Remember that feeling of dread we all had the morning after Donald Trump was elected, and remember how some of us (OK, at least me) tried to talk ourselves into believing it won’t be as bad as our worst fears?
It’s as bad as our worst fears.
When I woke up this morning, “Nazis” and “#TrumpConcentrationCamps” were trending on Twitter, and on Laura Ingraham’s show, Attorney General Jeff Sessions found himself defending himself against comparison to the Nazis.
His defense: “It’s a real exaggeration, of course. In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.”
That’s the hair he’s splitting between the United States and Nazi Germany? (Note that, in the beginning, there was a brief time where Jews actually could leave Germany).
Look: The very fact that the media is even discussing whether tactics used against children can be compared to Nazi Germany is all you fucking need to know about how bad it’s gotten.
Meanwhile, Laura Ingraham is suggesting that children taken from their families and put into detention centers is “basically” like “summer camp.” My kids start summer camp next week. There are no cages. They will not sleep in foil blankets.
These people are really and truly monsters, and if you think that comparing them to Nazis is a “real exaggeration,” you should know that Mike Godwin — the guy who came up with Godwin’s Law — is saying that you’re in the clear to make those comparisons.
By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) August 14, 2017
Stop already with the Nazi and Hitler analogies. Really. Stop. What's happening is its own kind of bad and you court discrediting the seriousness of your complaints about it by overstating things so tastelessly and wrongly.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 18, 2018
My answer: if your argument is that terrible policy is not really as bad as what the Nazis did, that’s a weak defense.— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) June 19, 2018
Essentially, we live in a country where White House officials are arguing, “We’re not as bad as Nazis.”
And the Republicans? Here’s how German conservatives viewed Hitler when he got into office, via New York Magazine:
[German conservatives] believed the responsibility of governing would tame Hitler, and that his beliefs were amorphous and could be shaped by advisers once in office. They respected his populist appeal and believed it could serve their own ends. Their myopic concern with specifics of their policy agenda overcame their general sense of unease.
Sound familiar? And look where we are now? The Republicans have been no more successful at “taming” Trump than German conservatives were at taming Hitler.
The difference between Nazi Germany in 1933 and the United States in 2018 is that 1) we do have the benefit of history and can anticipate what’s coming next (whether we do anything to stop it is another matter) and 2) we have (hopefully) one more election to put the brakes on our slide into fascism.