I began blogging to encourage hope in our future. But history cannot be denied, nor can we ignore the facts of today.
My father's family died in the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi gas chambers.
Throughout my life I have suffered prejudice from my fellow Americans, the ones who despise Jews or Catholics. Seven decades of scorn.
So don't tell me who are today's bigots and nascent Nazis. I'll tell you!
It's NOT the Occupy Wall Street people. The GOP are now accusing the Occupy movement of anti-semitism. And what does anti-semitism eternally evoke? The Nazis! But the Occupy group has none of the indicia of the Nazis. Nor are they the "mob" that Eric Cantor has labeled them.
The actual Nazi-like movement in America is the recently-kidnapped GOP itself and its succubus Tea Party and their bigoted backers. It's Gary Bauer and Glen Beck and all that crowd. And even the National Republican Congressional Committee, which refuses to take down its ad accusing Occupy Wall Street of anti-semitism.
From the tenuous safety of America, as a youngster I witnessed World War II and the Nazi machinations. Even now in the occasional nightmare, the Nazis are yet coming after me. So, asleep or awake, I know my enemies when I see them. In dreams I recognize the jackboots and the uniforms, the cruel heartlessness and delight in violence. And the ominous "Vere are your papers?"
And awake I recognize the techniques they used to gain power and keep it. Even without the jackboots and uniforms, I recognize them.
They come spewing lies. They systematically propagandize. "Tell a lie. Tell it often enough and people will believe it. The biggest lies work the best." That's Joseph Goebels, the master and minister of Nazi propaganda. And that's Nazi Rule One.
And doesn't that sound exactly like the well-orchestrated GOP lie machine that has been professionally orchestrated in recent years? Lie after lie after lie. Repeated, repeated, repeated. And now yet another Big Lie comes in the GOP video ad attacking Democratic Congressman Steve Israel, accusing him - a Jew - of backing anti-semitism by supporting the Occupy Wall Street folks.
Nazi Rule Two: Another Goebels' principle: "Guilt by association." In its drive to stifle all dissent, the Nazis executed dissidents for "being Communist". Now the GOP would kill the Occupy movement by accusing it of being anti-semitic. And take down a Democratic Congressman in the process.
You want more about how to recognize Nazis? You better - because they're here.
Nazi Rule Three: Disruption of public meetings: Remember the clearly orchestrated summer of 2009 when no member of Congress could hold a town meeting without a takeover by a shouting, scuffling mob?
Nazi Rule Four: Instigation of violence: Remember Sarah Palin and her pals "targeting" Democrats as if through a gun-sight while using the Second Amendment as pretext for urging violence against the government? Remember Arizona and the nine-year-old girl who died because a loony got the message? And how about that howling mob on the day the House voted on health insurance reform? Forcing our own elected Congressional representatives to run a gauntlet of cursing and spittle, while above the disgusting spectacle, from a balcony of the Capitol itself, the GOP members of Congress cheered the horrifying acts.
Nazi Rule Five: Intimidation: Remember the GOP guys with guns strapped to their legs at those New England political gatherings? Remember the rash of window-breaking attacks on Democratic Congressional field offices? Broken glass. Kristallnacht. Sound familiar?
Nazi Rule Six: Scape-goating the "other": For the Nazis it was the Jews, the gypsies, the homosexuals, and the "mentally-deficient". The Nazis even killed their own little German children who were deemed mentally "sub-normal". Now, among the GOP, "the other" is everybody who is a gay (though risking his or her life in a war zone), a Latino, or the sick and uninsured, or the poor soul who is out of a job. The biggest applause lines at the GOP debates come when the candidates flaunt their heartlessness and their despising of "the other". And how about the persistent claim that Obama wasn't born in America? And how about labeling undocumented residents as "illegal aliens"? As if they weren't even human beings.
Nazi Rule Seven: Destroy the labor unions: Always a key step among totalitarians of every stripe. Now think Wisconsin and Ohio.
Nazi Rule Eight: Control the media. Think Rupert Murdoch.
It can't happen here, you say. That was the belief of the "good Germans" and the deluded Jews who stayed in Germany despite Hitler's growing influence. But it can happen anywhere that there is fear, economic trouble, ignorance, and prejudice. All it takes is a power-hungry and clever group of the ruthless, financed by hidden hands, willing to use the proven tools.
Such ruthless ones are now amongst us. They are well-financed. They have the tools. And, God knows, there's economic trouble, fear, prejudice and ignorance aplenty.
This old Jew worries. If you're not worried, I worry even more.