval Office...


Above: In this video clip, right-wing zealot Michele Bachmann tells us that her prayers to God delivered Trump to the White House. Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzlebECUOIg.

We Must All Become The White Rose

This country is heading towards racial and religious authoritarianism and, if you are ignoring the signs, shame on you. What we are seeing today is a mirror image of what happened in 1930s Germany, albeit to a lesser degree (so far). We may or may not create concentration camps for disfavored groups, but we are definitely going to have laws passed and extralegal activities carried out that will persecute those who are not rich, not white, and not Christian. Who will stop it? The Republican president? The Republican Congress? The Republican Supreme Court? The Republican Governors? The Republican state legislatures? Please.

In an introduction to the book The White Rose, about a few brave Germans who fought against the Nazis from 1942-1943, and also against the apathy that allowed Nazi abuses to run rampant, Dr. Dorothee Solle writes, "The conservative Christian parties smoothed Hitler's path to power." We have witnessed the exact same phenomenon in America this year. Right-wing evangelicals, like Michele Bachmann and Jerry Falwell Jr., have thrown their support behind Trump, despite Trump's disparaging comments and actions towards so many groups (women, minorities, Muslims, the disabled, etc.). 

How can this be explained? When I was growing up, attending Sunday School, I was taught that God and Jesus loved all their children. We used to sing, "Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." But now, I have right-wing evangelicals telling me that God has chosen Donald Trump for president - the man whom white supremacists consider a symbol of hope.

It is clear to me that we're all going to have to be the White Rose for the next 4 to 8 years, or more. But it will take a lot of courage, considering that the two leaders of the White Rose, a young brother and sister, were arrested, convicted, and beheaded by the Nazis. How many Americans are going to have the intestinal fortitude to defend and protect their non-wealthy, non-white, and non-Christian brothers and sisters, and subject themselves to arrest, incarceration, beatings, or worse? Well, the anti-Trump protests and the sanctuary areas that are being established by a few states and cities, gives me some hope... but the lessons of history do not.

Above: People have often asked, "Could what happen in Germany happen here?" Perhaps the better question is, "When will it happen here?" WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

"Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure."

--The White Rose

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