There’s likely not a worse misstep in publicly shooting-your-mouth-off-when-no-one-asked these days than equating some collective or governing body with the likes of Nazi Germany; the backlash is almost always widespread and forthcoming, regardless of the issue you’re shooting at. I mean, unless the people you’re accusing are actually f—ing Nazis, or something in arguably the same vein, in which case it’s totally fine. A close second or third might be likening an accusation of sexual harassment to being Jim-Crow-era lynched, dismissing accusations of bigotry as being ‘cancelled’ at the hands of an ignorant, virtual, leftist mob, or generally making the case that an ethnicity or gender behaves a certain way, perpetuates a certain lifestyle or should be denied certain rights because of biology, when what you actually mean is, ‘I find those people perverted, disgusting and/or threatening, but refuse to come out and say that because it’ll ruin my career and make people not like me, and I’m really not the kind of person who thinks like that (at least in the tiny-home echo chamber of my own mind)’.
It’s easy to see the reasons why the accusation gets hurled. Many people today, young and not-so-young, thanks to the likes of chronological proximity, high school history class and movies, shows and cable channels that don’t seem to ever stop talking about Nazis, understand the racial and prejudicial slaughter that the Third Reich clandestinely (to the rest of the world) and systematically undertook. And it was atrocious, to say the least. Hurlers of the insult today recognize they can punctuate their own, personal or political grudges or outrage by picking up that totem of atrocity and slapping it onto the back of just about anything (sometimes an even obversely-related issue): a Ukrainian-Jewish president with relatives murdered in the Holocaust, a Democrat’s administration and its policies, the supreme leader of the Iranian theocracy, the conservative bloc of British politics or the Nicaraguan government.
It’s so atrocious, in fact, that it’s becomes almost a kind of terminally obverse blasé. Meaning the mere mention gets some (the talking heads on TV, the talking headless on the Internet and spokespeople for groups set up to stop the moral and mental disease of Nazism from ever spreading again) so outraged that the idea is immediately ignited and flutters into an ashy conflagration of discourse, shutting down how a similar opportunism may be happening right under your very nose.
But truth be known, there are plenty of examples of an arguably similar (not direct, but similar) targeted, domestic, far-right authoritarianism playing out in America today, at somewhat smaller scales; their apparency comes across as far less than would a world war. Or, at least, doesn’t make the same kinds of headlines or hashtags, or roil up the same kind of hive-minded, nosebleed-seat outrage among the ignorant, virtual mobs, be they of a liberal or conservative mindset, as would something Nazi-based.
And while I know the point I’ve already made is that you can’t compare non-Nazis to Nazis, and it sure sounds like I’m about to compare some form of non-Nazi to Nazi, I’m really not. It was maybe a bad example to begin with, but this will be more about ‘Do what we say based on our beliefs which contradict your own, but we are right and you are wrong because we make the rules, and you need to shut up and listen, and if we decide we don’t like you, we will legally make you disappear or render you virtually powerless’, of which the Third Reich was perhaps the grandest contemporary example.
It’s happening right now in America, under the pens and gavels of the country’s right wing.
Bear with me here. I’ll try to be quick.
In little government Texas, Republican state leadership is looking to take over the public school district in highly Democratic (and significantly minority) Houston, citing several suspect reasons, none of which would necessarily imply a takeover, especially by a government that believes in limited governmental reach. Similar overtures are underway in St. Louis, Missouri, and Jackson, Mississippi.
In red state (and little government) Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill into law that allows individuals, after turning 18, to file malpractice lawsuits against trans-affirming care providers for up to 15 years hence, up from the current 2 already on the books. Experts say the law could effectively ban such care in the future by making it nearly impossible for providers to obtain malpractice insurance. Which, as I’ve always said, is how you really destroy something in America. You don’t carpet bomb it outright, you slowly and systematically wear it down by passing laws and engaging in corporate-and-social-media (and psychological) warfare against it, which are almost certain to erode the target at its foundation.
Also, in little government Kansas, gender affirming care has been banned outright for anyone under the age of 18.
Also, in little government Kentucky, lawmakers advanced a bill to limit f—ing drag shows. Drag shows, for God’s sake. (Which, I suppose, is probably the point.)
And also, in little government Tennessee, people can’t change the gender on their driver’s licenses or birth certificates to the one they currently identify as. ‘If you were born that way, you drive and do everything else that way’, apparently. No exceptions. ‘Because we say so, you’.
In new-news of the new fascist republic of Florida (I’m kind of not kidding about that), a House committee gave overwhelming approval to a new bill that would make it a crime to have an abortion after six weeks. This, on top of the implementation of the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, its abolition of Critical Race Theory in schools, its strongarming of what can and can’t be taught in business training and seminars, Gov. DeSantis’ citing of executive privilege (where there is none in the state Constitution) to make public record laws more private (and a judge somehow agreeing with him), and a proposal to make some critical of the state government register with the state and periodically disclose from where they derive their income, efforts which amount to making speech that would seem legally protected under the U.S. Constitution as free, all of a sudden no more.
Now, like it or not, the groups of individuals (and certain, harmless, apolitical speech) under attack should have a right to do and be whatever they want to and are, as long as it isn’t actually harming or hasn’t harmed anyone under reasonably drafted, previous state and federal legislation. Not because WE THINK AND SAY IT WILL PROBABLY HARM SOMEONE BECAUSE WE SAY SO (…because we actually find those people perverted, disgusting and/or threatening and control is what we strive for, yadda yadda yadda and so forth). Though that is very much leaning toward being the case in jurisdictions all over the country.
And, finally, to punctuate this whole thing, let’s not forget the few but representative-of-the-issue, right-leaning congresspeople or candidates who are either taking pictures with elements of, having dinner with, dogwhistling about or falsely accusing others who are not of being a part of the f—ing Nazi party.